Friday, October 9, 2015

Friday Flowers from Hollywood Cemetery

Yesterday was a beautiful day, with bright sunshine, mild temperatures, and a light breeze.  It was a perfect day to make the one-hour trip south to Hollywood Cemetery to gather flowers to take with me for Doug's funeral tomorrow.  

My first stop, as always, was to visit the Crenshaw Musk Rose.  Yesterday, I could smell it before I saw it, as its sweet fragrance wafted on the breeze.  Late summer and fall is the time when this rose is at its best.

Within this plant, which produces primarily the double-form flowers, is a section with canes that produce the more primitive five-petal single flowers.  I was able to gather sprays of both for my arrangement.



I next visited two plants that are special to me, the large Noisette on the Ritchie plot (which is very similar to the rose known as 'Mary Washington') and the smaller Noisette on the Bolling plot (which is grown at Tufton as "Hollywood Pink Cluster").

"Ritchie Noisette"

"Hollywood Pink Cluster"

There weren't very many other flowers for me to gather.  I needed ones that would hold for two days, and most of the other plants I visited had flowers that were too far open, and would fall apart in the next day or so, or had buds that were too immature to open within my time frame.  Not to worry, I have a plan.

This was my harvest from the cemetery.  I wish I could attach the fragrance of these beauties to this post, so you could experience how heavenly my kitchen smells because of them.

I can supplement these flowers from Hollywood with a few Noisette flowers from my own garden ... most of which came from Hollywood or Tufton originally, or are my own foundlings.  I will put my arrangement together later today, and I will show it to you tomorrow.

I can't leave you today before I thank you for the lovely comments and notes that you shared in response to my tribute to Doug in my last post.  I am comforted, and humbled, by your kindness.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Remembering Doug

Reverend Douglas Seidel passed away three days ago, early on Saturday morning, October 3.  He leaves behind an army of friends and family ... and I am proud to count myself among his friends.

This is the only photo I can find of Doug and me.  It was taken in Lynchburg, in 2011.  That's Doug in the center of the back row.

I remember when I first heard about Doug.  I was reading In Search of Lost Roses by Thomas Christopher, not long after I discovered the wonders of old, unknown roses, some time in the early 2000s.  The author described how Doug, as a teen, partnered with Leonie Bell (who is not mentioned by name) to travel the Pennsylvania countryside to document and collect roses at abandoned sites and in cemeteries ... does this sound like someone else you know?

Photo of Doug with "Hollywood Pink Cluster" in 2001.
Photo by Peggy Cornett.

"Hollywood Pink Cluster"

I remember the first time that I saw Doug in person.  He was the banquet speaker at a district meeting of the ARS's Colonial District in Staunton, Virginia.  Doug's program was mesmerizing, and I remember sitting there in awe of the history of our repeat-flowering roses and their origins in the ever-blooming roses imported from China in the late 18th century.  I don't think that most of the audience that evening fully appreciated who he was or what he had to say.  

I did not approach Doug that evening, as I tend to get a bit tongue-tied when I'm around people that I admire.  I used to rationalize that it was best to remember a pleasant evening, rather than regret having said something completely stupid.  (I'm not so much like this anymore, thank goodness.)

A group of rose lovers, including Doug, Dennis Whetzel, and Peggy Cornett, in front of the "Crenshaw Musk Rose" at Hollywood Cemetery in 2001.
Photo by Kent Krugh.

"Crenshaw Musk Rose"

I remember when I first spoke to Doug.  It was the morning after that program in Staunton.  I was on the hotel elevator ... the elevator stopped at a lower floor, the door opened, and there was Doug.  I had been mentally kicking myself for passing on the chance to meet him in person the night before, and I was not going to let this new opportunity slip by.  I introduced myself, told him how much I loved his program, and we then spent the next two hours in the hotel lobby talking and getting acquainted.  I still get goosebumps when I think about it.

