Archives for posts with tag: baby love

Note: I’ve referenced a bunch of roses by name in this one, without adding pictures (in most cases) – it may be interesting to open a second tab and google them to see what they look like or to read more about them. 🙂 If you put the word “rose” in front of their names, you should get images that are the correct rose without a lot of b.s. (I didn’t feel right linking to point of sale pages on all these, as it might have given the appearance of an endorsement.) Ready?

In my garden, the roses (and some flowers) are selected with great care to fit a theme. The theme? Love. Passion. Romance. A story of lovers over time. So, a rose named “The Alchymist” (a Kordes cross of R. eglanteria and a climber named Golden Glow from 1956) lives in the garden representing my Traveling Partner (it makes sense if you know him). “Baby Love”, (Scrivens, 1992?) was a gift from my Traveling Partner when we moved in together and he started a wee garden for me out on our balcony – “baby love” is also one of his pet names for me. So sweet. 😀 This year, close to “The Alchymist”, I’ll be adding “Baltimore Belle” (Feast, 1843), a nod to my home state of Maryland and recollections of many happy visits to “Charm City” in younger years.

Over the years, roses have come and gone. My first roses were “inherited” when my then-spouse and I bought a little house in Texas. Later, my first “proper” rose garden started with a Jackson & Perkins collection, before I had discovered the robust lasting beauty of roses on their own roots.

As gardens came and went with various moves, only those roses that could survive well in containers stayed “in my garden” as it moved from place to place, but I knew what I wanted, and the vision lingered. I want a garden that wraps me in love. 🙂 So, the roses are selected with great care, right down to the names. “The Alchymist” and “Baby Love” are currently joined by “Nozomi” (“Pink Pearl”, Onodera, 1968 – the rose that has been with me longest), and “Easy on the Eyes” (Carruth, 2017 – my “youngest” rose), and “Sweet Chariot” (Moore, 1984 – one of the first miniatures I ever purchased). I had a few others suited to my theme at my last address, but they weren’t doing well, and I decided not to haul their fungi, pests, or health issues to the new address. Starting fresh seemed the wiser choice. Some I’ll for sure replace (I miss the lovely “X-rated”, “Irresistible” and “Ebb Tide”) others maybe not (many of which I suspect just weren’t a good choice for container life…). We’ll see.

Soon three new roses will arrive: “Baltimore Belle”, along with “Golden Opportunity” (Carruth, 2012?), and “All My Loving” (Fryer, 2011). Roses have more than beautiful forms and captivating scents – they have provenance, history, and stories to tell. Some of my fondest favorites achieved their place in my heart because of the stories they have to tell. R. gallica, for example? It’s the oldest known rose, ever, anywhere. Wow, right? What must this rose have seen of human kind and histories gardens? I often consider planting her, just because… “history“.

I have a two long-time favorites I may never plant into this garden. They’re huge. Truly grand in size, and both are very thorny, too. I don’t have the space without a lot of strict pruning two or three times a year. lol One is R. eglanteria. One of my fondest favorites (also called “sweet briar” rose) she smells of green apple, and has so many adorable “wild rose” type flowers in a cute pink color. I often think that the Sleeping Beauty’s thorn-bushes were likely a mix of wild blackberries and R. eglanteria. 🙂 It’s a whimsical notion that delights me. The other? “Sombreuil” (unknown breeder, 1880, and previously sold as “Colonial White” in the US) – a massive and impressive climbing rose with enormous saucer-sized white blooms that are exquisitely fragrant and temptingly numerous – she guards them fiercely with her plentiful nasty thorns. Every year that I owned her, my arms told that the tale of keeping her pruned back. lol Worth it, though, and I daydream of adding her to my garden for that heavenly tea rose scent. She really doesn’t “fit the theme”, though… but oh I do miss her so!

