Two Poets Laureate & My Prunus laurocerasusWednesday, August 29, 2012
No hay mal que por bien no venga.
The Spanish saying is in complex subjunctive but it sort of means that bad things happen but sometimes they do for a good reason.
|Prunus laurocerasus, August 28, 2012|
Mamiya RB-Pro SD 50mm lens
Fuji 3000 ISO Instant b+w film
That was the case this year when last week I began to tackle a yearly chore which is to prune my laurel (Prunus laurocerasus) hedge which fronts our house and wraps around to the boulevard that is 43 Ave for almost a quarter of a block.
As a young man in 1986, a purist idiot, I might add, I used rose secateurs to do the job. It took me at least one week in the rain. I remember I wore my Akubra hat the one I used (after I purchased it for $89 at the Australian Pavilion in Expo 86) to photograph Premier Dave Barrett.
As years went by I switched to a sturdy pair of hand hedge clippers. The hedge always looked pretty good but in recent years that exertion rendered my elbows and wrists unusable for days after. Last year I knew would by my last for just the hedge clippers. A couple of years before I had purchased a pair of 22 inch Black and Decker clippers. I used them to do the top part as in some cases the hedge is too wide for me to reach with the hand tool. I would lean with a ladder and I fell a few times, very painfully, and stabbed my chest with the protruding limbs.
I abandoned my sense of being the garden purist and started right away last week with the Black and Decker. After a half hour it ceased to work. I felt very guilty about buying a new one at Rona, a 24 inch version of my old tool.
The job took two days and the pain in my elbows is manageable. My standards have diminished somewhat but the hedge looks pretty good thanks to the new tool with ist very sharp blades and an electric motor with enough torque to cut through the thicker branches.
Our green garbage bin filled up quickly. I strapped on my large garden refuse container on to my photo equipment cart and wheeled around the neighbourhood looking for empty bins (on the sly). I managed to get rid of all of the stuff.
I called up my friend and gardener Alleyne Cook and told him of my efficient achievement. I felt very proud. But my pride would be shattered shortly. “Alex, you finished your pruning today August 28, right? Is the moon waning or waxing?” According to Cook who started his garden career at the Constance Spry School for Girls England and in 1952 cut the flowers in Spry’s garden for the displays in Elizabeth II’s Coronation, garden lore, no matter how illogical might it sound, is usually correct. It seems that if you prune a laurel hedge with the moon waning, the hedge will not have to be pruned until next year. But if the moon is waxing, (it is!) I will have to do the job a couple more times.
For years I did not believe the garden lore that says that you cannot plant a rose where another rose has grown. You are supposed to dig the dirt out and replace it with new soil. I did not believe this stupid advice and ignored it to my peril. I now know why some of my roses have languished for years. How does the moon affect my hedge? I will soon find out and no doubt Mr. Cook will be in the right again.
|Mamiya RB Pro SD 50 mm lens|
scanned and reversed Fuji b+w 3000 ISO Instant film negative peel
A couple of years ago I visited Canadian Poet Laureate George Bowering. He brought a small dark green bottle and poured us both a drink. It was sweet and powerful. "We were given this bottle of laurel liqueur made by the owners of a Sardinian restaurant in Buenos Aires. Laurel liqueur, laureate, do you get it Alex?"
Last year I photographed Vancouver Poet Laureate Brad Cran with a leaf from my laurel hedge. While the Greeks originally used olive branches as their sports festivities moved they use whatever other plants they could find such as laurel and ivy.
A Holy Grail prune job
That damn hedge again
The education of a gardener circa 1992 The Dark Knight and a friendship fades away
1986 was a good year for snaps and growing heges
Me and my Dave Barrett Akubra hat
Vancouver Poet Laureate Brad Cran and my laurel hedge
My eternal Prunus laurocerasus