Benjamin Britten & a Lemon
Saturday, July 20, 2019
|Rosa 'Benjamin Britten' 20 July 2019|
English Rose, Rosa ‘Benjamin
Britten’ had 9 open blossoms today. I
still had a feeling of guilt in snipping three for today’s blog.
As I often have written here and worth repeating I find that
roses more than any other plants in my garden conjure ghosts of my past or
people long dead who may have moved the world either through philosophy,
military fame, literature, steel making pioneer or two or in music.
I wrote about Benjamin Britten the English composer here
related to my friend David Lemon. I saw Lemon recently here
. Lemon has an easy
smile and a positive outlook to life. So when I gazed on these brilliantly
bright blossoms I could not but think of him.
Britten at home & in a cabaret
From Clee to heaven the beacon burns
Friday, July 19, 2019
|Rosa 'Shropshire Lad' 19 July 2019|
Today when I was watering my lane garden I noticed the two
blooms of the English Rose Rosa
‘Shropshire Lad’ I noticed a couple of things.
One was that the roses themselves were sturdy in their centre. This meant that
I could scan them without an elaborate system
of suspending them over my
scanner without any part of the rose touching the glass. The other detail was
how handsomely red (a feature of all roses) the new leaf growth was.
Years ago I went on a media trip to Shropshire and I
prepared myself by reading Houseman’s famous poem. Today (something else I
noticed) is that the first part of his poem is dedicated to the memory of Queen
Victoria. I find it always amazing how looking at a rose can conjure so much
literary history and just plain history.
A Shropshire Lad
1: From Clee to heaven the beacon burns
By A. E. Housman
From Clee to heaven the beacon burns,
have seen it plain,
From north and south the sign returns
Look left, look right, the hills are bright,
The dales are
Because 'tis fifty years to-night
That God has
saved the Queen.
Now, when the flame they watch not towers
soil they trod,
Lads, we'll remember friends of ours
the work with God.
To skies that knit their heartstrings right,
that bred them brave,
The saviours come not home to-night:
they could not save.
It dawns in Asia, tombstones show
Shropshire names are read;
And the Nile spills his overflow
We pledge in peace by farm and town
they served in war,
And fire the beacons up and down
The land they
"God save the Queen" we living sing,
to height 'tis heard;
And with the rest your voices ring,
Lads of the
Oh, God will save her, fear you not:
Be you the
men you've been,
Get you the sons your fathers got,
And God will
save the Queen.
Vineyard Song - Near Perfect
Thursday, July 18, 2019
|Rosa 'Vineyard Song' 18 July 2019|
"My favorite rose is the one I haven't made yet
because it's perfect."
- Ralph Moore, 2008
Ralph S. Moore an American rose hybridizer of small roses (sometimes
called patio roses by the English) in this Wikipedia essay on him:
Ralph S. Moore
(January 14, 1907 – September 14, 2009) was a rose breeder and discoverer born
to Orlando Moore in Visalia, California.
In 1937 he opened the
rose nursery Sequoia Nursery, Moore Miniature Roses in California. He played an
important role in the popularisation and diversification of Miniature roses,
introducing over five hundred new miniature rose hybrids, including the award-winning
"Ann Moore", after his wife, Ann. Other cultivars introduced by Moore
were the single-petalled Miniature 'Simplex' (1961), the first yellow-flowered
modern Moss Rose, 'Goldmoss' (1972) or the orange-red Floribunda 'Playtime'
On May 29, 2003, in
downtown Visalia, the Ralph Moore Rose Garden was dedicated to Ralph to honor
his achievements as a rose breeder.
On January 14, 2007,
Moore celebrated his 100th birthday at the Visalia Convention Center. There he
received an award from the Royal National Rose Society of Great Britain and the
American Rose Society. He also received a flag that was flown over the United
States Capitol on January 8, 2007 in his honor.
Moore wrote poetry for
over 25 years including the poetry book Thoughts of Roses.
