Bloomfield Abundance

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I’ve decided the next rose I need to plant is Bloomfield Abundance.

Bloomfield Abundance.  (Source: the author)

Bloomfield Abundance. (Source: the author)

This is after i find homes for Swan, Afternoon Delight, Blue River and two Mr Lincolns…

Swan.  (Source: the author)

Swan. (Source: the author)

Afternoon Delight.  (source: the author)

Afternoon Delight. (source: the author)

Blue River. (Source: the author)

Blue River. (Source: the author)

I saw a large bush of Bloomfield Abundance when I was out for my walk this morning. She was also in bloom on my last visit to the gardens at Parliament House.

I know that there is a debate about identity of this rose and Cecile Brunner. The other name tied to these roses is the sweetheart rose, for obvious reasons. I love the delicate blush pink of her petals and her diminutive size (the flowers, not the bush). However, I’m not going to go into the ins and outs of that today. Rather, I want to emphasise the physical feeling in my body when I spotted BA/CB happily flowering by a front porch. Basically, I softened. Having spent weeks now being hard, angry and rigid, this is a good thing. Sometimes in life, being hard, angry and rigid is an appropriate response. It’s when it becomes one’s default position, like my personal Queen of Swords from my previous post, that we invite trouble in.

I finished my walk and watered the garden, then harvested some herbs. My kitchen bench is loaded with an abundance of thyme, parsley, sage and oregano. There’s that word again. Abundance. If nothing else good happened today, I could be satisfied with a tiny bouquet of this rose, garnished with parsley sprigs and some tiny white daisies, to sit on my side table as I write. But it is the weekend, and I can please myself. Drift, dream, snooze, rub the cat. Make salsa verde.

Bloomfield Abundance, thank you. Now I just have to figure out where I can fit her in.

The Winston Churchill spread

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Winston Churchill famously said that if you are going through hell, you should keep going. I took his advice to my deepest heart when I was going through my season of bereavements (eight deaths in six years). This is how the Winston Churchill spread came into being. I developed it because I needed it. As Winston had an intuitive side himself, I don’t feel he would mind too much.

This morning when I woke up it popped into my mind, so out came my faithful deck of tarot cards. I use the Druidcraft deck most regularly. It’s designed to be a little like the anti nuclear symbol although the outer cards don’t make up a circle.
The inner cards represent your aspects of hell, the things you are finding the hardest to cope with. The outer cards represent suggestions or new approaches to handling them. Here’s what mine looked like this morning.

(Source:the author)

(Source:the author)

The Lord: usually means structure, order and authority.
Justice: decision making, justice, discernment about action
Queen of Swords: someone in my past

Eight cups: going deeper
Princess of pentacles: study and nature
Two wands: doorways and creativity

So, I feel that my life has been taken over by this illness. Testing at certain times, rules about what to eat and what not to eat, having to work extra time to make up for all the lost time from medical appointments and so on. I hate this with a passion. Secondly I don’t necessarily trust what any of the so called experts are telling me about what to eat. I’ve always been a good eater. Not the kind to be found at McDonalds or the chip shop. So I feel this is an injustice. And the less said about the Queen of Wands the better.

The response cards validate what I have been thinking and feeling. The Eight of Cups to me suggests the need for what I wrote about in my post about the Golden Vision rose. The Princess suggests that both time spent in the appreciAtion of nature will be calming, so more time in the rosé garden for me. Yay! But I also feel its reinforcement of my desires for better answers about this condition especially on complementary treatment. And finally, the two. Be more creative, not less. Process that way rather than be intellectual and rational about it.

On an unrelated note, I am thrilled to say that Peace 1902 finally decided that it wanted to live. I planted it in July and had been waiting and waiting for it to put on some growth. After our recent bout of thirty seven plus I was convinced that there was not hope for it. But lo and behold, this morning I noticed a new shoot. It’s a good sign.

