A Walk in the Redwoods

Every year for my friend Julie’s birthday, friends are invited on a hike. Her husband Randy does the organizing. This year, as her kids are getting older, they decided to to the big one- Big Basin to the Sea. It’s 12 miles, starting at the park headquarters, climbing a ridge, then slowly down into the Waddell Valley to Berry Creek Falls, and out through Rancho Del Oso to Waddell Beach. My memory of the trip (I’ve done it 2 or 3 times, but something like 10 or 15 years ago) was that the climb up that first ridge had me huffing and puffing and wishing I’d had a walking stick. The long walk down after that had made the bottoms of my feet ache before I’d even reached Berry Creek Falls for lunch. I decided to prepare in advance- I wanted to carry less with me- a fanny pack instead of a shoulder bag, new athletic shoes instead of hiking boots, and a walking stick I’d collected on another hike about a decade ago, and had never used.  The result- happy feet, happy back, and surprise at how much better shape I’m in now than I was the last time. I couldn’t believe how soon we reached the top of the ridge. Not huffing at all. The 6 miles to Berry Creek Falls didn’t wear me out, and even after the last 6 miles, my feet were fine. I’ll admit to having lots of achy areas the next day, and a few minor aches still, 3 days after, but I’m really happy about the whole thing. I took lots of pictures along the way, so here’s a photo essay of the hike I hope you’ll enjoy. You can click on any picture for a full sized version of it.

To start the trip, we met at the bus depot at 8:30 am for the one bus going to Big Basin. When we got to headquarters, we availed ourselves of the facilities, then all posed in the Auto Tree for a photo. The Auto Tree is no longer marked as such and you can no longer back a car into it for photos, but in the early park history, that was done all the time, and there are lots of photos and postcards of it.

Randy sent me this picture of our group in the Auto Tree just before we started hiking

Randy sent me this picture of our group in the Auto Tree just before we started hiking


Randy watching the kids (his and others) climb on the big fallen log by the amphitheater near the start of the hike.

I chatted with Randy on the way up the hill, and with Julie part of the way down. I kept stopping to take photos, while the parents in the group had to keep up with the kids, so I ended up bringing up the rear for quite a bit of the hike. Fortunately, although I enjoy walking with others and getting to know them better, I also enjoy walking alone in the peace and quiet, and hearing the small trickling creeks and babbling brooks, so a long hike like this gave be the best of both. In these photos, low light in the forest affects the colors and sharpness. Point and shoot cameras are convenient, but limited.


We saw 4 banana slugs along the upper part of the trail.


View down the hillside just below the ridge.


Upper part of one branch of Waddell Creek. Pictures below are the same spot, where trees have fallen across path and creek. Julie reading sign.


More scenery in this area:

Log with fungi:


Creek crossing just before the Berry Creek Falls overlook.


View of the falls from the overlook. A bit blurry, due to low light in the forest.

Some of us took the side trail up to the falls where there is a deck and benches. Had lunch and enjoyed the rainbow across the middle of the falls.


From this point on, there were only two other non-parents in the group that strolled for the remaining 6 miles (while parents and all kids headed fairly quickly toward the beach, where the kids wanted to go.) They were sometimes walking with me, sometimes in front a minute or so, and sometimes a bit behind. The old road I remembered had washed out in a couple places during the intervening decade, so there are some trails going up and down on the hillsides where it used to be flat. More interesting, but I was starting to notice the climbing up and down muscles more.


This sign shelter was made by my husband many years ago. It is now just west of a washout on the old road, at the place where the new trail around the washout crosses the creek.


Steep fern covered hill near the sign shelter.

More scenery along the trail:

More fungi:


At the center of this picture is a bright spot that is a big-leaf maple with the sun on it’s yellow autumn leaves. When I couldn’t get it to show up any better than this, I tried to zoom in for a close up, but in the low light, zoom is blurry without a tripod:


Well, you’ll just have to imagine how pretty this looked in the center of the previous view.

At one point when the others were ahead of me, I came around a corner to see this:


I decided to lie down next to them and enjoy the view for a few minutes:


Scenery from the lower part of the forest:


This stump appears to have had some human intervention in its appearance.


From a bridge over Waddell Creek


This bay tree reminds me of an Ent.


Eventually, out of the forest, and onto the lower part of the dirt road:

In this area, we again met up with others from our group coming back up to meet us, along with some who drove to the beach to meet up with Julie and kids there, and wanted a short hike. We all walked together past the farms in the lower valley and the marsh , before crossing the highway to the beach.

In the beach picture, you can see a person at the far end where Waddell Creek enters the ocean. That’s where all the kids were playing.  Some more of Julie’s friends joined us, and we all stayed to see the sunset, which was spectacular and lasted a very long time:


Someone saw this nearly full moon rising to the east as we were watching the sun going down in the west.



Julie and Randy enjoying the sunset



Pink glow on clouds to the east.

After sunset we got into cars of those who had met us at the beach, and drove to Whale City Cafe in Davenport for dinner and pie. More of Julie’s friends, and my husband Frank, showed up there, and we pretty well filled the place. I took one more sunset picture out the restaurant window, and a couple of the group in the restaurant, singing Happy Birthday to Julie (in birthday hat), and her twin sons (yes they were born on her birthday 9 years ago):

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Road trip- Cornish Cousins and lots of cemeteries

Part 1- Getting there is half the fun

The first weekend of June was the California Cornish Cousins gathering in Grass Valley. They aren’t my actual cousins, they are other people of Cornish descent. And for those still wondering, Cornish people come from Cornwall, the “toe” of England. The original Cornish were Celtic, like the Welsh, Irish, Scottish, Breton and Galicians. By now, many have some Anglo-Saxon in them, and many who left Cornwall married other non-Celts. My mother’s mother was Cornish, so I’m ¼, but it’s the heritage I knew most about while I was growing up. The Cornish were world renowned hard-rock miners, and went wherever miners were needed during the 1800s when the Cornish mines were closing down. My ancestors went to Pennsylvania to mine anthracite after tin and copper became scarce in Cornwall. So I joined CCC as a life member to keep in touch with my roots (and if any readers have the last names of Eddy or Tredinnick, we’re probably related.)

Of course, I can’t just take the freeways and get places quickly. I take the scenic routes, and visit cemeteries looking for heritage roses on the way. My first detour was to avoid Hwy 580 by taking the road through Livermore. I like downtown Livermore- it’s a nice small-town type of downtown, and a nice place to stop for a cold coffee drink. Then on to Vasco Rd to Byron where there is a great fruit/vegetable stand just before getting on Hwy 4 toward Stockton. Their strawberries are the tastiest I’ve ever had, but need to be eaten right away. They don’t keep well. Fresno St. and Luftus Hwy avoid actually seeing any of Stockton, then up several highways to Ione. I wanted to look at the cemetery there. We have a rose in the Heritage from this cemetery, and I was happy to see it is still quite happy in its original location. I also saw 2 plants of Red Runaround and one of Hermosa, both almost ubiquitous in central Calif. cemeteries. I would have stopped for lunch or another coffee drink here, but the town is only a block long and all the parking was taken. It was also very hot, so I didn’t want to park a couple blocks away and walk.

This Lawrenciana rose in Ione Cemetery is the one we have at the Heritage Rose Garden. Still doing well in both places.

This Lawrenciana rose in Ione Cemetery is the one we have at the Heritage Rose Garden. Still doing well in both places.


A modern rose. The color should be peachier than in this photo. I have no idea what it is, but it certainly thrives on neglect.


Old headstone in front of a Red Runaround plant.


Hermosa is one of those roses you find in almost every cemetery in central California

I continued up 124 to 49 and Plymouth Cemetery. In 2008, I was really impressed with the condition of the roses there. Many were unknown to me them, but most have been identified since. (I must repeat what I’ve said before- If you aren’t an expert at propagating roses from cuttings, please don’t collect cuttings in cemeteries. The roses are often stressed, and taking cuttings could damage them. Also most have already been propagated and you can buy plants from some nurseries and at sales at Sacramento Cemetery’s Historic Rose Garden or the Heritage.) By 2010, someone pruned the roses. A climbing Hybrid Tea cut back to 3′ is a sad sight, but now a crew has gone through spraying weeds with Roundup. Two of the roses will probably die as a result, and a group of us are trying to get a group of volunteers in the area to take over caring for the cemetery to prevent it happening to the rest of the roses. Several other central California cemeteries have volunteer groups who make sure the roses are watered, weeded and otherwise cared for, so I’m hopeful this will work out for Plymouth, too.

