Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Roses and Waterlilies

The Montreal Botanic Garden consists of 30 thematic gardens, the first of which is the
Rose Garden.  A friendly bronze lion stands guard at the entrance above a bed of white
shrub roses, "Alba Meidiland."  Two paths are lined for a quarter of a mile with every
variety of roses, and they were all blooming last week.

"Alba Meidiland" white shrub roses.

Roses form a group of plants that can be erect shrubs, climbing or trailing with stems that are often armed with sharp prickles. Flowers vary in size and shape and are usually large and showy, in colors ranging from white through yellows and reds. Most species are native to Asia, with smaller numbers native to Europe, North America, and northwestern Africa. Species, cultivars and hybrids are all widely grown for their beauty and often are fragrant.

"All American Beauty" hybrid tea rose.

Modern Roses are a broad mix which include the following four basic types: Floribunda, 
Grandiflora, Hybrid Tea, and Shrub.  There are other subvarieties.

Hybrid Tea Roses are a Cultivar Group of roses, created by cross-breeding two different
 types of roses. Grown one flower to a long stem, they are supported by long, straight and 
upright stems. Hybrid Tea Roses can be as tall as 6 feet. Each rose bloom can be 
up to 5" in diameter..

"Tabris" floribunda roses.

Floribunda (Latin for "many-flowering") is a modern group of garden roses that was 
developed by crossing hybrid teas with polyantha roses. The idea was to create roses 
that bloomed with the polyantha profusion, but with hybrid tea floral beauty and color range.  
Typical floribundas feature stiff shrubs, smaller and bushier than the average hybrid tea but 
less dense and sprawling than the average polyantha. The flowers are often smaller than hybrid
 teas but are carried in large sprays, giving a better floral effect in the garden.

"Day  Breaker" floribunda rose

Ornamental roses have been cultivated for millennia, with the earliest known cultivation
 known to date from at least 500 BC in Mediterranean countries, Persia, and China. Many 
thousands of rose hybrids and cultivars have been bred and selected for garden use 
as flowering plants.

"Scotch Medley" grandiflora rose.

Grandiflora roses blend the best traits of hybrid teas and floribundas. They produce 
the same elegantly shaped blooms as hybrid teas, but in long-stemmed clusters 
that continually repeat, like floribundas. The plants tend to be tall (up to 7 feet), hardy,
 and disease-resistant.

"Maid of Honor" hybrid tea rose

"Heart and Soul" shrub rose.

Shrub roses take the best of the hardiest rose species, and combine those traits 
with modern repeat blooming and diverse flower forms, colors and fragrances. 
Some shrub roses may grow tall, with vigorous, far-reaching canes; others stay compact.
 Recent rose breeding has focused on developing hardier shrub roses for landscaping
 that need little to no maintenance.

Two "Heart and Soul" shrub roses

"Yankee Doodle" hybrid tea rose

Another "Yankee Doodle" hybrid tea rose

"Touch of Class" hybrid tea rose

"About Face" grandiflora ros

I don't memorize all the names nor do I take notes, but there is a label beside each plant
in the Garden giving its botanical and common names.  With a digital camera, it is easy
to take a photo of the label and have all the information right at hand beside the flower.

"Countess Celeste" shrub rose

Color Symbolism of roses:

Yellow Rose: Joy, Protection against envious lovers, Mature love
White Rose: Purity, Sanctity, Secret admirer, Mysticism
Red Rose: Sacrifice, Immortal love, Health, Memorial, Passion
Pink Rose: First love, Innocence, Healing

"Abbey of Cluny" hybrid tea rose.

Can you imagine the monks at Cluny, in Eastern France, enjoying the color and
fragrance of these beautiful roses each time they walked around the clouster saying
their prayers?

"Chris Evert " hybrid tea rose, in honor of the great tennis player.

"Elle" hybrid tea rose

"Singin' in the Rain"  floribunda rose, clusters of flowers

"Celine Dion"  shrub rose

Celine's fans often cover the stage at the end of one of her concerts with hundreds 
of these colorful roses.  While in Montreal, I saw a photo of Celine's recent visit to
Montreal and a stage completely covered in Celine Roses.

"Charlotte Brownell" hybrid rose

In Christian symbolism, a rose bush was said to have grown at the site of Christ's death. 
His blood shed is often associated with a red rose, and combined with its thorns,
 it thus symbolized the ultimate sacrifice.

