Dear Readers, after the high culture of last week here’s something a bit more tuneful. All you need to do is match the plant to the lyrics from the (hopefully) popular song below. Normally I would knock up some photos, but as it’s year end at work (and some of you will know what that means!) I am just going to give you 10 plants and 10 lyrics, and all you have to do is match one to t’other. An extra mark for the full name of the song (or thereabouts) and a discretionary mark if you can name the singer/band (though some of these are ancient, rather like me, and will therefore have been knocked up by multiple folk).
So, if you think that lyric 1 is about blackberry, your answer is 1/A
Now, if I spot that you have answered in the comments (and some of you are very very quick) I will send you a quick message and then unapprove your answer so that it doesn’t influence anyone else. However, if you think you might be influenced I would be inclined to write them down on a piece of paper first.
Answers on Friday next week, so get your ideas in by 5 p.m. UK time on Thursday 21st January if you want to be marked.
‘And you’ll look sweet, upon the seat, of a bicycle made for two’
2. ‘I beg your pardon…’
3. ‘And then worst of all (worst of all)
You never call baby when you say you will (say you will)
4. ‘Small and white, clean and bright,
You look happy to greet me’
5. ‘Tiptoe, through the window,
By the window, that’s where I’ll be’
6. I lost myself on a cool damp night
I gave myself in that misty light
Was hypnotized by a strange delight.
7.You gonna need an ocean of calamine lotion
You’ll be scratchin’ like a hound
The minute you start to mess around
8. Ooh, I bet you’re wonderin’ how I knew
‘Bout your plans to make me blue
9. Absolutely going down the drain
It’s a terrible day
Up with a knock
Silly girl I don’t know what to say
She was running away
10. I was working part time in a five-and-dime
My boss was Mr. McGee
He told me several times that he didn’t like my kind
‘Cause I was a bit too leisurely
Seems that I was busy doing something close to nothing
But different than the day before
That’s when I saw her, ooh, I saw her
She walked in through the out door, out door
Dear Readers, you really know your poems! On the basic quiz, Mike at Alittlebitoutoffocus got 7 out of 10, while FEARN, Anne and Fran and Bobby Freelove all got 10 out of 10 on matching the plants to the poems. Fran and Bobby then went the extra mile by also getting some of the poets, giving them a total of 16 out of 20. But runaway winner this week, with an amazing 20 out of 20 was Anne. Well done Anne! A fantastic result, but you should all be very proud of yourselves, and thank you for playing. Now, I wonder what will happen tomorrow?
1.C) Daffodils – ‘I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud’ by William Wordsworth. My Mum used to know this by heart, as she did many poems.
2. E) Cuckoo-pint/Lords and Ladies – ‘Cuckoo-pint’ by Blake Morrison. I love some of the imagery in this – the brown matchstick, the half-unrolled umbrella. Blake Morrison is better known as a writer of prose, but I think this is a most creditable work.
3. H) Ivy – ‘ To the Ivy’ by John Clare. I doubt there was ever a better poet of our ‘weeds’, and I make no apology for including Clare twice.
4. J) Himalayan Balsam – ‘HImalayan Balsam’ by Anne Stevenson. What a great description this is! The whole poem is a feast.
5.D) Saguaro (Giant) Cactus – ‘To the Saguaro Cactus Tree in the Desert Rain’ by James Wright. Wright is a new poet to me, but I love that opening image of the owl peering from a hole in the tree.
6.A) Autumn Crocus – ‘Autumn Crocus’ by Ruth Fainlight. Such lovely close observation, and I love the way that the religious and natural imagery seem to infuse one another.
7. G) Yarrow – ‘The Yarrow’ by John Clare. Look how he notices the leaves of the yarrow, and the way that the colour of the flowers varies! The man was a genius.
8. B) Daisy – ‘To a Mountain Daisy – On Turning One Down With the Plough, in April 1786’ by Robert Burns. I love how Burns can move from the tiniest daisy to the existential fate of all human beings in a few verses. You might not want to read all of this if you’re already feeling glum.