All that's left of one rose.

All that’s left of one rose.


A part of the plant when I first saw it.

A part of the plant when I first saw it.

I stopped at a store in Plymouth that advertised espresso drinks. It was pretty hot and I really wanted a frozen blended pick-me-up. Turns out they also sell a lot of interesting foods, and have a wine bar. I sampled some gourmet chips and dip while waiting for the frappe, which turned out so much better than the ones that well-known coffee chain makes. Drove straight to Nevada City from there, though I was tempted to stop at several wine tasting rooms on the way. There were also a lot of yard sales and some cemeteries, but I wanted to get to my friends Kathryn and Doug’s house by 4pm, so I’d have time to visit a bit before heading back to Grass Valley for the Cornish Cousins dinner.

Part 2- The Gathering

The first part of the gathering was held at the North Star House in Grass Valley on Friday evening. I’ve been there a couple times before. The first time, in 2008, I was invited to take a look at the roses and tell them anything I could about them. In the process, I met a couple of local rose enthusiasts, Joy and Kathy. The North Star House was designed by Julia Morgan, who also designed Hearst Castle, and was where Arthur and Mary Hallock Foote lived. I’ve been reading ‘Angle of Repose’ lately, which is a fictionalized account of their lives before they lived in Grass Valley. Some of it very fictionalized. The house is now run by the North Star Historic Conservancy (http://www.northstarconservancy.org). Dinner was Cornish pasties, of course. There are several places in Grass Valley that make them. We had musical performances by two local acoustic groups before dinner. Then we had singing by the Grass Valley Male Voice Choir. After dessert, we adjourned to the other side of the house for a Cornish sing-along and view of the sunset. It was all quite lovely.

Dinner with Male Voice Choir

Dinner with Male Voice Choir

Courtyard of North Star house

Courtyard of North Star house




West side porch for the sing-along.

View of the west side from the lawn

View of the west side from the lawn




Saturday started with a presentation on the history of Cornish miners in the Adelaide area of Australia by one of their descendants, Greg Drew.  Greg also has relatives in California he’d never met before this trip. This was held in the Masons building in Grass Valley. Then we went to a park in nearby Penn Valley for a lunch of Cornish pasties. Following lunch we had a talk by Duane Niesen on what it was like to grow up as a Cornish cowboy. Yes, there were Cornish cowboys in the Sierra. Starting at age 12, Duane, with his family, drove cattle from Penn Valley up to higher meadows for the summer, and back down in autumn.

Duane Niesen talking about his cowboy days

Duane Niesen talking about his cowboy days



Pasty lunch at Penn Valley

Pasty lunch at Penn Valley

After lunch we had a few free hours in which to explore, so I drove back to Nevada City and collected Kathryn and we drove up to North San Juan to see how the roses in the cemetery and town were doing. The last time I was there, I’d collected cuttings from a large older modern rose near the church. That rose is no longer there. Some of the other roses that were in a row with it, along a side street, are still there. One looked like it might be Talisman, and we’d recently lost one of the plants in the Heritage, so I collected a couple cuttings from this one. The cemetery had two pleasant surprises. First, there were lots of roses despite years of drought, including one we call “Orange Smith” for the name on the nearest headstone. It was even blooming! As far as I could tell, no roses had been lost since I was there 9 years ago. The other surprise came with meeting a woman who was walking through, and told us she maintains the cemetery, getting help from others to clear away dead branches that have fallen, keeping down weeds, etc. I wish we’d had more time to chat, but she was on her way to meet someone. I took pictures of each rose and of its associated headstone.

Probably the Mme Plantier some of us remember. It has just finished bloom. Mme Plantier is another rose we find in one cemetery after another.

Probably the Mme Plantier some of us remember. It has just finished bloom. Mme Plantier is another rose we find in one cemetery after another.


“Orange Smith”


When we got back to Kathryn’s house, she, Doug and I watched the recording of the Belmont Stakes. What a thrill that was! I’ve watched the Triple Crown races since I was a kid, whenever I had access to a TV. I’d been in the Peace Corps when Secretariat won, and only had a small B&W when Seattle Slew and Affirmed won, so this was the first time I’d seen a Triple Crown winner on a large color screen.

For the evening, it was back to the Mason’s for dinner (not Cornish pasties), singing a few Cornish songs and another presentation. This one was by Prof. Roger Burt from England, whose interest is in the influence of the Masons and other groups like IOOF on the worldwide Cornish migration. Apparently, by joining these groups, the miners were able to get help in moving their families to the new mining towns in the US, Australia and elsewhere. I’d known that many of the foothills cemeteries had Masons and IOOF sections, but never understood the significance before. Some of my English coal mining ancestors are buried in an IOOF cemetery in Pennsylvania, so this talk had real relevance to me. (I even have the deed to the one remaining plot in the family’s section, along with the perpetual care agreement, but I don’t think I’ll be buried there.)



CCC-dinner2 CCC-dinner3

Part 3- More Roses, Cemeteries and the Trip Home

Joy had found a rose at the Empire Mine, where she works, that she wanted to show me, so Kathryn and I headed there first thing on Sunday morning. My best guess is Debutante (Walsh, 1901 rambler), but it might have too much pink. It had been hidden by other plants till she started doing some work in that part of the rose garden. She moved it over where it had room to climb on the wall, and it’s doing quite well. I had to watch my step near it, as there was a pile of (wait for it…) bear poo! next to the stone wall. Not sure why a bear would want to climb a stone wall to get into a rose garden, but it clearly had done it several times, and the outside of the wall now needs some resetting of stones. They plan to set up a motion sensitive camera to get pictures now that they’ve found where it comes in.

The newly discovered rose. Is it Debutante or ?

The newly discovered rose. Is it Debutante or ? Pictures by Kathryn. I forgot to take my camera here.

IMG_5435 IMG_5436 IMG_5438

Next stop- Pine Grove Cemetery in Nevada City. Kathy was watering the Masons section when Kathryn and I arrived. I first went there in 2006, and there were a lot of large healthy roses. I went there with Kathy in 2008, and soon after, she and Joy talked to the Masons about taking care of their section, adding more Heritage roses, plus annuals and perennials, and keeping it watered and weeded. That’s the only section that has water available, and some roses in the rest of the cemetery have died over the intervening years, but some are amazingly drought tolerant. They’ve cut back watering in the Masons section, but hope to keep all the roses there alive. (Sorry, no pictures of this one this time.)

Our third stop for the day was Georgetown Cemetery, where we were met by Susan, who is part of a Master Gardeners group that takes care of the roses there. The Heritage had many roses from there 20 years ago, but a few of ours have died. So have some of theirs. They’ve placed wire cages around the remaining roses to keep deer from nibbling too much.  We once had roses named for the Schmeder family and one for Fred Schmeder, and we each have one left. Luckily they are different, so I got cuttings of theirs, and I’m now trying to root cuttings of ours to give them a replacement. Their Jerrett plot has one rose left (there were three), and we have two, so I will try to replace the second one, but we’ve both lost the third. I collected cuttings of five roses we don’t have. We also looked at a rose garden behind the Art Center. It had been planted many years ago, and contains many Heritage roses, and some from the 1940s and 50s.

Two roses from Georgetown Cemetery. Note the deer cage.

Two roses from Georgetown Cemetery. Note the deer cage.


After getting cold drinks, we headed back down the hill toward 49. We’d noticed a small cemetery by the road on our way up, so we stopped to look around. Greenwood Cemetery. No roses, but some very old graves, and some fairly recent ones, too. And lots of big shady trees- which were nice considering the 90 degree weather.

Monday morning, I took my leave of Kathryn and Doug, and of Nevada City and Grass Valley, and headed south to Placerville Union Cemetery. The Heritage has nearly a dozen roses from this cemetery, but with the drought the cemetery has lost quite a few. I walked around writing down which ones were still there. The rose we call “The Rose of Many Names” (TROMN) because we’ve found it in so many places in central California is still quite happy, as is the white Noisette, but “John S. DiBernardi” is barely hanging on. It was nearly my height in 2006, a lovely, fragrant red hybrid tea. (Yes, we have it at the Heritage.) And the “Rustler’s Gold”, Red Talisman and “Rosa Davey” tea are nowhere to be found. Very sad, but all are at the Heritage. If a group starts up to care for that cemetery, they can be propagated and planted there again. Assuming severe drought is not our permanent state of existence.

