Single Malt Scotch & Rosarian Delights
Saturday, June 20, 2020
|R.'Rosa Mundi' - Brenda Viney's garden, 19 June 2020|
Our yearly sojourns to the open gardens of the Vancouver Rose Society represent not only
the enjoyment of seeing roses in varied gardens but also in interacting with their
owners. In this year of a pandemic, the visits are controlled but the
friendliness not only remains but becomes more so in importance.
my Rosemary and I visited the Coquitlam garden of former President of the
Vancouver Rose Society, Brenda Viney. Her garden is full of splendidly grown
roses but it is not a monoculture. She has hostas (yes!) and all kinds of
perennials that kept the interest of my Rosemary.
roses been badly grown in a monoculture garden, (that would never happen) we
would still have gone to Coquitlam. Brenda Viney exudes enthusiasm with a ready
and almost constant smile.
It is a
delight to have seen a huge Rosa ‘Ispahan’,
and Rosa ‘Janet A. Wood’ named after
our very own Janet Wood who was our former President and now smells roses all
season, devoid of blackspot, in that place where she is now.
My Rosemary was thirsty and asked for a glass of water. As a
joke, this non-drinker asked for a single malt whiskey. It was presented in a
cup with one ice cube. I was told that the Scotch was a $100 Scotch purchased
on sale and that the proper way of drinking it was neat or with one ice cube. Viney
was right and I enjoyed my Scotch while admiring her Rosa ‘Golden Wings’.
I cannot think of a better reason for leaving the staid
civilization of Vancouver to visit that exciting suburb of Coquitlam.
Roses, Clematis & Hosta Scanned II
Friday, June 19, 2020
Hosta,Clematis & Hosta Scanned I
|Rosa 'Benjamin Britten' & Hosta 'Tokudama Flavocircinalis' 21 June 2020|
Of my acitivity by my scanner in these past days my
grandmother would have said to me (borrowing an aphorism from the Argentine
work of the 19th century, Martín Fierro, “El diablo más sabe por
viejo que por diablo,” as an introduction to this other one, “Cuando el diablo
no tiene nada que hacer con el rabo espanta moscas.”
This translates to:
“The devil knows more not because he is the devil but
because he is an old man.”
"When the devil has nothing to do he swats flies with his
|Hosta 'Potomac Pride' & Clematis 'Taiga' 21 June 2020|
Because I have been scanning plants since 2001 I have
developed newer techniques to adapt to the pseudo artistic stuff I am now
Roses, Clematis & Hosta Scanned
Thursday, June 18, 2020
Hostas, Clematis & Hosta Scanned II
|Hosta 'Duchess of Portland '& Hosta 'Northwest Textures' `17 June 2020|
Gardening has been a part of my life even when I was not
aware of it.
In my boyhood in Buenos Aires I played in our Coghlan ,
garden in Buenos Aires. I climbed the khaki tree and the several plumb trees. I
avoided the slippery and very large fig tree. My mother had warned me to never
bite on anything related to our many oleanders. We often had our family
photographs taken by the large glicina
(Argentine Spanish for wisteria).
During the many locusts plagues my mother and our
housekeeper would bang pots in the futile attempt to get the insects off our
Once in Mexico, when I was 15, I played with explosives mixing
potassium chlorate (much better than potassium nitrate) with aluminum powder. I
was able to buy the potassium, no questions asked at a wholesale pharmacy,
called Farmacia el Elefante, on Calle Madero.
I would pack the mixture in tin cans and bury them with an
electric wire, one end on a battery, the other with the filament of metal pot
scrubbers. In one occasion I buried it under one of my mother’s rose bushes (it
had never bloomed). The bush went flying in the air. I received a whipping with
a Filipino slipper called a chinela
The bush, subsequently re-buried, gloriously bloomed!
|Rosa 'Baron Girod d' Lain' & Hosta 'Janet' 19 June 2020|
In Mexico City, after I married my Rosemary in 1968, we purchased
a little house with the help of my mother. We had a garden of which I have
little memory of. I was not interested in gardens or gardening.