9.I) Thistle – ‘Thistles’ by Ted Hughes. What a ‘male’ poem this is! I love Ted Hughes’s imagery in this, though, what with all those Vikings.
10.F) Gorse/Whin – ‘Whinlands’ by Seamus Heaney. Oh Seamus. What a poet. His poems always seem to involve an opening-out to me. At the end of them I just want to stare into space for a bit.
Special thanks to my friend A this week for the loan of her book ‘Flora Poetica’, edited by Sarah Maguire. Let me know when you want it back 🙂
Dear Readers, I feel that we are lacking poetry in our lives, so now is the moment to see if you can identify what plant each of these poems is going on about. Bonus points for the author! And if you have a favourite plant poem, let me know. No extra points, but it’s nice to share….
As usual, answers in the comments by 5 p.m. UK time on Thursday 14th January please if you want to be marked. The answers will appear on Friday 15th.
Match the plants to the poems: so, if you think poem 1 is about autumn crocuses, your answer is 1) A). As usual, I will hide the answers that appear in the comments when I see them, but if you don’t want to be influenced by speedy people, write your answers down first.
The plants are:
A) Autumn crocus
D) Saguaro (Gian) Cactus
E) Cuckoo-pint/Lords and Ladies
J) Himalayan Balsam
‘Continuous as the stars that shine And twinkle on the milky way, They stretched in never ending line Along the margin of the bay: Ten thousand saw I at a glance, Tossing their heads in sprightly dance‘.
2. A brown matchstick held up in the wind, The bract-leaf cupped around it like a palm
March had not extinguished it: there it lurked, sly as something done behind the sheds,
slithering from its half-unrolled umbrella as we snipped pussy-willow in the lanes.
3.But bloom of ruins, thou art dear to me, When, far from danger’s way, thy gloomy pride Wreathes picturesque around some ancient tree That bows his branches by some fountain-side: Then sweet it is from summer suns to be, With thy green darkness overshadowing me.
4. Orchid-lipped, loose-jointed, purplish, indolent flowers with a ripe smell of peaches, like a girl’s breath through lipstick, delicate and coarse in the weedlap of late summer rivers, dishevelled, weak-stemmed, common as brambles….
5. I had no idea the elf owl Crept into you in the secret Of night.
I have torn myself out of many bitter places In America that seemed Tall and green-rooted in mid-noon. I wish I were the spare shadow of the roadrunner, I wish I were The honest lover of the diamondback And the tear the tarantula weeps.
I had no idea you were so tall And blond in moonlight.
6. Anomalous bright blossom in late afternoon shadow
Mercury-pale stems surging out of the dark earth: Halloween candles.
Mauve flowers with amber yellow pollen-swollen anthers.
Each clump is bordered by a halo of rotting petals like votive objects around a damaged Ikon or a martyr’s statue.
7. Dweller in pastoral spots, life gladly learns That nature never mars her aim to please; Thy dark leaves, like to clumps of little ferns, Imbue my walk with feelings such as these; O’ertopt with swarms of flowers that charms the sight, Some blushing into pink and others white, On meadow banks, roadsides, and on the leas Of rough, neglected pastures, I delight More even than in gardens thus to stray Amid such scenes and mark thy hardy blooms Peering into autumn’s mellowing day; The mower’s scythe swept summer blooms away Where thou, defying dreariness, wilt come Bidding the loneliest russet paths be gay.
8. Wee, modest, crimson-tipped flow’r Thou’s met me in an evil hour; For I maun crush amang the stoure They slender stem: To spare thee now is past my pow’r Thou bonie gem.
9. Against the rubber tongues of cows and the hoeing hands of men xxxxxxx spike the summer air Or crackle open under a blue-black pressure.
Each one a revengeful burst Of resurrection, a grasped fistful Of splintered weapons and Icelandic frost thrust up
From the underground stain of a decayed Viking. They are like pale hair and the gutturals of dialects. Every one manages a plume of blood.
Then they grow grey, like men. Mown down, it is a feud. Their sons appear, Stiff with weapons, fighting back over the same ground.
