Monday, April 1, 2013

Texas Kanzashi and Kimono Calendar

The bluebonnet is to Texas what the shamrock is to Ireland, the cherry blossom to Japan, the lily to France, the rose to England and the tulip to Holland.

Historian Jack Maguire


So, I had this silly idea while driving home earlier tonight. It was sort of sparked by an old thread on the Immortal Geisha forums about what sort of kanzashi and kimono calendars would be appropriate to wear in the southern hemisphere, since their seasons are the opposite of Japan's. After all, it doesn't make sense to follow a seasonal calendar for a country whose flowers don't bloom at the same time yours do, or to wear a transparent kimono when it's snowing outside! This started an idea in my mind...what would a Texas kanzashi/kimono calendar look like? What themes would feature on kimono? What native flowers would show up as kanzashi? What festivals would feature specialized themes? Well, this is what I came up with.



Native Texas Flowers:

Bluebonnets – the state flower of Texas, blooms everywhere in the State. In the Texas hill country, you can see entire hillsides covered in blue blooms. The flower is celebrated all across Texas with festivals in the month of April. 







Indian Paintbrushes – Often seen accompanying bluebonnets, giving hillsides a vibrant mixture of red and blue flowers. 










Azaleas – East Texas has the perfect conditions to support prolific azalea blooms during the months of March and April. The biggest and showiest blooms are in March, and the Azalea Trails in Tyler and Nacogdoches run from the middle of March through the beginning of April every year. Nacogdoches also boasts Texas’ largest azalea garden, with over 6500 azaleas and 500 different varieties.

Indian Blankets – A daisy-like flower with a red center and yellow border, this flower usually takes over as the bluebonnets and Indian paintbrushes begin to fade.







Square-bud Primrose – A yellow, four-petaled flower, also called a Sundrop. This flower usually opens in the evening, and stays open until the next afternoon.








Winecup – Similar in shape and size to the primrose, but with five petals in a deep purple, this flower blooms from April through June. These flowers open in the morning and close in the evening. This flower is actual a variety of poppy.




Texas Lantana – A hearty plant with clusters of flowers in red and yellow or, less commonly, purple and yellow or purple and white.







Black eyed Susans - A flower in the daisy family that butterflies just seem to love. 








Wild Petunias - A wildflower that seems to have become rather invasive in the Austin area. It seeds prolifically, and blooms in the fall, giving us a little colour before winter sets in.








Prickly Pear Cactus - The state plant of Texas, it actually sports delicate flowers in a bright yellow or a coral orange before bearing a deep red fruit (which tastes like, well, a pear!)






Ornamental Pear Tree - Though it's not native to Texas, you see these trees everywhere. The varieties that you see in Texas are hardier and seem to be able to withstand the random frosts of a Texas spring without much damage, and still produce amazingly abundant blooms, as well as some nice foliage colour in the fall. Unfortunately, they only bloom for about a week, maybe two, before the foliage comes out fully and the blooms are gone.




Texas Bluebell - A lovely purple flower that grows on the pairie land, it seems to bloom in the hottest months of the year!






Texas Redbud - A small tree that is resistant to drought and usually doesn't grow over 20 feet tall, this lovely flowering tree is seen all over Texas.






Kanzashi:
January  – snowflakes, New Year themes
February – pear blossoms, magnolia, Valentine’s themes
March – redbuds, peach blossoms, flowering quince, azaleas
April – wisteria, butterflies, irises, bluebonnets, Indian paintbrushes
May – roses, morning glory, lotus, Indian blankets, black-eyed Susans with butterflies
June – willow, cicada, hydrangea, winecups, cactus flowers
July – fireworks, lantana, fans
August – dried grasses, daisy, sundrops, bluebell
September – raindrops, sunflowers, wild petunias,
October –chrysanthemum, State Fair themes
November – turning leaves, maple
December – pine needles, poinsettia


Kimono:
Spring
February
Awase, Usumono, ro, sa
Iris, pear blossoms, magnolia, Valentine’s themes
March
butterflies, redbuds, peach blossoms, flowering quince, azaleas, bluebonnets, Indian paintbrushes
April
butterflies, water ripples, raindrops, wisteria, primrose, irises, azaleas, bluebonnets, Indian paintbrushes, clouds
Summer
May
Yukata, usumono, hitoe, ro
roses, lotus, crickets, Indian blankets, winecups, cactus, cactus flowers
June
fireflies, insects, cicada, hydrangea, willow, crickets, winecups
July
fireworks, lantana, fans, crickets
August
dried grasses, water, bluebells, sundrops
Fall
September
Hitoe, usumono, awase
raindrops, water, clouds, water ripples, sunflowers, wild petunias
October
chrysanthemum, State Fair themes, dragonflies, pumpkins, turning leaves
November
Turning leaves, maple, bare branches
Winter
December
Awase
pine needles, poinsettia, winter scenes, bare branches, holly
January
snowflakes, New Year themes, holly, bare branches

I'm going to start experimenting with Texas kanzashi soon, which I'm really looking forward to. There are several flowers that I want to make sure work out the way I expect them to, so I'm sure there will be quite a bit of trial and error involved. I'll update as I go along, and to see all the posts, watch for the tag "Texas Maiko". ;)

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