Love, Kylie

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I am a great fan of Stephanie Dowrick, former publisher, therapist, now writer and spiritual adviser. One of her books, Forgiveness and Other Acts of Love, is on the list of books that changed my life for the better. Of this book, I recall her comment which went something like ‘Imagine being the person who needed to write it’. Likewise, imagine being the person who needed this project. Imagine being the person who needed to find help in the guise of an oracle deck based on roses.

I have a large collection of decks of many different types. My first was a tarot deck based on Renaissance themes and imagery. I was at Uni, so it was after the whole adoption thing exploded in my face, which by the way was not of my own doing. Looking back, I had never connected these two events until now. Now, it seems SOOOOOO logical.

When you’re adopted under the closed system as I was, the whole fabric of society collides in a lie. You get issued with a fake identity. Sometimes you get told its a fake, and sometimes not, but either way its a fabrication. Everywhere I went and everyone I knew pretended in the truth of this fabrication, and they expected, no needed, that I would too.

It’s hard to convey to anyone who isn’t adopted just how disturbing and destabilising this is. To know with every fibre of your being that everyone one you know is withholding vital information from you, and, they say it is for your own good. Never mind that they are in possession of the same information themselves…never mind that every bit of television, advertising and general propaganda tells you that the bond between mother and child is sacred and unbreakable, and you do not go a day in your life without being reminded that you are the exception to that maxim, and no one will let you ask why.

My discovery of oracle cards gave me an alternative. Being unable to trust the reality of my everyday life, oracle cards suggested to me that the reality I dwelt in might not be it after all. What relief….Plus, there was the world of nature. A refuge for many who for whatever reason feel like freaks, outcasts or rejects. There were a few roses in my childhood home, but I especially remember Mr Lincoln. His is my first rosé memory. I am very glad to be reunited with him in my current

Mum had Superstar as well, and I recall a white rose. In my grandparent’s garden, I remember swathes of freesias on the west side beneath the oleander, the nasturtiums up the back, the violets and the mulberry tree. I remember kangaroo paws at the block, the tiny cats paws and bacon and egg plants. These acted as subtle anchors for me. Aspects of nature that were consistent, and reliable and had no agenda for me.

So in retrospect, a card deck on roses is as natural as breathing for me. But I have learned to be careful about who I reveal this side of myself too. The same mindset that believed closed adoption could work also tends to derogate alternate forms of knowing. I figure that means I am probably on to something.

Love, Kylie.

Golden vision

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I am having what could be called a crisis of meaninglessness. Those who have actually had the intestinal fortitude to read philosophy books might term it an ‘existential’ crisis. I prefer crisis of meaninglessness. Truth be told, I’ve been having it for a long time. Growing since my birth, it burst into full flower in early May 2006 when a dear friend died from the cure for her cancer at the premature age of 30. (I miss you Bec).

Hence my choice of rose. This rose is called Golden Vision. She comes from the Alister Clark stable, released in 1922. She is a hybrid gigantea, and like many of his roses, she does a brilliant job of adorning the tennis court fence at Old Parliament House.
image

image

image

Alister Clark had a clear vision for his rose breeding program. He wanted to breed roses that would thrive in the Australian climate, which is so much more extreme and unpredictable that England and Europe. In this, he was completely out of sync with his times, an odd environmental visionary. At this point in Australian history, we were still in love with the myth of conquering nature. Don’t adapt to where you are, make where you are adapt to you. His roses were an outstanding success, although generations after his death forgot them for a while. Fortunately most of them have been found and are well represented in a number of gardens around the country.

At the moment I am content with contemplating Golden Vision’s loveliness and using her name as a meditative inquiry. There is no doubt though that only the power of a truly robust and adaptable golden vision is going to sustain me in the near and distant future. I can only hope it emerges soon.

