Flower Fridays: Alstroemeria

Alstroemeria bouquet from MomLast week Andy and I received a lovely surprise from my mom—a flower bouquet delivered to our doorstep! And what a beautiful bouquet it is. There are little tea roses, carnations (perfect given the letters last week between my mom and me—Flower Fridays: Carnation) and the star of the bouquet, alstroemeria. Alstroemeria is great for flower arrangements because you can find them absolutely every day of the year and in almost any color you can imagine. I can’t do justice to the shades available in the photos in this post so do a quick search for images of alstroemeria and you will be amazed!

Pink AlstroemeriaHaving never grown them in my garden I wouldn’t know this, but alstroemerias grow in an interesting way. Their leaves grow upside down and twist and turn as they mature. Because of this they are said to represent friendship and devotion with all the change and ebbs and flows of a long-term relationship. They are also said to symbolize wealth, prosperity and fortune. I will take all of the above! Alstroemeria is also called Lily-of-the-Incas or Peruvian Lily because they look like tiny lilies. With all these names available I thought I finding a poem would be easy. But it turns out that the one poem I did find was for the name alstroemeria and it is lovely (and there are several flowers in this poem). Enjoy!

Nothing Stays Put
by Amy Clampitt

In memory of Father Flye, 1884-1985

Orange AlstroemeriaThe strange and wonderful are too much with us.
The protea of the antipodes–a great,
globed, blazing honeybee of a bloom–
for sale in the supermarket! We are in
our decadence, we are not entitled.
What have we done to deserve
all the produce of the tropics–
this fiery trove, the largesse of it
heaped up like cannonballs, these pineapples, bossed
and crested, standing like troops at attention,
these tiers, these balconies of green, festoons
grown sumptuous with stoop labor?

The exotic is everywhere, it comes to us
before there is a yen or a need for it. The green-
grocers, uptown and down, are from South Korea.
Orchids, opulence by the pailful, just slightly
fatigued by the plane trip from Hawaii, are
disposed on the sidewalks; alstroemerias, freesias
fattened a bit in translation from overseas; gladioli
likewise estranged from their piercing ancestral crimson;
as well as, less altered from the original blue cornflower
of the roadsides and railway embankments of Europe, these
bachelor’s buttons. But it isn’t the railway embankments
their featherweight wheels of cobalt remind me of, it’s

Blushing Peruvian Lilya row of them among prim colonnades of cosmos,
snapdragon, nasturtium, bloodsilk red poppies,
in my grandmother’s garden: a prairie childhood,
the grassland shorn, overlaid with a grid,
unsealed, furrowed, harrowed and sown with immigrant grasses,
their massive corduroy, their wavering feltings embroidered
here and there by the scarlet shoulder patch of cannas
on a courthouse lawn, by a love knot, a cross stitch
of living matter, sown and tended by women,
nurturers everywhere of the strange and wonderful,
beneath whose hands what had been alien begins,
as it alters, to grow as though it were indigenous.

But at this remove what I think of as
strange and wonderful, strolling the side streets of Manhattan
on an April afternoon, seeing hybrid pear trees in blossom,
a tossing, vertiginous colonnade of foam, up above–
is the white petalfall, the warm snowdrift
of the indigenous wild plum of my childhood.
Nothing stays put. The world is a wheel.
All that we know, that we’re
made of, is motion.

Lily-of-the-IncasXOXO Rachel

Published by Rachel Mueller-Lust

I'm a writer, artist, executive & life coach, wedding officiant & Life-Cycle Celebrant®, psychologist, media researcher and teacher. I explore language, relationship & connection, living a fulfilling life and the beauty & wonder of the world.

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