Anne here, reflecting on the topic of eggs — specifically Easter eggs —and bulbs. For people in the northern hemisphere, Easter is also a spring festival, but for those of us in the the antipodes, it comes in autumn.
So while my friends in the northern hemisphere are eagerly looking for early spring bulbs, we on the other side of the world are planting them. But more about bulbs later.
Easter eggs — for some, Easter is all about the giving and receiving of delicious eggs, in all their sizes and flavors. For many there's only one kind of easter egg — chocolate — dark chocolate, milk chocolate or white chocolate. Some are filled with caramel or peppermint cream or other flavors, but still, chocolate is the main thing.
There are also the marvelously dyed and sometimes decorated eggs that come with orthodox Easter celebrations. I still miss the wonderful scarlet eggs that the Greek and Macedonian ladies I used to teach always brought me at Easter. Along with delicious cookies.
Some friends of Ukranian, Russian and Rumanian descent still make gorgeous decorated eggs, using traditional methods. I'm not sure exactly where these eggs are from — friends brought them back for me from their travels.
Quite a few people I know have started experimenting to make all kinds of different eggs, using natural or synthetic dyes, sharpie pens, paint, glitter, stickers, decoupage and all sorts of variations. Lots of fun. These eggs were made by Eloisa James and friends — aren't they gorgeous?
And I found some pretty Scandinavian-inspired eggs, made with just a sharpie pen — and many more lovely eggs— on this pinterest site.
You don't even need to mess around with dyes — this cute-but-slightly-wonky little chick was made in a hasty two minutes with a dab of blue-tac, a few snips of an old envelope and some feathers plucked from a hapless feather duster.
Sometimes they're wrapped in gorgeous colored foil or tissue paper– from the organized person who's going for the easter-egg effect. Sometimes they come in a pretty bag. Occasionally they come in a pot and once or twice they've arrived in a supermarket plastic bag, a messy jumble of dirt and bulbs and grass, dug up from the garden at the last minute.
I loved the mystery of bulbs when I was a little girl. I'd plant a whole lot of tiny little things and months later, up they'd pop — grape hyacinths, and "soldiers" (lachenlia) and sweet-smelling freesias, dainty hoop petticoat daffodils in their golden crinolines, and gorgeous bright ranunculi (strictly speaking a corm, not a bulb.)
Some bulbs bring memories of the person who gave them — each year when my bluebells come up I think of my beloved godmother, from whose garden they were dug — she said they grew like weeds and she was right, but I love them. (I also think of that scene from Georgette Heyer's The Grand Sophy and hope that one day I'll get to visit a bluebell wood.)
I have fragrant, creamy freesias dug from a garden long covered over by an apartment block, now growing wild in my lawn. And each spring my dad's erlicheer and other jonquils are the first to greet me. The scent made him sneeze, but he still loved to grow them, even though he wouldn't let them in the house.
Other bulbs came in packets, but still recall the person who chose them. Some of them, like tulips and hyacinths only lasted a year or two (for me) but I loved growing them and waiting for them to flower. Yes, bulbs are a fine Easter gift. Of course, we also give chocolate easter eggs, but they don't last nearly as well. Nor do they multiply, alas — quite the contrary.
For us Easter is also a time of barbecues and enjoying the last of the summer warmth, so Easter here is an outdoor time. Many families go away for a family holiday. If you're interested, this is a very old piece about my family easters. And a friend just made these delicious-looking gluten-free hot cross buns. Might have to visit. 🙂
So what are you doing for Easter (if you celebrate it)? Going away? Gathering with family? Staying home? If you're in the northern hemisphere do you have any spring bulbs yet? Have you eaten any Easter eggs? Decorated some eggs yourself? Baked any easter cookies or made or eaten hot cross buns? And whether or not Easter is part of your life or religion, have a happy and peaceful time.