Doug and I exchanged contact information as we parted that day, and we promised to keep in touch.  He stubbornly refused to use computers, relying mostly on hand-written notes and phone calls.  I always had a notebook nearby and a pen in hand whenever I spoke to him, whether in person or on the phone, because I never knew what our conversations would be.  What to him may have been a tired story or insignificant fact, could be a valuable clue to to some mystery that I may have been thinking about.  I wanted to make certain that I remembered it all.

Doug with "Red Smith's Parish" at Presidents Circle, Hollywood Cemetery.
Photo by Kent Krugh.

"Red Smith's Parish"

Through my friendship with Doug, I have met many more like-minded rose people.  It is through him that I got to know the people at Monticello's Tufton Farm.  Doug was the force behind the Leonie Bell Noisette Garden, where I have been working for the past few years to help preserve the roses there.  Some of the plants in the Bell Garden were Doug's own, donated as a tribute to Mrs. Bell (he always called her Mrs. Bell), his mentor who nurtured that curious young man and helped him awaken a lifetime love of old roses.

Doug with 'Alba Odorata Bracteata' in Hollywood Cemetery, 2001.
Photo by Kent Krugh.

'Alba Odorata Bracteata'

I remember when Doug told me that he had been diagnosed with cancer ... an aggressive form of prostate cancer that had already spread to his bones.  He and I kept in touch regularly during that time, as I was a link to Tufton and to Hollywood Cemetery, and he listened intently as I told him of my work in both of those places.  He told me over and over of his experiences there and other places ... and I took notes.  

Doug had hoped to see the Bell Garden again, but he never did.  He took comfort in the fact that the rare roses planted there are safe, having been propagated and shared with individuals and nurseries.  (I still have a few roses there to propagate, which I hope to do in the next couple of weeks.)

Doug and the group with "Oak Avenue Tea" at Hollywood Cemetery in 2001, which he identified as 'William R. Smith'.
Photo by Kent Krugh.

"Oak Avenue Tea" ... aka, 'William R. Smith'

I remember one of the last times I talked to Doug.  It was in June of this year, after I sent him a surprise package full of roses and photos.  (He had been scheduled to speak at the rose festival at the Old City Cemetery in Lynchburg, but he had to cancel because of his health.  I was going to bring roses to him, unknown roses from my garden and from Hollywood Cemetery, for him to identify.)  He said that he was so excited to open that box ... full of old friends, as he called them.  One of the things he told me is that my "Tidewater Trail" is a rose that he has found in many places throughout his part of Pennsylvania.

Doug and Dennis Whetzel, identifying roses during the Open House at Tufton Farm, 2011.

I will remember Doug as a friend, a mentor, and a confidante ... someone from whom I learned so much, who awakened and nurtured my own love of roses and of discovery.  I will be with Doug's friends and family as we will gather this weekend, to remember him and to say goodbye.

I will ALWAYS remember Doug ... with my memories and notes, through continuing friendships, and with some of his roses that live in my garden ... and I will always think of him and smile.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Presenting ... Lots of Random Stuff

Blogging is a habit.  When I do it often, which hasn't happened in quite a while, it feels natural to sit down and put together a reasonable post and get on with life afterward.  When I put it off, and get out of the habit by letting other things take my blogging time, it's not so easy to get the old juices flowing.  I'm rusty, but I'm going to give this a go ... and I'm going to catch you up on all sort of stuff that has happened here in the past few weeks.  

I will start with "Roses, Wines, and Canines," our Greyhounds Rock fundraiser gathering that was held here last Sunday.  Our weather was perfect (cloudy and mild, with a light breeze) and our guests and vendors (and volunteers) had a really great time.  We raised about $1700 for GRF to donate to The Greyhound Health Initiative ... and we are already planning ways to make things even better when we do it all again next year.

We set up a big party tent ...

... and a designated fenced play space for our guests' dogs.

Anu and Myth waited patiently in their ex-pen while we set up on Friday.

My favorite part of our events, The Blessing of the Hounds.  Can you find me in the crowd?

