The Book of Numbers

*I have no authority to teach you lessons from the Bible, I only hope you will find something useful. You might disagree with my interpretation and that’s OK!

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“When you cross the Jordan in to Canaan, drive out all the inhabitants of the land before you. Destroy all their carved images and their cast idols, and demolish all their high places.” –Numbers 33:51

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OK verses such as the above are what gives God a bad rap. It sounds violent and scary and seems to advertise war. But I will tell you that you must not look at the surface for the meaning in scripture, people that do often miss the truth and can interpret wrongly. Go deeper and this verse takes on a different shape entirely: Before your spirit can settle in peace with God and with yourself, drive out all things that are holding you back from a true and pure existence—all that you consider an ‘idol’ should be destroyed. For me, for a long time, my ‘idol’ getting traditionally published. I prayed and prayed for this to happen. But it wasn’t until I read this verse and saw my own folly in holding that goal on a pedestal of importance over many other things, and asking myself exactly WHY I wanted my books out there (was it for selfish reasons, or was my goal to help people?), that I was able to give up the idea and decide instead to be happy no matter what happened to all my books, poems, essays and dedicate my writing to the purpose of GOOD. Once I did this I found a publisher. Call that whatever you like, but I know where this gift came from. Have faith and hope that God will show you the way, but we must be patient and trust Him with all our hearts. That’s what I think anyway.

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The Dewey Decimal Files

No book review today, but I wanted to share with you an old relic… remnants of the Dewey decimal filing system!! 💕 An archaic method of finding book call numbers before computers. A system which almost turned me off books forever! I remember I was in second or third grade when the librarians showed us how to use it, and I thought, if this is what I’ll have to do when I become a grown-up then find me Peter Pan pronto, because I never want to grow up. 😘 .

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#bibliophile #bookphotography #booknerd #bookgeek #bookstagram #book #reading #library #amreading #amwriting #history #libraryofcongress #research #catalog #bookclub #bookshelf #vintage

Absalom, Absalom! By William Faulkner

⭐️⭐️ Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner. Did anyone like it? Anyone? I felt as if I were in that dark shuttered-up parlor the whole time with that old woman character—like for real. That’s how the story was, very dark, not in feeling but rather in what I could see of the story and what I couldn’t. I had to excuse myself more than once from my usual reading spot to hide in a closet or my bedroom only to come away with the slightest gist of Faulkner’s meaning from one paragraph! One paragraph!! The lucidity if the story was as muddy as the window in this picture. (I’ll wash it later). I hated the whole experience. I’ll be honest. But Faulkner accomplished what he set out to do. I admire him for this, as his goal was to make the reader feel lost as they try to navigate the truth of a family’s history based on three 😬different stories told after the fact. Correct me if I’m wrong, but that is how I remember it. Please comment below if you have any thoughts on this terrible, yet, brilliant piece. 😄

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I bought this 1951 copy in Brooklyn from a street vendor at which point my brother says, “oooh Absalom, Absalom!, I’ve heard that’s a hard one. He doesn’t use a lot of punctuation.” He was right. I couldn’t resist the vintage Modern Library cover art though.

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Days of Wrath by Andre Malraux

🇺🇸 On a day just like today,

though the sky was bright,

clear, and blue,

I present to you this

truth in one, Andre Malraux.

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⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️A story about a communist prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp in the days leading up to World War II. Mostly it contains the protagonist’s rambling thoughts and efforts to not to go mad. Though I read it a couple years ago I remember enjoying it.

Pictured is the 1936 edition. The inscription indicates a brother giving this as a gift to his brother, or perhaps he’s a theologian, who seems to be going on a long journey. “Come back sober,” he writes.

Yes, I think we should all come back sober, like we did that day. We came back sober to our homes, to our radios, and television sets, but today as we do so, we come back with gratitude. .

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In memory of the 9/11 victims. 💕 🇺🇸 #usa

Why Love The Iris?: An Interview with the American Iris Society

I would like to…render thanks now to this graceful iris which arises from reedy stems in delicate flower-heads of dark purple, lavender, and white.  It varies in its colour[sic], and that is one of its most attractive characteristics.