10. All year round the xxxxx Can show a blossom or two But it’s in full bloom now. As if the small yolk stain
From all the birds’ eggs in All the nests of the spring Were spiked and hung Everywhere on bushes to ripen.
Hills oxidise gold. Above the smoulder of green shoot And dross of dead thorns underfoot The blossoms scald.
Put a match under xxxxx, they go up of a sudden. They make no flame in the sun But a fierce heat tremor
Yet incineration like that Only takes the thorn. The tough sticks don’t burn, Remain like bone, charred horn.
Gilt, jaggy, springy, frilled This stunted, dry richness Persists on hills, near stone ditches, Over flintbed and battlefield.
Dear Readers, an excellent turn out as usual, with some new folk having a go, welcome! Our winner this week was Sylvie with 12 out of 12, with Fran and Bobby Freelove getting 10 out of 12 and Claire getting 8 out of 12 – very creditable all round, so thank you for taking part.
Dear Readers, what a year it’s been! And to round it off nicely, and ease us into 2021, here is a ‘simple’ plant ID quiz. Each photo comes from a Wednesday Weed of the corresponding month. All you need to do is to ID the plant. Good luck! The answers will appear next Friday morning UK time (8th January 2021), so if you want to be ‘marked’, please get your responses into the comments by Thursday 7th January at 5 p.m. I will ‘unapprove’ any answers when I see them, so that they don’t distract other quizzers, but to be certain of not being influenced I would still write your answers down first.
What species are these small red trees?
2. Can you name this tree?
3. What plant is this?
4. What’s this plant?
5. What plant is this?
6. What’s this plant?
7. What’s this plant?
8. What’s this plant?
9. What’s this extraordinary plant?
10. What species are these splendid street trees?
11. What root vegetable was used to play this tarantella?
Dear Readers, what a splendid showing we had with the quiz this time! It tested everyone to the limit. In third place was Mike from Alittlebitoutoffocus with a very respectable 21 out of 31 (I gave an extra mark for anyone getting the blood-thinner question right on the Christmas food section). In second place was Rosalind and her husband with 23/31. But the overall winners were Fran and Bobby Freelove who got an extraordinary 29/31. Well done to all of you, and thank you for taking part, you are all stars as far as I am concerned.
Winter Wonderland 1 – Winter Trees
B) A Scots PIne
C) A Yew
Winter Wonderland 2 – Christmas Plant Folklore
Question 4) C) A specific hawthorn in Glastonbury was believed to flower at Christmas because it grew from a staff planted by Joseph of Arimithea
Question Five) D) Sweet Cicely (Myrrhis odorata) was believed to flower on Old Christmas Eve (5th January), particularly in the Isle of Man.
Question Six )B) Ivy (Hedera helix) is considered to be unlucky if brought into the house except between Christmas Eve and Twelfth Night.
Question Seven) A) Holly is actually known as ‘Christmas’ in Cornwall.
Question 19 – Parsnips B) Parsnips formed part of the tribute paid to the Emperor Tiberius from Germany
Question 20 – Brussel sprout D) – Brussels sprouts should be avoided if you take blood-thinning medication due to their high levels of Vitamin K
Photo 21 – Cranberries E) – Cranberry came from ‘Crane-berry’ as the flowers are supposed to look like a long-beaked bird. Also D) – Cranberries too have lots of Vitamin K so should be avoided if you are on blood-thinning medication.
Question 22 – Clementine A) Clementines are named after Brother Clement Rodier who discovered the spontaneous cross between a sweet orange and a Mediterranean mandarin in the garden of his monastery in French Algeria.
Question 23 – Brazil Nuts C) Brazil nuts have the highest level of dietary selenium of any food.
Winter Wonderland 6 – Christmas ‘Carols’
Question 24 -D) Polar Bear
Question 25) B) – Rock Ptarmigan
Question 26) G) – Snow Bunting
Question 27) E) – Snowy Owl and chick
Question 28) A)- Reindeer (the sound you can hear is the tendons in their legs clicking)
Question 29) C) – Robin. The call is surprisingly easy to muddle up with the snow bunting I think!
