Is She The Duchesse?
Saturday, June 24, 2017
|June 24 2017|
At one time in our old Kerrisdale garden we had plant
labels for all our plants. This meant that if I did not consider my Rosemary’s
many perennials I had 600-plu labels for my hostas and 85 for my roses. Since
our move and even before our move labels were lost and now we have quite a few
mystery plants in our Kitsilano garden.
One of them is a rose which I am sure is the
Centifolia/hybrid perpetual (they cannot make up their mind on this one) Rosa ‘Duchesse
It bloomed a bit later than all my Gallicas and the only way
I will eventually be able to identify it will happen if it re-blooms. Hybrid
Perpetuals ( an inaccurate misnomer) do bloom more than once. So if in the fall
it blooms she will be the Duchesse.
For those who might want to explore who she was here
Abraham Darby - Three Men & an Over the Top Rose
Thursday, June 22, 2017
|Rosa 'Abraham Darby' June 22 2017|
I find it nicely paradoxical that the most fragrant rose
in my garden and a rose that blooms and blooms (large ones at that) is an
English Rose named after a man (three perhaps) who made the industrial
revolution of the 19th century possible with the discovery of the
relation of coke with iron ore.
The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica
Abraham Darby, (born 1678?, near Dudley, Worcestershire,
Eng.—died March 8, 1717, Madeley Court, Worcestershire), British ironmaster who
first successfully smelted iron ore with coke.
Darby, who had used
coke in smelting copper in Bristol, in 1708 founded the Bristol Iron Company.
He acquired premises at Coalbrookdale, on the Severn, close to supplies of
low-sulfur coal. In 1709 he produced marketable iron in a coke-fired furnace.
He presently demonstrated the superiority of coke in cost and efficiency by
building much larger furnaces than were possible with charcoal as a fuel, the
latter being too weak to support a heavy charge of iron.
The quality of
Darby’s iron made it possible for him to manufacture thin castings that could
compete successfully with brass in such applications as the manufacture of pots
and other hollow ware.
The advent of the
Thomas Newcomen steam engine in 1712 created an important new market for iron;
by 1758, when Darby had been succeeded by his eldest son, Abraham Darby
(1711–63), more than 100 Newcomen cylinders had been cast at Coalbrookdale. In
1779 Darby’s grandson, Abraham Darby III (1750–91), completed one of the
world’s first cast-iron bridges (at present-day Ironbridge, near
Coalbrookdale), and in 1802 the Coalbrookdale Works built the first railway
locomotive with a high-pressure boiler, for Richard Trevithick, an English
engineer and inventor.
Some years ago I visited Shropshire and I had the pleasure of walking on the Iron Bridge.
Doctor Pat McGeer - The Basketball Player
Monday, June 19, 2017
“No hay mal
que por bien no venga.”
While it sounds a lot better in Spanish if you translate it
into English is makes sense anyway. Bad stuff happens for good reasons.
Three bad things happened yesterday Sunday.
One of them began on Thursday when my Rosemary was recovering from a left knee
replacement operation. The doctor found she was losing blood somewhere. After
quite a few tests they discovered she has an ulcer in her lower oesophagus or
stomach. The ulcer is due to the fact that Rosemary has an acid stomach and
acid reflux. So they did not release to my care and her cat Casi-Casi until
yesterday. That was the first good thing coming out of the discovery of the
ulcer. Now she is going to be treated.
Parking at the UBC Hospital is easy but a tad expensive. I
went down to park in the temporary 15 minute zone as the nurse upstairs was
taking her time in releasing Rosemary. This was bad!
As I was inserting my credit card into the parking machine a
man (no taller than I am) looking very fit and perhaps my age passed by. I
stopped him with a question, "Do you play basketball?” His answer was, “I
used to.” That answer confirmed my almost suspicion that the man was Doctor Pat
McGeer. I asked him if he was visiting someone in the hospital of if he was not
well. His answer was a resounding, “I work here.” And he went on to the detail
of the cancer research that he is doing into stopping cancer cells from
draining stuff from the body on people who are supposed to be terminal (and are
not he asserted). He then asked me to guess his age. I am a gentleman
(sometimes) so I never ask that question or answer it. His answer, “I am 90,”
That was the second good thing to follow a bad thing.
The third situation was to go to my granddaughter’s violin
recital. The first half of the program featured 27 (one hour and thirty
minutes) soloists playing uncertain notes. But there are two good things. One
my Lauren is learning to read music. That is good. The second good thing is
that there was Cornelia Oberlander who is past 90 years with a head and brain
that are all here. A couple of years ago in a reunion to celebrate the life of
architect Abraham Rogatnick she told us some scary statements about global
Now there is a an axe to grind here (not too sharp) for one
of the last two persons left at the Vancouver Sun that I know. One is IanMulgrew
and the other (for whom I am sharpening the axe) is John Mackie. Mackie
in a frequent page 2 column reminds us of personalities and events in our city
and province’s past. This is very good.
My suggestion is that some of those people from our past ,
landscape architect Cornelia Oberlander and the Doctor of Everything, Pat
McGeer have all kinds of relevant stuff right now that we should know about.
Yes John Mackie!
And I have to bang on my own drum here. Is there anybody else out there archiving what has happened in our city besides what you might find in my lowly blog?
The State of Being Alone
Sunday, June 18, 2017
In an essay on American jazz pianist Craig Taborn
today’s NY Times
writer Adam Shatz quotes James Baldwin. The quote froze me.