Next stop- El Dorado Cemetery. Another sad tale- We can’t replace our “James Askew” tea rose that died last year. And the Chrometella by Dr. Hinman is gone. But his Rose of Castile is quite healthy. “Sam Hill” (another TROMN) is alive and well, as are the Standiford plot roses.

Dr. Hinman p

Dr. Hinman plot, with Rose of Castile

I drove down to Sutter’s Creek, a town I know well from years ago- my Master’s thesis in Earth Science encompassed the area east of Sutter’s Creek to Volcano, and south to near Mokulmne Hill. I’ve looked at every roadcut on every road, and every accessible exposure of rocks I could find half a lifetime ago. There are a lot more roads in the area now, as more people move there. Also a lot more vinyards. With a cold coffee drink from a little shop in town, I headed up the ridge to Pine Grove and my friend Beverly’s house. We spent several hours chatting about roses, and the problems in cemeteries, and I showed her my thesis map, and explained a bit about what the rock formation is beneath her house. (After our visit, Beverly visited Plymouth Cemetery, and talked with several people, and spent time thinking about it and has decided to try to organize a group of volunteers to help the roses in Plymouth Cemetery! Thank you, Beverly!)

Altaville- last stop before heading home. I looked for a Talisman that was there a few years ago. Not there anymore. In the Protestant Cemetery, a few of the roses I knew, like “Tylor Carll” are still fine, and I didn’t look for all the ones I knew, so some others may be fine, too. But there is no water at all. I looked for the Dorroh plot and the Johnson plot, but couldn’t find either, and there were no roses on that whole side of the cemetery to guide me to them, so I’m pretty sure those have died. Although it’s possible my memory of where they were is wrong. We have “Frank Dorroh”, and I think I can get cuttings of “Ernest Johnson” from Sacramento Cemetery’s lovely Historic Rose Garden. In the Catholic Cemetery there is also no water. (They have water systems in the cemeteries, but signs on all gates say “No water”). The roses seem to be doing OK, though. I was able to get cuttings of one rose I’ve tried to root a couple times before. The rose is actually looking better than the last time I saw it. The Lady Mary Fitzwilliam isn’t as lush as she has been in years past, but will survive. There’s talk of next year being an El Niño year- they are very rainy. For the roses sake, I hope they are right.

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I’ve always wanted to do art. I love botanical paintings, especially. Back when I was a college student, I took some art classes, and thought of minoring in art, but the classes required so many hours per unit, so I minored in physical science instead. I tried many times to draw roses, but could never get them right. This winter, I saw there was a “Realistic Watercolor Painting” class at Jade St. Community Center, which isn’t far from me, so I decided to sign up. It’s taught by Hanya Fojaco, who is very talented (see http://hanyafojaco.com/). Some instructors demonstrate methods and have students copy. Hanya walks around the room and sees what each person is doing and makes suggestions and comments. Class is pretty low-key. You can keep signing up for classes on a continuing basis, so you can keep getting her advice. Newcomers sit at the front tables, returning artists at all the others. So besides learning to paint, we also get to make new friends and watch each others paintings come to life.

Watercolor painting is a slow process. She has us make a print or a photo of the size we want to paint. Of course, I chose a rose. Actually I printed half a dozen photos of different roses, and asked her which she thought would be good for a first painting. She thought the simplest one- “Durst Plot” (Which may or may not be Sutter’s Gold) would be best, so that’s what I did. The first thing to do is put a piece of graphite paper between the print and the watercolor paper, and trace all the petal edges. Then use the kneaded eraser to soften the darker lines so they won’t be too visible in the final painting. Then, using artist’s tape, tape along the edges of the area to be painted. We also each made a card with samples of each of our paint colors, first at full strength, then diluted, and then as a wash. These are really helpful in planning what to mix and how much to thin the color to get it just right.

Eventually, if one is going to do a painting, one must start putting color on the paper. This is very scary- don’t want to get it too dark, as it’s pretty hard to make paint lighter once it’s on the paper.  I started with very light yellow, and it was still darker than I wanted it to be. In a panic, I carefully thinned the color and spread it out, so that the lightest places weren’t already too dark. Here’s how it looked after the first day of painting:

Hanya said I shouldn't have started the pink yet, but it was too late for that, and turned out fine in the end.

Hanya said I shouldn’t have started the pink yet, but it was too late for that, and turned out fine in the end.

The next week I tried to define the petals a bit more and started adding orange to some of the outer ones.


I mixed the orange color. Hanya said I should have increased the yellow color, then used pink over it to get the orange, since watercolors are translucent.

The third week, I filled in some of the darker color of the interior and shadows.


The fourth week I started putting in the background to get the flower to stand out more.


Next I put in vague leaves with light and dark areas. The plan at this point is for the background to end up out of focus, so it will all be reworked.


At this point I went back to defining more detail in the petals, then smudging details in the background.


At this point Hanya said “Don’t be afraid of the dark.” It was time to add more color to the petals. I had been afraid to go darker, but with the background taking shape, it was easier to see what needed to be done to the flower.


Almost there. At this point I was mostly painting with water- smoothing out places where a color had a sharp transition when it should have a smooth one. Lightening or darkening small areas to create depth and 3-dimensionality. Eventually, I decided that if I did any more, I would probably do as much harm as good. It was done.

I showed it to my daughter and my husband, and both said, “It’s done.” I removed the artist tape and signed it. My daughter went looking through some mats we have and found this one which was exactly the right size and color. It’s now also framed in a dark green frame. I’m thankful for Hanya’s guidance. I tell the new students that she saved me from making many mistakes.

PaintDurst3-14I’m quite pleased with the result, but not ready to start in on another rose. I’m doing a landscape.

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Split second decisions

We make them all the time. There are often options, such as which route to take on a drive or walk. Whether to change lanes or stick with the one we’re in. Whether to stop at a store or winery we just happen to be passing. All kinds of things. Sometimes I’ve wondered what effect those decisions make on the future. Could it be that by altering my route, I missed being in the wrong place at the wrong time?

Wednesday I made one of those split second decisions. I was driving on Mission Street from the Westside of Santa Cruz toward town. Mission St is a very busy thoroughfare, also being Highway 1. I planned to go to a pottery store on the left side of Mission. It’s on the east side of Palm St. On the west side of Palm St is a parking lot for a drug store. As I was approaching the parking lot entrance, there was a gap in westbound traffic on Mission, and I could see a car in the distance that I’d have to wait for if I continued driving to Palm. That car could have been followed by 20 more, and I’d have to wait to turn left until they had all passed. So I decided in that split second to turn left into the parking lot while the lane was clear. I drove through the lot and parked on the west side of Palm, facing Mission. Had I turned left on Palm instead, I’d have parked on the east side next to the pottery shop. Normally, crossing a street is no big deal, but this time it turns out it was. The street is concrete, and the middle is cracked and had broken pieces not flat and even with the rest of the street. I was well aware of that, of course. But I got distracted. A car came around the corner from Mission onto Palm. He slowed during the turn to give me time to finish crossing. The car behind him nearly rear-ended him and honked as he braked. I looked at the cars. Then I fell. I can only assume I tripped on the uneven concrete, but I don’t know for sure. It happened so fast. My head was still turned to the right, so I landed on the left side of my face, all around my eye, but thankfully, not on my eyeball. My glasses now have scratched lenses and tweaked frames, and came off during the impact, giving me a small scratch on the right side of my nose.

The driver of the car came over to ask if I was OK after he parked. By then I was sitting on the curb assessing the damages. Skinned both knees and left shoulder, but didn’t damage the jeans or shirt. Some skin abrasions above and below the left side of my eye and eyebrow. Nothing actually bleeding. Nothing broken. Guess I wouldn’t need medical attention. I’d seen someone do the exact same type of fall a few weeks ago, but she’d broken her patella, and and hit the top of her forehead. She was taken away by ambulance. I saw her again last week with a kneebrace and a cap covering her forehead. I let her know what she’d tripped on, as she had no idea.

