28 Aug 2015

I Love My Life, My Job and My Boss!


The day started off with a 'looking ahead' motif - as in 'we have to go and start thinking about Christmas shopping Barry!'  Not exactly words to make me jump with glee! Of course as 'right hand' - one tends to bite the proverbial bullet - and so off we went to Mississauga! Found most of what we wanted, and a few things that we didn't know we wanted until we stumbled upon them. [My kind of shopping - impulsive!]

On the way home we had a choice of hitting the Toronto Outlet Mall in Milton [where I'd been and dropped a silly amount on a new murse two weeks ago] or we might have time to stop in at Lost Horizons! Seriously? Really? Do you even have to ask! The only pitfall that I could see was that the truck was packed pretty full with Christmas stuff..... but when was I ever known to turn away a plant because I didn't think I would have room for it - in the garden or in a vehicle to get it home with me! Seriously people!

It was nice to see that there were other people with the same idea. I spotted a familiar face, but could not put a name to it until she called my name, and then graciously refreshed my memory..... it was indeed Barbara Philipps- Conroy, my delightful blogging friend from nearby Oakville. We'd messaged one another when I'd updated my Facebook profile picture last week. A quick photo op and peek to see what treasures she and a gardening friend had discovered, and then  it was slipping into the dark side!  It was nice having a chance to speak with Larry Davidson, owner of this sublime woodland plant nursery, and then I was off on a mission. I knew what I wanted, and hoped I would still know where to find the items. Trusted locator book was on the desk, and with a few page flips I was on my way. 




Over the past week, I'd been thinking a lot about a small circular garden that I created beneath the golden fronds of Metasequoia 'Ogon' - also known as 'Goldrush' - and how two years ago I'd been blessed to have a stunning trio of blooms from one of the true Holy Grail plants within the world of horticulture.... that of course being the elusive Meconopsis, or Himalayan Blue Poppy. I know they are extremely temperamental under the best of conditions, and especially where you have hot, humid summers...... sort of like the one we've been witnessing. I was also pondering trying my hand at the sublime terrestrial orchid, known as Cypripedium. Of the two, the latter is far more expensive, but oh so worth it when you are successful. 

About a month ago, Sasha [my employer] had stopped off at LH - her first time there, and managed to come home with no less than two Cypripedium - neither of which I was remotely familiar with. Of course she was somewhat sticker shocked at the price, but the tags showed absolutely stunning plants! Not to say I had been outdone, but yeah.... kind of the feeling I was falling victim to, and as any competitive  plantaholic will tell you, it ain't pretty when someone beats you to the punch!

We wandered, both found some treasures, walked the display gardens and then proceeded to the till where, to my surprise, Sasha footed the bill, in part as a thank you for my looking after her canines last week while the family was on vacation. Totally not expecting this, or I would have curtailed my shopping spree!  I was thrilled to find the following treasures to bulk up my 'Memorial Garden':

Cypripedium 'Philipp' which is a Werner Frosch selection that combines the Chinese Cypripedium macranthos with the North American Cypripedium kentuckiense, resulting in a very tall, robust [40-50cm] plant whose flower is white with maroon spots near the top, and backed by stunning large, pinkish mauve sepals, often streaked white. Nothing less than a stunning plant!

Gentiana sino ornata
Meconopsis betonicifolia
Meconopsis sheldonii x 'Lingholm'
Bletilla striata 'Sorya' which is a wonderful bluish purple species of the Japanese terrestrial orchid, of which I grow the two toned pink one! [the regular species]

Here are the tags that came with the plants!


Went online, and found this wonderful display of Cypripedium 'Philipp'. If it is as robust as the tag claims, I will be able to share with gardening friends a few years down the line. Fingers crossed!



This is what I want to be able to witness in my Memorial Garden once again. Is it really too much to ask? I think these two plants are meant to be together. Can I not play Garden Cupid just this once? All in all, a superb day out! The newest adoptees are all planted and have been watered in. Now I have to sit back and wait for next Spring. I will pay special attention to make sure they have all of the required elements in order to winter over successfully - considering our winters have been quite out of the ordinary this last three years..... fingers crossed!


22 Aug 2015

An August Angel



I think of her often 
at this time of year, when the
golden branches of Ogon are ablaze


 Remembering back to the year
that my Meconopsis
bloomed and then disappeared,


Turning his back to me,
confident that I would not soon forget
his staggering beauty,


and her face comes to me again,
the same golden wisps of her hair,
the same chilling blue of
her eyes


And it is less lonely,
less painful,
four years on.


21 Aug 2015

Four Years On: The Unmarked Road


I thought that we had all the time in the world -
that we would be able to plan
the grand reunion as it were,
where for a weekend
we could pass off the partners
and children, the pets
and obligations
and escape.....

back to a time when we burned
with a feverish intensity,
one that literally scorched itself upon
every one and every thing
we touched.



We didn't have the answers
to the questions that we do now,
and I cannot help but wonder
if given the chance,
would we want to see what
lay down the road.

Instead, we grabbed life
in a chokehold and burned
through each day
and night as though
it was our last.

Four years ago today
our band of gold
lost the weight and brilliance
that was our beloved Cathy,
taken far too soon,
but released from
her suffering.

In one of our last
conversations,
she said I had the heart and soul
of a writer,
a dream I have always grasped hold of,
and she mentioned a
story I had written,
about our group,
something she'd recently stumbled
upon.

How I wish life
could have mimicked
fiction.

And so I write this down
knowing that one day
soon, I will write a
different story.....

One about a group of people
who in their own unique and special ways,
have had a profound effect
upon life as I know it today.

Missing you Cathy.