Dear Readers, I am hiding the comments which already have the answers – I have seen them and will mark them, so don’t worry, and well done for being so speedy! I just want to give other people a chance to have a bash uninfluenced 😎.
Dear Readers, well, we’re at the end of the quiz, and today I think we’ve done enough looking at things, so I’d like us to do some listening. Can you match the calls below to the photo of the animal? I have pushed the definition of ‘Christmas’ to include some generally wintery animals, so I hope you’ll forgive me!
As you will remember, I started the quiz on the 19th December and finish today (24th December) – answers for the whole quiz will need to be with me by 5 p.m. UK time on Monday 28th December.
The links for all the previous parts of the quiz are below. Feel free to do as much or as little as you like! And have the best possible Christmas that you can, I am sending enormous virtual hugs to all of you as we navigate this most peculiar of festive seasons together.
Dear Readers, are you a brussels sprout boffin? A parsnip partisan? A cranberry celebrant? Let’s see what you know about the foods that go to make the average UK Christmas dinner add a whopping 5200 calories to your intake.
Just match the food fact to the photograph. So, if you think that the parsnip is named after a French monk, your answer is 19) A
As you will remember, I started the quiz on the 19th December and will finish on Christmas Eve (24th December) – answers for the whole quiz will need to be with me by 5 p.m. UK time on Monday 28th December.
If you missed yesterday’s quiz, just search the blog for ‘Winter Wonderland’ and this should bring you up all parts of the quiz. I am also going to include the links for the whole quiz on Christmas Eve, just in case you are bored after eating mince pies and watching It’s A Wonderful Life for the umpteenth time.
Christmas Food Facts
A) Which Christmas food was named after the French monk living in North Africa at the start of the 20th Century who discovered how to crossbreed it?
B) Which Christmas food was so valued by the Romans that the Emperor Tiberius received it as part of his tribute from Germany?
C) Which Christmas food has the highest density of the element Selenium, with a one ounce serving providing ten times the recommended daily requirement of an adult?
D) Which Two of these Christmas foods should you avoid eating in large quantities if you’re on blood-thinning medication, due to its high level of Vitamin K?
E) The flowers of which Christmas food are said to resemble the head of a water bird?
Dear Readers, I do love a bit of festive folklore, so here are three questions for today. As you will remember, I am doing a short quiz starting yesterday and finishing on Christmas Eve (24th December) – answers for the whole quiz will need to be with me by 5 p.m. UK time on Monday 28th December.
If you missed yesterday’s quiz, just search the blog for ‘Winter Wonderland’ and this should bring you up all parts of the quiz.
Christmas Plant Folklore
Here we go! Which of the plants pictured below:
A) Is actually known as ‘Christmas’ in Cornwall?
B) Is considered to be unlucky if brought into the house except between Christmas Eve and Twelfth Night?
C) Was believed to flower at Christmas because it grew from a staff planted by Joseph of Arimithea?
D) Was believed to flower on Old Christmas Eve (5th January), particularly in the Isle of Man?
Just match the plant to the folklore. So, if you think the plant known as ‘Christmas’ is Hawthorn, your answer is 4) A.
Dear Readers, this week we’re going to do something a bit different. Every day until Christmas Eve we’ll have some questions about winter plants and animals, and all you’ll have to do is to answer the multiple choice underneath the photo. I will be doing my normal posts as well (though they might be a bit shorter what with Christmas and all…)
What would be easiest for me would be if you’d save up all your answers and then post them in the comments by 5 p.m. on Monday 28th December just to give us all a bit of time. The last questions will be on Christmas Eve (Thursday 24th December ) Answers on Tuesday 29th December.
So, here we go….
Is this magnificent tree
A) A Douglas Fir
B) A Scots PIne
C) A Larch
D) A Sitka Spruce?
What’s that fine tree with all the snow on it? Every part of it, except the flesh on the berries, is poisonous.