I went back to sit in my car till I stopped shaking. Another witness came up to the door and asked if I was OK, and on seeing my injury, said I should have it looked at. No way was I going to Urgent Care to spend a couple hours waiting to be seen. And I still wanted to go to the pottery store. So after a few minutes, I put my glasses back on and went in. I know the owners- my former landlord and his wife from where I lived in the 80s. Nina helped me pick out the pottery I wanted, asked several times if I was sure I was OK, and walked the goods to my car for for me in case I was still shaky. We also caught up on what our kids were doing now while I shopped so other then the obvious, it was a pleasant visit.

Now it’s two days later. Bruise from cheek to brow, with swelling. And the abrasions are still tender to the touch. Upper and lower eyelids are very red despite not being directly hit. spread along broken capillaries, I assume. But with lots of concealer makeup and my other glasses that hide some of the swelling behind the frame, I don’t think I’ll frighten anyone. Yesterday I wore my big, very dark sunglasses, which do a pretty good job of covering the area.

So a split second decision that turned out to be the wrong one. I wouldn’t have been crossing Palm St if I’d waited and turned onto Palm instead of the parking lot. Those who believe in karma may think I’d have tripped on the curb or the steps up to the store entrance instead. I’ll never know. You’ll understand why there are no pictures included with this post. I’d love to hear other stories of split second decisions that made a difference for the good or the bad.

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Spring in February

Those of you who follow my blog may have noticed my long absence from posting. There have been a lot of family issues taking up my time. For those who read my posts but don’t actually know me, here’s a quick summary. Our house was built on my husband’s mother’s property, the remnant of her parents property. Having her living next door to us was a blessing for us when the children were growing up, and as she grew old, it was a blessing for her to have us nearby, but the last couple years of her life meant we needed to help her more and more, giving me less and less time for other things during much of 2014. She passed away October 9, aged 96. I then went to Florida, where my brother was dying of cancer. He passed away in early November. Then, the holidays were upon us, including a visit from my older daughter’s in-laws. With all these events, writing my blog hasn’t been a priority, but I’m starting to get in the mood to write again.

As anyone who hasn’t been living under a rock knows, California is having a serious drought. Wells in the Central Valley are running dry, lakes are low, and if we don’t get a lot more rain this winter, lots of things are going to get much worse this summer. When we have a beautiful warm day, people start grumbling, “We really need rain.” It seems very strange to be complaining about good weather. As I can’t make it rain, I’ve decided to just enjoy the nice weather while we have it. The plants seem to be enjoying it, too. They think spring has arrived, and some roses are blooming a month early. I took pictures of this early spring bloom yesterday, and thought it would be nice to share them with you.

My ‘Rosa gigantea’ normally peaks in late March. You can compare these pictures of it now with those  in the blog post from four years ago-  My Gigantea.


This is the part of the rose that is trying to block entry to the shed


This is the south part between the sheds, which is what my neighbors see when they look at our place.


This is the northwest part of the rose, behind the hothouse.


This is the southwest part behind the hothouse.


Closeup of a newly opened bloom. They’re only this yellow color the day they open.

Each year, this rose grows new shoots out the top, which weighs down the lower parts, so they spread outwards. After bloom, I remove much of the lower parts to try to contain the size of the rose, and make access alongside it possible. This year will require major surgery to reopen the pathway. Last year I left some canes that should have been cut, but they curved back and up toward the center of it, and I didn’t want to have dead wood in the top of the plant where it is inaccessible. Removing canes from within the plant is nearly impossible due to the hooked prickles that grab anything passing by- you can’t just grab the cut end and pull. But those canes are making it very difficult to get by already, and it’s only going to get worse, so this spring they go.

Other roses blooming-

Archduke Joseph. The bloom form and color both change with the weather.

Archduke Joseph. The bloom form and color both change with the weather.


“Keith’s Bourbon-Noisette”, a rose I found at a friend’s Victorian house. The interior of the rose is normally white.

A 'Souvenir d'un Ami candidate. It's a rather sprawling Tea rose I got from Bill Grant. Blooms all year, and actually smells like tea.

A ‘Souvenir d’un Ami’ candidate. It’s a rather sprawling Tea rose I got from Bill Grant. Blooms all year, and actually smells like tea.

Other plants that think it’s Spring-

Our neighbors' flowering cherry-plum. This part hangs over our parking area.

Our neighbors’ flowering cherry-plum. This part hangs over our parking area.

Callas. We have these scattered around the property. This one is under the part of the gigantea that needs major surgery.

Callas. We have these scattered around the property. This one is under the part of the gigantea that needs major surgery.

I hope those of you who are buried in snow this month get some pleasure from these blooms. There is a rumor of another storm late next week, so I’ll keep my fingers crossed. In the mean time, I’ll continue to enjoy these sunny 75 degree days.

[In case anyone is interested, my husband created a memorial website for his mother with her biography and photos of her life at http://editheperry.weebly.com/, and I made a memorial page for my brother at http://jamesfredmiller3.weebly.com/. ]

Posted in Home garden | 1 Comment

Wharf to Wharf race

First of all- I don’t run. I love long walks, but I’ve never been able to run very far, and I don’t find anything enjoyable about it. But lots of other people love to run, and every year one of the big summer events here is the Wharf to Wharf race. 16,000 entered it this year. Registration filled up in 19 hours. It starts by the Santa Cruz wharf and goes to the Capitola wharf, mostly near the ocean. Every year, I get a cup of coffee and walk to the end of 41st Ave where it meets East Cliff Dr. and wait for the action to start. Why there? Because that’s where the Blue and Red Circus Band plays. There are bands all along the route, but this is the one I like. A couple minutes after I got there, they started playing ‘Stars and Stripes Forever’.


The Blue and Red Circus Band

The Blue and Red Circus Band

The race starts at 8:30, and this location is just before the 5-mile mark, so I get there about 8:45. At about 8:50, a truck goes by, indicating that the first runners aren’t far behind.

Official vehicles signaling the first runners aren't far behind.

Official vehicles signaling the first runners aren’t far behind.

Next come the motor cycle riding police or sheriffs.


They are followed by the big truck.



The small van behind the truck has the back open and someone inside filming the lead racer. And finally we get to see him:

The man who won the race a few minutes later.

The man who won the race a few minutes later.

He is Simon Ndirangu of Kenya. The winners are nearly always from Kenya or Ethiopia. Some years it’s not clear at the 5-mile mark just who is going to win, but Simon had a sizable lead. Often, the next several runners are also Africans, but we got a surprise this year. Second place went to Scott Bauhs of San Luis Obispo.


Here’s Scott followed by Ben Bruce of Arizona, and Nelson Oyugi of Kenya. Last year, Nelson won, Ben was 5th and Scott was 9th. Here are pictures of Ben and Nelson as they passed by the band:




After these leaders, runners start coming along in multiples, and women are among them.



She is Caroline Rotich of Kenya, fastest woman, and 13th place overall. Just three places behind her was Aliphine Tuliamuk-Bolton of Kenya:


As the crowds start coming it becomes a sea of bobbing heads:



P1030090P1030093And pretty soon the costumes start coming, and I start walking down to Pleasure Point.

There were a number of people in tutus advertising instaGift.com

There were a number of people in tutus advertising instaGift.com


It worked- I looked up the website when I got home, but doubt I would ever use their products.

It worked- I looked up the website when I got home, but doubt I would ever use their products.

Cute hats

Cute hats

A Viking hat across the street

A Viking 


Hula ladies

Runners and walkers as far as I can see.

Runners and walkers as far as I can see.

The view on the other side of the fence.

The view on the other side of the fence.



I found Waldo. (Actually, this is the second Waldo I found). I can go back home now.



Posted in Local | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Absolutely Perfect

It has been such a beautiful summer here. In normal years, the inland valleys heat up, and the fog is pulled over the coastal areas. The weather forecast is always “night and morning fog and low clouds, partial clearing in the afternoon, highs about 65 near the coast…” Lately they’ve started calling it the “marine layer”. But this year, it was apparently cooler inland much of the time, and the fog has not been our constant summer companion. You can’t imagine how happy it makes me. Sometimes that marine layer stopped just past my house, and I could be in the sun by walking fifty yards up the street. We’ve still gotten fog this year, just not the all-day-long, or even all-week-long that we usually get. Instead, I’ve spent my lunchtimes on the patio swing reading books on a nearly daily basis. The old law has been broken- the one that says we’re only allowed three days of sun before the fog returns. And the one that says you don’t need to get your shorts out of the drawer unless you’re packing to go somewhere else. It’s usually well into September before we start getting the warm fog-free days referred to as “weather for the locals” because it occurs only after the summer tourists have stopped coming.

