In May varieties of viburnum bloom at Winterthur.
You approach the first viburnum variety to bloom in very early May with care, skirting the needles of an American pine.
You know that the viburnum is in bloom – a Korean Spice Viburnum – not because you see it but because you smell its sweetest fragrance through the pine needles.
Korean Spice Viburnum, Winterthur, Delaware, late April and early May every year
Later in May flowers the magnificent Chinese ball viburnum.
Green snowball viburnum, Winterthur, Delaware in May every year
Viburnum carlcephalum, Winterthur, Delaware. Every May
You whisper to them: don’t leave us. Remain.
After a while, you become used to the fragrance. You recover your senses.
Don’t be silly, you think: this is a cyclical process……
Chinese ball vibrunum (Viburnum macrocephalum) interplanted with hardy azalea, Winterthur, Delaware. May every year.
In July, you eat cherries thinking about the viburnum. The round white cherries and the round red ones.
Girl with Cherries, c. 1491-95, oil on wood. Attributed to Giovanni Ambrogio de Predis, active by 1472-died after 1508, Milan, Italy. Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
Still Life with Cherries and Turnips, Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin, 1699-1779, French. Philadelphia Art Museum
Wild Strawberries and Carnation in a Wan-Li Bowl, oil on copper, c. 1620. Jacob Van Hulsdonck, 1582-1647, Flemish. National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
Cherries, 1976, oil on canvas. Philip Guston, 1913-1980, American born Canada. MOMA, NY
A 2018 red cherry
Glass Case with Pies (Assorted Pies in a Case), 1962, burlap soaked in plaster, painted in enamel, with pie tins in glass-and-metal case. Claes Oldenburg, American born 1929
Hand embroidery of white cotton on cotton netting. Made in southern India c. 2015
And drink Morello cherry liqueur until another May comes with the perfect viburnum.
Nothing cyclical about the way we are drinking, you think. We had better watch out….