|Top left H. 'First Frost', H. 'Dorset Blue', H. 'Ben Vernooij' & on top right ' H. 'El Niño', below left H.'Halcyon' - seen underneath on top left H. 'Paul's Glory' - scanned 19 May 2023
Little by little my Rosemary steered me in directions I never thought I would consider. In 1987 she took me to a meeting of the Vancouver Rose Society. It was boring, my seat was uncomfortable and I was forced to look at 100 slides projected that were all bad.
Rosemary prevailed and I fell in love with roses. Now with her gone when I look at my rose garden today May 20 , 2023 I see so many lovely blooms in the solitude of a life that I can no longer share with her.
In the garden her two favourite colours were blue and white. It was my removal of rose (a lurid Rosa ‘All that Jazz’ from a house that was going to be torn down and buying an orange Rosa ‘Westerland’ where I taught her that those bright colours could go well with her blues and whites.
|Rosemary July 2020 - Anemone blanda
Of late I have been thinking of blue. I have been thinking of blue hostas. A few months before Rosemary died I had a right eye cataract removed. Until then I thought that our bedroom doors were cream. They were white as my cataract was like a yellow filter. Leaving my oficina one day I saw a blue hosta that was unearthly blue. I then understood, that minus the yellow of my cataract,, white was white and blue was blue.
A few days ago I was startled by an extremely blue Hosta ‘El Niño’.
I know that blue hostas reflect UV light particularly when they are in the shade. My friend Ralph Rinke sent me a link to something called uvindexapp He told me that on the day that El Niño had been very blue the UV index in Vancouver had been very high.
In the beginning of the 90s, when I was buying blue hostas, I noticed that they were never as blue as in their catalogue pictures. The reason was one I instantly figured out. I am a photographer. Colour film, video, and digital cameras are more sensitive to the UV spectrum that we humans do not see.
When Nixon debated Kennedy on October 13, 1960 I watched it in our poolroom at St. Edward’s High School in Austin, Texas. Nixon lost because he looked terrible. He did not use Max Factor makeup that blocked UV (particularly the UV lighting of TV cameras). The UV penetrated his skin and showed all his blemishes.
I am still shaken after having read Joan Didion’s A Year of Magical Thinking which she started two days after her husband died. I am now reading, its sort of sequel, Blue Nights which was written after her daughter Quintano Roo died.
On the first two pages I found this which fits in with the blue theme of this blog:
In certain latitude there comes a span of time approaching and following the summer solstice, some weeks in all, when the twilights turn long and blue. This period of the blue nights does not occur n subtropical California, where I lived for much of the time I will be talking about her and where the end of daylight is fast and lost in the blaze of the dropping sun, but it does occur in New York, where I now live. You notice it first as April ends and May begins, a change in the season, not exactly a warming – in fact not at all a warming – yet suddenly summer seems near, a possibility, even a promise. You pass a window, you walk to Central Park, you find yourself swimming in the color blue: the actual light is blue, and over the course of an hour or so this blue deepens, becomes more intense even as it darkens and fades, approximately finally the blue of the glass on a clear day at Chartres, or that of the Cerenkov radiation thrown off by the fuel rods in the pools of the nuclear reactors. The French call this time of day ‘ l’heure bleue.” To the English it was the “the gloaming.” The very word “ gloaming” reverbates, echoes – the gloaming, the glitter, the glisten, the glamour – carrying in its consonants the images of houses shuttering, gardens darkening, grass-lined rivers slipping through the shadows. During the blue nights you think the end of the day will never come. As the blue nights draw to a close (and they will, and they do) you experience and actual chill, an apprehension of illness, at the moment you first notice: the blue light is going, the days are already shortening, the summer is gone. This book is called “Blue Nights” because at the time I began it I found my mind turning increasingly to illness, to the end of promise, the dwindling of the days, the inevitability of the fading, the dying of the brightness. Blue nights are the opposite of the dying of the brightness, but they are also its warning.
Joan Didion - Blue Nights - 2011
too, blue is a sad colour. When my Argentine girlfriend Susy called me one
1967 evening in Buenos Aires to tell me I was a man with no future and that I was
not to call her back, I went into a deep depression. I thought that I had to hit
rock bottom to improve. I played on and on the Miles Davis album Kind of Blue. I do not remember if it worked.