While living in Mexico City in 1972 our big Boxer, Antonio became ill. He was simply too old so we took him to the Mexican SPCA to be put down. Rosemary was grief stricken. It was then that I understood that the best cure for the sorrow of a dear dead dog was an instant brand new one. I told Rosemary we would return with one. We went to the pen where all the dogs were kept and they all began to bark. I imagined that they were barking, “Take me home. You’ll see what a good dog I will be.” But there was one forlorn gray mutt that was silent and looked at me with such sorrow that I told Rosemary that was our dog. She interjected that he (it was a she) was very ugly. We took him home and Mouche (she was the colour of an ugly fly). Mouche may have had some Airedale in her blood but it was a very thin part of it. When we left Mexico City for Vancouver we gave Mouche away to our friend Andrew Taylor who kept her until she died of old age.
Walking in the garden today, tinkering, pulling out weeds, deadheading roses I thought of Mouche. My roses bark at me and they beckon me to put my nose to their petals or admire their colour and complexity. Our trees with their handsome peeling bark invite me to pass my hand to feel the roughness through my fingers. I avoid Rosemary’s handsome Astrantias because of their foul odor resembling an unwashed human body.
The variegated hostas stand out and I may not notice the more elegant and stately green ones. The green hostas calm, their different shades of green calm. The variegated hostas bark for attention. Why would I have an identical hosta to a very nice one, Hosta ‘Gold Standard’ ? It is variegated and just right by the pond. The other one happens to be called Hosta ‘Captain Kirk’, that’s why!
I passed by three hostas, two green, Hosta ‘Hirao Majesty’ and Hosta ‘Invincible’ and the blue one an ordinary small blue one called Hosta ‘Blue Boy’. I looked at their flowers. Two of the plants had flowers that had yet to open. I saw an understated elegance and beauty that did not scream for attention. Not quite the Mouches of my garden, but I did notice them in spite of their botanical quiet.
The other plant that I stopped at in marvel was one of Rosemary’s species rhododendrons, Rhododendron makinoi. The old foliage (last year’s) is notched by nasty weevils. The new growth, fuzzy like a cat’s ear is pristine, beautiful. Beauty is definitely in the eyes of the beholder. I miss my Mouche. I looked at Rosemary’s very big cat, the portly Casi-Casi sprawled in the shade. In his own way he is beautiful, too, even though like most cats he will not bark.
The pictures above are not photographs and I did not use a camera. I carefully placed the above hosta flowers and leaves over my Epson V700Photo Scanner. I call them scanographs and that makes me a scanographer.
Originally published at blog.alexwaterhousehayward.com.