I grew roses many years ago... When I moved into my first house, I inherited a yard trimmed with about thirty rose bushes; by the time I moved out, there were seventy bushes growing in the landscape in front of the house.
I knew nothing about rose care and culture before I took over this garden; the only roses I'd ever dealt with were the ones from my parents house that had nasty thorns and only bloomed occasionally. ...and the ones from the florist that were pleasant enough to look at, but didn't really smell like the ones I remembered.
I took it upon myself to learn their culture; I read a few books and visited a few places that had active gardens, some new and some quite old. ...and learned that for all the various teachings, the core information was always the same. So I learned about how to care for them and how to encourage their growth. ...and the rewards were enormous: I'd feed them and water them; and, in return, they'd produce beautiful fragrant blooms for the enjoyment of all who cared to see and smell.
Maintenance was an ongoing project; in addition to regular watering and feeding, the spent blooms needed to be removed: left to themselves, the plants would stop blooming or produce small blooms on weak stalks. Trimming the flower stalk back to a outward-facing growth eye by a five-leaflet leaf ensured a strong stalk with a large bloom. With that many plants, I would be out nearly every day tending to the garden. Regular weekly maintenance was a must, and that reinforcement extended their blooming season until the fall weather forced them dormant.
Maintenance in the spring determined how a plant's future would unfold. Pruning back to three or four strong stalks and eliminating everything else would guide the plant to a strong growth pattern. This was also the time to cut out the dead wood and the galls that could injure or kill the plant. I rarely gave up on a plant: roses are hardy in this climate; I could plan cuts and pruning over several years. ...and usually bring plants back from terrible conditions.
I couldn't protect the plants from concerted attacks by those bent on destroying them, but as long as there was life, there was hope... Fencing them off or hiding them behind a wall was not an option; for then, their beauty would not be able to shine to the world. ...and what would be the point then?
Not all cared to see and smell; some just passed by blindly. ...or just saw 'pretty flowers'. ...or moved to the other side of the sidewalk, lest they be hooked by a thorn. Others stopped to view the varieties and smell the various aromas wafting through the garden. ...and moved on with a pleasant memory until the world intruded once again. One or two even planted a bush or two of their own to care for...
1/2/2002 11:01:42 PM
It's not munging up IT's order and having to return the product that bugs me...
...it's that I'd finished up the first shopping run and returned to the office just as the "Rain, sweeping across the valley today" showed up.
Oh, to have gotten that order right the first time...
1/2/02 3:46:40 PM
In mid-December, we make a trip to the cemetery where Shelley's mother is buried. It's a time of respect and contemplation, at least for the adults; the boys scamper around the grounds, finding the squirrels and feeding them whatever snack we bring along for them. For me, their laughter and running about are a sharp contrast to the usual goings on at these places; but it's nice to see their 'signs of life' among the reminders of children not so fortunate...
This year I brought along my camera, thinking I could take a snapshot or two of a headstone or perhaps an angel ala John and Sheila. It wasn't until after we were finished cleaning her marker and getting the Christmas tree 'just right' that I had a chance to look around for artwork. I'd recalled statues of the saints in this area so I took two shots of the closest ones. ...and while the boys ran off in the distance, I followed and found this couple in another area. But it wasn't until I really started looking around that I realized there were no angels. ...and not just angels; there were no headstones at all other than the flat-to-the-ground kind. The place was just empty...
In the car, I asked Shelley about this as it seemed most strange to me; she replied that they were forbidden, to allow the lawn mowers and such to operate (they also 'purge' flowers and such on a regular basis). I mentioned that I thought that was unusual, especially since this is not a new cemetery by any means (I later learned it was established in 1926).
By this time the boys were wondering just what we were talking about; they'd only ever seen this cemetery, and of course, the creepy ones on TV (as they flip the channel). So, as we left, I made a left instead of a right and drove over the freeway and into an older cemetery. ...to see crypts and obelisks and headstones. ...and angels. The boys were out of the car and scurrying about to see which one could find the neatest markers. ...and on a cold December day, even Shelley ended up walking around to check out one or two that were just too interesting to leave to the imagination.
Yeah, we had fun. ...and only covered a small portion of three adjoining cemeteries.
...and there will be more later this year; we still have to check out the sights we could see in the distance.
1/2/2002 12:05:51 AM
Any thoughts on that?
Wednesday 1/2/2002 12:01:10 AM
Man, I thought I was the consummate cynic...
Shelley was explaining to Daniel this morning why so many of the stores were closed (she who helped the local Mervyn's open this morning) and how the postoffice wouldn't be delivering his Lego order today. His response was, "I don't see what the big deal is about a different year; it just means you're going to die sooner..."
The kid obviously doesn't take after his mother's side of the family...
...and just as obviously seems to have inherited one or two traits from my side.
1/1/2002 1:16:57 PM
Any thoughts on that?
Tuesday 1/1/2002 12:59:12 PM
Got a minute???
I don't push this button all that often; but if you have a prayer life, a friend of a friend could use some help.
12/31/2001 12:52:29 AM
Any thoughts on that?
Monday 12/31/2001 12:51:51 AM
While I was dinkin' around with the camera yesterday, I noticed these guys enjoying the wet weather:
12/31/2001 12:16:38 AM
I'd seen garret's pic, but I hadn't related it to my part of the planet... After all, we've been dealing with rain and fog for the last few days; sunlight and moonlight have been in short supply. But early this morning, as tucked myself into bed, I looked though the sliding door toward the pool and noticed it was lit up. I got up thinking I'd left the kitchen light on, but that simply wasn't the case: the cloud cover had lifted and the fog was light enough to let the moonlight cascade into the back yard.
I mentioned this other-worldly effect last year on the ETP site, mentioning how I would not be surprised if one of Maxfield Parrish's fairies stepped out from the garden to take a dip in the pool. ...and wishing I could show it to you.
There's no way I can capture the effect on film; my equipment simply will not handle the challenge. So I'm left to try to use words to relate how the moonlight is strong enough to define the long seat under the waterfall, or how the hose from the pool sweep actually casts a shadow on the bottom of the pool. ...and how I can see that shadow as clearly as I can on a sunny day. Heck, I can look across the pool and tell which agapanthus need to be divided this year. To me, the clarity is amazing...
...and then today, I caught a break: I was trying to capture the scene with the digital camera, figuring maybe I could tweak a shot in Photoshop Elements and give an approximation of what I saw. ...and I forgot that I'd been showing Janeen how the 'white balance' setting worked on my camera. I'd left it on 'incandescent' rather than switched back to 'auto'...
Yeah, that's close... Maybe a bit too bright, but darn close...
12/31/2001 12:02:24 AM
Any thoughts on that?
Sunday 12/30/2001 10:38:02 PM