For generations, gardeners have been trying to achieve the impossible: to breed a truly blue rose or a perfectly black tulip.
These two flowers have so intrigued people’s imaginations that they’ve entered both lore and literature.
Blue roses are often used to symbolize mystery and a longing to attain the impossible. Some cultures even say that whoever holds a blue rose will have his or her wishes granted.
Black tulips were featured in an 1850 novel by Alexander Dumas called what else but “The Black Tulip.” This swashbuckling tale of love, murder and greed centres on the quest for a unique jet-black tulip.
The problem is that blue roses and black tulips don’t exist in nature. Roses lack the specific gene that allows for a “true blue” colour. It’s the same story with black tulips: optically black flowers are virtually unknown in nature.
Plant breeders have come close to achieving a blue rose through hybridization, but the “blue” is often closer to lilac or mauve. To produce a bluer flower, they’ve had to resort to dyeing or genetically modifying the plant.
As for tulips, the “black” ones are usually a deep eggplant or plum colour. They give the appearance of being extremely dark, but are not optically black.
Maybe this is a hint that we were never meant to find perfection in this world.
As a follow-up to last week’s post, “Life Lessons from Driving in Snow,” I thought I’d continue on the topic of driving and give you the best driving tip I’ve ever heard.
I learned this valuable piece of advice from watching the TV programme, “Canada’s Worst Driver.” There are various iterations of this show around the globe: perhaps your country has something similar. These “worst driver” shows are often hilarious but are also educational. You can learn a lot about how not to drive from atrocious drivers.
Before I present the best driving tip of all, here are some memorable examples of appalling driving as reported by driving instructors:
Do you enjoy collecting things? Many of us do. Perhaps you collect stamps, vintage baseball cards, Barbie dolls, movie memorabilia, autographs or folk art.
Or maybe your hoard is a little more esoteric. You might specialize in collecting Cracker Jack prizes, Coca-Cola ads, thimbles, snow globes, or vintage fountain pens. These interests may be a bit more off the beaten path, but still within the realms of normal.
But it’s possible that your collection veers into the truly strange and oddball, like the following:
Did you hear about the “prison break” at a Houston, Texas animal shelter recently?
A cunning criminal had been opening the heavy door of the senior cats’ enclosure for several nights in a row, setting the captives free to roam the shelter. Each morning, workers at the Friends for Life Animal Rescue would arrive to find the door mysteriously opened, and would have to wrangle the 15 cats back into their room.
The staff were stumped at who could be responsible for the feline jail break. It was only when they looked at footage from the building’s security cameras that they were able to crack the case.