Bold Indulgence


Hippeastrum Papilio

Each year I watch with breathless anticipation as the bulbs throw up flower buds on my Papilio. Thought to be near extinction in their native habitat in the tropical forests of Brazil, the name ‘Papilio’, is latin for butterfly. It’s easy to see why. The inner petals resemble the wing tail of the Swallowtail butterfly.

I was surprised to learn that although the Hippeastrum Papilio grows from a herbaceous bulb, it’s actually ‘an epiphyte and commonly grows on tree branches. An epiphyte is a plant that grows non parasitically on another plant, meaning it derives its water and nutrients externally from the supporting tree.’ (ref.). Imagine that? Mine is happily flowering in soil.

Foraging for plant bargains at a nearby farmers market one Sunday morning, I spied this specimen competing for space on a table of of plant cuttings. It  stood head and shoulders above the crowd in full, glorious flower. Choose me! Choose me! It seemed to say. There was no question I would. I looked at the price tag and decided to blow my plant budget at any cost. I just had to have it. I handed over my money to the stall holder, telling her it was meant to be mine and I haven’t regretted the indulgence one bit.

Why does indulgence have such a bad rap? And who deemed self-indulgence bad? Was it someone confused with ‘overindulgence’? It seems simply a difference of magnitude. There is a clear distinction.

I believe that treats are all the sweeter when they are in measured supply. Isn’t that why they’re called treats? Sometimes, it’s a good thing, even necessary, that we allow ourselves unexpected and un-budgeted for, pleasures. Sometimes we deserve a little self-indulgence whether that be time to read, personal pampering or adding a rare and beautiful flower to one’s plant collection.


“Nourishing yourself in a way that helps you blossom in the direction you want to go is attainable, and you are worth the effort.” ~Deborah Day






18 responses to “Bold Indulgence

  1. A beautiful flower. And I believe you are right in saying we need treats once in a while. God could have created the world as nondescript and functional. He chose to treat us with beauty and artistry all around us. I also agree, that to make the treats the main course, distorts the treat to become more than it should be – overindulgence. Wonderful blog post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A treat indeed. And you are so right about indulgence. I feel for those who never seem to have the time nor means to indulge themselves. That must be as wearying to the spirit as over-indulgence must be.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You are right about this, Robyn: “… when they are in measured supply.” I tried to learned that a long time ago when I first heard this quotation from one of Horace’s poems: “East modus in rebus; sunt certi denique fines / ultra citraque nequit consistere rectum.” (I think I’ve got it right. Memorized it years and years ago, even though I haven’t managed to live up to the moderation idea completely.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I haven’t seen that quote from Horace before. Wisdom is timeless. I don’t think anyone achieves their ideal Albert. That we continue to strive is where the learning lies.


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