…I could add either or both, but I can’t do so without acknowledging the challenge involved in keeping them to a manageable size in this climate; I’ve experienced that first hand. They were genuinely too big for container gardening, and I knew that back in 1998, when I moved them from Fresno, California, to Portland, Oregon. Back then, I had a community garden plot in the big community garden on the campus of Reed College. So… I planted them in my community garden plot. Why not? Well, I’ll tell you why not – about 7 years later, the college decided to reclaim the space the garden occupied to build new dorms. Those two roses, by that time, were so insanely large I could not move them at all! The college “kept them”, and indeed they are growing in the locations they had been planted (at least that was the case last I saw). My R. eglanteria was easily half the width of my plot (about 5′ wide) and twice that high. “Sombreuil” was similarly wide, on the other side of the plot, and far taller, with long sweeping canes curving downward gently, extending her visual width, each cane weighed down heavily with those big blooms. I only have one “sensible” location for either (or both) of them here, and that would be just on the other side of the retaining wall, instead of those invasive non-native blackberries (although that would be replacing a non-native with non-natives…so…). Then I could just let them do their thing over the years, taking space and being lovely. Getting them planted there, though, would require many days of intense labor clearing out those fucking blackberries by hand. Worth it? Maybe not…?

Where was I going with this? Love. Gardening. Roses. There are definitely roses I’d like to add, but limited space and a thematic commitment shorten the list quite a bit. 😀 What do I have in mind, as of this one moment on this particular summer day?

Love at First Sight – I mean, yeah, our “origin story” has a real hint of that “love at first sight” kind of experience.

Ebb Tide – the tides come and go. Emotions, too. That, and my Traveling Partner is a Navy veteran – there aren’t many roses with nautically relevant names. lol

Bliss – because love can be so much bliss, for real. 😀

You’re the One – well, yeah, that’s how it has played out for both of us. This unexpected lasting commitment and affection for each other has been significant.

Crazy Love – also, yeah, we both bring the fucking crazy to this rollercoaster. LOL

Orange Honey – okay, so, not “on theme” but another rose that was one of my earliest choices for my first rose garden. I fell in love with the trailing habit, the sweet fragrance, and enjoyed my friendship with the breeder Ralph Moore. It’s just a rose worth having. 🙂

Cutie Pie – my partner is my best friend, my “prince charming”, and for sure a “cutie pie”, so this one makes sense to me. 😀

Realistically, I have doubts that I could fit another 10 roses to my wee garden, after the 5 I’ve already got, and the three that are on their way right now. LOL I could probably do 10-12 (total), though, without looking like a mad woman… So, as with so many things in life, it’s about selection. Choices made with care. It’s about sufficiency. “Enough”. It’s about overcoming a very human inclination to acquire and to accumulate. Greed is not a character trait I want to develop (quite the contrary, I practice sufficiency).

How best to narrow down my list of 10 to 3-4? Well, one way I do that kind of thing is to let circumstances call some of the shots; I go to the website that I’m shopping from, and narrow things down (see list above) based on what fits my theme and appeals to me… then, that is likely further limited by what is still in stock. LOL This is how I selected the three that are headed my way now! If I look at the website this morning at my wishlist of 10 roses above, just two of them are actually available. This is sometimes frustrating, but it also prevents my garden from being too structured by introducing a certain not-quite-randomness. It also slows me down quite a lot. I’ll just add the three I’ve ordered for the 2023 garden – next year I’ll be looking over the options available then.

In the meantime, I entertain myself thinking about gardening and roses and searching for just the right rose to add here or there… and wait for new roses to arrive to be planted. Each one is a new beginning all its own. 🙂 Roses and gardens make beautiful metaphors. 😀

It’s the last day of “winter”. It hasn’t felt much like winter for a handful of weeks, aside from an occasional frosty morning, and one brief cold snap with temperatures below freezing. Tomorrow? Spring.

The primroses know Spring has arrived.

