Louise Odier & Her Happy Companion
Saturday, May 14, 2022
|Rosa 'Louise Odier' & Gerbera Garvinea 'Sweet Fiesta' - 13 May 2022|
Louise Odier’, created in France in 1851 by Jacques-Julien
Margottin and known also as ‘Madame Louise Odier’ and as ‘Madame de Stella’,
stands by sure among the most famous Bourbon roses, remontant varieties
casually born in the island of Bourbon, nowadays known as Réunion, from the
crossing of a Rosa chinensis, we talk of the ‘Old Blush’ variety, with an
autumnal Damascena, seemingly the Rosa x damascena ‘Quatre Saisons’.
Vigourous and compact shrub, with clear leaves that at once
evoke the Rosa chinensis, reaches the 3 m of height on a 120 cm base and can be
cultivated also as small climber for hiding unaesthetic stone walls or old
It tolerates the shade, even if it gives its best in full
sun, with over double flowers, cup-shaped, pink with pale lilac shades arranged
in clusters, they reach the 7,5 cm of diametre, have an intense scent and are
suitable for enriching the house as romantic cut flowers. Good remontancy and excellent resistance to cold
Parentage : Seedling of ‘Émile Courtier’
Monaco Nature Encyclopedia
Since the first rose of the season in my garden began to
bloom on April 24 it was only today, 13 May 2022, that I finally had a second
rose to bloom. It may have involved a little cheating on my part as this rose Rosa
‘Louise Odier’ which Rosemary and I had in our old garden in Kerrisdale either
died or we left it behind. The one that bloomed today, I bought at the Fraser
Valley Rose Farm and it was in a warmish greenhouse.
I tried to find some information on Google on who Louise
Odier was by putting Louise Odier in history and I was shocked that there was
nothing except a man called Louis Odier and the third hit was my old blog, this
Île de Bourbon & Louise Odier
It was one of my first rose blogs as I started blogging in that year. And I illustrated it by casually cutting a whole raceme of them. What a luxury that was.
|Rosa 'Louise Odier' 14 October 2006|
We will never know who she was, nor who Madame Pierre Oger
was either. And then there is that guy called Charles de Mills, who was he?
Perhaps this is one more reason I love roses. They are a mystery. Roses have
been part of my life even when I was not aware of them. My birthday, August 31
in Argentina always came with the famous Tormenta de Santa Rosa de Lima. This Peruvian saint was celebrated on the 30th and, it
invariably on that day, or on the next (my birthday) came with a tremendous
storm which made my mother postpone my garden birthday party.
The Name of a Rose
And in English the name Rosemary is not as obvious as it is
in Spanish Rosamaría. And of course it was Rosemary who urged, and dragged me
to my first Vancouver Rose Society meeting at the Floral Hall sometime in the
As for the scan of Rosa ‘Lousie Odier’ (and yes, I agree with Peter Beales that she has an
unusually sweet scent) she has company. The gerbera daisy was right next to the
flowering Louise Odier and the colours of both were so close I had to get them
Since we moved to our very small garden in Kitsilano, Rosemary
and I have been in the search (it is fun) of companions for our potted roses.
With a Little Help from my Friends
Friday, May 13, 2022
My life has been full with people who have influenced and pushed
me in directions I was not aware of. In some cases I was not pushed. I was
I believe that one of them did both (push and drag). This
was my wife Rosemary who had a vision for the future while I lived at best for tomorrow,
|My Rosemary an inspiration even now|
But there are two men, and one more,who made me the photographer that I am
today. They refused to accept the ordinary. These were former Vancouver
Magazine Editor, Malcolm Parry and Vancouver Magazine art directors Chris Dahl and Rick Staehling.
With a little help from my friends
|Chris Dahl & Malcolm Parry|
(note the lovely cover with copy surrounding my photograph designed by that elegant Vancouver Magazine art director Rick Staehling. I remember in the late 70s going into his office and showing him my new medium format Mamiya RB-67. A week later he called me and asked me to use it in an assignment. I did not know then (and perhaps Staehling already did) that the revolving back that took rectangular photographs fit full page vertical bleeds and two-page spreads on horizontal. I ended up getting more work than photographer using the more expensive square-format Hasselblads of the day.
I will never forget going into Mac’s office on returning from a photo
assignment involving a real estate honcho. He looked at my pictures, picked up
a wide-angle lens I had lent him and he threw it at me saying, “You are making
the motions. Go back and do it right.”
Chris Dahl was and is a man of many talents and he will even
admit to having been a drummer. But he is a fine photographer, painter, ceramic
artist and musician with a penchant for owning Roll Royces.
|with Chris Dahl|
He was the man who pushed me to do anything in a new way and
certainly not to make the motions. One day I showed him some Kodak B+W Infrared
portraits. He told me to shoot the most expensive houses in Shaughnessy with
that weird film. He made me do back projection and front projection. In one
memorable shoot where he and Mac conspired to make my well-known subjects pose
without any clothes, Chrisl told me, “Make them heroic.”
If anything I have never rested in any of my laurels thanks
to these two while remembering the now gone Staehling.
Anybody, at my approaching age of 80, would not be a photographer getting an extremely well-paying job to photograph a law firm as I did this last Monday. I may feel that I am obsolete, redundant, retired and inconsequential but I am not. My scanner keeps me scanning the plants in my garden and now I am busy with my scanner negative sandwiches.
If Mac and Chris were running a magazine (an unlikely possibility in this day and age) I am sure that they would instantly look
at my negative sandwiches and cook up some way of using the method for an assignment.
And their photographic expertise sometimes entered
my darkroom. In the late 80s it was Chris who taught me to use yellow and magenta
filters with my enlarger head so that my b+w prints had contrast and nice highlights
without losing shadow detail. This was important in the pre Photoshop/scanner age.
They were mentors that made me the photographer that I am
Was I a lucky man? Yes!
Hello & Goodby French Style
Thursday, May 12, 2022
|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.
Farewell French Style - not
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).
No prophet is accepted in his own country
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.
A chestful of Clematis montana
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
This lovely word in Spanish is short for “I leave you in the presence and care of
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.
Empache de Entusiasmo
Tuesday, May 10, 2022
|Nora Patrich - Argentne artist|
In my enthusiasm of working on my scanner negative sandwiches
I feel a sense of isolation that I can really not show any of them as most of
the people I now know do not seem to be interested. A couple have told me, “You
can do it with Photoshop.” But do they?
I like the fact that by sandwiching negatives in my scanner
I am really in a darkroom, albeit a dry one. Perhaps like W. Eugene Smith I should bring a bottle of Scotch into my
What is particularly beautiful of the process is the
uncertainty of, “Will these two negatives work? Or will they not?
By the late 90s we had an active photographic gallery scene
in Vancouver with the Exposure Gallery. Now, I believe, I will have to be dead
before any gallery in Vancouver will show interest in what I do.
But knowing that does not take away from the fun I am having
these days. They are much like those were I would go down to my Kerrisdale darkroom