Thank you, Chronically Vintage!

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Thanks so much to Jessica Cangiano at Chronically Vintage for featuring my photograph Lavender Harvest. See the post here. And check out the rest of Jessica’s blog for lots of fun and vintage finds.

– g

Farewell

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My Aunt Billie (Lesley) passed away this evening at age 96, my Mom’s cousin and last living relative.

She was like a sister to my Mom, having spent part of her adolescence living with my Mom and her parents. As an adult, she and her husband ran the radio service connecting the primitive areas of Idaho. Billie lived a full and fascinating life and was still feisty at 96. I remember talking to her some years ago and mentioned Mom felt herself slowing down at 77. Billie said, “Pffuh, I could kill a snake at 77″. I’m sure she could have, too.

We went to see her in Oregon in May and had a great visit over two days, for which we are very grateful.

I took this photo a few hours before we saw her for the last time.

Everyone’s time comes – no one is exempt. She kept going for almost 97 years and if anyone could have beat the system, it would have been her. Or my Dad.

Farewell, dear Billie. We love you and will miss you so. I hope your next journey is full of adventures and happiness.

– g

Hydrangea, Lily, Lily, Rose

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These three flowers dominate my thoughts, gardening and photography this week. Weather continues to be close to perfect. Warmer than it has been but clear and breezy.

HYDRANGEAS
We have twelve hydrangeas, five of which I planted in the autumn of 2007. One of the important things to know about hydrangeas is that if the emerging leaf nodes get damaged by an early spring frost, you will probably not have any blooms for that year, which is a perilous thought to a hydrangea lover. Hence, with the wacky (cold) weather we’ve had for the last two springs, I’ve spent many an hour outside wrapping the hydrangeas in felt blankets and frost cloth, driving stakes into the ground and winding the white fabric around until they resemble so many miniature ghosts dotted about the property. Once you’ve done this a few times, in blustery wind/rain/sleet/or snow, it gets really old. But it is worth it come July when the amazing flowers explode into melon sized balls of lacy petals of remarkable color.
Another nerve-wracking thing about hydrangeas is that the flower color to a large degree depends on the PH of the soil. Thus, two of my new plants, “Pink Parfait” and “Zaukonig”, which were pinky pink last year, have, due to the acid in the soil, emerged lavender this year. Very upsetting. The handling is to add lime or aluminum to the soil, but that won’t do anything for this year’s blooms.

LILY

My favorite Oriental lily, and the only one I grow, is the Stargazer. The three blooms I cut are still in vases on my desk. I can hardly bear to leave the room, the fragrance is so intoxicating. At night I put them in the fridge which really helps them last longer. The blooms that are still outside survived the heat wave and are perfuming the upper front lawn and wafting into the open living room windows. See early post on these luscious and addictive flowers.

ROSES

My roses are loving the recent heat.

David Austins: ‘Graham Thomas’ shot up a new stem covered with FORTY new buds. Like wise, ‘Lady Emma Hamilton’ is covered in multiple blooms, providing plenty for cutting, while leaving the white picket fence nicely covered. I also have ‘A Shropshire Lad’, ‘Gentle Hermione’ and ‘The Shephardess’ but Graham and Emma are the top performers this year. I water daily and fertilize with organic fertilizer every two months.

Knock Out:

I have Knock Out and Rainbow Knock Out. Going strong, more blooms from the Rainbow but better fragrance from the original Knock Out.

As well, my Rosa Rugosa ‘Hansa’, which was the first rose to bloom this season, is having a second flowering, nice new buds and blooms. Heavenly fragrance.

This is Seafair weekend, which means airshows, hydrofoil races, fireworks and other summery activities. Last night we went over to my brother Robb’s, who lives near Lake Washington, for a barbeque and viewing of the late evening aerobatics-with-fireworks show over the lake. Very lovely and festive.
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