|Mt. Cook from my hotel window|
|Iris x histrioides 'Katharine's Gold'|
|Paeonia tenuifolia in bud|
|Old town Tbilisi from the botanical garden|
|Quince in full bloom|
|Tony Hall by Mike Kintgen's "hell" strip|
|Meconopsis and Incarvillea at Napahai|
Once Tony left, June consisted mostly of just over 3 weeks in northern Yunnan with 13 intrepid North American Rock Garden Society members: I don't think I've had another more rollicking, fun, flower filled or rewarding trip (Okay, Georgia was pretty dang cool)...the Chinese mountains exceeded my fondest memories (I'd visited briefly 20 years earlier) and the weather was perfect!
|Sarracenia purpurea near Hawk's Hill, Newfoundland|
In July I attended the North American Rock Garden Society's annual meeting in St. Johns Newfoundland. I'd visited in May--which was wonderful. But the flowering of practically everything at once around the 4th of July in the Maritimes has to be experienced to be believed. Todd Boland--organizer of this meeting--is a Continental treasure. If you don't belong to NARGS you're missin' out!
|Monardella macrantha 'Marian Sampson'|
|Westridge in August|
|Zdenek and Zdena at Spring Creek with Bryan Fischer|
|Nonegenarian and her white pine in east Denver (she remembers it as a sapling: "I sure hope I die before it does"|
|Ray Radebaugh's astonishing garden in Louisville|
|Alpenglow from my driveway, December 29, 2018|
Now the year closes: for several months every morning it seems (or at least the bulk of them) I wake to a gorgeous dawn of Alpenglow igniting the Continental Divide--200 miles of which stretches within view of my living room windows. I have taken dozens, perhaps hundreds of pictures of the Front Range peaks which are sometimes pink like watermelon snow, other times Marmalade shades of orange and apricot, or the whole jelly case of fruit tints. Despite living less than ten miles from Downtown Denver (seen in this picture) and surrounded, really, by scores of miles of city in all directions, the half acre I'm blessed to live on--and our dispersed neighborhood give me the illusion of being somehow in nature. But its the Rocky Mountains that remind me of why I live here--so near and yet not so very far!
My blog usually dwells on plants, and this posting may lead you to think my life is a perpetual lark (and at times I'm almost persuaded myself)...but there are undertows in every life: this year I lost family members whom I have loved all my life, and who have had a great impact on me: my brother-in-law Earl Sampson, my first cousin Spiro Callas (on my father's side) and just two weeks ago my coeval first cousin on my mother's side, Eleni Nikolaou nee Kornaraki.
And I have experienced anger, depression and fury over the political direction of my very own country. I believe that treasonous collusion with a foreign power has polluted our political process and led to the installation of an illegitimate administration which is despoiling our environment--social, political, ecological and especially the airwaves with non-stop vulgarity, dishonesty and cupidity. The frightening contrast between the heinous world of national and international politics and the fantastic fulfillment of my work, my remarkably wise and good extended family and friends and the hundreds of honest, kind and thoughtful people I deal with from day to day is hard to jibe with so much violence in our country, our poor southern border and the world at large.
|View of distant construction via the Romantic Garden promenade at Denver Botanic Gardens|
Just noticed the last picture is out of focus: let's pretend it's "impressionistic" instead! The Blossoms of Light come to an end tomorrow night--and the crane looming over the Boetcher building presages the excitement of the Freyer-Newman Center that will expand our programs enormously and finally provide our Science, Exhibitions, Education and Library staff the Lebensraum they need to work even more powerfully.
I only wish there were a crane that would remove the demonic elements of our body politic and bury them deep in the compost heaps of history!