Rosa 'Emily Louise' & Friend
Friday, July 23, 2021
|Rosa 'Emily Louise' 23 July 2021|
In this 21st century particularly in this 2021 I am
ambivalent about it. But I do acknowledge that some things, indeed, are better
than in the last century.
With my memory for names fading quickly, Google on my phone
is a godsend. If one is curious, and I am curious, I don’t have to go to our
public library to find esoteric words like comorbidity
which I first saw in Spanish as comorbilidad
on my on line Argentine newspaper La Nación.
In the 20th century printing a b+w negative in my
darkroom was not only a pleasure but a snap. But with colour it was different,
particularly with colour slides. The only method that really worked, which
avoided the making of an internegative (lost sharpness in that process), was Cibachrome.
Because this product added contrast on very shiny paper, shadow detail would
Now my 17-year-old Photoshop’s Shadow/Highlight tool draws
out details from the shadows that were always, I repeat always, there from my
negatives, slides and even when I scan my prints. This Photoshop is also very
good at finding detail in the shadows of my Fuji X-E3 digital camera
In my plant scans I always use that shadow/highlight tool.
In my youth I loved the use of the school microscope. I
even had a personal one given to me at one Christmas.
Today when I scanned this lovely patio rose (awful
definition of this plant) Rosa ‘Emily Louise’ I enlarged it on my monitor to
take out dust spots with Photoshop. In the centre I saw a little black speck. I
was going to take it out when I became curious…
Thursday, July 22, 2021
|Hosta 'Ben Vernooij' 22 July 2021|
are produced by treating the terminal buds of diploid plants with colchicine,
causing the chromosome number of the meristematic cells inside to double.
The above is a definition that I do not understand fully.
In the hosta family of plants where they may be at least 5000 cultivars (plants
discovered, selected or played with in a nursery or garden). What I do know is
that tetraploid hostas have leaves with more substance (hosta speak for
thicker). The hosta in today’s blog is a
tetraploid with a weird name, Hosta ‘Ben
Vernooij’. This hosta is a sport of Hosta
‘First Frost’. A sport is usually found in a group of plants that are the
same, in this case H. ‘First Frost’
and some keen gardener noticed one plant that was slightly different.
I must state here that at my soon 79th
birthday, there are many hostas in my garden that all look the same even though
the plant labels beg to differ with me. My hostas are all nice, to me. and I am
no longer obsessed with the idea that I may have plants that may be different.
But I can categorically ascertain right here that while
in the last few years I have come to discover how beautiful hosta flowers are
(the members of the American Hosta Society are not quite as keen as I am) I am
now obsessed in scanning a few every day. Each scan can while away about an hour's time. Niña comes into my oficina and sits on a bench beside me. She meows. I pick her up. She jumps down and leaves. This she repeats until I finally feel guilty and go inside and see if she has food on her dish.
At first I would scan the flowers in one way. Now I am
enjoying fiddling around and doing several versions.
The scan here, I think, borders on art. While few may not
agree I am contented in knowing that the heretofore ignored hosta flower is as
lovely as a flower can be. Best of all I know of no other plant that has
flowers that are similar even though in the last botanical review the hosta has
become a member of the asparagus family.
My Rosemary - My Hortense
Wednesday, July 21, 2021
|Hydrangea macrophylla 'Ayesha' 22 July 2021|
In my almost 79 year existence I had a few girlfriends and
one wife, my Rosemary. Some of these girlfriends were difficult and some just
In my garden I cultivate roses which are sometimes
difficult and hostas which are plain easy. My Rosemary had a liking for grey
plants which were difficult. You could not overwater them and you had to find
the right place in the sun with them. I am having a hard time especially with
her Senecio ‘Angel Wings’.
It is easy, for me, to equate roses with human beings. They
can be famous real ones who existed in the past and some have poetic and
In this mix of plants is the hydrangea. As long as it gets
shade or dappled shade and is watered every now and then it is a dependable
shrub. Little poetry has been written about the hydrangea and few know that
another name for the hydrangea is hortense which is Latin for garden.
So why is this shrub mostly ignored? On the internet there
is lots of information on how to make macrophylla hydrangeas (mopheads) bluer.
Because the hydrangea comes from warmer climes only the species Arborescens is
hardy in the extreme cold of my eldest daughter’s garden in Lillooet. This is because the shrub dies down in the
fall and next year’s flowers come from new wood.
I wrote here how I had to select only three hydrangeas from
our 30 of our former Kerrisdale garden.
One was an easy one as Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Ayesha’ is
named after H. (for Henry) Rider Haggard’s sequel to She, Ayesha and we all know that ‘She must be obeyed”.
My scan of Ayesha in three different stages of its flowering
(it is unusual to see these three and one more that has more pink all on one
bush at the same time) shows the variety and its singular appeal. Not the
teacup shaped florets on the large flower.
All the above is about the fact that while my roses remind me of Rosemary’s
interest in them, the hydrangea in being dependable, beautiful (not too showy,
but my! Rosemary’s legs!) is a plant that is Rosemary.
