Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Amongst Thorns and Flowers

“You have it in your power to make your days on Earth a path of flowers,
 instead of a path of thorns.”
Sri Sathya Sai Baba

Rosa 'Julia Child' hosting a bee

'Julia Child' is covered with both thorns and flowers.  Thorns, always, flowers in sporadic visual fragrant bursts. Afraid of bees as a child, I have come to admire how they prioritize, focus and go about life. As  Archbishop of Constantinople, Saint John Chrysostom ( 347-407) noted 

The bee is more honored than other animals, not because she labors,
but because she labors for others." 

Sparrow bobbing on bougainvillea branch
The bougainvillea grows leggier than fashionable. It would be nice to say this is out of respect for the thorny thicket providing cover from predators  for sparrows and wrens. Honestly, it is as as much about needing to dress  like a beekeeper tending hives in a den of rattlesnakes. Bougainvillea is living barbed wire  disguised in bright bracts to seduce thier way into the home garden. Once established, their arms will move and sway with the ease of an octopus dressed in porcupine spines.

Before wrestling the quintessential enchantress of Southern California, armour yourself up in chaps and gauntlets, boots and face mask. Have band aids and Neosporin®, by the sink as bougainvillea is an accomplished and experienced warrior. 

 Be it with tea, water of wine- I like to toast the Lord above for making flowers so beautiful that they make thorns not just bearable- but welcome.  
Washington Hills Paradise Peak Late Harvest Riesling

Gerry is custom building a Walnut wine cabinet for our son and his betrothed- he needed a larger bottle than I stock here to finalize the dimensions of the "wine cubicles" in the center section. So I made an afternoon run  to Total Wine in nearby Brea. 

There I discovered their limited hours, weekend- only  10 cent wine tasting. Of the 5 samplings, far and away my favorite was the Washington Hills Paradise Peak Late Harvest Riesling. Style-wise, it is what I call a "Girlfriend Wine. "

Girlfriend wines are that delightful group that taste of sunshine. They are versatile enough that one wine will go with every course served alfresco (when the weather is more reliably warm than it has been the past couple weeks).  Slightly sweet in presentation, it tastes innocent. With touches of apple or maybe honeyed melon, chill a couple bottles in ice to serve with lighter fare favored by the sex eternally on a diet since puberty- a fruit tray starter followed by Chinese chicken  or Waldorf salads- maybe a lemony tart for dessert.   


  1. What a beautiful rose the 'Julia Child' is--I didn't know there was a rose named after her....GREAT Color! And the Bees---It is wonderful to watch them do their thing---I LOVE to photgraph Bees....
    Don't you wish the weather could make up it's mind and just settle down? And pretty soon we will have that always odd time---The May-June Gloom...! My body cannot keep up!

  2. My dear Lydia,

    Haven't you found that when the phone goes missing-and the camera goes missing, they're usually out in the garden...and they've usually been watered!

    All joys,


  3. I love birds and your Mr. Sparrow is darling! I agree about bougainvilleas...OUCH!
    'Julia' is a beauty. Very soft and feminine... so unlike the real Julia!! LOL

  4. Lydia,

    The JC rose is beautiful. Love our bougainvilleas. The colors are lovely and much to hubby's chagrin the gardner does not cut it back enough once a year. It does tend to get huge.

    Best of all I LOVE the looks and sound of the Girlfriend Riesling! Hope you had E and me in mind when you named it! :):)

    Hugs, Trisha

  5. Good morning everyone.

    OOL of th Hills. Your magnificient photography of wildlife visiting your LA backyard is nothing short of enchanting.

    Sharon- Oh the potential for comedy from documentary moments in the garden... When phone and camera get lost under the sprinklers- undoubtedly my precious Felco's will be right there- starting to rust just so I must confess my carelessmess to my husband- aka my "tool sharpener."

    Sue- If you would like "your" Oregon rain back- I did detail my husband's car.... no need for heaven to wash it now.

    Trisha- When I get bids to help me catch up- the Gardener's bid goes UP if they must touch the "enemy combatant".

  6. Hello Lydia -- so nice to see your 'Julia Child' flourishing. Mine is an own-root three-year-old and just starting to break into her stride.

    I've got birds building a nest in my 'Parade' climber (over the arbor) right among the thorny canes.


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