|Rosa 'William Shakespeare 2000' & Helichrysum petiolare 'Lemon Licorice' 15 August 2021|
There is a file in an external drive of my computer that is called Plant Scans Since 22 May 2021. Since then I may have amassed at least 150 scans of the plants of my garden. What is the reason for this obsession?
I have pointed out before that men of my preferred sex might want to play golf during the summer. I do not play golf nor do I think this would be a relaxing or soothing pastime in this terrible year.
Scanning my plants is a soothing procedure, as I see very well and I can remove dust spots, etc from my scan with my 17-year-old Photoshop with no trouble.
At first, in 2001 when I accidentally fell into this idea of scanning plants, my intention was one of botanical accuracy. I scanned single plants and flowers and never in conjunction with others. Because there are many plants that I scan, year after year, and I always identify the date, a sort of progress can be observed on how some plants mature. The scans of plants that have died, at least their records, do satisfy me a tad.
What has been different since 22 May, 2021 is that in my constant reminder of having lost my Rosemary on December 9 of last year I see her plants in a most different light.
Consider what happens when I may open our closet and spot one of her dresses. The dress will remind me of her and where we bought it or some special occasion when she wore it.
But a plant in the garden involves knowing that her hands placed that plant there. There is something more intimate (paradoxical as she wore that dress but not the plant) about Rosemary’s hands having been involved.
And looking at those plants and knowing (not always) why she picked them and chose to plant them where she did is a new memory for me. The plant in this blog today, Helichrysum petiolare ‘Lemon Licorice’ is usually called a “filler plant”. Rosemary would have never used that botanical epithet. She called all these little (many are grey) plants, companions and she put them in pots with other plants like our roses.
So all those scans since May are now usually pairs or even more plants together and I have to admit that I play around more with the placing of the plants on my scanner. I am (!!) getting artsy far…
But I know that any of these images would have made my Rosemary smile with satisfaction knowing, that finally, this idiot had come around to giving her little plants more consideration.
That has been the case.
The story behind me choosing to scan this particular English Rose is that the original one back in our Kerrisdale home was Rosa 'William Shakespeare'. David Austin, the breeder and creator of English Roses since 1968 and now dead considered this plant to be a poor grower. He was right and a couple of ours just died. He re-introduced it as an improved William Shakespeare 2000. Rosemary love the colour and the scent of this rose as I do so we have always had at least one specimen.
And one more thing - hands. My mother had beautiful hands. Her only son inherited them and until I started gardening I had a gentleman's hands. My Rosemary had beautiful hands.When my youngest daughter was born the first statement my mother made of Hilary was, "She has beautiful hands."
When I would show a photograph (that I was very proud of) to Rosemary that I was about to take to Vancouver Magazine's art director Rick Staehling she said once, "Why is that little finger like that? It looks is tension." I ignored her.. Then when I proudly showed Staehling my 8x10 he said, "There is something funny about that finger." So from that point on I listened to Rosemary.
And thanks to her I believe that my portraits are very good because I always show hands and I display them just the way Rosemary always told me I should.