Love, Kylie

Inconvenient thoughts

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I was lying in bed the other morning having a fantasy about an alternative…career.  I’ve had this dream before.  It basically consists of me being the inspirational teacher to people who have trouble with literacy.  I’m currently a volunteer TESOL teacher so this fantasy is grounded in a wee bit of reality. The point of the story is not so much about the warm and uplifting scene that I was concocting in my head, as about the puncture that happened shortly after.

In my head I tell them that the only reason why they might overcome the problems they’ve had to date, and the storehouse of bad memories about reading and writing ingrained into their cells, was finding a very unique and personal to them goal for getting through the class. Because simply by being in an adult literacy class they had stepped into what I like to call the baggage hold. I suggested that they needed to find a vision of the future that was bigger, more compelling and down right alluring as way to get past this nasty interim bit.

Time ticked on. The work day launched and my gentle heartwarming fantasy was washed away under the shower. A few hours later I was at work and deeper down the depression hole. The subject matter of my work is quite depressing at times, and as I’m not coping too well myself at the moment following my diagnosis of diabetes, the subject matter is really affecting me. I gazed out of the trees at the top of my screen and sulked. (I’m good at sulking).

One of those thoughts hit me. You know, the thought that sneaks in before the thought that you think you should have. In my experience these thoughts are always inconvenient, and always true. This was what it was. I was at advocating for my imaginary students something that I cannot achieve for myself currently. In short I am an unconscious hypocrite. See what I mean about inconvenient?

Fantasy is a powerful thing and it needs to be used with care and discernment. Fantasies say far more about their generators than they do about anything else. They are also a little like a spotlight, illuminating only some things. They shouldn’t be taken at face value. If I had taken my fantasy at face value I would’ve completed the scholarship application to retrain as a literacy teacher.

What I now think is going on is that my subconscious/higher self/call it what you will was using this fantasy to get my attention. It’s another attempt to get me to deal with my own baggage, to not project onto others, and not to make the mistake (again) of an unconscious career choice.

I could still end up as a literacy teacher. If i did, I would probably still say to my students exactly what I imagined myself saying to them. And if that is the case then at least then I would be able to say to them that I have done as I advocate. Dreaming a bigger, compelling and more alluring future for myself seems to the first order task.

Love, Kylie

Mystery roses of Watson

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Historically, I have felt about most forms of exercise how I would feel about eating vomit. As you can tell, I have extreme feelings about this, which I freely admit are probably neither accurate or useful. Nevertheless they exist.

Generally my associations with exercise induce memories of shame, discomfort and boredom. I was always the one who got chosen last for team sports in primary school, and ran last in every sports carnival. I tried ballet in primary too, which I mostly liked except for the exams and the fact that I can’t really keep time for nuts. Plus I have ‘bad’ feet and even then I was stupendously tall. I intuited very early on that a dance career would not be mine.

When I was about twelve or thirteen, I tried aerobics which had just started and promptly injured my knees. The ‘cure’ for that was endless swimming. My poor mother used to have wait for me three times a week while I ploughed up and down the pool. Consequently I am an excellent swimmer, but it too has negative overtones. Mostly of boredom and regimentation. I’ve had phases of swimming since then but I never stick to it. What, I hear you ask, does this litany of complaint have to do with roses? Only that they have provided me with a reason to make the now mandatory exercise more diverting.

It was not auspicious weather to decide to photograph old roses in my suburb. Saturday got to thirty six, as I’m writing it’s about thirty two. Normal temperatures in summer, but it’s not summer yet. It concerns me that we are having runs of days over thirty in spring. I am not sure if I really want to remain living in a place where that happens, but that’s an aside for now…

I decided that to make walking less boring, I would use the time to get to know the gardens in my suburb, and specifically see if I could find out some of the names of the old stayers. The idea came because of one rose in particular which consistently amazes me. My photos in no way do it justice.

Source: the author

Source: the author

Source: the author

Source: the author

This rose has been there for decades, judging by the thickness of its trunk and how tall it is. It is around seven feet high. I’d describe the colour as a lovely soft gold, with a tiny hint of salmon on the outer petals. It obviously has a courageous constitution, given the general neglect it survives. If only its perfume had been a little stronger.

