For the First Time - Again
Saturday, May 07, 2022
Quite a few years ago I was driving my car to a magazine assignment
when I heard on CBC Radio a Beethoven bagatelle. It was so wonderful that I had
to stop and listen to it. As soon as I knew which bagatelle it was I called (an
early cell phone) a musical director to tell him. His answer was, “Ah, to
listen to something for the first time!” I have never forgotten the sense of
longing and loss he inflected on that statement.
Of late I am enthused on what I call my
scanner-negative-sandwiches without mayonnaise. I have written about it in
My Excitement at the smell of metal
Perfection is a polished collection of errors
What particularly affects me now is that I am looking at
negatives I took years ago and scanning them not knowing exactly what that scan
sandwich will look like. Will it work? Or will it not?
It is the unpredictability of the result living in a digital
21st century where everything is expected to “automatically” be
perfect or as a friend of mine likes to say, “It should work.” For me it usually does not.
I will be 80 this year but this new photographic method of
mine reminds me of picking up that lovely box in 1958 at my boarding school PX in
Austin that had my new Pentacon-F single
lens reflex I had ordered for $100 from Olden Cameras in New York. This was my
first really good camera. I kept picking it up and clicking the shutter.
Now I sit in my comfortable oficina with these old negatives
and I seem to be seeing them for the first time.
What you see here are two photographs of my Argentine
subject Linda Lorenzo posing with a fan and an Argentine mate on the sofa of my
Argentine artist friend Nora Patrich.
They dazzle me.
Kind of Blue
|Phlox subulata 'Candy Stripe' & Hosta 'Autumn Frost' - 7 May 2022|
In Vancouver I am a member of the Vancouver Rose Society. When
Rosemary was alive we were both also members of the Alpine Garden Society.
I am particularly proud of having returned to the fold of
the American Hosta Society. I will be presenting a talk on the beauty of the
often overlooked hosta flowers at the National Convention in Minneapolis that
begins June 8th. My daughter Hilary, who is not a gardener, but like
Rosemary enjoys breakfasts in American hotels, is tagging along. She will find
the folks of the society very warm and they will be interested in her expertise
on wellness and diet.
What I particularly like about the American Hosta Society
is that many of its members are not only interested in the beauty of hostas but
they are also interested on the scientific side of botany. One of my special
friends is C.H. (Clarence) Falstad. Below you will see the email I sent him
today. I wonder what he will reply?
I remember discussing at length the topic of ultra violet
light with Wolfram George Schmid. As a photographer I can tell you that film,
video, tv cameras and digital cameras are overly sensitive to the ultra violet
spectrum. This is on the opposite end of what we see as humans, those reds,
oranges and yellows. We get into differences of opinion when we get into the
blue/green side of things. We cannot agree when something is more green than
blue. Turquoise is a problem.
As you know Kennedy won the presidency because Nixon did
not use makeup. I watched the debate while in my Texas boarding school pool
room for juniors and seniors. Kennedy wore pancake makeup invented by Max
Factor. He mixed sunblock (blocks UV) with lanolin, perfume and a pink colour.
When I started buying hostas I remember seeing images of Hosta
'Blue Moon'. It was intensely blue. By then I sort of suspected why.
1. In the shade there is more UV.
2. Photographs were taken with film and perhaps purposely
left to look as blue as they were not.
Schmid and could
not decide if blue hostas had that colour in order to repel what could be damaging sunlight UV. What do
you know about this?
When I was about to get my right eye cataract removed a
Portland friend told me that cataracts affected how we perceive colour. One
sunny day as I was driving I looked at some clouds. When I closed my right eye
the cloud was whiter. It was then that I noticed that our bedroom doors were
not light ivory but white!
A few days later, while in my garden I noticed how suddenly
Hosta 'Autumn First Frost' was an unearthly blue. Because of my previous
cataract the yellow made that hosta look less blue.
I am enclosing a scan of Hosta 'Autumn Frost' I did today. I
purposely added blue to the scan and modified by doing so the pinkness of the
phlox. And yet that hosta does not look as blue as it does to my eye on my
deck. Any theories?
What do you think?
Rosemary's Weeds - Sinapsis & no Synapsis.
Friday, May 06, 2022
|Taraxicum officianalis 6 May 2022|
grandmother used to repeat to me often about her plan to live long by telling
me, “Mala yerba no muere.” This
translates to, “Bad weeds don’t die.”
