In a Vase: A Touch of Silver

rose Sterling Silver

Well, it is Monday again, time for In a Vase on Monday with Cathy! 


Today's vase was a hurriedly contrived affair: one stem of rose 'Sterling Silver' collected, set in a vase, and photographed as the sun was setting.  'Sterling Silver' has flowered magnificently this autumn.  Many blooms are just a bit dry as I haven't been watering heavily; but this bud was near-perfect with the help of our recent rainfall.  And the scent is incomparable: a full, sweet fragrance, unmistakably rose and as quiet and graceful as the color of the blooms.


The vase is one I nearly discarded but have since decided is perhaps worth keeping around.  The top was fluted in much the same manner as I would flute a pie crust, pinching the clay inward and out with my fingers.


I am hoping to be able to replace 'Sterling Silver' in the new garden, but I'm unsure whether I can get another.  Growers seem to be phasing it out in favor of lavenders reliable in a wider range of climates.  Perhaps I can't blame them, remembering how it sulked in my first garden - defoliated by black spot each summer and nipped by cold in winter.  For all that, I find it is a very special rose here in the desert, having grown far larger than expected, and being healthy and free-flowering.  And it is a superbly beautiful rose.

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Packing for a Garden

I'm not sure what it says about me that of the first batch of bulbs and rhizomes taken up and potted for trundling along to a new garden, most have not yet bloomed in this one.  I'm an incurable romantic, perhaps, always looking to the next season, but also no doubt laboring under the suspicion that some of these plants (particularly the irises) might actually thrive better in the new location.  It is worth noting, though, that even plants which eventually grow strongly here often get off to a slow start.


In any case, here is an Amaryllis belladonna - hopefully a bright cherry pink version of the more familiar pale pink - purchased from Bill the Bulb Baron last year. It is coming up strongly as weather turns cooler, but it was still quite easily dug and replanted.


Also visible are fans from one of several arilbred irises.  I'm afraid I have lost track, but I believe this is the little blue 'Pixie Power'.  Small though it is, it had multiplied nicely, though I am still waiting for those first flowers.


What can just barely be glimpsed in a corner of the photo below is a cluster of my beloved Freesia alba.  I'm not even checking to see whether Freesias like to be moved in the green as there really isn't any choice.  So far they seem to have transplanted well.  They have certainly become one of those bulbs I don't want to be without, climate permitting. 


These had been caught in the shadow of a rapidly growing Lavandula dentata, so they really needed to be lifted in any case as they could hardly have bloomed under all that bushy lavender foliage.  They may well be breathing a sigh of relief!

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An End, a Beginning, and a Monday Vase

the Monday vase, rose Crown Princess Margareta

I think I can finally write this post.


For many past months now I've frozen on blogging, both posting my own and following those of my friends.   This is not because I'm any less interested in the things we love in common - the cheerful faces of flowers peeping at us in the morning and wishing us good-night at sunset; the graceful, reassuring fingers of foliage reaching to us across garden paths; the scent of roses drifting dreamily across a warm room; the sense of well-being as we hear the soft drip of rain on thirsty roots, the silence of sunlight on a canopy of leaves.  No, all those loves are as strong as ever inside me.  But lately I have had to reorient my plans and thinking as never before.


I suppose we each have our own unspoken boundaries when blogging: the things we do say and the things we keep quietly to ourselves.  I will say that I believe my friends online know more about who I actually am than almost anyone in what is casually termed 'real life'.  But there is a lot that none of you do know about me, and that is going to change a little today. 


Because it must.  Because life is taking a rather abrupt turn.


By Christmas my sister and I hope to be starting a new life in a little single wide mobile home on bare desert acreage in Las Cruces, New Mexico.  Yes, of course there will be a garden.  I hope to take all of you (or as many as are interested) along on the journey.


The sober tone of this post is due to the fact that this relocation is formed out of a life-long tragedy for myself and my sister.  We are, sadly, the children of a woman who wanted nothing else in life other than to control our lives.  To keep us permanently within her sphere.  Growing up in a situation like this, there is a very natural tendency for a child in love with normalcy to normalize the difficulties of such a relationship.  And if the relationship is built on keeping the children isolated from outside influence, this can go on for a long, long time before the breaking point comes.  In the meantime other controls can be built up.


