Saturday, 5 June 2010

Saturday Photo: Fleurs de lys in Bloom Weeks before St. Jean Baptiste Day

Montreal has 97 community gardens, operating in some cases for more than 30 years. This was taken last week at one of the four gardens in Mile End, where 89 parcels are available to avid gardeners who live in the surrounding flats and apartment houses.

This particular morning a half dozen people of various ages were already at work at 7:30 a.m. Because it hadn't rained for a couple of weeks most of them seemed to be busy irrigating their crops.

The lovely iris in the foreground is an indicator of just how advanced the season is this year. Usually the flowers bloom toward the middle of June, just in time for Quebec's Fête nationale, St. Jean-Baptiste Day June 24. I've always that fitting since the fleur de lys is the flower of Quebec and is found on its flag. Through a weird etymological quirk, that's fitting too, since "flag" is one of the names given to the iris. The flower "flag" gets its name from an old Dutch word applied to plants with sword shaped leaves, yet I still like the idea that there is some connection between various fleur de lys plants and the flag of Quebec. There are times when the facts are less poetic than one would like.

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