A Stirring in My Loins
Saturday, July 16, 2022
|Rosemary & Alexandra (3) Arboledas, Estado de México
Just as in the past summer, I have to come forward and admit that
this old man, about to be 80, is tired of seeing shorts in women with a display
of the gluteus maximus or skin tight yoga pants showing of camel toes. Please
give me a woman of any age wearing a dress or perhaps a mini skirt.
Of the gluteus maximus I wrote in this blog how I almost
died because of one.
My guess is that at my advanced age I now treasure subtlety
in how women dress.
And I must add that the 21st century is the Age
of Cleavage. Ugh! How would I have known
in years past that someday I would write that?
As for the photograph of Rosemary about to put our
daughter Alexandra (3) in a little pool in our house in Arboledas, Estado de
México, when I noticed it recently, I can attest, in biblical terms, that I could
discern in me a stirring of my loins.
Friday, July 15, 2022
|Rosa 'A Shropshire Lad', Crocosmia 'Lucifer' & Hosta 'Sum and Substance' 5 August 2022
Note that the date of my plant scan 5 August 2022 does not agree with the date of this blog. The reason is that for technical problems and a few more I did not blog in June and July. I am back filling the missing ones.
While in our Kerrisdale garden, which we left five years ago,
I had amassed 600 hostas. Because the garden was big Rosemary and my garden was
not a monoculture garden. Both of us disliked gardens that contained only one
type of plant like some rose gardens.
Because we had distinctly different tastes, but agreed on
many, Rosemary and I lived in a garden that had many surprises like rare ferns and
beautiful trees. There were about 85 roses of which most were old roses.
When we bought the house in 1986 the back garden had a
circular bed with roses. We kept it but Rosemary soon disliked that there was
nothing growing underneath the rose bushes and this in her eyes was unsightly.
She started by growing bronze fennel. From there we used lavender and so on.
Soon this became a mutual garden technique which we called companion planting.
This September I am giving a zoom lecture to the Canadian
Rose Society and I am giving it the theme of “Plants and Their Rose Companions”. This may jar some rose collectors but I will
do my best to expose to them how other plants can live together in a world that
is now one of conflict.
The scan here displays three plants that are very close
together in my lane garden. Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’ is a large yellow hosta
that in a few years will be huge. Next to it is an invasive perennial that used
be called montbretia but now is crocosmia. This one is Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’. The
rose is an English Rose, Rosa ‘A
Shropshire Lad’ Besides having large lovely flowers and it is very remontant
(keeps re-blooming until the fall) it has very beautiful new leaves that are a
My Antique Photoshop & Hosta 'Halcyon'
Thursday, July 14, 2022
|Hosta 'Halcyon' 5 August 2022
obsessive plant scanning season of mine which is perhaps so as living alone
means that I feed myself and my Niño and Niña, walk Niño on nice days, read a
few books and then when I experience that empty feeling I scan my plants
because I enjoy the process and write these blogs for myself.
persistence I go back to a few plants and scan them many times during the
growing season. Some of my roses like A Shropshire Lad, Westerland and Abraham
Darby are frequently on my scanner bed.
is that blue hosta Hosta ‘Halcyon’. I have written a lot about it. Here is one
of my recent blogs on it.
But in this
blog I want to point out the tried and true. My Photoshop was installed by my
friend Paul Leisz many years ago. It is 8.0 which was introduced in 2003. This
means that it is 19 years old. All the features I need for my plant scans,
scanning negatives, slides and prints are there. Not only that but “correcting”
the increased contrast and colour saturation of modern digital cameras like my
Fuji X-E3 is handled nicely by my relic. For this latter modern contrast/saturation
issue the one tool in my Photoshop is the Shadow/Highlight Tool. I open mine to
its more advanced features and go from RGC to Lab. This means that whatever
contrast or levels correction I may make
to whatever I am scanning will not have the colour affected. That’s Lab!
placing here two versions of today’s scan (5 August 2022 which I will place
back in July as I am filling holes from the many weeks did not blog) of Hosta ‘Halcyon’
I can play with shadow detail quite nicely.
Hydrangeas - Dependable Excellence
Wednesday, July 13, 2022
|Top - Hydrangea quercifolia 'Snowflake', middle Hydrangea macrophylla 'Fuji Waterfall' and below Hydrangea macrophylla 'Ayesha' 5 August 2022
My Rosemary had a more tender heart than I have. When we decided to move, with my urging, five
years ago from our large corner garden in Kerrisdale we had to play Noah and
his Ark. We had to give plants away, donate some to the UBC Botanical Garden
and take many to our daughter Alexandra’s garden in Lillooet.
What broke her heart and I believe mine is that we had 37
hydrangeas, many were species. In the end I picked the three you see in today’s
scan 5 August 2022 even though this blog will appear in one of the empty spots
in July as I did not blog for almost two months.
Hydrangeas do something to my somehow soft heart. I
associate them as hortensias from our Buenos Aires garden in the late 40s and
early 50s. Buenos Aires is at the same latitude as South Africa so we shared
plants from there. We are lucky that here in Vancouver we can grow these more
or less tender plants. The exception is the white flowered Hydrangea arborescens.
Since it flowers from new wood this plant can suffer through a Lillooet winter
and do just fine.
In Buenos Aires my grandmother and mother had some Filipino
friends, the Moretas. There were many brothers and sisters. The men were named
after biblical angels and the women after flowers. My fave Moreta was called
Hydrangeas are very easy to grow and have no pest
enemies. Most can grow in deep shade. One of them, My double-flowered Hydrangea
quercifolia ‘Snowflake’ can take lots of sun as this plant grows wild in the US
State of Georgia. It is called quercifolia because it leaves resemble that of
an oak (quercus).
I can discern a fresh scent in all hydgrangeas and some
PG hydrangeas (Paniculata Grandiflora),we
had several of them then, smell of honey when the pollen appears.
Tuesday, July 12, 2022
|Rosa 'Princess Alexandra of Kent' 7 August 2022
Note that the date of my plant scan does not coincide with this blog's date. I had a few technical and emotional problems in June and July and I did not blog. I am filling up those holes.
If there is one part of the Adam and Eve Genesis story that
still holds water in these questionable times it is the story that the supreme
being gave the duo the task of naming living things.
To name comes from the Latin nomināre – to name.
Thus for soon-to-be parents the finding of a name is an
important rite of passage. And so it was when our first daughter was born in
Mexico City in 1968.
I am Jorge Alejandro but since I was a boy I was always
called Alex and my hyper-English relatives called me Alexander (pronounced
Rosemary, as soon as she found out that our first-born was
to be a girl, decided on Alexandra and that we would call her Xandra. That never
happened. As soon as we moved to Arboledas, Estado de México, everybody called
her Ale (pronounced Aleh) and that has been her name ever since.
This did not stop my Rosemary from purchasing to lovely
English Roses, One called Princess
Alexandra of Kent and the other The Alexandra Rose.
Because my Rosemary was a proto-feminist,who told me that
I should hem my jeans, sew on my buttons and fry my eggs, she wanted an epicene
name for our second daughter. We chose Hilary even though it sounds terrible in
Spanish, Hilaria! The idea that Rosemary had was that Hilary would impose on
her name a strong dash of the woman she would be; which she is.