The hardy primroses in the front flower bed are blooming. My impression when we moved in was that the trio of tidy clumps with their merry blossoms were (probably hastily) added as part of the sort of flurry of activity a homeowner does to prepare a house for sale. Chasing “curb appeal.” I like them fine. They’re not fancy. I’m not particularly attached to them. They do reliably make me smile when I pass, each time I leave or return home. That’s worth something. I don’t see myself pulling them out… probably just add more, other colors, shake it up a bit with some variety, or something of the sort. Certainly, I don’t hold my lack of passion for primroses against these durable show-offs; they are blooming quite generously, and this time of year, they’re really all I’ve got for flowers. The handful of tiny grape hyacinths here and there bashfully do their best, and I appreciate each of the wee flowers opening up as the days become sunnier. Over time, I hope to create a splendid cottage garden full of flowers, and scents, and things to take pictures of. For now? It’s primroses.

The roses in the garden know it’s Spring, too. There is more new growth every day, and already I regret not “taking a firm hand” with “Baby Love“; she is thriving (and then some), and was still blooming in December. (My failure to prune her was mostly to do with that. I was enjoying the rose being in bloom.) Now she’s a chaotic mess of last year’s foliage, this year’s tender new foliage just unfolding, and withered hips from the last flowers that bloomed. It tickles me to see this rose do so well; my Traveling Partner gave this rose to me, back in 2011, after we moved into an apartment together. It did well in a container, and has never let me down – almost always first and last to be in bloom. We’ve had a good decade together. (The rose, and also the partnership.)

Although I’d kept several roses going for (almost 3) decades in containers, when we moved from that last rental into our home, and I prepared to move the roses, I was caught unprepared for how many were doing so poorly that I had concerns about bringing disease or insects to the new location, which is very close to a natural forested area, with a creek running through it. When I got the closer look needed to move pots that had been in one place for a couple years, I was dismayed by their poor condition. Potbound. Roots rotting. Infested with ants. I hadn’t left myself enough time to deal with all of that. Most of them didn’t make the trip, and went, instead, to a rose-loving neighbor. “Sweet Chariot” and “Nozomi” made the trip – but they were both replacements for ones I’d had for many years, and were only a few years old. Another, “The Alchymist“, I bought thinking fondly of my Traveling Partner, not too very long ago. One rose in the garden was the first rose purchased specifically for this garden; “Easy on the Eyes“. No doubt there will be more, eventually, when I have a better idea where I might want them.

…Funny how much I enjoy roses. It was rather “accidental”. My first husband bought a little house in Texas when we were separated, to get me to come home. (Rather stupidly, that worked and I quickly regretted my life-threatening short-sightedness.) In the front of the house were some massive roses, overgrown, stiff, tall, and straight – they blocked the front window with enormous red blooms that were powerfully fragrant. “Chrysler Imperial“, “Olympiad“, and “Mister Lincoln” were so bold, so red, and so… rose-y

I didn’t yet know what I didn’t know, and I pruned the roses back aggressively, without a second thought. I learned some things from that experience… like… wear long sleeves and garden gloves when tussling with thorny roses. Ouch. In the backyard of that house, along the back fence, the previous owner had planted quite a few small “shrubs” of some sort. They weren’t doing well, and I wasn’t sure what they even were. We mowed them down entirely, figuring that would make short work of them – and some weeks later, they came back stronger. Miniature roses. I learned then that roses are not hard to grow – they’re glorified sticker bushes. LOL I fell in love with the miniature roses. I undertook to learn more… and here I am. I grow roses.

I love roses. I don’t even mind the thorns. I like hybrid tea roses, and species roses. I like climbers and ramblers and minis. I love the many scents of rose that are each so different – and somehow reliably also very much rose smelling. I love the varieties of different sorts of blooms, and the many shades of green of the foliage of roses. Oh sure, some hybrids are so delicate that one may as well claim to be farming powdery mildew as stake a claim to growing the rose, but I confess; I “shovel prune” those and move on to a cultivar or species that will do well in my garden. It’s easier than arguing with powdery mildew, I promise you that. LOL

Why am I sharing this bit of myself with you, tonight? No particular reason, besides Spring. Tomorrow, I’ll spend some portion of the day in the garden, rain or shine. Tidying things up for later plantings. Assessing the damage left of winter. Making up my mind about which greens to plant in the vegetable garden, with the onions, garlic, shallots, and herbs that I know I’ll want for cooking. Carrots? I think I’d like to plant some carrots, too. Maybe some peas or green beans of some sort. Things for stir frying? Maybe so. The garden is where my thoughts are this evening, and that’s worth sharing (and enjoying) – if for no other reason than that my thoughts are not on warfare, or sorrow, or global conflict, or mired in the lingering recollection of some task to deal with at work or some spreadsheet I can’t stop thinking about. I’m more than content to have my mind in the garden. I’m even happy with that.