The traditional end of summer for children and resort towns like Santa Cruz is Labor Day weekend, and I’m mainly writing about it because it was absolutely perfect. I’m going to want to remind myself of it during our cool rainy winter. (At least I hope it’s rainy- our water supply is completely local, and last year we didn’t have a lot of rain.)

Friday night was an Opening Event at the Museum of Art and History. This time it celebrated a new book by Geoff Dunn. Geoff went to High School with my husband, Frank, and comes from another family that’s been in Santa Cruz for about 100 years. His new book is “Santa Cruz is in the Heart, volume 2”, and the exhibit has pictures of people from Santa Cruz history and their stories and some artifacts. For the event, Geoff barbequed hot dogs on the outdoor patio of the museum while his daughter Tess Dunn and her band played music in the Atrium. She writes, sings and plays the piano. Tess has severe health challenges, and is determined to live her life to the fullest. Search for her on YouTube and prepare to be impressed. I enjoyed her music, but the noise and acoustics in the Atrium made it so I couldn’t understand the words. It was still warm enough when we left that we didn’t need sweaters. Warm days in Santa Cruz are rare. Warm evenings are extremely rare.

Saturday was the Highland Games in Pleasanton, and I drove a couple of friends up to them. If you are anywhere around the fairgrounds you can hear bagpipes. The many bands are either standing practicing, marching practicing or performing all over the place. Many of the Scottish Country Dance classes perform (including mine, but I wasn’t in the demo group). Clans have tents and invite people with the right ancestry to join them. I’m a member of the Guthrie clan based on an ancestor, John Guthrie, who left Scotland in 1700 for Northern Ireland, and his son who came to Pennsylvania in 1730. So I spend time at the Guthrie tent, and march with them in the Clan Parade. We’re a small group- three in the parade this year- me, Clan Guthrie USA President Jack Moore, and Mel Guthrie. Here we are with our banner:


It was very hot, but fortunately there are many indoor shops where you can buy Scottish or Celtic items, eat scones with clotted cream, taste whiskeys, etc. Outdoors there were also Highland cattle, sheepdog trials, a birds of prey exhibit, and lots of food booths.


After leaving the games I joined my friends and other Scottish dancers at Gay 90s pizza place in downtown Pleasanton, just a couple blocks from the fairgrounds. We eat on their outdoor patio, which is especially nice considering how rare it is to have evenings warm enough to eat outside on the coast. They serve huge amounts of food, and quite a few of us split an order with someone else. We didn’t want to eat too much, because after dinner was the Scottish Country Dance Ball at the Vet’s Hall. Fifteen dances, some of them done a second time because we liked them so much, but I didn’t feel as worn out as I often do at the end of a Scottish dance party. This was followed by refreshments, then the long drive back to Santa Cruz. We got home about 12:30 am.

This weekend was also the Begonia Festival in Capitola. Sunday morning, while I slept in, my husband was roped into helping women decorate hats with begonia flowers. This is because the hats are sponsored by the Capitola Museum, and my husband has been the curator there for about a month now. He didn’t have a suitable Hawaiian shirt, but I had a large one I loaned to him. He got several compliments on it.

Thanks to John Nicol for this picture.

Thanks to John Nicol for this picture.

After he got back, I walked down to Capitola to watch the Nautical Parade. As I approached the village, the beach was PACKED TO THE GILLS!


At the bridge that the floats went under, I saw it was PACKED TO THE GILLS!


I couldn’t see a thing from the bridge, so I walked down the Esplanade. There are several places where you can walk between buildings to balconies overlooking the lagoon, but they were PACKED TO THE GILLS! I walked onto the beach where the area of sand surrounding the lagoon was PACKED TO THE GILLS! But I managed to find a place where I could get a fairly good view between beach umbrellas to take pictures of the floats covered in begonia flowers. One float is a Genie in a teapot. One is a Magic Schoolbus, with octopus on top. One appears to be a pirate/dragon ship. I’m not sure about the others. The crowds thinned out after all the floats had paraded around for awhile, and I looked around at other things. Here are some pictures:

P1020259 P1020264 P1020276 P1020268 P1020267 P1020272

Also around town I took these pictures before going home:

Chalk art on the seawall

Chalk art on the seawall


T-shirt and poster sales

T-shirt and poster sales

This woman let me photograph her begonia-decorated hat.

This woman let me photograph her begonia-decorated hat.

That evening, I saw a message on Facebook from my friend Peter that he was doing some work in Hayward, and would like to come to Santa Cruz on Monday and take us out to lunch. How wonderful! This Peter is married to one of my college friends, Louise, and they live in the East, so I don’t see them more than every few years. After College, Louise and I both traveled- me to the Peace Corps in Samoa, and Louise to Israel, Greece, Germany and Aberdeen, Scotland where she met Peter, and they’ve been together ever since. That day started out cloudy, but cleared up and reached the 70s in the afternoon. We had lunch on the balcony of the Stockton Bridge Grille in Capitola, overlooking the same lagoon I’d visited the day before, but without the crowds. We had a long relaxing lunch enjoying the view, the weather and the company. After lunch we walked along the creek where rowboat races were happening, some of the floats were still moored, and someone was having a yard sale. I saw a dress that looked like it would be fun to dance in, and bought it. Peter snapped this picture.

dress at yard sale

Then we went to the Capitola Museum so Frank could show Peter where he worked.

Peter, Frank and me at the Capitola Museum

Peter, Frank and me at the Capitola Museum

Then back up the hill to the car, and to our house. I showed Peter around the garden, and he went back to Hayward. A wonderful perfect weekend. And the fog has finally returned as I write this the following Saturday after a hot day in San Jose.

Posted in Home garden, Travels | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Good Day, Bad Day

Back in December of 2011, I wrote a post about San Juan Bautista (link: here). Since then, I’ve continued my involvement in rose preservation efforts there. I’ve been there a number of times to help Carol, and with all her work, the roses at the Zanetta House (Plaza Hall) are looking much better. Last year I received a an email from Loryn, who had just moved there. I put her in touch with Carol, and she went several times to help her, too, before some minor surgeries and her own garden and animals kept her from going. Things at the cemetery were not improving, however, and several people in town wanted to get the roses labeled, but no one knew how to start. Preservation is a difficult thing for an individual, much easier for a group. Then, a couple of months ago, Jeri decided to try to get the ball rolling. From her position as National Convener of the Heritage Roses Group, she wrote to both the Mayor (who is also head of the Cemetery Board) and the Historical Society about the condition of the roses in the cemetery. Wanda, of the Historical Society was already one of my contacts there, and I put her in touch with Loryn. They read the letter at the next City Council meeting. Many emails ensued among us over the next month, and the mayor (Tony) agreed to meet with the rose preservation interests at the cemetery on Friday July 26.  At that point (early July) the rose preservationists  were still just a number of interested individuals who were starting to think maybe they should become a group with a name. They could, for instance become a committee within the existing Historical Society. I suggested they become a part of the Heritage Roses Group, by forming the San Juan Bautista Heritage Rose Group, and sent them to the website (here) and to Jeri. Within hours they were official. Step two- a website. I suggested to Chris (who has some technical know-how, and who, along with his wife, has an interest in preserving the local roses for their historical and tourism value) that he look into weebly.com, which has templates for free websites that are very easy to set up with no knowledge of how to create webpages. The website was up in a couple of days (here), and Chris has since used Weebly to create websites for two other groups he’s involved with. (By the way, there’s a contact form on their homepage, and I’m sure they’d enjoy supportive comments from readers of this blog.) Steps 3 and 4- materials to give Tony about the roses, the groups plans for preserving the roses, and a sample of how we wanted to tag the roses. I provided information on the roses, which I already had, as I had given a tour there in 2012. Chris and Wanda used my info plus GPS to provide exact locations for every rose. Loryn wrote up a draft proposal, which we edited, and had a final form ready. Chris was able to obtain a bunch of clear plastic luggage tag kits in which a business card fits, then put the rose information on one side of each card, and information about the group on the other to produce a sample card.

