Roses, Flower Bulbs, and Backyard Things

Just back yesterday from a work trip to Salt Lake City- a town which always blows me away with the scenery. Denver has NOTHING on the views of mountains like Salt Lake does.

Two days before I left on that trip I spent the Sunday tying our Ballerina roses back on their hog panel trellises, so I had to wear long sleeves the entire work trip because my arms look like I lost a fight with numerous feral kittens or one very large bobcat. It’s a thorny, thorny bastard, is what I’m saying.

It’s a Hybrid Musk rose from 1937 and has quarter sized, single flowers that blooms is sprays of up to 100 flowers per spray. It is a sea of flowers in the spring and then has a smattering of blooms again in the fall. Drought tolerant, bright green leathery leaves and is an absolute favorite of ours. Found here.

I wasn’t kidding about the 100 blooms per spray.

Hybrid Musks are some of the easiest to grow, and have long arching stems 5-7′ long that do best with some structure or support. (With support the branches can get 12′ long).Since they’re so thorny (that feels to me like the 5th time I’ve mentioned that but appears to just be the 2nd) we grow ours as climbers on the fence. Ballerina doesn’t have much of a fragrance, probably because of it’s single form with 5 petals, but some of the other Hybrid Musks do. The Fairy is probably the most famous Hybrid Musk, but forgive me but I think that rose is garbage- Ballerina blows it out of the water. Another one of my favorite Hybrid Musks is called Cornelia found here as I guess I’m selling roses today?

Ballerina has the added bonus of a STELLAR display of adorable little orange rose hips in the fall that look like clusters of Christmas lights. That comparison was one I thought I made up, and now I see it’s listed in the description on the Antique Rose Emporium’s website so I don’t know what to think about that.

Anyway. Once it grows in a little, blooms (and I weed underneath it) I’ll share pictures.

As an update from that last post: I did visit the parents of my friend who passed away. I’d stopped by 3 times with no one there, came home after the last time I stopped by and spent an hour on the internet and FINALLY found her Mom’s number. I sent a text message explaining who I was and that I’d like to visit… and had it show up in my phone as her name. I HAD IT AS A CONTACT IN MY PHONE THIS WHOLE TIME. Goddamnit.

She replied to the text message and I headed over to visit. I took her the copies of pictures of my friend and a ZZ plant because manners or something.

It. Was. Heartbreaking.

My friends’s mom was always whip smart, intimidating as hell, strong, and with a mind like a steal trap. Back in the day she remembered my oldest daughter’s and my husband’s name, where I went to school, etc. But her grief has broken her, completely and totally. She didn’t know who I was. And like- totally fine, it isn’t about me- but I was the maid of honor in my friend’s wedding? We were connected at the hip for years in high school, and were really close for years afterwards- her mom always remembered me when I saw her. Her Mom mentioned how familiar I looked a couple of times but that was it.

Her parents did explain what had happened to her though. It turns out my friend had been sick for months and kept getting misdiagnosed. She was finally admitted to the hospital with a blood infection after numerous doctor and emergency room visits. She was fairly out of it by that point as the infection was that severe, and she also developed pneumonia when she pulled a feeding tube out and got the liquid in her lungs. They could never get a handle on the blood infection, nor the pneumonia, and weeks after she was admitted she passed away from organ failure. I asked her parents if my friend knew she was sick or dying, and they said she was never cognizant enough for that, and for the last weeks wasn’t even really conscious. So there is a small blessing there.

I asked where she was buried and her Mom said she was cremated and then asked if I would like to see her. (ugh… sure.) Expecting to see an urn, instead her mom walked me outside to a large rock in their backyard. Turns out they buried some of my friend ‘s ashes in their backyard. And yes, it was 100% as weird of a moment as it sounds. Also- this is how you get a haunted ’70s ranch house. While they are never going to sell, they also arn’t going to live forever and unless my friend’s daughter inherits the property someone is going to have a house with basically a grave in the backyard that they have no idea about.

As the spot was bare ground with a small boulder over it I asked if I could come back and plant some flowers for my friend, and her mom said of course. I have some irises (my brother in law found them in a state park around an abandoned German homesite from the 1800s), and I ordered some schoolhouse/oxblood lily bulbs. Both plants I know will grow and bloom with absolutely no care whatsoever. My friend loved daisies but these will have to do- I assume the dead aren’t picky around such things. And perhaps they’ll be a comfort to her Mom when they bloom.

The irises look a little like this, I didn’t get a picture when mine bloomed a few weeks ago
And the Oxblood/ Schoolhouse lilies look like this.

As I was leaving my friend’s Mom told me it was good to meet me.

So, yup, that was as brutal of a visit as it sounds. I’ll go back at some point this weekend (or coming week)and plant the flowers as last gesture for my friend and then that’s it, you know? After that everything about my friend will be in the past.

Also this weekend (hard left turn) we’ll have our middle daughter’s 13th birthday. None of our kids like big parties, they like a low key celebration of just family and some kind of special event or trip. So we’ll have a low key dinner and then next weekend we’ll go on a pack and paddle at her request. (Kayak/canoe trip with an overnight camp on a river bank somewhere) as she’s the fisherman of the group. She’s also asked to learn how to clean fish- so you got it kid- at least I don’t have to blow up balloons! Her dinner meal of choice on her actual birthday is for Shepard’s pie and chocolate mousse instead of a cake- so that’s what we’ll be doing tomorrow. How on earth she is already 13 is positively blowing my mind, I tell you what!

Dia de los Muertos Ofrenda… no Offend-a

Reposted from October 2018…

Now when it comes to talking about Dia de los Muertos… as a white, middle aged, blond haired, green eyed guera, I consider myself no entitled-ass expert over here or anything. But know this- while I am not Mexican by birth I married one, we’re raising three, AND I made alters for Dia de los Muertos before the movie Coco came out. To further prove my bit of street cred, I totally love all things to do with the Mexican culture. Also I’m taking Spanish lessons on Rosetta Stone. So like… Yo tengo sandwiches, ya dig?

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