I’m working on doing a better job of taking care of the woman in the mirror. I’ve been a bit shit at that, lately, and I can do better. 🙂

So, here I sit. No coffee; it’s evening. After I finish this, I will retire and meditate, maybe read awhile, and maybe even sleep in tomorrow. It’s not a fancy way to enjoy an evening – but it’s enough, and I am okay right now. 🙂

It’s a mild Saturday morning. Not yet sunny. Also not raining. Just a morning. My coffee is hot, sitting mostly untouched in front of me. My Traveling Partner and I are “enjoying” our individual, somewhat overlapping, personal experiences of seasonal allergies. His, a lifetime struggle. Mine? Returning with a vengeance here in this new place, after decades mostly without allergies at all. I’ve minimized my allergies for years; they simply aren’t “anything” in comparison to what my Mom endured, or what my Traveling Partner goes through for so much of the calendar year that even suggesting those are “seasonal” could seem like a mockery. “I don’t have allergies” still seems mostly true for me… but this morning, my stuffy head and sneezes tell a story of Spring, and pollen (it’s the tree pollen that seems to be the issue; I can smell flowers all damned day without concern).

…And of course, my preferred walks each day? Forests. Trees. Shaded paths. Hilarious. 0_o (That’s a rare use of sarcasm; I’m not finding it all amusing really.)

It is a mild Saturday morning, suitable for gardening (I have a list of things to do), and relaxing. I’m eager to do a bit of gardening in this new place – gardening that won’t suddenly face the upheaval of moving away, gardening that can be planned for a future that exists. Maybe. I mean… the future is an uncertain thing, but at least here I can plan for some sort of permanence, as much as one ever can. No, I’m not feeling down or fatalistic, just disinclined to deceive myself with fanciful tales of “happily ever after” or “always”. Those are not helpful concepts, generally speaking. 🙂

“Baby Love”, an early bloomer, will go into the ground this weekend. 🙂

This cup of coffee is good. Not good enough to ease me past the morning frustration of dealing with allergies, perhaps, or to fix any of society’s ills, but it’s a nice moment on a pleasant morning, and that’s enough right now. I think of far away friends I’d like to take time to connect with, emails I’d like to write. Maybe pick up the damned phone now and then? (Does anyone actually answer the phone when it rings, any more? I rarely do… is that a “me thing”, or an “everyone thing”? Has the etiquette of a phone call changed since… before?)

At some point, after our anniversary was past, my Traveling Partner ever-so-gently brought up how much benefit I seem to get out of a weekend away, solo, and wondered aloud if I were, perhaps, due for one…? He admitted to having the thought on our anniversary, and shared that it seemed less than ideal to bring it up on that occasion. I appreciate his consideration… I’d had that thought, too, and felt like a complete jerk for it, considering the occasion. LOL He’s quite right, though; I’m definitely “feeling it”.

…And he definitely feels me feeling it…

I’m not sure why I’m feeling it so hard right now… the new job is intense (in good ways) and quite busy. I do spend nearly 100% of my waking time in the presence of at least one other human being, or on a call, or in a meeting (and yes, Zoom meetings are still every bit as “people-y” as in person, for me)… it gets fatiguing after a while. I enjoy solitude. I want to simply exist, free of social constraints or pressures to perform, conform, achieve, or relieve. I want to breathe my own breath. Think my own thoughts. Exist entirely in the context of my own experience. Make choices with little regard for other tastes, other needs, other timing. It’s complicated when people partner up who have very different needs in this area. I’m fairly certain that while I feel like I “never have a minute for my own thoughts”, my partner may feel that we “never get to spend any time together” – and both those experiences are legitimate perspectives on our individual experience as human primates. I’m fortunate to be in a partnership in which we recognize our differences and value them – and help each other find our best path forward.