So Friday the 26th arrived. I met the group at Veritgo Cafe at 9 am. After all our correspondence, if was nice to finally meet Chris and Wanda in person, and to see Loryn again. The three make a great combo for San Juan Bautista- Loryn knows a lot about Heritage Roses, Wanda is involved with local history, and Chris is involved with the strategic planning committee, with tourism being a major part of that. Preserving the roses, starting with those in the cemetery, relates to all three fields. There are a number of unidentified roses in San Juan Bautista, and which have not been found anywhere else. We discussed how we wanted to present our proposal, enjoyed coffee and a pastry that Angela, Chris’ wife, brought over to the table when she popped into the cafe for a minute.

We headed over to the cemetery, and Tony arrived just behind us. After introductions, Chris and Tony did most of the talking. Chris works in sales, and sold our proposal easily, after some initial grousing from Tony about the original letter from Jeri. The maintenance people had been taking care of the roses mainly because someone has to, but they know no more about roses than they do about any shrub. They and Tony were happy to turn it over to the SJBHRG. After the meeting with Tony and with one of the maintenance people, I took our group around to look at each of the roses, and discuss how each should be maintained. Some are on plots that are still active, and they will try to contact the families and ask if they want SJBHRG to care for their rose. If they can’t find the family, the tag will let the family know how to contact them. I also stopped to see Mary Sellen’s grave by a large Perle d’Or rose. I met her on Dia de Los Muertos (blog post here) with my friends Judy and Tamara last Fall, and she kindly let us into her backyard to see the roses there. One was an old bourbon. She let me take cuttings, and I now have a small plant of it (which I’ve given the study name, “Mary Sellen’s Bourbon”). I was sorry to hear of her passing, just a couple months after we met her. Wanda assured me that her roses, most of which were planted by Mary’s mother, will be well looked after by her daughter.

"Mary Sellen's Bourbon"

“Mary Sellen’s Bourbon”

I also took the group to see some of the other heritage roses around town. Some are in the State Park, but others are on private property, and can easily be lost to new landscaping. The plan is first get the cemetery labeled, then write an article for the local paper, then try to build up interest in other locals who have an old rose to preserve it, and perhaps tag it, and/or allow the group to propagate it for eventual sales.

We had lunch at Jardines, a local favorite, especially on such a nice day when sitting outside if preferable to inside. Chris and Angela love Jardines’ mango margaritas, and say they bought their nearby house so they could enjoy the drinks and not have to drive home.

As I drove home that afternoon, I was very happy and excited that there was finally a group interested in preserving the unique roses of San Juan Bautista, and planned to report about the trip to a rose forum I frequent. Then I got home and opened my email. There was one from Jeri telling me that JD (Jim Delahanty) had passed away in his sleep the previous night. The forum was full of laments for our loss. I felt like a deflated balloon. Great happiness turned so quickly to great sadness. I’ve written about JD and his collection of polyantha roses twice: here and here. For years, JD has posted almost daily to the forum or facebook on a great many subjects. He read books in a day, and gave book reviews about them, as well as movies and television shows he’d watched.  He wrote numerous articles on roses for newsletters and magazines. He posted pictures of his polyanthas. He expressed opinions about politics (far to the right of mine). He posted pictures of taking his nieces to the Getty Museum. He described the food at his favorite gourmet restaurants. His writing was almost always very enjoyable, whether I agreed with him or not. He once posted about a politician (whom I support) with a simple nasty epithet. I privately wrote him that I had come to expect much more eloquent, expressive terms from him. He replied with a list of much more eloquent epithets, and asked if that was better. I wrote back that yes, that was much preferable. Now I wish I’d kept that email. We’d known his time was limited, as he’d been in hospital several times last fall, and health was the reason he was dismantling his polyantha collection. Those of us who knew the state of his health were surprised at how much he was still doing, and we thought perhaps he wasn’t doing as poorly as we thought. Then came his last facebook post: “I will be AFC for a few days. Wish me well.” I knew what that meant- in the hospital for some complication or tests or procedure, and I did wish him well. Still, it was a shock when I received the email about his passing a couple of days later. I can’t write about Jim without mentioning his wife, Jane. According to Jim, she is the most beautiful, intelligent and wonderful woman who ever lived. He’d hoped to make it to their 50th anniversary together, and nearly made it to their 49th. She has been a lucky woman to have had such a loving husband for so many years.

Sitting around the table after collecting the cuttings

My last picture of JD, unfortunately, from the back. Still, a wonderful memory of a wonderful day.

I’ve looked through my photo albums to see if I have any good photos of Jim and Jane, and sadly, all I have are unposed group shots with one or the other of them at some angle or partly blocked by another person. The following picture of them was taken by Suzanne Horn, which she shared on JDs facebook page today. Good-bye Jim. We’ll all really miss you. Besides living your life to the fullest, you made all our lives fuller, too.

JD and Jane

Posted in Rose Stories | 2 Comments

Road Trip- Northern California

Back around March and April, I realized there were events in northern California on consecutive weekends in June. Wouldn’t it be nice if I could visit my friends near Chico in between, and cut down somewhat on the driving? Getting away from home for 10 days isn’t easy- someone would have to water gardens and potted plants, feed pets, go shopping, take my Mother-in-law places, etc. It took me awhile just getting up the nerve to mention the idea to my husband, the one who would be taking up most of the slack. He said to contact the friends first, since if they were planning to be away, I couldn’t do it anyway. They wrote back enthusiastically inviting me to visit, so the road trip was ON! Here is a summary of the trip with plenty of pictures.

Part 1: California Cornish Cousins Gathering in Grass Valley

I’m a life member of the CaCC, but have so far only been to one gathering- the Fall Pasty Lunch and tour of Filoli last October. I don’t know the other members, except having met and chatted with some in Oct., and my own Cornish ancestors were miners in Pennsylvania, not California, but as I am proudly Cornish (1/4, anyway), I like to celebrate my heritage. There are other reasons I like to go to Grass Valley, as well. I have 4 rose loving friends in the area, and I love the foothills geology. It was going to be a really fun weekend! I left home Friday morning, May 31, taking my usual backroads route through downtown Livermore and onto Vasco Rd to Byron. At the intersection of Byron Highway and Hwy 4 is my favorite fruit and vegetable stand, owned by an Asian-American family. I bought strawberries, cherries and apricots, and continued up to Sacramento. Kobasic’s Candies is just off I-5 south of the city, and I stopped in for a half pound box of dark chocolate truffles with red wine, or port, or Irish Cream, or mint added to the dark chocolate fillings. From there it was straight to Grass Valley, and finding my way to the historic Holbrooke Hotel. I was quite early, so I called Kathryn to see if they were home, and went over there in Nevada City, just a few miles from Grass Valley. Kathryn had invited my to stay with them. She and Doug used to live near me, and Kathryn and I  had a few rose adventures years ago. They moved to New Mexico, but decided to come back to California a couple years ago, and I put her in touch with my other rose friends, and now she finds herself volunteering with them several mornings a week on their garden projects. I unloaded the car, changed into nice dinner clothes, and chatted with them till it was time to go back to the Holbrooke for a pasty dinner. I sat at a table with two sisters and the grandson of one of them, then another retired couple joined us. The hors d’oeuvres were so good and filling that I only had room for half of my pasty, so I saved the other half for a future lunch. After dinner, the Grass Valley Male Voice Choir, led by a member of the CaCC who happens to live there, sang some songs and had a singalong of old songs most of us were familiar with.

Eleanor Kenitzer leading the sing-along

Eleanor Kenitzer leading the sing-along

The next morning started with a business meeting, but I only made it to the second half. Then we arranged who was driving to Malakoff Diggins State Park. One of the women was willing to come with me. We went the long way because the shorter way is partly a gravel road. When we got to the mining town of North Bloomfield, there was a group of costumed home-schooled children having a living history day there. Over the next 15 minutes or so, the rest of our group arrived, and most importantly, Steve, the President with the hot pasties, and Kitty with the saffron buns. I just can’t describe how good Kitty’s saffron buns are!

Pasty and saffron buns

Pasty and saffron buns

After lunch, we all got together for a group photo. We lined up our cameras on a picnic table, and Steve’s wife took pictures for us. (We should have taken the picture before lunch when we were all a couple pounds thinner.)

Cornish Cousins

Cornish Cousins

We got a tour of the buildings in North Bloomfield from a park aide. I’m putting small pictures at the end of the blog for those who want to see them. You can click on them to see them larger. (Any on the Cousins reading this may copy the pictures for your own files, or the newsletter.)