On April 30, 2008, his
retail rose business, Sequoia Nursery, closed. Moore gave all his plants and
breeding stock, 80 rose patents, and a cash donation to Texas A&M
University's horticultural sciences department. The University already had an
existing rose breeding program, and it maintains the Robert E. Basye Endowed
Chair in Rose Breeding. Moore's donation enlarged the rose breeding program to
include miniature roses. He died at the age of 102 of natural causes at the
Kaweah Delta Medical Center, Visalia, California.
does not mention my favourite rose of his which was a
miniature moss rose with the nice name of Dresden Doll. I briefly had this
little rose in a nice tin pot hanging from our Kerrisdale garden gazebo.
Somebody came into our garden and stole. I never did get to scan the rose
because it was gone before I started this operation on all my garden roses.
Thus it was a pleasure (more so if I had found Dresden Doll)
when I spotted a cute little rose called Rosa
‘Vineyard Song’ called that by
Moore as the little cluster of mauve roses resemble grapes. The rose was at the
Fraser Valley Rose Farm
and it was the owner Jason who informed that the same hybridiser
of Dresden Doll had introduced it in 1999.
This rose with a name that does not really excite me as I
like roses named after obscure personalities in spite of that name is a perfect
plant for a little garden with diminishing space. I will grow it in a little
pot knowing that she (she is a she isn’t she?) will re-bloom (remontant is the
technical nomenclature) and that indeed she is fragrant.
A Joe Trio Milonga at Sharman King's
Wednesday, July 17, 2019
|Joe Trio - Cameron Wilson, Charles Inkman, Allen Stiles , 18 July 2019|
Vancouver has one very good thing of everything (one less
since the Umbrella Shop closed). It has Stanley Park, the Orpheum, Granville
Island, the Turning Point Ensemble, Bard on the Beach, Standing Wave, Early
Music Vancouver, Arts Umbrella Dance Company and
Because Joe Trio was founded in 1989 some of the newer folks
might not know the existence of this trio (Cameron Wilson, violin, Allen
Stiles, piano and Charles Inkman, cello).
They would be at a loss perhaps understanding that the trio
is sort of a compressed (one less) Kronos Quartet that may have had an overdose
of laughing gas at the dentist.
They play classical music, contemporary music (including new
just composed music), music you have never heard before, baroque music, jazz
and it is all injected with an equal part of virtuoso excellence and dry
Any concert of Joe Trio is one that will make you smile,
enlighten you and perhaps help you snub at some of those classical music snobs
in their smoking and straight jackets. These are musicians that put on pants one leg at a time.
Imagine such a concert in the comfort of an intimate living
room with your feet on a carpet while you and your Rosemary (not really as I
mean my Rosemary) while sitting on a plush sofa.
That was the case tonight in a concert at trombonist and
bass hornist Sharman King’s home complete with wine and food. The concert was a prelude to a tour by the Trio to Ottawa,
Niagara-on-the-Lake and Stratford.
My Rosemary seldom smiles but she went over her daily quota
tonight in over smiling.
Not that the music was ever as funny as The Sad Story of
Little Joe Who Played the Violin which ends with Joe being a pop-tart breakfast
for a vicious lion.
Nor would my Rosemary have noticed my tears while Joe Trio
played an orchestration by José Bragato (a Piazzolla cellist) of Piazzolla’s
Few can ever answer my question, “Has any other composer
ever written music about one city (Buenos Aires)?" And I seldom tell anyone that I
fell in love with an Argentine girl at a live performance of Piazzolla playing
La Milonga del Angel at the Teatro Florida in Buenos Aires in 1967.
The Trio played Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, an Argentine
Milonga Nocturna by J Plaza, some Gershwin (The Man I Love), a couple of tunes
by Brian Wilson, and a Cameron Wilson original Jive in Blue Minor which was one of his first commissions for the California St.Michael Trio.
But besides that Piazolla what got me in the gut was the
Andante con motto
movement from Schubert’s Trio op 100.
This was elegant music
with pathos in which the Trio amply proved that they don’t always have to be
funny to be really good.
One surprise of the evening was that the Trio with just the banging of a gong (only once) was a quartet wit Vern Griffiths
on the gong.
During the interval I had a chat with the CBC-retired sound
man Don Harder (wearing pants and not a kilt). This man is famous among his
peers but unheralded by the rest as so much talent is hidden in our low key CBC.
