Monday, March 23, 2009

Mimosa

mimosa color

When I was a pupil in elementary school, our teacher Mr. Egidio Bernasconi used to give us mimeographed blank maps that we had to complete. One such map had the streets of Besso (a.k.a. Lugano 3) and from time to time he would give us the name of a plant we had to learn to recognize, find in the quarter, and mark on the map.

I still remember that for a mimosa pudica I had to go to via Coremmo, just a stone throw from school. I wish I had such a map today. Yes, now we have powerful search engines that allow us to find everything we need to know. However, searching the Web for a mimosa in Palo Alto just returns a company providing information immediacy, discovery and continuity for the new generation of critical enterprise information; and of course a number of local establishments serving mimosa cocktails.

I quickly walk a couple of blocks to Gamble Garden, camera in hand. Unfortunately, I do not find a mimosa. However, a major nursery is just a short drive away. Yet, they never heard about a plant called mimosa. How can they not know a mimosa pudica? It is so magic for children: you can touch a leave and it just shamefully closes.

A quick check in The Jepson Manual of higher Plants of California reveals its absence in the index. Hence, it does not exists here. In fact, the USDA database reveals that in the US, this mimosa is limited to Florida, Hawaii, Maryland, Virginia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. Therefore, at his time I can only offer this canned picture, credits Steve Hurst @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database:

Steve Hurst @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

Another proof that navigating is much more powerful than searching. Instead of finding 27,300 pages for my search, the engine should have told me "dummy, it does not grow here!"

Why was I looking for a mimosa in the first place? Every year, Pantone announces the color of the year. Last year it was blue iris, which I quickly found at Gamble Garden. This year is is mimosa, which I figured should bloom about now and therefore now would be the time to blog about it.

mimosa color

In their press release, Pantone describes mimosa as a warm, engaging yellow. They write: "In a time of economic uncertainty and political change, optimism is paramount and no other color expresses hope and reassurance more than yellow."

Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, continues: "The color yellow exemplifies the warmth and nurturing quality of the sun, properties we as humans are naturally drawn to for reassurance. … Mimosa also speaks to enlightenment, as it is a hue that sparks imagination and innovation."

In the press release, Pantone concludes: "Best illustrated by the abundant flowers of the Mimosa tree and the sparkle of the brilliantly hued cocktail, the 2009 color of the year represents the hopeful and radiant characteristics associated with the color yellow. Mimosa is a versatile shade that coordinates with any other color, has appeal for men and women, and translates to both fashion and interiors. Look for women's accessories, home furnishings, active sportswear and men's ties and shirts in this vibrant hue."

Now let me don that mimosa tie I bought on my last business trip to Bergamo and go out for a mimosa. The blue flowers are a nice touch to last year's color, so I guess this is a transitional tie.

my tie

By the way, the cherries at Gamble Garden are about to burst out in さきみだれる. Get ready for the cherry blossom viewing or お花見.

cherry blossom, sakura, hanami