"Rainbow Sorbet: hybrid rose

The rose was an icon of veneration in the pre-Christian era, and was used in ancient Rome to symbolize devotion to the goddess Venus. Following the Christianization of Rome under the 
Emperor Constantine, the rose became identified with the Virgin Mary. The rose symbol 
eventually led to the creation of the rosary prayer and devotional object.

"Always Rosy" hybrid tea rose

The rose is the national flower of England, a usage dating back to the English civil wars of the fifteenth century (later called Wars of the Roses), in which a red rose represented the House of Lancaster, and a white rose represented the House of York. The Tudor dynasty created 
the Tudor rose, which united both the white and the red roses, a symbolism dramatized by Shakespeare in his play Richard III.

"House of Orange" hybrid tea rose

In Christian art, the white rose is a symbol of purity, the gold or yellow rose a symbol 
of impossible perfection and papal benediction, and the red rose a symbol for martyrdom.

"Chicago Peace" hybrid tea rose

The rose is a frequent symbol for the Virgin Mary, who is called a "rose without thorns" 
since she was free of original sin. This may refer to St. Ambrose's legend that the rose grew, 
without thorns, in the Garden of Eden. After the Fall, it became an earthly plant, and the
 thorns appeared as a reminder of man's sins and fall from grace. The scent and beauty 
remained as a poignant reminder of the lost perfection of Paradise.

"Chicago Peace" hybrid tea rose

"Eureka" floribunda rose, growing in clusters

On the rosary, the Joyful Mysteries, those relating to the happy events in Mary's life, 
were white roses; those relating to her suffering, the Sorrowful Mysteries, were red;
 and the Glorious Mysteries, the triumphant events, were symbolized by the yellow 
or golden rose. The rosary can be considered a symbolic wreath of red, white, 
and yellow roses.

"Never Alone" shrub rose with many, smaller flowers

"Golden Centennial" shrub rose

Japanese Garden

White Water Lilies / Nymphaea Candida

Egyptian white water lilies open at night and close in the morning.

There are a number of concrete lined pools in the Water Lily Garden.  Paths lead to the

 Chinese Garden and Japanese Garden from here.

Blue Water Lilies  /  Nymphaea Capensis

Yellow Water Lilies  /  Nymphaea Mexicana

The lake in the Japanese Garden is surrounded by flowering cherry trees, which are

particularly beautiful in the spring.  The formal tea ceremony is performed in the
pavilion of the Japanese Garden.

Nymphaea Cerulaea

The flowers of the Egyptian blue water lily open in the morning and then
sink beneath the water at dusk.

"Pink Beauty" Water Lily

Lotus Flower

"Emperial Courtesan" lotus

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Toulouse-Lautrec Posters

Today I'm at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, which has a fine permanent 
collection, but also brings many special traveling shows to the city.
Right now there are two splendid special exhibitions, one of them "The Posters of
Toulouse-Lautrec" and the other on "Pompei and Its Art."

The posters were created at the end of the 19th century as advertisements for
entertainment in Paris.  They were pasted on the columns / kiosks found all along
the streets of Paris.  But Toulouse-Lautrec's were special.  The above poster 
was his first, created in 1891 using lithography and made of three pieces
of paper and standing more than 6 feet high.  This had never been seen before.
It is a lithograph, created on large pieces of limestone.  People would see it for
only a few seconds as they walked by, so you wanted to grab their attention and
give them the message immediately, no fine print.

In this case, it is taking place at the Moulin Rouge, the hottest night club in Paris;
it stars "La Goulue," the most famous can-can dancer of the day; and there are
special performances on Wednesdays and Saturdays.  The artist's cousin is the
man silhouetted at the front, and we are right in the midst of the audience,
not seated apart and away.

Another very popular singer and entertainer in night clubs was Aristide
Bruant.  He was flamboyant and dressed always in a large black cape
and red scarf.  He hired Toulouse-Lautrec to make posters for him.
He performed at the "Ambassadeurs," a popular club, and then
when finances permitted, he opened his own cabaret.

M. Bruant liked to stride along the Champs Elysees or other
streets in Paris, with his cape and scarf flowing, so that people
would recognize him and hopefully come to see him in his club.