Every day as I walk to open my oficina door and I glance at
Ayesha on one side of the door I am so glad that I married my Rosemary and not those
girlfriends that were difficult or just fine.
For anybody who might wonder, in botanical nomenclature, the species part of a plant's name is italicized while its cultivar (a nursery or garden selection) is not. And the cultivar name is inserted between single quotes.
Hydrangea macrophylla 'Ayesha'
One Alexandra & Two More
Tuesday, July 20, 2021
|Rosa 'Princess Alexandra of Kent' & Rosa 'The Alexandra Rose' - 20 July 2021|
My eldest daughter’s name is Alexandra Elizabeth
Waterhouse-Hayward. The only simple part of her name is that she shares the
middle name, Elizabeth with my Rosemary. My youngest granddaughter is Lauren
The rest is a bit more complicated.
When I was born on August 32, 1942 (that’s what the
Sanatorio Anchorena’s records would confirm) somehow either my parents wanted
to hide that I may have been born before their wedding or I may believe my
mother who said my father forgot to register me so my birth certificate
birthday and in all my other documents has my birth at April 18, 1943.
|Alexandra Elizabeth Waterhouse-Hayward|
My father was called George Waterhouse Hayward so when it
came to register me (was that April 18, 1943) he told the registrar that my
name was George Alexander Waterhouse-Hayward.
In a nationalistic Argentina of the time the registrar cited
a problem. My name could not be in a foreign language. So I became Jorge
I am Alejandro because my godfather was Alejandro Ariosa. He
was the second husband of my aunt Ines Barber. Because she was divorced from
Ralph Barber, my aunt who adored my mother could not be my godmother as extremely Catholic prohibitions in Argentina then. My
godmother became her daughter Inesita, who of course was my first cousin (my
fave first cousin).
With my first name and middle name out of the way the man
objected to the Waterhouse-Hayward. My father slipped a coima (Argentine for a
bribe) under the table and told the man that Waterhouse was part of my surname
and that it had a hyphen I the middle.
When my eldest daughter was born on August 17 1968 Rosemary
decided that she should be named Alexandra. Unfortunately while her legal name
is still that nobody calls her Alexandra. From the moment she was a little girl
in the Mexico City suburb of Arboledas where we lived her friends called her
Ale (pronounced Ah- leh). She has been Ale ever since.
As soon as my Rosemary found out that David Austin had come
out with an English Rose called Princess Alexandra of Kent it was purchased.
Ditto she bought the lovely single rose (rosarian term for roses that have only
five petals. Species roses also have five petals except this one) called The
Both were in bloom today so I took advantage.
My special birthday on August 31, 2020
Five Whites & One More
Monday, July 19, 2021
|Top, Rosa 'Susan Williams- Ellis', R. 'Escimo', R. 'Margaret Merril', below R. 'Jacqueline du Pré, & R. 'Sombreul' 20 July 2021 |
White is a colour I have never been able to escape from. It
first hit me in my two years in the Argentine Navy when from Spring into fall I
had to wear summer whites. This meant that when I traveled in public transport
like trains, the colectivos (Buenos Aires buses) and the subte I could never
sit down. The same happened if I happened to want to sit on a park bench.
What made my white uniform a bit easier to wear is that against navy regulations I had the pants crease sewn to a permanent razor sharp
In my later life I avoided white dress shirts and preferred
the Brooks Brothers light blue button down. I remember once in a trip to New
York that I went to Brooks Brothers and purchased a couple of those fabulous
shirts with my American Express Card. The lugubrious and well-dressed attendant
passed the phone to me and said, “The folks at American Express want to have a
chat with you.”
When I married Rosemary in 1968 we did not do so by the
church. We bought her a white Mexican dress with bluebirds for our appointment
with the judge.
That dress has been with us since and even my younger
granddaughter Lauren posed for me wearing that dress.
White then became an important colour in our Kerrisdale
garden on Athlone Street. Rosemary was a colour snob and only allowed blues and
whites in the garden. It was only later that, little by little, she warmed to
other colours, particularly yellow.
Today 20 July, 2021 I spotted these five white roses all in
bloom. There is a sixth one, Fair Bianca, but the last bloom yesterday had no
|Rosa 'Fair Bianca' 25 May 2021|
All these white roses were special to Rosemary and soon became
my favourites, too. But there is one rose in this group that Rosemary never
In October, without telling me she purchased from Palatine
Roses from Niagara-on-the-Lake three roses without telling me. She hinted a
month before she died on December 9 that I had to buy three large Vietnamese terracotta
pots (they are fired at high temperatures so they can be left outside during
the winter) and a couple of bags of dirt. In February my doorbell rang and
outside I found a big box with three roses. One of them was the lovely five
petaled Rosa ‘Escimo’
I feel sad that Rosemary never was able to see Escimo but
at the same time I glory at her choice that even posthumously she is sharing