Sunday, June 17, 2018

Madame Caroline Testout or The Rose That Made Portland Famous

Prior to the 1905 exposition Portland city leaders asked all residents to plant roses in their front gardens in hopes of being branded the “Rose City.”

The exposition committee decided on a hardy hybrid tea, “Madame Caroline Testout.” 
Famed French hybridizer Joseph Pernet-Ducher sold his beautiful rose to a dressmaker who named it after herself. The Madame Caroline Testout (pronounced “testoo”) a hardy hybrid tea rose has large pink petals with clear silvery pink edges. 

The Madame Caroline Testout rose was introduced to the U.S. in 1892 and the city of Portland imported thousands that were delivered door to door by the Portland Rose Society members in 1902.
The plan worked and Portland became the Rose City. Historians claim that almost a quarter of the city streets were outfitted with rose hedges. A few still exist in the older neighborhoods. Recently the garden section of our newspaper listed locations to see the roses, one of those was in a nearby historical graveyard.

It is amazingly quiet in the graveyard during a late morning on a weekday, only retired folks are out and about.

Madame Caroline Testout looking very well under glass

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Swearing Off Trees

Kitchen window box

We have been doing a bit of traveling, mostly one or two days at a time. But I have also been spending all my free time in the gardens.
Pruning season is in full swing here.  I start up with the trees and work down. At this time I am still up. Two done, twelve to go. I have sworn off planting any more trees!

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Spring Break

Sometimes getting grandchildren together from two households is like herding kittens. So when all else fails chase them up a tree and grab ‘em quick. It’s spring break for this lot and we managed to grab three out of five to spend two days with Poppi and MeMa. 

The noise level alone is amazing, when it’s just the two of us the ticking of our thirty some clocks is almost deafening. But when the grandkids are here we don’t hear a one. Supper was late so that made the big bowls of ice cream even later and bed time........well what happens at MeMa and Poppi’s house, stays at MeMa and Poppi’s house. The next morning for breakfast it was fresh baked cinnamon rolls while we watched the movie  Jumanji Back To The Jungle. After the movie and a whole bunch of giggling and goofing around we loaded everyone into the car and headed to a local pet shop that specializes in reptiles. Our two box turtles Ruby and Elmo were in  need of a nail trim

I used to do this task myself but shy away from it now because of Ruby’s great age (100+) , Elmo is very bad tempered and will bite the hand that feeds him. The manager was very impressed in their overall health, strength and alertness for such seniors. Just as he finished with Ruby, granddaughter Taeya came up to us and frantically told us that one of the shops resident tortoises  was upside down in its enclosure. The manager asked her if he unlocked the door would she mind rescuing it as the ceiling is only four feet high. My granddaughter since birth has spent a lot of that time at Menagerie Manor so she has been introduced to every sort of creature imaginable. I think she handled the rescue like a pro and the manager was very impressed. As she uprighted the poor flailing tortoise he let out a very human sounding sigh of relief that made Taeya giggle.


The now recovered tortoise took an immediate likening to his rescuer, it was as though he wanted to thank her.

After dropping Ruby and Elmo off at the house we headed to gymnastics lessons.

Then back home where Lucy immediately let us know how the rest of the day was going for all of us.

Monday, March 26, 2018


We decided to make a trip up to the cabin and do some work on the place. We left Portland with the fragrance of spring blooms and marvelous blue sky. 

It takes exactly one hour to get from Menagerie Manor to the cabin. The locals are always happy to catch our arrival and if I’m slow with the unpacking they are eager to help with the bags of groceries.
We lazily woke around eight the next morning to an inch of snow.

Large flakes of snow continued until about noon, the trees looked wonderful all dusted with snow.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Field Trip

I absolutely love my grandchildren. They all know that when they ask a favor of their Poppi, they will get one of two answers. Yes, I would love to or absolutely not. One thing I have never....ever done is said yes to a school field trip. At the risk of sounding rather chauvinistic, that is something MeMa does. However when ten year old Taeya told her mother that her next field trip was to a bird sanctuary she neglected to pass all this knowledge on to her poor misinformed mother. When I received the text from my daughter-in-law I didn’t want to embarrass the poor thing so was forced to say, “I would love to.”

Have you ever noticed how much oxygen 30 some children suck out of a large bus? Well I am here to tell you those little devils had no idea that this old gardener was suffering. The bus trip lasted about fifteen minutes. Smith and Bybee Wetlands is a hidden gem completely hidden within an industrial park. The excited students were met by a group of volunteers from the Audubon Society that broke us into smaller groups.

Since it is a wetland I was not surprised that the first bird spotted was our national bird the Bald Eagle, perched high in a tree watching over us. My cell phone makes him look like a dark blob in the tree. If you click on the photo it will make him look like larger dark blob in the tree.

We saw several Greater Blue Herons like this one hunting frogs.

Dead fish in the woods, no water in sight.
An Osprey’s intended meal that got away, unfortunately both hunter and prey suffered. One left without a meal and the other without water to swim away in.

The children were very excited when they spotted this young garter snake.

When this old gardener finally made it back to the student filled bus I was quite surprised to hear my granddaughter Taeya’s (fourth smile from left) voice, along with three of her friends all yelling “Poppi we saved you a seat back here with us.”