There is a
conflict between languages here. A yuyo in Argentina is a noxious weed. A yerba
is not quite a weed as that is what Argentines call Ilex paraguariensis or yerba mate.
My gente fina Rosemary(a lesser way of saying she was a a snob) did not accept weeds in our garden. Especially verboten was
Taraxicum officianalis (the common
dandelion). I had to remove it from our lawn. In the late 80s and early 90s we discriminately
used weed killers that are now not available. Roundup is a known carcinogen. We simply did now how toxic they were.
|April 12 2018|
I bought a
safe weed killer tool that Rosemary would ask me to take to our Alexandra’s garden
in Lillooet. I found pleasure in using it. There are two scans at the bottom.
Now, I kind
of wonder about them (weeds and "evil" plant insects). I don’t kill slugs (they eat my hostas). When I see them
I pick them up and move them away from my hostas.
|Sinapsis arvensis - 6 May 2022|
And today I
looked at the many dandelions on our lane. Rosemary disliked our Kits home
because she said that the lane was not neat, tidy and free of weeds like our
former lane in Kerrisdale.
I wrote about dandelions before here.
discovered (using Rosemary’s penchant for looking at small flowers) how lovely
they are and I decided to scan them.
define weeds in many ways. Prolific plants that take over for me are weeds and
Rosemary planted fennel everywhere. She did the same with a purple Anthriscus.
|Anthriscus sylvestris 'Raven's Wing'|
she readily accepted was Nepeta faassenaii or catmint. She planted it in our lane
garden. When she did her reduced weeding in the lane, she was always accompanied
by Niño and Niña. They liked their catnip.
|Rosa 'Gertrude Jekyll' & Niño and Niña's Nepeta faassenii 23 May 2021|
I was scanning the dandelions I noticed a tall plant growing with one of my
potted roses. I took a picture and sent it to my daughter Alexandra who told me
that it came from seeds in the horse manure she brought for me in early spring.
It is common mustard or Sinapsis arvensis.
While synapse and sinapsis both come from Greek they are not related. It would
seem that the Greeks knew all about Colman’s Mustard before the Brits.
Ramón y Cajal proposed that neurons are not continuous throughout the body, yet
still communicate with each other, an idea known as the neuron doctrine. The
word "synapse" was introduced in 1897 by the English
neurophysiologist Charles Sherrington in Michael Foster's Textbook of
Physiology. Sherrington struggled to find a good term that emphasized a union
between two separate elements, and the actual term "synapse" was
suggested by the English classical scholar Arthur Woollgar Verrall, a friend of
Foster. The word was derived from the Greek synapsis (συνάψις), meaning "conjunction",
which in turn derives from συνάπτεὶν (συν ("together") and ἅπτειν ("to fasten"))
Thursday, May 05, 2022
|Rosemary at the Hotel Claridge - Buenos Aires - 23 March 2017|
|Bougainvillea glabra 5 May 2022|
On 23 March 2017 Rosemary and I were in Buenos Aires. We
stayed in our usual downtown hotel, the Claridge. But his time we were
accompanied by our youngest granddaughter Lauren.
|Lauren at the Hotel Claridge with Sergio Margherich - 23 May 2017|
We especially liked the Claridge because we had made friends
in previous trips with the friendly staff. It was still hot in March so we made
good use of the pool. It was there that Rosemary admired the Bougainvillea.
Rosemary was not the kind of gardener that wanted a
garden that was all stops for a summer. She liked to have plants that bloomed
in other times of the year.
|Bougainvillea glabra 12 November 2021|
When Alexandra visited us for Easter I noted to her that
Rosemary’s Bouganvillea glabra was in bloom in the guest room. I told her I had
to scan it and write a blog. I forgot and today when Hilary came for a visit I
showed her the plant that had two remaining blooms. I cut the branch and that
is one of the scans you see here. Note that the dried flowers that fell off look awfully nice. And yet when I checked my past scans I found out that it had been in bloom on 12 November.
|Bougainvillea glabra 5 May 2022|
Rosemary’s ever blooming bougainvillea makes me smile but I
feel sad that she is not around to see it.
After our dinner today I took Hilary home, and when I
returned, I decided to give the bougainvillea another go. By the time I had it
ready one of the two blooms fell off.
Somehow that single flower is a testament that Rosemary
was always into the details and that one single flower would have been enough for
her. It was and is for me.
|Bougainvillea glabra and Hosta 'Hirao Majesty' 12 November 2021|