Imagine, if you will, living with someone who enjoys harassing you and then watching your pain and frustration.  Someone who seldom respects a closed door or a private conversation.  Who expects to be taken along on any and every shopping trip and invading even your personal choices over things like clothing. 


Someone who can keep verbally wounding you while you are visibly in tears and begging them to stop.  Someone who does not mind counterfeiting stupidity and even insanity to get her way.  Someone who once threatened to kill your dog.  And who has tried to drive a wedge between you and your closest friend, who happens to be her other daughter.


And who makes it impossible for you to get a job to earn money to move away.


Now, thanks to some assets that once belonged to our late grandmother, we are in a position to make a break for freedom from all this.  Life is likely to be a bit tight for a while as we try to get on our feet, but I firmly believe it will be worth the potential distresses and that we will succeed.


I am losing a lot here - the garden most of all, but also a home I have loved and a place I have dreamed of spending the rest of my days.  But we are keeping so much - above all, our own selves and our beloved animals, most of our possessions, the far-distant friendships that we have formed across the internet, and all the potential that we have built up over the years.


My attempt to finally open my own shop here was one of the things that made it brutally obvious that I could not keep going on as I had been.  By anyone's calculations, it is difficult to start a small business, but to do that while constantly bracing against intense resentment from someone you are living with - well, it was just too much to deal with.


So, for now, I am closing shop until the move is complete.  My sister is helping me pack up the pots (I have a good many ready to go!) to trundle along with her sculptures and all the rest of the projects we could never quite see through to completion under our rather dire circumstances.  I anticipate reopening as soon as possible!


In the meantime, now that I have finally broken my silence here on the blog, I look forward to beginning to post again, taking all of you to a new desert and the beginnings of a new garden.  I admit to being thrilled that I can stay in the desert southwest.  For a while it looked as though the most practical course was to move back into the Midwest.  But then there was a price reduction on a particular property in Las Cruces, and we seized it.  Things are not quite finalized, but there are no visible roadblocks in the process now.  It seems impossible to explain how much it means to me to know that I will still be able to see the drylands beneath my feet and the purple desert mountains in the distance, to feel the undying sunlight, and to smell the strange, wild scent of creosote on those rare wet mornings.


I've already begun taking up some of my plants, especially focusing on specialty bulbs.  As Las Cruces is in the high desert, conditions will be colder in winter and the range of plants will be somewhat different, but I feel justified in taking along things that would otherwise be costly to replace, as well as some that are simply favorites.  I'm sure you'll be seeing more about my choices over the next few weeks.


And now, as it is, after all, Monday, I leave you with a vase that I made and photographed several weeks ago.  Usually I am so demoralized by day's end that I just can't get a regular blog post completed, which is why this site has languished so badly over recent months.  But perhaps you will enjoy this now.

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Autumn Blues

Today's vase, as well as the rest of my post, was meant to be about the brilliantly blue Salvia reptans.  But it is a minuscule thing, all wispy stems, slender leaves, a few spots of bright blue, and the sunlight shining through.  So a couple of others slipped into my vase alongside it.

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In a Vase: A September Rose

the Monday Vase

The heat has finally broken here in the Sonoran Desert. Yesterday afternoon a slow rain moved in on cool air. Today it continues to drizzle, a luscious moisture refreshing the soil, the plants, the garden creatures, and the people. 

The garden is changing almost as I watch, leaves greening and flowers brightening the borders. The native plants in particular are beginning to bloom more.  Calliandra californica is misting the Central Bed with a froth of bright red.  Leucophyllum frutescens - sometimes called barometer bush because of its uncanny capacity for flowering several days in advance of rainfall - predicted this rain a couple of days ago, when the skies were still only lightly cloudy.
And the roses are coming to life again too. Today's vase centers on the arrival of a lovely bloom on Crown Princess Margareta.
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