Anyway. I’ve been vaccinated. I feel relatively comfortable making the short journey to the coast and taking a day for myself. Masked & distancing, yeah, that’s still a thing for sure. I’m okay with that, too. I got lucky on getting a pleasant ocean view room a few steps from the beach (131 actual stair steps, if reviews are to be believed) – next weekend. The weather is nice for painting. I’ll take my water colors and my camera along with me. My laptop. I’ll walk miles along the beach. Take some pictures. Meditate. Think. Write. Paint.

…I will miss my Traveling Partner so so much…

We benefit from a bit of time to miss each other. I sip my coffee and wonder what he’ll get up to while I’m away… besides missing me, I mean. 🙂 I already look forward to sharing pictures and conversing about time we did not spend together.

…I’m already looking forward to beginning again. 🙂

Sipping coffee and thinking about time, timing, and the peculiar fascination, and sometimes urgency, that we have with getting to a goal “ahead of schedule” or “on time” – turning any such moment into some kind of race to some arbitrary finish line. Doesn’t it suck the fun out of a drive in the countryside, if we’re so focused on getting to a destination by a specific point in time? We’ve put our experience in the hands of circumstances. Slow drivers. Detours. Traffic. (Metaphors.)

Yesterday, my morning was less about time and timing, than about enjoying a few minutes for myself, before I headed to work. I left the house at some wildly random time, rather later than I generally do, arriving a bit later than I ordinarily might, still well within expectations of timeliness, and utterly without any internal pressure to get there. No racing. No rushing. It was lovely. Sipping my coffee, I think about doing that more often. 🙂

Rain drops on roses.

In the garden, in the evening, after the work day was behind me, I took an unhurried look around. No agenda. Just enjoying the moment. I had enjoyed some pleasant moments of conversation with my Traveling Partner on the phone. The evening was a simple one; I did some tidying up. I had a bite of dinner. I relaxed with a book. I went to bed a bit later than the night before, early enough to get a great night’s sleep… if my body would have been amendable to that. lol My interrupted sleep has not prevented me having a lovely morning, and I feel decently well-rested. No harm done. 🙂

Life feels simple and mostly pretty easy, from the perspective of this morning. No idea what the day holds; it’s been a busy week at work, and a great many people, colleagues, and customers, seem to have strange priorities much more to do with external forces that drive them, than well-considered choices they have made for themselves. I grin to myself in the early morning light; not my circus, not my monkeys. I keep my focus on my own life, my own choices, and being the woman I most want to be – more so, each day. It’s the best I can do, I think. 🙂

Sufficiency is pretty comfortable, generally.

A soft rain is falling, this morning. I finish my coffee, and begin again. 🙂

I don’t think I actually ever gave thought to how often, or how much, “suction” place a role with regard to the general state of a human mouth. lol Having a molar extracted, and the resulting perforation of my lower facial sinus, with all the requested after-care that follows, is definitely an education in maintaining mindful awareness. The balance between “aware” and “self-conscious” – the latter of which tends to cause more moments of “sucking on my teeth, in some fashion – is, itself, a very new thing to explore (all over again). It generally… um… sucks.

(I’m aware of how dreadful that pun was, and nonetheless I spend five minutes wracked with mirth, trying not to laugh literally out loud, nor to stifle my laughter in any way that might result in disturbing the healing of that tooth socket, with the realization that my situation literally illustrates the point I was making the first place driving still further laughter. What a morning. What the fuck is the point of “uncomfortable merriment”? Why is that even a thing? lol)

Eating is complicated. Drinking is a major challenge. Even sitting around, generally, reading, watching a video, or just being thoughtful, seems to continuously put me at risk of subtly (or less so) “pulling” at that wound in my mouth with some quantity of suction unintentionally. “Rinsing” my mouth requires a rather delicate approach, since any sort of “swishing” technique likely involves – you guessed it already, I bet – suction. It’s not the very firm sucking-suction of deliberately sucking on something (like a straw) that trips me up; it’s the common everyday rather mild suction of things like holding my tongue to the roof of my mouth, or drinking from a container with a small opening, or… swallowing. lol That last one plagues me – it is unavoidable. I’m not bitching, I’m just saying; there are techniques involved that I did not already know.

