Friday, June 24, 2016

My Favorite Music

I am a child of the hard rock 1970s.  I loved parties and dancing to disco, but my heart was already given to Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper, and others.  As I have gotten older, this is still how I am.  I went through a phase in the 90s where Alternative and Grunge were my favorites ... Nirvana, Stone Temple Pilots, REM, Smashing Pumpkins, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden.

At 56 years old, my taste in music hasn't tamed much.  If anything, it's now more diverse and eclectic ... I like just about everything.  My 6-disk CD changer in the Jeep currently holds One Republic, Fall Out Boy, Eminem, Adele, Metallica, and (one of my very favorites) Disturbed.

David Draiman, the lead singer, has one of the best and most expressive voices out there in any genre.  Disturbed is a hard rock band, for sure, but the messages in their lyrics are almost always positive, encouraging, and empowering.  Here's an example from one of my favorite Disturbed songs ("I'm Alive" from 2005) ... lyrics that always make me better when it feels like life is stepping all over me.

Never again will I be dishonored
And never again will I be reminded
Of living within the world of the jaded
They kill inspiration, it's my obligation
To never again allow this to happen
Where do I begin?
The choices are endless
Denying the sin
My art, my redemption
I carry the torch of my fathers before me

The thing I treasure most in life cannot be taken away

There will never be a reason why I will surrender to your advice
To change myself, I'd rather die
Though they will not understand
I will make the greatest sacrifice
You can't predict where the outcome lies
You'll never take me alive.
I'm alive.

Disturbed's new album is one of the best yet!  Included on it is an amazing version of "The Sound of Silence", the old Simon and Garfunkel song.  If you haven't had a chance to hear it yet, prepare to be amazed at the depth of emotion and control in Draiman's voice.  This live version of the song is even better than the studio recording ... and the studio version is pretty incredible.  Turn up your sound, click on the video, and prepare to love it as much as I do.

(I could SO see him singing the role of Javert in Les Miserables ... see if you agree.)

Disturbed is on tour right now, and they will be coming to a venue near me on July 10.  I have tickets ... I'm so excited that it's hard to contain myself.

Once a hard rock fan, always a hard rock fan.  It keeps me from getting old.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Sights From the Garden

It's no surprise to you that I spent a good part of Wednesday out in the garden.  I always have my iPhone in my pocket when I'm outside, to take photos and for my works-from-home husband to find me if needed.  Come along, and I will show you some of the sights.

This time of year, Japanese Beetle populations are ramping up.  To help control them, I go out before breakfast, while it's cool in the early morning, to drown as many beetles as I can in a bucket of soapy water.  It rained overnight on Tuesday, and raindrops on the roses reflected the early morning sunlight.  Sights like these make my morning Beetle hunts into a lovely way to commune with the beautiful parts of the garden.

'Sharifa Asma'

'Comte de Champagne' flowers, beginning to open for the day.

Lovely pink bud on 'Bow Bells' with a nasty beetle burrowing into it.

Japanese Beetles emerged last week, and they will probably be here till some time in August.  They love rose flowers, and leaves.  They eat, and mate, and eat, and mate .... over and over.  Nasty creatures!  Every one that I drown or trap is one that ISN'T still out there adding to next year's population.

Japanese Beetles have damaged these flowers on 'Ma Perkins'.

This flower on 'Sir Clough' must be mighty tasty.

There's nothing left of this flower on 'Lafter'

Later in the day, I took a walk with my sprayer of herbicide ... carefully edging our driveway and continuing my war on Nutsedge and Poison Ivy.

Our ancient apple tree sets a few apples every year, but they never ripen.  I blame Cedar Apple Rust, and whatever else infects apples.  I spray for fungus on my roses, not the apple tree.

This Black Rat Snake was making his way northward from our backyard.  I left him alone.

Our neighbor's bees were hard at work on the open flowers on 'Moonlight' and other roses.  They are safe here, since I don't use any sort of insecticides in the garden.

Summer weather, hot and humid, has arrived ... after we enjoyed a relatively cool, wet spring.  Except for the Japanese Beetles, the roses appear to be relatively happy and are growing well.  I will work my way through the garden, deadheading and removing beetle damage, following the shade and working early and late in the day, to avoid the hottest temperatures and strongest sun.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Flowers on Friday: Mid-June Roses

Wednesday was fungicide day.  I like to think of this as an opportunity to get up close and personal with each of my roses individually ... instead of a bi-weekly necessary nuisance chore.  The sky that day was overcast, creating near-perfect light to take some really nice rose photos.  Here are the best ones, presented approximately in order as I walked through the garden.  (links below each photo take you to Help Me Find, the best rose reference site on the web.)