While I'm on the subject of Greyhounds Rock ... I have been spending at least one day per week sewing collars to keep the GRF inventory up.  Sugar Skull collars continue to be the biggest seller, and it's difficult to keep a selection of them in stock.  Last week at the fabric store, I picked up two new skull fabrics.

A view of part of our collar inventory at our table at the recent Fredericksburg Pet Expo.  See Ruby in the background?

Dorothy was helping, as I laid out fabric to cut the strips that would be turned into collars.

This new fabric reminds me of the art used for The Beatles "Yellow Submarine"

Ruby is modeling the other new pattern, which I am calling "Hearts and Roses Skulls"

I am also making fleece dog toys for the GRF store.  I have a ton of fleece in my stash, and this is a way to use part of it and clear out space in my sewing room.

Fleece toy, which sells for $10.

Maggie thinks the pile of fleece is a high-rise cat bed.

It's not been 'all work and no play' for me, not hardly.  I make time to do fun stuff, too.  A few weeks ago, my husband and I skipped out for the day and went to see the NASCAR Xfinity Series race in Richmond.

It was an evening race.

Dinner is served.

Dessert, which lasted almost until the end of the race.

Post-race ceremonial burn-out by the winner.

Speaking of cars ... I have been spending some time re-learning to drive my Mustang.  Over the summer, it went to the shop and had a transmission transplant.  The car started life its life in 1966 as an automatic, and that's what it was when we bought it in 2002.  Now, thanks to the genius of my mechanic, it has a factory-correct 4-speed manual transmission and a very sporty Hurst shifter.  It has been decades since I drove a stick shift, and I was pleased to find that the muscle memory of clutch and shift is still there.  

Oooohhh ... shiny.

This new shifter is not so foreign to me anymore.

Lots of people I know go all out to decorate for Halloween.  I am not one of those people.

I got a colorful sugar skull wreath at Target for the front door ...

... and a haunted house nightlight plug in at Bath and Body Works.

Halloween and haunted houses makes me think of Poe, which brings me to my next bit of random-ness.  In May, Sharon (Goth Gardener) and I spent an evening at the monthly Unhappy Hour at the Poe Museum in downtown Richmond.  We had our picture taken in their photo booth ... and it was just posted on the museum web site earlier this week.  We were being so silly!

Photo booth photo.

Sharon took this one of me with a new friend.

September is a very busy time next door at Hartwood Winery.  My husband and I spent two Saturdays over there, harvesting grapes from the vineyard with other volunteers ... total harvest was six tons of red grapes and seven tons of white grapes ... all used to make Hartwood's wines.

Picking red Chambourcin grapes on September 13 ...

... with my husband and my sister ...

... and white Vidal grapes on September 26.

Yesterday was my birthday ... 56.  It's a number that I wear proudly.  I am what I am ... no sense in skirting the issue.  Besides, thanks to my parents and some fortunate genetics, I have never really looked my age.  That was a bit of a problem when I was younger and got carded all the time.  Now, I think of it as a blessing.

My husband's present to me was this cow that was painted by his friend Ed King.

I spent part of the day gathering and editing the photos in this post, with Dorothy chilling in my lap.

That brings us up to the present ... which is cold and rainy, as the remains of a coastal storm passes through our area.  There was concern that Hurricane Joaquin would affect us tomorrow and/or Monday, but that storm has turned eastward and should not be a factor for us at all.  My garden loves the rain that it has received (with this current storm and with a previous one last week).  Happy garden = Happy gardener.

Now it's your turn.  What have you been up to since we last 'talked'?

Friday, September 25, 2015


I have six fig trees/bushes of different varieties planted along the south side of our barn.  Originally it was eight varieties, but two of them weren't able to handle our winters and they died.  The remaining six have done well.  Three years ago, I had enough fruit to eat my fill AND to make a couple batches of jam.

