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Bloomsday is the annual celebration of all things James Joyce, but mostly his love-it or loathe-it masterpiece, Ulysses.

James Joyce Bloomsday 2014

James Joyce, author of Ulysses

When I lived in Dublin many years ago, I noticed an annual upsurge of American grad students hanging out in the pubs around Trinity, boasting unpublished manuscripts analyzing Ulysses, and claiming to be in town for some conference or other and hoping to find a publisher. If half of them really had a book completed, it would have taken half the Amazon rain forest to print them. But, I suppose it was a measure of the cultural impact Joyce’s relatively difficult novel has had across the world.

Apparently, there were super-fans and students of the novel quite early, as Joyce mentioned a group celebrating “Bloom’s Day” in a 1924 letter. The novel had been serialized between 1918 and 1920, and the first complete edition was only published in 1922. It’s all the more remarkable that people were already acting it out because copies had to be smuggled into Ireland. Though never actually banned in Joyce’s homeland, that was only because the novel was initially not offered for sale openly.  Read the rest of this entry »

Another month, another Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day. Happily, the yard is a good deal more colorful than it was last month.

It’s a world of yellow out there with the forsythia and daffodils arriving in the same week.

The hyacinths make a bold impression in contrast.

The little emergent green leaves in the background and foreground are bouncing bette/soap wort, which will grow rapidly and swamp the daffodils long before their leaves wilt. I cut the soap wort down to the ground every winter, otherwise we’d never see the tiny violets/violas or the star of Bethlehem that grows amongst it.

Still life with an old birdhouse on the patio. The patio is currently in the process of being resurfaced with much smaller, regular pavers — which will be far more permeable. The fieldstone will be recycled into rock walls all over the place.

The orange-lipped variety of daffodil (my plant naming skills start to fail me when different types of daffodil appear), with yet more bouncing bette emerging.

A Red Trillium showing its color.

The wild violets/violas that will soon be blooming all over the lawn. I am not sure of the proper name of these. They grow wild and profusely, and their simple color is wonderful to see after winter’s dullness. Some years I try to delay the first mow in order to prolong them.

This feels like a bit of a cheat, as these Ranunculus came from Home Depot, but so what?  I’ve been letting my two children maintain their own flower beds, and I figured they’d be more interested if they had some beautiful flowers to start with, rather than having to wait weeks for seeds to grow.

A taste of things to come: it may be a little hard to appreciate against the pale background, but our quince is budding, and the first few flowers have opened. It should be a riot of reddish-pink in about a week. Let’s hope no frost comes along to nip it.


The May Dreams Garden blog, where I believe this whole Garden Bloom Day thing originated.