-Vita Sackville-West
More For Your Garden
June 27th, 1954

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If you’ve read my post, Snatching Velvet in the Night, you’ll know I always wanted irises for my garden but thought they were too expensive; not enough bang for my buck.  Now, I have some, courtesy of a neighbor, but still stand perplexed by the absolute obsession some people have for this flower.  I asked my friends at the American Iris Society to explain their passion in hopes it might ignite in me a greater respect.  I spoke with Andi Rivarola, photographer and social media manager for the AIS in regards to the iris and what he has to say was very interesting.  He says it was the blue hues of the iris which drew him especially:

In nature blue is rare and unique, and this definitely made an impact on me. Of course there’s no color limitation on irises, they are available in yellow, red, black, brown, white, purple, etc.”

As far as blue goes, Vita has written about the difficulties of finding the perfect shade of blue.  I think Andi is right, the irises tower above all others in the color department.  Here is what else he had to say in our interview:

Me – “As I’ve written before in my posts, I admire the American Iris Society because they’ve chosen, over all others, the iris as their focus and their first love.  So I wonder what makes the Iris so special?”
Andi – “For me, irises are special because of their very form and variety of color.  Most flowers have a centered focus and a round type form – petals come out of this center, just as the daylily or rose. The iris has a vertical form, some petals go up while others go down (standards and falls). Besides this, irises truly have the colors of the rainbow. I was truly impacted by the blue iris. Many irises are blue, for example dark blue like, tall bearded iris ‘Navy Blues,’ or light blue like, ‘Above the Clouds.’

 Me- “I like to time my garden so something is blooming all year.  It seems the only irises I’ve seen bloom in late spring.  Is there an iris for spring, summer and fall?”
 Andi -“Most irises bloom only in the spring, but there are some that also bloom other times of the year they are called rebloomers. The reblooming feature is part of their genetics, and so, no amount of water, fertilizer or weather conditions will make one rebloom; either they have “the gene” or not. Several hybridizers are now focusing on this, so that more gardeners can grow and enjoy them year round. “

 Me- “I see the American Iris Society website has a list of the best places to shop for rhizomes.  Is there one variety you’d recommend?  Perhaps one many people haven’t seen before?”
Andi – “The American Iris Society is an umbrella for several other societies, including SIGNA (Species Iris Group of North America), the Spuria Iris Society, the Siberian Iris Society, the Society for Louisiana Iris Society, the Japanese Iris Society, etc. I would recommend exploring the unusual, such as species irises, and/or beardless irises. They are also really beautiful and deserve much more attention.”

 Me – “Which variety is your personal favorite?”
Andi – “I’m very partial to spuria irises. In my area, Southern California, they grow very well, and are much easier to care for than bearded irises. They come in a variety of colors, and they last much longer in a vase if you bring them indoors.”
Thank you Andi!  It was so nice of you to take a moment out of your busy day to answer my questions.

When I look up the irises Vita had in her garden, the chrysographes, douglasiana, graminea, innominate, japonica, sibirica, and the stylosa – just to name a few, they all seem to be miniature versions of what I have seen growing.  However, as I snuck around the neighborhood yesterday, creeping into my neighbors weedy pathways and mulched landscapes, I found something interesting.  Tucked in the corner of my neighbor’s neglected garden was a species which resembled the iris sibirica of Sissinghurst.  According to Andi Rivarola, my suspicions were correct, it was an iris sibirica or Siberian iris.  One of Vita’s iris’.  Growing in such an awkward spot, I can only imagine it was a remnant of a by-gone era.  That property used to be the old schoolhouse for my neighborhood 100 years ago.  Perhaps a teacher planted iris sibirica for her beloved students long ago.  Maybe there were other flowers there too, but this is all that remains.

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On another note, you might remember from my post, History’s Peony: A Search & Rescue, a different neighbor was tearing down his historic home; what used to be the neighborhood general store.  From that property, I dug up a 100 year old peony, but also asked permission to take some old iris rhizomes.  I didn’t know their color or variety, which made it more fun.  They bloomed this weekend an interesting yellow, purple and mauve-brown and they smell like black licorice and grape candy.  They pair nicely with the allium and the green foliage of my hydrangea.  I really enjoy seeing them out my window each morning.

