|Camellia x williamsii 'Donation' 11 May 2022|
Because my mother was a busy teacher in Argentina and in Mexico I was almost constantly in the presence of my Spanish grandmother, María de los Dolores Reyes de Irureta Goyena. She raised me modern style (what did I know?) of never telling me not to do something but that if I did consequences would follow. Many of the sayings she taught me, I was not unaware at the time, were the advice that Sancho Panza would give to his master.
|Clematis montana 11 May 2022|
There was one expression that she used frequently about rude people who would leave a party without saying goodbye. The expression was, “Se despidieron a la francesa,” or “They said goodbye, French style.” The origin of the expression she explained to me was about the long Spanish memory for important historical events. The one in question was the abrupt leaving of Napoleon’s brother Joseph, at the time the king of Spain when Wellington and his army got close. She furthermore told me that Joseph Bonaparte exiled himself in the US in New Jersey.
This blog is about a constant goodbye and hello in my garden during the year where I have to be on the ball to notice abrupt French style leavings. I am more about noticing the opening of a rose or the flowering of a hosta.
With my plant scanning process which I began in 2001 I am much more aware of the beauty of plants and flowers in their preparation for that final goodbye. It can be final if it is an annual or it can be a,”See you later,” with a remontant rose bush. Rhododendrons will come back on the next year as do all my hostas when they all but disappear in November.
This constant back and forth almost reminds me of the cavernous Buenos Aires train station Retiro with trains arriving and leaving.
And so a few days I noticed the last, almost intact flower of Camellia x williamsii ‘Donation’. I decided that I would scan it and somehow acknowledge its despedida (a fine Spanish word for farewell). And right after scanning it I scanned Clematis montana (because it was already in our Kits garden when we arrived five years ago I do not know what cultivar it may be).
This clematis is an extremely aggressive grower and in good time like a wisteria it can bring down a house. This year I will have to severely prune it.
For me this clematis has a particular spot in my memory as child in Buenos Aires where I would complain that Argentines were idiots as they could not make bubble gum like Bazooka or Double Bubble. I had to content myself with chiclets. And chiclets have a faint odour in my mind that combines a touch of mint and the fragrance of sugar. And that is exactly like the fragrance of Clematis montana.
As my plants come and go and one lives with the hope that they will return I am plagued by melancholy of plants that come back and will come back that were planted by Rosemary but she has definitely given me a final adiós.
This lovely word in Spanish is short for “I leave you in the presence and care of God.”
I will not reveal my personal beliefs on that matter but it is enough for me to point out that Rosemary has left me in the good company of her garden and her botanical progeny.