Lillooet - The Blood Mixes Inside my Heart
Saturday, July 25, 2020
|Yours truly, Kio, Makiyah, Alexandra & Hilary - Lillooet - 25 July 2020|
In this the age of instant communication, my daughter who
lives in the interior British Columbia town of Lillooet, has only one way to
leave town (for example to visit us in Vancouver) and this is with her SUV.
In his wisdom, former BC Premier, Gordon Campbell sold BC Rail
to CNN. They almost instantly dissolved train service to the interior. Lillooet
has a lovely train station. The train never stops there and Greyhound and other bus companies ended their service, too.
For bad medical problems citizens of Lillooet have the
choice of driving (or being driven) to the bigger Kamloops or to Vancouver.
And there is something else. My daughter Ale is renovating
her house that sits almost on a one acre piece of land. She was going to re-floor
it when she realized that any company that had the adequate material would not
ship to Lillooet. Ale bought her flooring ( a metric ton of it) at Windsor
Plywood in Chilliwack.
Enter here into this story, her 78-year-old father, who
volunteered to drive a large truck with the flooring. Fortunately going, I had
the pleasure of my younger daughter Hilary who wanted to spend a week with her
sister. With both of us wearing our facemasks we drove by Canada Highway 1 to
Chilliwack, then past Hope and then took the turn off to Lytton. From Lytton
there is curvy road to Lillooet. I managed, as I did, driving back the same way
on my own.
Lytton (vies with Lillooet as the hottest place in Canada in the summer) has a special significance for me:
In Lillooet we found Ale in the midst of removing the old
carpeting with her deft assistants Kio and Makiyah. They unloaded the flooring
and some plants my Rosemary had sent along. By the time we had taken a portrait
of all of us with the Dodge Ram, my Rosemary had already nagged that we take
I sat with my two daughters for an hour and a half. I marvelled
at that bond that sisters have that I will never understand and enjoy. But
knowing that it exists and being aware of my enjoyment is what counts.
I drove home enjoying the hot (30 Celsius) air and I had
plenty of time to count my chickens and to realize how lucky I am.
From A to Zee - From A to Zed
Thursday, July 23, 2020
|Hosta 'Abba Dabba Doo' & Rosa 'Zephirine Druhin' 23 July 2020|
Perhaps the one action that makes us human and may differentiate
us from the “lower” orders is that we have an urge to name things, animals and
fellow humans. It is as close as we can to play God.
This is particular the case in the world of living things as
put in modern order by Linnaeus.
In botany plants have been classified and then named by all
kinds of rules that are in effect. But these rules do not prevent humans from
feeling romantic, philosophic, humorous or whimsical in naming plants,
particularly when they are hybridizers or plant hunters.
Until recently the names of plants usually were the names of
people who may have first found these plants in the wild. An example would be Hosta fortunei named after plant finder
Robert Fortune (he who smuggled Chinese tea plants, Camellia sinensis out of China into India and the rest is history).
When these plants were grown in nurseries, some of them were named after wives,
offspring, musicians or actors (and actresses) of fame. Sometimes like in Rosa ‘Julia Child’ fame was accrued to a
In the hosta world many of the named cultivars are romantic
or poetic. Consider Hosta
Moon’. But I the late 90s one man, Tony Avent
successfully broke that mould. He
began by demystifying plant hybridization by saying that he could do this while
sitting on his truck eating a MacDonald’s hamburger.
He then introduced hostas with names like ‘Elvis
Lives’, ‘Bubba’(having a short and red neck) and then proceeded to make sure
his hosta would be the first in any hosta catalogue by calling one ‘Abba Dabba
He may not have been as original as he thought he was. In my
garden I have Rosa ‘Zephirine Drouhin’.
It is a lovely rose with no thorns and, yes, the first one in most rose catalogues
particularly if they list Old Roses or Bourbon Roses.
'Zephirine Drouhin' or
'Zéphirine Drouhin' is a Bourbon rose, noted for being thornless, created in
1868 by the French rose grower Bizot, supposed to have been named after the
wife of a rose enthusiast from Semur-en-Auxois (Côte-d'Or).
|Rosa 'Zephirine Druhin' & Hosta fortunei 'Albopicta' 22 June 2020|
When I say the rose in bloom today I could not resist! The
hosta leaf may not look like Abba Dabba Doo because in our deck garden it gets
Frosting on the Cake Hosta
Monday, July 20, 2020
|Top left - Hosta 'First Frost' & flower - bottom, two leaf versions of my Hosta 'Autum Frost'- July 21 2020|
The end of June marks the time when our once-blooming roses
are long gone and the remontant ones are at rest until a month from now.
So I look at our hostas with renewed interest and find
solace during this pandemic to see which ones I can justify to scan for fun.
While I am no garden expert or botanical guru I can assert
an almost universal idea that hostas are the white-mice of the plant kingdom.
We know that plants that are found in the wild are called
species plants. We know that if we bring in those plants into a nursery or
garden and tinker with them they produce what is commonly called cultivar.
These cultivars sometimes when planted in mass, with some observation a
gardener with an eye for detail might notice one or two with a mutation.
Perhaps it is a rose with more scent than the one next to it. With hostas it is
easier to discern a wider white edge or a bluer version of a blue hosta next to
|Hosta Áutum Frost' 22 May 2020|
The next step is to select these and grow them separately.
They will sometimes then produce offspring (in some cases through tissue
In the case of the Hosta ‘Halcyon’ which I wrote about here
it took a human being (Eric Smith) to mix the pollen of two plants that
normally did not flower at the same time.
In the hosta world, these plants that are mutations of
species and selected or hybridized, are called sports. One of the most famous
sports in recent hosta memory is Hosta ‘June’ which is a sport of Hosta ‘Halcyon’.
There are other ways that hostas in particular can be nudged
(forced?) to sport. Some of these methods (believe it or not) involve spraying
a whole row of identical hostas with herbicide in spring and noting the ones
that survive. There are also rumours in the hosta world of the use of the
microwave to initiate sporting!
|Rosa 'La Belle Sultane'' & Hosta 'Autumn Frost' 16 June 2020|
A lovely sport of Hosta ‘Halcyon’ is Hosta ‘First Frost’. As
in my scan of some of its leaves you might note its wonderful instability and
propensity to go like the Enterprise to uncharted areas.
A sport of the sport, Hosta
‘First Frost’ has a wider margin
than its parent. When I saw a First Frost in one of my local nurseries I chose
one that had a wider white margin. It was yellow when I saw it and not at this
date the yellow has become an almost startling white.
In this day of rapid change it is somewhat comforting to see plants that abide with the times.
|Hosta 'First Frost' July 26 2017|