Shrub, 2004

Floribunda, 2001

Climber, 1931

Found rose, from the garden of President Garfield's Aunt Louisa

found rose

Portland, Damask Perpetual, before 1900

Hybrid perpetual, found rose from California

Noisette seedling bred by my friend Robert.

Hybrid wichurana, Rambler, 1910

China, before 1894

Hybrid wichurana, Rambler, 1903

Hybrid wichurana, Rambler, 1918

Hybrid wichurana, Rambler, 1900

Plant that I grew from seed in 2008.

Shrub, English Rose, 1996

Shrub, English Rose, 1983

Shrub, English Rose, 1984

Shrub, Hybrid rugosa, 1968

Climber, 1940

Shrub, English Rose, 1997

Climber, 1954

Hybrid wichurana, Rambler, 1917

Miniature Climber, 1964

Polyantha, 1929

Polyantha, found in a cemetery in Sumerduck, Virginia.

Hybrid Tea, 1943

There are still SO many nice roses in the garden, and I am enjoying them like crazy!  Things like spraying fungicide, and weeding, and deadheading are hard work ... but being outside in the garden, surrounded by lovelies like these, makes the work into a much more pleasurable way to spend the day.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Sunday Snapshot ... A New Seedling

Yesterday morning, while I was working in the Miniature Garden, I discovered a tiny seedling that had sprouted underneath one of the roses.  This whole plant is only three inches high, and that fat bud is the size of a pea.

Today after breakfast, I grabbed my camera and ran outside to see if the bud had opened ... I was not disappointed.  Look at this!

This tiny flower is only one-half-inch in diameter, and it's far from perfect, but it's one of the sweetest things that I have seen in a LONG time.  Yellow petals, with that fat orange edge, and a frosty white tip ... and it's a SINGLE!!  

The seedling grew underneath 'Simplex', so I will assume that it is the seed parent.  The pointy petals seem similar.

Which rose provided the pollen?  The only orange rose nearby is 'Orange Honey'  It has orange and yellow in the petals, so I think it's a good guess.

For now, I'm going to leave the seedling to grow right where it is.  I put a metal tag stand over it to protect it and to remind me that it's there.  It's going to be exciting to see how this little baby changes as it matures.

Speaking of babies ... do you remember the seedling that I found last year growing underneath 'Lilian Austin'?

This year, it has been in bloom continuously since the first flower opened in the middle of last month.  The flowers are three inches in diameter, the color glows as if they were lit from within, and they are fragrant!

Even with a year of growth and maturity so far, this plant is still small and immature (it's about a foot and a half high and it sprawls).  That's okay for now.  Watching seedlings like this grow and change as they get older is best part of raising them.

Happy Sunday, Everybody!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Beetle Season

Every year, I try to remember to document the day when I find the first Japanese Beetle in my garden.  For 2016, that day is today.  

This is a portrait of the nasty bugger, taken right before I squished it.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Josiah Ryland's Rose

There is a small rose growing in the shade beside an ornate iron fence in Section B at Hollywood Cemetery.  I have visited it many times, but I have never seen a flower on it ... till last month.

This flower is not much to look at, definitely past peak and a bit tattered, but it's a beautiful flower to me.  

Timing was perfect and the plant was in good enough condition to allow me to carefully snip five cuttings ... to try to propagate it, preserve it, and possibly determine which rose it is.

I checked on the cuttings this morning and I saw a root!!

More roots!!

Whatever this rose is, it rooted VERY quickly.  All five cuttings are in this container, planted on May 19, and multiple roots are visible on the side and bottom of the container three weeks later, today, June 9.  (Six to eight weeks, maybe longer, is more typical.)

These roots hold the promise of plants that represent the opportunity for me to grow Josiah Ryland's rose under more favorable conditions than it has at the cemetery, to share it with others, and (fingers crossed) to figure out which rose this is.

Click HERE to go to my Rose Rooting Tutorial, and see how simple it is to root roses and other plants for yourself and to share with friends.

Friday, June 3, 2016

About That Portrait ...

Thank you for the kind compliments about the portrait that our friend, Dan, painted of me.  This morning, I'm going to let you in on an interesting connection between this painting and a portrait that my husband painted of Dan's husband, Jim.

Dan took the reference photo of me at his house in their music room last spring.  This room is also where I snapped the photo of Jim that my husband used for his portrait.

Look at the reference photo for my husband's painting, and you will probably figure out where I'm going with this story.

Notice the vase of dried flowers?  Both of these photos, and the resulting portraits, quite coincidentally, ended up almost as two halves of the same whole image.  (Offering a very bad Photoshop image to illustrate this.)

Dan took dozens of photos of me that day, some in their music room and some in his studio, and I love the fact that he chose this one ... and he unconsciously created a special connection to the portrait of Jim, which makes me love it even more.

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