I woke to rain. I find myself wondering how the Praying Mantis hatchlings are doing. They hatched yesterday, from purchased egg cases that I put in the garden in the spring.

There appear to be hundreds of wee mantises on this one rose bush, basking in the sunshine.

The dense foliage of the reliably well-leaved out rose bush on which I placed them offers a lot of places to hide safely, and with my container garden being very near a forested green space, and birds coming and going at the deck feeder every day, there is plenty of food for the young mantises – and plenty of predators to be concerned with. I spotted them fairly quickly, when I went out to water the garden.

I watched them for awhile.

I watched several quite skillfully avoid a largish, probably quite frustrated, garden spider who had also taken up housekeeping in the rose bush. I was feeling certain that sooner or later, the spider would have her meal, when a young mantis turned the tables on the predator-prey narrative, and began to enjoy her first meal – of spider. Wow, Nature, way to present a life lesson!

I watch awhile longer. Choices. Verbs. Sunshine. Moments.

I felt huge peering down at the wee creatures in my garden. Some of them stared seemingly fearlessly, curiously, back at me. I felt a tickle on my arm, and notice that one, then several more, have jump from the bush to my arm, and my hand, as I held my camera outstretched for a closer shot. I use the opportunity to give them an easy ride, slowly, around the garden. It delighted me to see each jump off to a new location in a hanging basket, potted salad greens, a bucket full of blooming flowers, or another rose. I remind them to watch out for spiders, before I go back inside.

I woke this morning to rain. It only makes sense to wonder how the little new comers are doing. Coffee first, I decided, and here I am – with a drink bottle (selected specifically for the size of the mouth of the bottle) partially filled with cool-not-icy-cold coffee, listening to the rain and the sound of my fingers on the keyboard. I give some thought to where I might take my walk today; it’s the weekend, and I’ve been enjoying being out on the trail again, rain need not slow me down (it’s not rainy hard, just sort of dripping gently). Muddy or slick trails would be less than ideal… maybe along the waterfront? The well-paved trails are popular, so it’s not likely to have the same “away from it all” feel as I might experience on a wilderness trail, or even a suburban forest trail miles in, further along than an easy walk with a child would take one – still a lovely walk, worth taking. The city is reliably a beautiful and varied view.

Some other rainy morning, along the waterfront, and a view of a city I love.

…I keep coming back to this not-excessively-painful-but-definitely-wholly-uncomfortable-and-quite-inconveniently-tender-complicated-to-care-for wound in my mouth; it distracts me. I also find my thoughts returning to the wee newcomers in my garden. I can’t do much about the extracted tooth; the jaw and gum need time and care to heal. I can, however, satisfying my curiosity about the mantises – verbs are required. A moment of action is all that is necessary…

The smell of freshness, summer rain, and petrichor fill my senses when I step out onto the deck. The sound of rain on the big leaf maples is musical. It isn’t raining hard; just a steady misty drizzle, barely hard enough to be explicitly rain. I check “Baby Love”, the rose on which the mantis young found themselves on their very first day, eagerly seeking signs that “the kids are alright”…

Petals have fallen in the rain, but the wee mantis young take the rainy day in stride.

I spot first one, then another, then several, then, as my eye begins to calibrate to their shape and color, their plentiful numbers are revealed. Most have simply stepped around to a convenient underside of a leaf, or even the narrow protection of a stem. A few just stand out in the rain, damp, seeming unconcerned.

They are everywhere I look. A good metaphor for so many things I sometimes struggle to see that are “right in front of me”. 🙂

A few minutes of writing, some coffee, a rainy morning… I’ve been most particularly tempted by this deliciously rainy summer morning… I think I’ll begin again. 🙂

In the garden, or on the trail, it’s a lovely time to embrace this “now” moment. (Your results may vary; there are verbs involved.)