|Left - Rosa 'Princess Alexandra of Kent' & R. 'The Alexandra Rose' 27 May 2023|
My friend Alex Summers died in 2009. In 1967 he was a member of the US Pestemon Society. He was cranking out the newsletter with a mimeograph machine and suddenly thought, “I hate the smell of this and I don’t even like penstemons.” He quit, and a year later he founded the American Hosta Society.
|Photograph by me|
About 20 years ago the Perennial of the Year was Penstemon ‘Husker Red’. We had it in our garden and it has been long gone as well of my memory of what it looked like. Perhaps it has to do that the plants and trees that Rosemary and I had in our Kerrisdale garden had faces on them or interesting stories.
Just about every hosta in my garden has the face of the hybridizer or the person who introduced it. Roses are the same in evoking faces of friends or stories that surpass anything that I might have known about Husker Red.
Today is Saturday 27 May, 2023 and I am trying to keep my chin up in the shambles of a house that has holes in walls and in ceilings and most of my possessions have been taken for storage. I may be lucky if my house returns to what it was in the beginning of August.
Meanwhile I scan plants, deadhead my roses, walk Niño and try not to think too much of my Rosemary. It saddens me immensely to do so.
I was looking at my roses in the sun that we were not supposed to have and noticed that two English Roses related to the name of my daughter Alexandra were in bloom. One is R. ‘Princess Alexandra of Kent’ and the other is R. ‘The Alexandra Rose’.
Rosemary insisted in buying them because of the name and how it made us think of our Lillooet, BC daughter.
While that penstemon may have gotten the short end of the stick in our garden I find it impossible in not thinking of Rosemary when I see her fave Camellia ‘Donation’ or just about ever rose that she taught me to love.
Yes the plants in my garden have her face and the face of many others dear to me. And all my hostas are all Alex Summers.
Above is a photograph of my mother taken in 1951 in our Buenos Aires garden. My Kitsilano garden is much too small for me to grow a wisteria (glicina in Argentine Spanish) but when I see it growing in Vancouver gardens they are all my mother. Could it be that the face of a plant makes it the person, too?