Our past two winters have been much colder than average.  All of these unprotected figs were frozen and killed clear to the ground.  This spring, I almost ripped them out.  It's too frustrating to alot this much space and emotional energy to a crop that's so frustrating.  I had a change of heart in early summer, when I saw that each of the figs started to show new growth ... and they ended up growing tall and beautiful.  I didn't hold out much hope for any fruit production on those immature branches, though.  Imagine my surprise the other day, when I went to work on the roses back there and I found these on one of the bushes.

Six ripe figs!!  (The eagle eyes among you have already noticed that there are only five figs in the picture.  I was chewing the sixth one when I realized that I should snap a pic to document the event.)  There are a few more figs that will probably be ripe in a few days, if the groundhogs don't find them first.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

"Roses, Wines, and Canines"

If you've been around here for any time at all, you already know that I am one of the core members of Greyhounds Rock Fredericksburg, a nonprofit fundraising charity.  We raise money for, and educate the public about, canine cancer.  We staff the GRF booth at local events (pet fairs and wine and beer fests, mostly.), selling our hand-made collars, leashes, jewelry, wine glass holders, etc., talking pretty much nonstop, and soliciting donations.  We also organize an annual event in the fall.  Since 2010, Greyhounds Rock has donated over $40,000 for canine cancer research, support, and treatment.

Emma and Daniel, with their friend TJ.  All three of these sweet dogs died of cancer.

In the past, our fall event has been a two-day conference that we called "Take a Bite Out of Canine Cancer".  This year, we are doing something a bit different.  On Sunday, September 27, from 11am to 6pm, here at Hartwood Manor and next door at Hartwood Winery, we are hosting "Roses, Wines, and Canines" ... a fun family and dog-friendly day in the country.

Emma, our first greyhound, adopted in 1999.  She loved squeaky toys ...

... and laying in the sun watching the world go by.

She enjoyed children ...

... and she was a superb Therapy Dog.

(Now you know what's been taking up so much of my time and why I haven't been here very often.  I have been doing what I can to tidy up this place and whip it into shape to receive guests ... hopefully LOTS of guests.)

Then, there were two.
This pic was taken at the greyhound gathering in Dewey Beach, Delaware.

Emma was mostly people oriented ... she tolerated Daniel ...

... and I like to think that she came to enjoy having a little brother, after we adopted him in 2005.

As of today, five days in advance of the event, plans are in place, the gardens look as good as they're gonna get, and we are VERY excited.  We will have food, Blessing of the Hounds, a scavenger hunt through Hartwood Roses' gardens and Hartwood Winery's vineyard, wine tasting, a vendor market, photo booth, raffle, auction, door prizes, and more.

I love this photo of Daniel and me.  It was taken at the GRF conference in 2011, four short weeks after Emma died.

Daniel was such a sweet boy!

I knew from the first time I met him, while transporting him and another dog from NC to a foster home in VA, that he was intended to be my dog.

His sweet, smiling face got even more beautiful with time.  He left us way too soon, in 2013, just shy of his 12th birthday.  This is the last photo that I took of him.

Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for children 12 and under.  We will accept walk-in registrations, but we prefer that folks register in advance (so we have the most accurate guest count for food and chairs and such.)  Register at the Greyhounds Rock web site,  Our beneficiary this year is the Greyhound Health Initiative.

There is still time to plan to attend "Roses, Wines, and Canines", and we will be honored to have you.  If you can't attend, and you want to support our efforts, donations are always welcome.  (we make this easy, with a donation page on our web site.  Click HERE.)

Ruby and Winnie are excited to welcome everyone on Sunday.  Okay ... Ruby is excited ... Winnie will probably just bark.

All of us who have dogs have probably lost at least one of them to cancer.  It's a heart-breaking fact, but I accept this as part of the bargain.  The joy that dogs bring to my life is worth the pain of their passing.  My work with Greyhounds Rock makes me feel like I'm fighting back ... paying it forward ... so future dogs can have the benefit of the programs that we support.

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