|Hosta 'Fortunei Albopicta' & Rosemary's white allium - 23 May 2022
Frequently in my thoughts is St. Luke's account of the Last Supper (Luke 22:19) of which the most beautiful version is the one from the King James Bible , “Do this in remembrance of me.”
I have written about that at length and often. That quote by St. Luke (my fave Evangelist) has another one, Luke 4:24. “No one is a prophet in his own land.” This version was what my grandmother used to say to me all the time.
I believe that you can be of any faith or completely agnostic or a non-believer and still understand, “Do this in Remembrance of me.”
For me it all began sometime in the early 90s on a trip to Buenos Aires when my first cousin/godmother Inesita’s second husband (she was a widow and he a widower) Dolfi Kuker told me in his lovely Argentine accent (but I will quote him in English here), “Alex I know you don’t drink wine but this one you will like.” It was a Reserva Especial Etchart Torrontés wine.
When you drink this almost dry white wine, very cold, if feels like you have your mouth full of green grapes. I like this wine, but beyond that, is the fact that I remember Dolfi and St.Luke’s gospel.
After 52 years of sharing my life with Rosemary there is little that I do, see, feel, smell, listen, remember, that does not remind me that I shared them all with her. That absent sharing is what hurts the most at the loss of a lifelong partner.
What would a white allium and Hosta ‘Fortunei Albopicta’ in the scan of this blog remind me of times shared with Rosemary?
There are two white alliums in the laneway garden. I cut this one with a bit of sadness but at the same time knowing that I would be writing this now.
The hosta is a very early one that was popular in the 70s. It is variegated in a startling way but it is veridescent. This means that it becomes solid green by late summer. It has gone through all kinds of name changes. It was Hosta albopicta, Hosta ‘Albo Picta’. And now it seems to have added the Fortunei to the name.
Robert Fortune, an English plantsman (only the English are plantsmen we, the rest can only call ourselves gardeners), they say dressed up as a woman in China. He was taken around in one of those covered chairs. He watched how the Chinese grew Camellia sinensis, watched how the leaves were picked and dried. Then he smuggled some plants to India and that is how tea got to India. There are many plants with that Fortune epithet.
In 1986 when Rosemary dragged me to our new house in Kerrisdale with the large corner garden, I knew little of gardening. Our property had many trees and lots of shade. In books I read that something called a hosta grew well in the shade. In 1987 and on many houses in our neighbourhood were being torn down. Rosemary would check when the hydro sign went up and she would make me get our wheelbarrow and a couple of spades.
In one of those gardens she pointed at large dark green plant and said, “That’s a hosta.” It became my first hosta and soon after I was hooked and when I saw Albo Picta I had to buy it.
Scanning these two plans is an exercise of doing it in her
memory. It feels good and the scan is not bad. And I think that the colours of the two plants are nicely compatible.