I have been told that Cecilia Bartoli tried to lure him to return to Europe to
be her recording engineer. He turned her down. One of his peers, Sharman King
told me that there are plenty of bad recordings made at the CBC through the
years that contrast with the excellence of Harder’s.
I have two of his recordings. One is a raw solo playing of
Bach’s Chaconne, Partita in D minor for
solo violin (BWV 1004) played by Monica Huggett. Any closer with the sound and
Monica would be stepping on my toes. I had the good fortune of being assigned to photograph Huggett at her Portland home. I gave her a copy of Harder's recording which she had never heard. She was pleased!
The other is a recording of Gidon Kramer playing Piazzolla’s
“Tango Operita” María de Buenos Aires complete with the narration by the
Uruguayan librettist and poet, Horacio Ferrer. The group (a small orchestra)
played at the Chan. I have Kramer’s official version recorded elsewhere and it
is a poor copy of my Harder original. What is Harder’s explanation? “Alex I
recorded it on the fly but it was in the Chan.” It would seem that the Chan
made the difference. Sharman King and many others would disagree.
And so it was a fine evening of good music in a friendly
place surrounded by a few friends.
What could I possibly want?
For Don Harder to record some version of this concert.
Rosa 'Westerland' Persistently Orange
Tuesday, July 16, 2019
|Rosa 'Westerland' 16 July 2019|
Back so many years ago I wrote about Rosa
was one of the first roses I had scanned with my Epson a year or two before. I
had sent some of my rose scans to Canadian Gardener.
The art director wrote
back suggesting I send the scans to a calendar. But a few months later she
contacted me and my scan became a cover. As far as I know this may have been a
Canadian first in magazines. The cover was not an illustration or a photograph.
It was something that I came to call a scanograph. Which would make me a
Roses & Apricot Jam
April 30 2006
naming of a rose can be the key to its success. I don't particularly
like the ones that are named after contemporary and famous women. I
would rather have the ones that are the namesakes of now obscure women.
Who would Mme Pierre Oger
be? I don't know, and I have a fondness
for this sport of the more famous Bourbon rose, Reine Victoria. The
only famous woman rose I own is Rosa
'Jaqueline du Pré'
. It is as popular in my garden as 'Dainty Bess'
Some rose names don't inspire. In the beginning I never cared much for a modern shrub rose, Rosa '
which is a German rose hybridized by Kordes. I couldn't have it in my
garden as it is orange in colour and my wife Rosemary does not like
orange in the garden. But consider that this rose is extremely fragrant
and its scent resembles (for me) that of apricot jam. So I bought it and
planted it on our lane garden (not technically the garden). Rosemary
has been won over and she, too, would not part with our Rosa
A Rose & Alexandra Helen Elizabeth Olga Christabel
Monday, July 15, 2019
|Rosa 'Princess Alexandra of Kent' 15 July 2019|
Princess Alexandra, The Honourable Lady Ogilvy, KG, GCVO,
CD (Alexandra Helen Elizabeth Olga Christabel; born 25 December 1936) is a
member of the British royal family.
Alexandra was born during the reign of King George VI to
his brother and sister-in-law, Prince George, Duke of Kent, and Princess Marina
of Greece and Denmark. She is a first cousin of the current British monarch,
Queen Elizabeth II, and since her mother was a first cousin of the queen's
husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, she is also his first cousin once
Alexandra is the widow of businessman Sir Angus Ogilvy,
to whom she was married from 1963 until his death in 2004. As of 2019, she is
53rd in the line of succession to the British throne; at the time of her birth
in 1936, she was sixth.
|Princess Alexandra of Kent|
My Rosemary keeps buying roses and she tells me, “We are
going to put it in a pot.” We have lots of pots. We are running out of space.
This is one of her latest purchases. It is an English Rose, Rosa 'Princess
Alexandra of Kent’. She is obviously (almost) my namesake as Alejandro in my
middle name. I am Jorge Alejandro as in 1942 in Argentina we were not allowed to be
registered with foreign names if they could be translated. Seans got away with
it until some smart official figured out that Sean was John and thus Juan.
For me roses named after people conjure all kinds of
visions. In this one I am pleasantly surprised that one of Princess Alexandra’s
names is the Christabel!