I finally found out what the one rose in town was- I’d seen it in 2006 on a rose rustling trip, and guessed it was odorata understock. I got a park volunteer to take me into the yard, as it was posted to keep out. It was an understock, but IXL, not odorata. We drove to the cemetery, and I took a few photos of graves of Cornish people. Here are a couple, both Penrose:



I wanted to take the gravel road back, but my rider was afraid, so she joined another carpool. (I assured her I had all wheel drive and new tires, and had been on that road before, but she wasn’t comfortable about it.) My next stop was where the hydraulic mining had been. The method was an environmental disaster, not just where it occurred, but downstream on the Yuba River and the Sacramento Valley. Reminds me of the mountaintop removal mining and some of the other methods in use today.


These bare rock walls show how much rock was removed .

These bare rock walls show how much rock was removed .

The gravel road was only for about 5 miles, and paved the rest of the way. Unfortunately, intersections weren’t marked on these rural roads, and I went straight at one where I should have turned, adding several miles and another 15 minutes to the trip.
Since I no longer had a passenger to return to Grass Valley, I just went to Kathryn’s and got cleaned up and changed for dinner, again at the Holbrooke. Not pasties this time, but very filling and tasty.We had a speaker on Cornish hens. Turns out they’re just young chickens. We also had a speaker tell us the life story of Cornish singer Richard Jose, followed by a rendition of his most famous composition, ‘Silver Threads among the Gold’.

On Sunday morning many of us joined the Traditional Service at the Nevada City Methodist Church, where the Male Voice Choir also sang. The Methodist religion was started in Cornwall by the Wesley brothers who wandered around leading hymn singing sessions in the evenings. They also wrote a number of the hymns still in the Methodist Hymnal, and we sang several during the service. With that, the Cornish part of the weekend concluded, and the rose part began.

Part 2: Looking at roses in Nevada City and Grass Valley

Kathryn took me to the North Star House in Grass Valley, where we were met by Carole, who is a long-time volunteer there. Kathy and Joy arrived shortly after. The North Star house was the Julia Morgan designed home of the Superintendent of the North Star Mine, Arthur Foote and his wife, author and illustrator Mary Hallock Foote and their children. The property had been neglected for many years before restoration efforts started. I was there in 2007, and quite a bit of work has been done since then. Here are a couple of pictures.

Front View

Front View

Rear View. The two posts once supported a pergola with a Lady Banks rose.

Rear View. The two posts once supported a pergola with a Lady Banks rose.

You can read much more about the North Star house at this site: http://www.northstarconservancy.org/  They also have a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TheNorthStarHouse  Carol gave us a tour of the downstairs part of the house, much improved since I was last there, and then we walked around the grounds to see some of the original plants, including some of local nurseryman and hybridizer Felix Gillet’s pear trees, and some Luther Burbank blackberries.

Kathryn, Kathy, Carole and Joy

Kathryn, Kathy, Carole and Joy

A rare variety of magnolia

A rare variety of magnolia

From the North Star house, we all went to see Joy’s house. She and her husband bought a 30s fixer-upper on a large property, and have been fixing it up for a few years. Someday it will be a real showplace. Kathy had brought sandwiches with her, and I brought some of the fruit I’d bought in Byron. Joy supplied cold drinks and we had lunch on the front patio. There is a spectacular view to the northern Sierras from this patio:

View from Joy's front porch

View from Joy’s front porch


Zooming in on view toward Quincy

Carole left us after lunch, and the rest of us went to Empire Mine, where Joy does gardening work.  She was able to give us a tour of the house.


The rose garden area there needs some help- a good dousing with compost tea, a layer of compost, then a layer of mulch would do it a world of good. Convincing State Parks of that is another matter- funding for State Parks is lacking, and a lot of park work is done by dedicated volunteers. We looked at other roses in the park- some of which are original to the time the mine was active. Others were added, but suitably old varieties. The American Beauty roses in front of the house are replacements for the originals.

Joy wanted to know what this tiny-flowered rambler was.

Joy wanted to know what this tiny-flowered rambler was.

I later learned that it is an original rose at the mine and is called "Ladyfingers"

I later learned that it is an original rose at the mine and is called “Ladyfingers”

Kathy left us to go home after we finished with the house and grounds, while Joy, Kathryn and I had a look at the mine buildings. I hadn’t seen that part of the property on my previous visit.

Looking down the mine shaft

Looking down the mine shaft

Joy and me in the cart that used to take miners down that shaft.

Joy and me in the cart that used to take miners down that shaft.


This amazing model shows the shafts and levels for all the mines in the Grass Valley area.

On Monday morning, Kathryn went to the cemetery on Red Dog Road in Nevada City, where we joined Kathy. Back in about 2008, Kathy and Joy got permission to care for the roses in the Masons section of the cemetery.  That is the only part with irrigation water. There used to be quite a few roses in other parts of the cemetery, some of which were propagated for either the Heritage Rose Garden or Sacramento City Cemetery Historic Rose Garden or both, and some of those are no longer growing at this cemetery. Kathy showed me where an Alba Odorata rose used to be. Mel had propagated that one for the Heritage, but we didn’t need it, so I gave it to Evergreen Cemetery in Santa Cruz. I will have to get cuttings from that plant to propagate for Kathy to put in the Mason’s section. They have added about a hundred heritage roses, plus self-seeding annuals and some perennials to the Mason’s plots and it looks wonderful.


Kathy and Kathryn




Another interesting sight at the cemetery was one rose with lots and lots of rose wasp galls. They make feathery balls on the roses, and are generally harmless, but I hadn’t seen this kind before. I didn’t take any pictures, but I found one online if you’d like to see what they look like: http://www.beautifulwildlifegarden.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/rosa-eglanteria-with-gall.jpg

From there, we went to another cemetery. I wanted to see how the rose in the Paladini plot was doing. It’s a moss rose growing through the small circular hole in the concrete slab, and we once had a plant from it at the Heritage. The last time I was here, the plant wasn’t big enough to take a cutting. This time is was much bigger and looks very healthy, so I collected enough that I hope to be able to replace our plant.

Paladini plot rose

Paladini plot rose

Nearby, Kathy showed us the grave of Felix Gillet, who died in 1908, so the pear trees and many other plants he sold in the area that are still alive are well over 100 years old.


After lunch (thanks, Kathryn) we also went to another cemetery in Grass Valley where Kathy showed us the Foote family plot. It was way back in an isolated corner.

Part 3: Cohasset

Tuesday morning I said goodbye to Kathryn and Doug, and headed up to Cohasset to stay with Sue (see https://oldtearoses.wordpress.com/2011/07/17/trip-to-chico/ for previous visit to Sue). She recommended Tony’s fruit stand when I asked about stopping to buy fruit. You can’t miss it. On Hwy 70, between Marysville and Oroville, there is a row of pink signs. At Sue’s house there have been some changes. The above ground pool is gone, and to replace it, Sue’s husband built a couple large planter boxes for planting their tomatoes in full sun. But the boxes were still empty. I helped a bit, but not a lot, as they got manure, dirt and compost to put in, shoveling one wheelbarrow full at a time. One box was full and planted by the time I left Friday.

Sue's husband tilling the filled planter box.

Sue’s husband tilling the filled planter box.

Part 4: To Fort Bragg

I wasn’t looking forward to this drive because I expected the weather to be hot, but it wasn’t bad. I first drove west to get to the river, then south on Hwy 45. I’d never heard anything about roses at the cemeteries in Colusa, so I stopped at them. They both have many old monuments, so they are nice cemeteries to look around, but the one on the south side of town had no roses at all, The northern cemetery had a few- Iceberg, Dr. Huey, a canina and an orange mini. But I was intrigued by this:

The plot with Dr. Huey and Iceberg...

The plot with Dr. Huey and Iceberg…


… has this rose seedling growing through a small hole.

The next stop, of course, was Granzella’s. Suitably refreshed with a gelato for lunch and a frappe to go, I headed west on Hwy 20 past Clear Lake. I’ve never been there before, so I took a picture:IMG_0061

I loved driving through Lake and Mendocino Counties. The golden hills dotted with oaks are one of my favorite things about California. Here are a couple shots of the part of the highway between Willits and Fort Bragg, where pines have replaced the oaks..



