Thursday, July 04, 2019
|Rosa 'Buttercup' 4 July 2019|
My Rosemary has a peculiar (wonderful I would add) talent
for seeing and picking beauty in plants that some of us (me, specifically)
might not notice.
A few days while visiting Jason (he goes by a single name in
his website) at the Fraser Valley Rose Farm (beyond Mission) Rosemary spotted a
yellow rose. Here it is. It is English Rose Rosa ‘Buttercup’. Consider the
uncoolness (in my books) of naming a lovely rose after an insidious known weed.
There must be some sort of reverse-snobbish attitude that still makes my
Rosemary a loveable snob.
We were at the Rose Farm to see what good roses, grown in
our very own BC, that could shortly end up at the UBC Shop in the Garden where
Rosemary is a volunteer.
My guess is that come fall some of Jason’s lovingly propagated
roses will be for sale at the Shop in the Garden. I expect that Buttercup will
be there, too.
|With Centaurea cyanus 4 July 2019|
The blue flower in the second shot has the botanical name Centaurea cyanus and is commonly called cornflower
or bachelor’s button. My connoisseur wife knows that this, the annual version
of the perennial is far more beautiful. On a recent trip to visit family in
Prince Edward Island she bought the seeds. They grow tall in the pots with our
Wednesday, July 03, 2019
|Hosta 'Sum and Substance' 02 July 2019|
I wonder sometimes what the Pre-Socratic philosophers did
with their time. They did not have the “distractions” of books, films,
internet, newspapers or TV. My conclusion is that they spent a lot of time in
In this 21st century on July 2, 2019 I have no
job in sight, no financial worries and most of my preoccupation is spent trying
to solve with my Rosemary whatever problems our immediate problem might have.
Our communication is something like this, “Alex have you
seen Niño (our male cat)? Or I might say, “Rosemary Niña (our female) cat seems
to want to be fed.” I often ask Rosemary, “Do we have anything we have to do
tomorrow?” Her usual answer in the negative is always a relief.
We watch little TV and rarely go to the movies. We are not
stuck in any cable serial TV series. We eat twice a day of which one meal is
breakfast in bed over the NY Times and the Vancouver Sun.
While I am certainly not Epicurus or Democritus I do spend a
lot of time thinking. Not all of it is in deep thought.
|Hosta 'Sum and Substance' 18 June 2018|
Consider my going to the back lane to throw some of our
plant stuff into the green bin and observing the almost spent flowers on one of
the scapes (hosta nomenclature for stalk) of my Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’. This
is one of the largest of the yellow/gold hostas. Its leaves have thick
substance and they can take lots of sun. I cut the scape and here you can see
There is an elegance that I might not have noticed had I
been busy reading a novel or watching the news. I noticed the scape’s elegance
because of my idle time.
|Hosta 'Sum and Substance' 18 June 2018|
I have scanned this plant before so you can observe various
interpretations of a plant that I might not really have noticed in its details
had I had many roses to look at.
The roses today are all but gone. Those that
will re-bloom will do so in a few weeks. Meanwhile the erstwhile hidden grace
is something that gives me pleasure and no guilt in having been lost in thought
about writing this now.
Lee Iacocca - October 15, 1924 – July 2, 2019
Tuesday, July 02, 2019
When I photographed Lee Iacocca sometime in the beginning of the 90s
for the Vancouver business magazine Equity I had done my homework. In the early 80s Iacocca had
started the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation to raise funds to
preserve the deteriorated monument and its surroundings.
By 1982, a century's
worth of weather, pollution, and sightseeing had left Lady Liberty's crown,
torch and gown badly in need of a comprehensive refurbishing. So it was a great
honor for me to accept President Reagan's request that I lead a private sector effort
to raise funds for the restoration and preservation of the Statue of Liberty
and Ellis Island.
Thanks to the generous
donations of proud American citizens - from grandparents to school children -
we were able to raise $500 million to restore these two great monuments to
freedom. I still remember the overwhelming feeling of pride that swept over me
when we unveiled the restored Great Lady in 1986. It was July 4th weekend, with
a gala three-day event attended by President Reagan and President Francois
Mitterand of France.
It has always been my goal to research my subjects before I
photograph them. In the 90s before the internet this meant going to the
Vancouver Public Library.
When Mr. Iacocca faced my camera I said to him, “Can you
give me, sir, a Stature of Liberty pose?”
His smile and loud laugh was all I
I have a second reason to remember that day. There was
another photographer taking photographs of Iacocca. It was Rosamund Norbury.
She came up to me and said (nobody has ever said it better or with more
honesty), “Thank you Alex for never taking bad photographs.”