At the opposite end of this street is an amazing rose hedge, also hitherto admired from my car.

Floribunda hedge in Watson (Source: the author)

Floribunda hedge in Watson (Source: the author)

When I see floribunda roses like this I full appreciate their form. This is what they excel at doing. Added bonus: it had a delicious scent.

Next I discovered an equivalently jawdropping weeping standard, which has also been there for decades. It’s planted as a specimen, amongst other specimens, in front of a house that remains faithful to its sixties origins.

Weeping standard rose in Watson (Source; the author)

Weeping standard rose in Watson (Source; the author)

Need I say anything more?

The last rose I’ve selected because I was impressed by the total health of foliage planted in total shade.

Thriving in full shade (Source: the author)

Thriving in full shade (Source: the author)

I’m so grateful to have discovered a way to make the chore of exercise seem more lovely. I’ll post more as I take more walks, and I hope you enjoy them too. Meanwhile, I am going to try and narrow down a name for the gold one.

Love, Kylie

PS: I would welcome any assistance with identification.

Sugar, roses and diagnoses

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Meet Sugar Jangle.

Reproduced with permission from Paul Barden.

Reproduced with permission from Paul Barden.

This curiously named rose grabbed my attention while researching roses with the words ‘sugar’, ‘sweet’, ‘candy’ or ‘honey’ in the title. This was one of my attempts this week to deny the reality of my blood test results…

I discovered at least two hundred sweet named roses, but only one Sugar Jangle. It describes exactly how I feel.  It was bred by Paul Barden and has not been released commercially. When I wrote to Mr Barden to seek permission to use his photo, I took the opportunity to ask him for the rationale for the name. It was the last response I expected. Sugar Jangle is named for a nuclear test explosion.

This puts Mr Barden, in my view, into a very special category. It takes a long time to come up with a list of roses named for the dark, the unlovely, and the scary. And the list remains short, especially when compared to the two hundred plus just on a sweet theme. My list includes The Dark Lady, Wildfire, and Typhoon. I grew the first one on my last garden but can’t fit her in here at the Halfway House. If you consider characters who had a crap time, then we can include Sweet Juliet and Ophelia, both suicidal teenagers. Perhaps if I extend this to include the so called charity roses, such as Best Friend in honour of abused, abandoned and neglected animals, or Beyond Blue for anyone whose mental health is troubled, then there is a short list of roses which recognise that life is frequently not how we would wish it.

Thanks to Mr Barden for the use of the photograph. His website is a wonderful treat for rosé lovers. Make sure you check it out. http://www.paulbardenroses.com/brownroses.html

Love, the sugar jangled Kylie

Delight part two

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The nicest thing to happen to me all day, in several days in fact, has been the roses. I took myself off after work to OPH for some chill out time, and for the first time since last Wednesday, I forgot everything that had been weighing me down.
I spent a delightful, yes, delightful, hour and a bit peering into the camera trying to capture the loveliness in front of me.

Climbing Lady Hillingdon (Source: the author)

Climbing Lady Hillingdon (Source: the author)

I got home and had a long conversation with a friend from home, who has finally relented and started to grow roses. I’ve had a simple dinner, hugs with the Iron Paw and soon I will be safely ensconced under the doona. I don’t think I’d be able to appreciate those basic goodnesses as much as I am right now if I hadn’t spent that time in the gardens.

So thank you to rose kind for its gentle healing embrace.

As a result of my experience over the last few days, I am making a gentle plea for understanding. If you have a friend or loved one who has been diagnosed with something they don’t want and are frightened by, don’t leap straight to opinions. Don’t tell them it can managed first up, even if it is true. Ask them how they feel first. It’s so simple, and so kind. And in my experience, almost uniformly overlooked.

Love, Kylie