THIS LIFE Muriel Bol­ger

Irish Daily Mail - YOU - - IN THIS ISSUE - By Muriel Bol­ger

I LOVE THE IN­TER-WEB THINGY. It was made for peo­ple like me – peo­ple whose minds flit from one thing to an­other with no log­i­cal se­quence what­ever. I can get lost for hours on oblique jour­neys along the most in­con­se­quen­tial path­ways.

If I were in­ter­ested I could un­earth an­swers to al­most any­thing I ever wanted to know – and much I didn’t. I could find out when the Gull­wing Mercedes was first rolled out, or when the DeLorean fac­tory closed. I could dis­cover the dis­tance from Gob­bler’s Nob to Hack­balls Cross. I could even find out how to in­ter­pret those silly sym­bols on my dish­washer – the ones that look as though the cups and saucers will be spin dried if I se­lect them.

With the in­ter-web thingy I can keep abreast with who is bed­ding whom and other not so fas­ci­nat­ing snip­pets from the world of celeb-dom. I can even find out who is still alive and whose fu­neral I missed.

I‘ve learned that there’s no such thing as a nine-day won­der any more. A few spots on a high pro­file tal­ent show, or mak­ing cakes with soggy bot­toms and you’ll be for­got­ten be­fore the next week. But, para­dox­i­cally, if you’ve been cap­tured mak­ing goofy faces, and on bad hair days or af­ter a few tip­ples too many, you’ll al­ways be there, cap­tured for­ever on the lit­tle screen, leav­ing a trail you cer­tainly would not have wanted be­hind you.

This tan­gent got me think­ing – and that’s an­other thing, it’s too easy to stray from the pur­pose of the in­ter­web search and me­an­der aim­lessly along other routes. Any­way, that tan­gent got me think­ing that, apart from the ob­vi­ous – kind, gen­er­ous, car­ing, etc – how would I like to be re­mem­bered?

Ellen DeGeneres has a par­a­sitic wasp named af­ter her, Aleiodes el­leni. For Boris Becker it’s a bur­sid sea snail called Bu­fonaria boris­beck­eri. Pa­trick O’Brian, the writer of English naval books, has been hon­oured with a wee­vil called Daisya obri­ani. A trap­door spi­der Ap­tostichus bonoi is Bono’s legacy, while Fred­die Mer­cury has a Mer­cu­rana (tree frog) com­mem­o­rat­ing him. Ap­par­ently he spent much of his child­hood in Panch­gani in In­dia, where this frog was dis­cov­ered.

Per­son­ally I’d pre­fer to be re­mem­bered by some­thing with a lit­tle more vis­ual ap­peal. Joanna Lum­ley (name drop­ping here – I think that’s called shadow celebing, if not, it should be!) once told me she’d like her legacy to be to leave a long av­enue of trees be­hind her when she’s gone. Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe and Julie An­drews have roses called af­ter them and a few years ago Stephen Fry joined those ranks. His species is a ‘quixotic mix of yel­low and creamy red petals with dis­tinc­tive wavy-edged sin­gle flow­ers.’

I can think of noth­ing nicer than be­ing re­mem­bered as a flower or a tree. So in an idle mo­ment I be­gan trawl­ing the in­ter-web thingy to see if I’d find a flower to call my own. And I did! Sev­eral in fact. I dis­cov­ered that there’s an um­brella bam­boo, Far­ge­sia murielae, which has yel­low canes and is na­tive the moun­tains in cen­tral China. I am led to be­lieve it’s also the pre­ferred food of the giant panda. In­tro­duced to the wider world by plant hunter E H Wil­son, he has given his name to over 2,000 plants. He called this one af­ter his daugh­ter, Muriel.

In 1998 an 80- to one 100-year-old spec­i­men in Har­vard’s Arnold Arboretum sent the hor­ti­cul­tural world into a whirl­wind of ex­cite­ment as it flow­ered for the first time – and the last. Muriel only blos­soms once in her life and dies. And that’s what she did! I hope that’s not prophetic…

Ap­par­ently I make an ex­cel­lent cut flower as a first cousin to the tall el­e­gant glad­i­ola. By com­par­i­son, an­other species – Aci­dan­thera murielae – is a sweet-smelling and long-last­ing (if pretty poor re­la­tion) but I’m glad to see I’m also very suited to oc­cu­py­ing a large con­tainer, or more. No sur­prises there.

As a fuch­sia, I don’t fare too badly ei­ther. There, I’m a semi-dou­ble bluish­ma­genta corolla with sepals of scar­let and I pro­duce a fruit that is ed­i­ble, but not ap­petis­ing! I’m a bit of a diva though as I don’t tol­er­ate drought, high hu­mid­ity, or high summer heat.

How­ever it’s as a rose that I re­ally come into my own. The va­ri­ety was cre­ated by Cal­i­for­nia grower Ralph Moore in 1989. It’s light pink and ‘very dou­ble’ with up to 100 petals in each bloom. ‘Muriel R. bracteata must be con­sid­ered one of the great, dan­ger­ous and achingly beau­ti­ful wild beasts of the rose king­dom… it’s na­ture, like a lion’s, is wild and im­pos­si­ble to re­ally tame.’ Now that’s what I’d call a bit of a show-off, and is def­i­nitely one I’d like to be re­mem­bered by.

Can you now see why I love this in­ter-web thingy? There’s an­other morn­ing gone, hap­pily lost in my own par­al­lel uni­verse of trivia.

An in­ter­net search got me think­ing that, apart from the ob­vi­ous – kind, gen­er­ous, car­ing, etc – how would I like to be re­mem­bered?

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