I think I might grow to love the iris after all.

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Garden Of Roses…

Indeed, I think you should approach them as though they were textiles rather than flowers.  The velvet vermilion of petals, the stamens of quivering gold…

-Vita Sackville-West
In Your Garden
May 28, 1950

 

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I have been waiting all year for this.  Waiting for the perfect opportunity to purchase my roses.  They will be the staple of my garden forever more.   I knew the perfect place to go, and if you live around you should check them out.  Vita always gave suggestions to nurserymen, as she called them, and as I have become quite a connoisseur of the big names around these parts I will do the same.   The place for roses, without a doubt, is Wiegand’s Nursery in Macomb, MI.

I say this because they have a most well organized selection.  Organized by hybrid teas, old English, Floribunda and the climbers.  Each bush stands against a white picket fence.  What perfect staging!  Someone was clever enough to know the color of the blooms will stand out better.  Their position along the white picket fence also brings to mind the beautifully overgrown gardens of yesterday’s American dream.    Somewhere the Dining Sisters begin to sing in their usual perfect harmony, and all is right with the world.  Sigh…

Anyway, I ventured to this particular nursery because I knew I would find perfect specimens.   Each rose is clearly labeled.  You needn’t bend down to look at tags, but instead the information for each variety is displayed at eye level.

I walked along the pathways of old world romance and waited to be spoken to.  I didn’t have to wait long before I came face to waist with this, the most gorgeous rose I had ever seen. This floribunda Moon dance (above).  Its head did not waver or fall but stood erect, staring at me.  It’s petals did not fall at the touch of my hand.  Its color, a creamy white like churned butter, and its fragrance sweet.  All the leaves were intact and healthy, not one of them disturbed in the slightest.  Then, like a tidal wave, others spoke up.

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Floribunda, Sheila’s Perfume (above) was recommended to me by one of the staff.  I was a bit overwhelmed and told her I was going to plant similar colors that would eventually melt into each other as their colors fade to white, as most do.  I liked the two toned petals of yellow and pink so I added this to my collection.

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Floribunda, Tuscan Sun (above) joined soon after.  I liked it’s big full blooms, and I thought planted  within range of Sheila’s Perfume it would make a nice blending effect.  It starts out with the same pink as Sheila’s Perfume then ends with a peach.   With the Moondance behind them I think they will make a striking show.

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On the opposite side of my garden a white climbing rose will work its way up the fence.  Having a pink climber at home, I had to remember they bob their heads downward when they bloom so I told myself to not be discouraged by this sight at the nursery.  They are not wilting for lack of care or water, they are merely wanting you to see them better.  They have formed this habit of pointing their heads downward, because they know someday they will be a mighty towering thing and will have to look down at you.

I then was intrigued by a rose that is grotesquely named, but fortunately, its flower is not.  It’s called Ketchup and Mustard…

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Beside the Moondance, this bicolored beauty spoke to me in a very strong way.  I was disgusted with the name, but I put that aside.  Its coloring was quite beautiful, and attracted my eye.  Let’s instead refer to it as Sunshine’s Kiss.   Sounds much better than Ketchup and Mustard.  Gag me!  The name reduces a garden to a flimsy hotdog.  Not exactly what I meant before by achieving the American dream.   Anyway, last but not least I picked up a yellow to blend with the unfortunately named.

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Floribunda, Julia Child.  See the white climber in the background.  Like the moon aglow on a starry night.

I emerged from this adventure an hour later covered in blood (the thorns) and sweat.   I choose all Floribunda’s because they are hardier for Michigan.  I felt I had gone about my task carefully.   When I was done I drove away completely satisfied with all of my choices.  Not a drop of regret.  These roses will be in my garden for a very long time, hopefully forever if I can do my job well.   Wish me luck!!

Tell me, what is your favorite rose?

…And as always, thank you for reading…