Fascinated by his artistry, dazzled by his erudition and
curiosity, I would occasionally suggest a coffee or a drink. He always replied
yes, but whenever it came time to make a plan, he’d retreat into silence. This, I realized, was the condition of his creativity,
and I grew to respect it. James Baldwin wrote that:
primary distinction of the artist is that he must actively cultivate that state
which most men, necessarily, must avoid: the state of being alone.”
Taborn has embraced this state, which echoes powerfully
through his probing, introspective music.
These days of being obsolete – redundant & retired I
have been left in my thoughts a lot. I feel a terrible isolation. It is almost
like that word of the 60s, alienation.
My wife is back from the hospital after her left knee
replacement. She is much more mobile than we thought she would be but I am
taking care of her. Days go by quickly and nothing seems to happen. I move back
and forth between checking on her in our bedroom, seeing the latest on Trump on
MSNBC and crossing the deck (in a glory of roses and other flowers) to my
oficina where I sit down to write as I am doing this precise instant.
I never considered myself (I am a photographer) to be an
artist. In Vancouver to think one is an artist is a route to extreme depression
and suicide. But in the year 2000 I met up with Argentine artists Nora Patrich
and Juan Manuel Sánchez a sort of Argentine version of Shadbolt did not suffer
fools and he told me I was an artist. I was not going to argue with him. So I
am an artist and fame and fortune will follow a few months after my eventual
death. Of that I am sure!
Meanwhile this isolation that I feel, in Baldwin’s words,
read below have clicked in my head without too much of an indigestion. Perhaps
this isolation is good and I will be soon feel inspired to go in some direction
as yet unknown to me.
Below you will find some Fuji FP-3000B peels (what you
peel and we all used throw away after looking at the instant b+w print). They
randomly stay as negatives and others become semi-positive in something called
the Sabatier Effect. The last photograph is a peel from the also discontinued (Alas!) Fuji FP-100C
I have written many times how a photographer’s studio can
be a dead end of creativity. There you are behind your camera; a subject in
front of you; a background (grey) behind and a light or lights on one side.
Often nothing will happen.
It has been nice to pursue creativity in the environment
of a person’s home and trying when possible to use existing light. These are
pictures of my friend Nina. I am no Helmut Newton (nobody is) but I do attempt
to show that eroticism can happen in the mundane milieu of a home.
Saturday, June 17, 2017
|Rosa 'Souvenir du Docteur Jamain' June 17 2017|
Red is the color at the longer-wavelengths end of the
spectrum of visible light next to orange, at the opposite end from violet. Red
color has a predominant light wavelength of roughly 620–740 nanometers. Light
with a longer wavelength than red but shorter than terahertz radiation and
microwave is called infrared.
Red is one of the additive primary colors of visible
light, along with green and blue, which in Red Green Blue (RGB) color systems
are combined to create all the colors on a computer monitor or television
screen. Red is one of the subtractive secondary colors, resulting from the
combination of yellow and magenta. (See CMYK color model.) Traditionally, it
was viewed as a primary subtractive colour, along with yellow and blue, in the
RYB color space and traditional color wheel formerly used by painters and artists.
Reds can vary in shade from very light pink to very dark maroon or burgundy;
and in hue from the bright orange-red scarlet or vermilion to the bluish-red
crimson. Red is the complementary color of cyan.
Grace & Elegance
Friday, June 16, 2017
|Hosta 'Liberty' June 22 2017|
My entry into serious gardening began when we moved to a mostly
shady but big garden in Kerrisdale in Vancouver in 1986. Most botanical
publications mentioned a plant called hosta. By the time we left that garden in
2015 to our present location in Kitsilano I had amassed some 600 plus of the
plant. My discerning eye (because I like hostas) could and can note the
difference between one variegated wonder and another.
But if you look closely during the growing season of this
shade tolerant (never loving) plant you might notice as I did many years ago
that the unopened flowers on the tips of the scapes (hosta lingo for stalk) are
quite elegant. When they open some of these flowers can be awfully fragrant as
is the pure white flower of Hosta
plantaginea sometimes called the August lily.
Here you can admire the graceful about-to-open bloom of Hosta
I hoed and trenched and weeded
Thursday, June 15, 2017
A Shropshire Lad
A Shropshire Lad Revisited
|Rosa 'A Shropshire Lad' June 14 2017|
In our previous large garden on Athlone Street in
Kerrisdale, Vancouver we had 85 roses. Most of them were Old Roses such as
Gallicas and Albas. We also had many English Roses.
Our garden had encroaching shade from neighbouring trees.
Many of our roses were languishing in too much shade. One of them the English
Rose Rosa ‘A Shropshire Lad’ which was and is shade tolerant simply had too
much shade. When we left our garden to move into our small Kitsilano one I left
it behind. I regretted it.
Fortunately a member of the Vancouver Rose Society informed
us that she wanted to get rid of some of her roses. One of them was Shropshire
Lad! I documented the bringing of the
very large rose from North Vancouver to our laneway garden.
Some years ago I went on a tour of Shropshire so
everything Shropshire is dear to me including A.E. Houseman’s poem.
A. E. Housman (1859–1936). A Shropshire Lad. 1896.
LXIII. I hoed and trenched and weeded
I HOED and trenched and weeded,
And took the
flowers to fair:
I brought them home unheeded;
The hue was not
So up and down I sow them
For lads like me
When I shall lie below them,
A dead man out of
Some seed the birds devour,
And some the
But here and there will flower
And fields will yearly bear them
spring comes on,
And luckless lads will wear them
When I am dead and
I have at my age of almost 75 a preference for the above
|Rosa 'A Shropshire Lad' on left followed by Souvenir du Docteur Jamain, Chapeau de Napoléon and William Lob|