Part 5: Fort Bragg Seminar and Joyce Demits Garden

I reached Fort Bragg mid afternoon, and went to Glass Beach. I was impressed by the amout of glass on the beach, but it was all small bits. Anything big enough to, say, use in jewelry was too fresh and needed another year in the waves. I’m sure it’s better at other times of the year. Technically, it’s not legal to collect glass from the beach because it’s a state park. I think everyone takes a few bits, however, and no one was patrolling. Here are a few views of the beach and coastline:




Later, I parked in town to look into dinner locations, and had just gotten out of my car when Anita, Barbara and Pat from Sacramento drove past me and pulled over. I was planning on room sharing with Pat, so I followed them to the motel and checked in, then we all went for dinner at the North Coast Brewery. Afterwards, we walked around the town, which was having a First Friday event, with art galleries open, and wine and other goodies. It was fun looking at all the art and jewelry. I also ran into Kathryn and Doug at one of the galleries.

Saturday morning started with Jeri and Clay giving a slide presentation in a room in a local B&B. I was amazed at how many people had come from long distances for this event. The room was packed to the gills. They explained the etiquette of rose rustling, and also the importance of rose rustling. Many roses we’ve seen at old houses, farms and cemeteries are no longer where they once grew. Joyce Demits and her sister Virginia Hopper were rose rustlers decades before most of us got interested in roses. Joyce would like to ensure that her collection gets spread around to places like the Heritage and the Sacramento Cemetery while there is still time. The plan was for all of us to label roses at her house that we recognize, and come back in September to collect cuttings. Most of us found that we didn’t recognize much of what Joyce has. Gallicas, for instance grow well in her climate. They don’t like San Jose (mild winter) or Santa Cruz (mild summer), so I don’t know what many of them look like. I recognized Souvenir de Mme Leonie Viennot and what’s probably General Tartas (Joyce confirmed that there had been a name change for that rose, although she wasn’t sure what the old or newer name were, and I knew the rose now sold as General Tartas used to be sold as Mme de Tartas). But altogether, it was embarrassing how little I recognized there. Others were feeling the same way. Here are  a few garden pictures:




We were anxiously awaiting the arrival of Fred Boutin, as he knew Joyce’s garden fairly well and is good at recognizing roses the rest of us don’t know. We were getting worried about what happened to him, when he finally arrived with his explanation. At the B&B, the manager had shown us a bouquet of roses growing there, some of which came from other places, and she wondered what they were. Fred was still looking at them after the rest of us had given up and headed off to Joyce’s. Fred got directions to a farm where one of the roses had been collected, and headed off there, where he had a long chat with the farmer and collected a number of setigera hybrids and a few other roses before going to Joyce’s. Here’s Fred with some of his prizes:


I printed this one large so you can see the very full pink rose by Fred’s right hand. Isn’t that GORGEOUS!!? So Fred was forgiven, and I followed him around tagging some roses as he named them, but the afternoon was hot, and people drifted off and looked for shady places. The socializing was great, and visiting with Joyce is always wonderful, the tagging was incomplete. Alice plans to do more tagging another day, as she lives fairly nearby.

Later I went over to Jeri and Clay’s motor home in the motor park/campground south of town. The manager nearly threw me out for driving more than 5 mph  on the park road. I later realized my spedometer doesn’t even have a line for 5 mph. Anyway, I had fun chatting and drinking wine with them and visiting with their dogs, and then they took me to see a rose growing on the end of a building in the park, an older hybrid tea with a strong dose of pernetiana in it. When we walked back to the motor home, Alice drove up and joined us for more wine and conversation. We took her to look at the rose, and as we were about to walk back, Fred drove up, so we showed him the rose too. Then we chatted in the motor home till almost 9.

Jeri took this picture of Alice and me looking at the rose.

Jeri took this picture of Alice and me looking at the rose.

Part 6 (and final): Open Garden at Pamela and Michael Temple’s

Getting there is half the fun, and thank goodness for GPS. They live quite a few miles out of Willits, off a dirt road, in an oasis of their creation, full  of roses, ponds and ceramic sculptures. I was there 10 years ago, and there appear to be twice as many roses there now. Around every bend is a new view of roses and ornaments. And there are many other plants as well. Somewhere in the middle is Pamela’s ceramics studio, and above it is a cupola with views everywhere, and a sky chair I never wanted to get out of. One long pathway has ramblers planted on the uphill side and pots of plants waiting to be planted lining the downhill side. So I’ll have to come back in 10 years and see the garden doubled in size again. Many photos of Red Rose Ridge, click on them to see full size:

View to the house from the studio

View to the house from the studio


The house

The house


Under the pergola

Under the pergola


Top of the pergols a from the cupola

Top of the pergols
a from the cupola

Darrell Schram looking at ramblers

Darrell Schramm looking at ramblers

Pat getting a picture of me in the cupola

Pat getting a picture of me in the cupola


The pergola

Below the bridge

Below the bridge

The studio

The studio

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Papa Meilland

Papa Meilland

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I lost my step near the left center of this shot, and landed with my shin on a clod of dirt. Still have a bruise. Glad no one saw

I lost my step near the left center of this shot, and landed with my shin on a clod of dirt. Still have a bruise. Glad no one saw

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And finally- the other pictures I promised for the Cornish Cousins:




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The Sweetheart Rose

Most people say it “Cecil Brunner”, and some are quite surprised to find out it’s “Cécile”. Formally she is known as ‘Mlle. Cécile Brunner’.  I’ve tried to call it that ever since I was giving a talk in the 1990s, and called it “Cecil”. Miriam Wilkins, founder of the Heritage Roses Group, was in the audience and said, rather emphatically, “Ahem… It’s Madamoiselle CéCELLE Brunner.” I feel that if I were to say “Cecil” now, she would hear me in Heaven, and I would be struck by lightning.

My first encounter with this popular rose was when I rented a house in downtown Santa Cruz, and a previous owner had planted one of the climbing forms on either side of an arch over the entrance sidewalk. Every year from the top of the arch, it would put out ten-foot long canes. Everyone had an opinion on what to do with them: cut them back to a short length, train them back down and along the top of the adjacent hedge, etc. The next homeowner removed the plants completely, which was the wisest thing to do. The climbing form can be a monster, best suited for covering entire fences or climbing tall trees.

The rose comes in several forms. The shrub form was originally bred by Marie Ducher in 1880. She was the widow of the well known French breeder, Claude Ducher, and is often referenced as Vve. Ducher, meaning Widow Ducher. They lived in Lyon, where there were many rose breeders at this time, and many of their creations are still popular. It was introduced by her son-in-law, Joseph Pernet-Ducher in 1881. The parentage of ‘Mlle. Cécile Brunner’ is usually listed as ‘Polyantha alba plena’ × ‘Madame de Tartas’. But there is apparently some doubt, as Weeks had listed the parents as ‘R. multiflora’ x ‘Souvenir d’un Ami’. Of course, there is also doubt about the identity of the roses currently sold under the names ‘Mme de Tartas’ and ‘Souvenir d’un Ami’ as well.

Ulrich Brunner was a nurseryman in Lausanne, Switzerland. I can only assume he was a friend of Vve. Ducher or Joseph Pernet-Ducher. Ulrich had a son also named Ulrich, and a daughter Cécile. Ulrich Brunner fils also had a daughter Cécile, so it’s not absolutely certain the rose was named for the first or the second Cécile, or if Ulrich Brunner has been confused with Ulrich Brunner fils. Another rose was named ‘Ulrich Brunner fils’ bred by Antoine Levet, another resident of Lyon.

The climbing form grown in the US was discovered by Franz P. Hosp in 1894. (In Australia, a climbing form was discovered by Richard Ardagh in 1904.) This is the form that remains popular in my area. Just in taking walks in my neighborhood, I know of more than a dozen plants of it. They cover arches, fences and climb trees and old poles.

There is a third form called ‘Spray Cécile Brunner’, which was discovered by someone at The Howard Rose Company, and sold starting in 1941. This sport of the original blooms more. Somehow it also became confused with another rose, ‘Bloomfield Abundance’, and was sold under that name for many years. Two recent developments should put an end to the confusion. DNA analysis shows that it is a sport of ‘Mlle. Cécile Brunner’, and Judy, my friend in the Sierra foothills, found a plant that appears to be the real ‘Bloomfield Abundance’.

The point of this article is really just to show all the plants of it that are blooming this spring in my neighborhood. I took them all within half a mile of my house. Had I walked a different route, I could have taken as many pictures of plants in other directions within the same distance. In spring when they all have their best bloom, they seem to be everywhere.The plant is as popular now as it was more than 100 years ago. Enjoy!






















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