But my Rosemary and I frequented the rock garden of the
University of Mexico which had all kind of exotic cactus.
|Hosta 'Iniswood' & Clematis 'Taiga' 16 June 2020|
Once in Vancouver in 1975, my Rosemary gardened in our tiny
strata title Burnaby Home. One day she told me that she was tired of her little
garden and wanted a real one. So in 1986 we moved to large Kerrisdale, corner
It had lots of shade and I discovered that something called
a hosta was shade tolerant. Hostas became my entry into serious gardening. I
frequented American Hosta Society conventions and smuggled many rare plants in
my suitcases. Hostas wrapped in wet newspaper survived splendidly.
|Rosa 'Chapeau de Napoleon' & Hosta 'Captain Kirk' 19 June 2020|
Sometime around 1987 my Rosemary took me to a Vancouver Rose
Society meeting and suddenly my interest in gardening exploded. I have not
looked back since.
Now in our small Kits garden, my Rosemary vents her frustration
in no longer being in Kerrisdale by helping our eldest daughter Ale who has
almost an acre in Lillooet. Many of our Gallicas and large hostas found a home
|Hosta 'Liberty' & Clematis florida 'Alba Plena' 16 May 2020|
I cannot understand how Rosemary and Ale discuss portulacas
on the phone. Portulacas?
The plants I am interested in have a face. I met and knew or
know the hosta hybridizers. I know the members of the Vancouver Rose Society
who grow this rose or that rose. Rosa
‘Jacqueline du Pré’ has the musician’s
face and music in my head. Rosa
‘Fair Bianca’ and many others have the face of
Janet Wood ( a former president of the Vancouver Rose Society who is deceased)
who recommended them to us.
|Rosa 'Buttercup' & Centaurea cyanus 4 July 2019|
Nothing is conjured in my brain or memory when I hear
In 2001 I started scanning the roses of our garden and many
other plants. I scanned them for accuracy of colour and dated them for added
precision. The scans are beautiful but until recently the only importance for
me was that they were a record of the plants that survived our gardening (and
those that didn’t). Having a scan of my long dead Rosa
ameliorated the loss for me.
|Rosa 'Buttercup' and Clematis 'Bijou' 09 June 2020|
Esperanza & Dixieland Jazz
Wednesday, June 17, 2020
Much has been written of late on how Edward Hopper’s art
sort of defines our present state of affairs in the world. I will beat on my
own drum to point out that back in 2008 I wrote this blog
. I illustrated it
with the photograph of the woman at the Vancouver General Hospital of which I
have no memory on the circumstances on how I can to take the photograph.
But that photograph will serve me again. It has all to do
with time in my hands particulary in bed with bouts of insomnia which lead me
Since I am bilingual I go back and forth in my thoughts.
I like to compare and constrast my English with my Spanish.
hisp. law šá lláh 'si Dios quiere'.
interj. Denota vivo deseo de que suceda algo.
entrada que contiene la forma «ojalá»:
That second entry, ojalar, strangely for those who do not speak Spanish means to make button holes!
One of the most beautiful interjections (as my Real
Academia Española points out) is ojalá
which comes from the Arabic (Moorish) influence in Spain and it means if
To me the translation into English “I hope” is puny in comparison.
The reason has to do with the roots of language
disappearing. That “I hope” translates to “Espero que…” Hope in Spanish comes
from the Latin to wait. Esperar is to wait. Espero (I wait). That root forms
one of the loveliest female names, "Esperanza” which means hope.
On the darker side is “desesperar” which would translate
in my books to “unwait” and in Spanish it means to despair. But that root from Latin
“spair” is lost to most who speak English.
That all boils down to my grandmother’s wonderful “El que
espera desespera” which works on the the relationship of waiting and despairing.
Ojalá is a statement of uncertainty and so in Spanish it is followed by the use of the Subjunctive Mood, "Ojalá llueva," translates to,"I hope it might rain." In English, the subjunctive is all but gone and one of its few uses,"I wish I were in Dixie," usually modified to ignore the subjunctive to, "I wish I was in Dixie", will disappear in this present movement of erasing history. I wait in the hope (Ojalá) that the term Dixieland Jazz will survive.
I wonder what tonight’s thoughts will produce?