When "La Goulue" retired and moved away, she was replaced by a pretty and
shy young woman who went by the name of "Jane Avril," who was the
antithesis of the boisterous and flamboyant Goulue.  But "Jane Avril"
soon became an even more popular star and dancer, and Tourlouse-Lautrec
portrayed her several times in posters.   1893

Toulouse-Lautrec was much influenced by Japanese woodblock prints
which were being sold in Paris.  Notice how we are sitting immediately
beside the orchestra pit, right behind the bass player.  The flat colors of
the dress are made with greasy crayons on the stone, the speckled
appearance of the bass player and his arm were created by using a
toothbrush and toothpick and spraying the pigment on the stone.
TL experimented with many new and unusual techniques.

Jane Avril performed in the clubs of Paris for more than 20 years.  At the
age of 42 she retired and married a German artist, and they moved to a Paris
suburb.  But he was soon unfaithful, spent all her money, and then left her.
Without any financial support following his death in 1926, Avril lived
 in near poverty on what little was left of her savings.

Jane Avril died in a seniors' home in 1943 at the age of 75. She was interred 
in the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.

The "Divan Japonais" was another popular club.  The artist again makes
contrasting use of large areas of solid yellow, black, and orange, contrasted
with the speckled grey of orchestra and stage.  Like Japanese prints or modern
selfies on a cell-phone, he cuts off parts of the background and people - he
wants to make us feel as if we are right in the action.

Toulouse-Lautrec influenced other artists; this poster was made by
Theophile Steinlen.

The "Chat Noir / Black Cat" was a popular club, where many singers
and dancers performed.  Aristide Bruant performed there at times.
In this case, Rodolphe Salis was the headliner.

Jane Avril worked with  three other female dancers (Cleopatra, the Gazelle, 
and Eglantyne) and they did a special act with the can-can dance. 
TL created this poster to be used for advertising in London,
where they went on tour and were highly successful.
 The diagonal line of the dancers leads us right into the action and
onto the stage.  Each of the dancers could be easily recognized by the
public: guess which dancer is "The Gazelle."
The artist would sign his works in a way similar to Japanese artists,
who use a chop or small ink stamp.  Henri used his initials "HTL" (Henri 
de Toulouse-Lautrec) inside a circle, which you can see at the bottom left.


One of the most influential women and art and literature patrons in Paris
was Misia Sert.  She was portrayed by most of the Impressionist artists at one 
time or another.  Here she graces the cover of a literary magazine, "La
Revue Blanche," which she helped found and supported.
This is the cover of the bi-monthly literary journal.

New books were also popularized with bold posters.  Here "Reine de Joie" by
Victor Joze has a racy image on the poster rather than on the bookcover.
But it was available "in every boookstore."


There are more than 50 posters in the exhibit and show Toulouse-Lautrec
as a very hard worker and creative artist.  He came from an
aristocratic family, where marriage to cousins was common.  He
inherited health problems, and after some accidents with falling in his youth,
his legs stopped growing.  His torso was normal sized, but his legs were
short and tiny, so he could not participate in riding or dancing or other
activities of the aristocracy.  So he became an habitue of the nightclubs
of Paris and lived in the clubs and recorded their life.  He became
friends with the dancers and entertainers and promoted their careers.

At the exhibit, recordings of songs in the nightclubs are played in
the background;  they are wonderful.  It is a great show.



Monday, August 22, 2016

Montreal Botanic Garden

This week I am in Montreal visiting the Botanic Gardens. which are flowering
at their fullest in late summer.  There is a special garden for these
Rose Mallows / Swamp Mallows, which are wild flowers which grow very large.
This is a Double Pink Rose Mallow, which is about 10" in diameter.
These are cousins of the Rose-of-Sharon and Hibiscus.

Dinner Plate White Rose Mallow is 12" in diameter.   "Annette B"

The Montreal Botanic Garden is one of the finest and largest botanic gardens in the world.
It consists of 75 acres on the northeast side of the city, across from the Olympic Park.
There are more than 22,000 different species of plants growing here in more than thirty
thematic gardens, including the Chinese Garden and Lake, the Japanese Garden, the
Rose Garden, the Waterlily Garden, the Alpine Garden, the Vegetable Garden, the
Garden of Poisonous Plants, and many more.

"Joyce G" - Cherry Red Rose Mallow is 10" in diameter.

"Fluffy" - White Rose Mallow with Red Center, about 9" in diameter.

"Aunt Irene" - Pink Frilled Rose Mallow, about 8 " in diameter.

Black-Eyed Susans

Snow Crest White Hydrangeas
Montreal seemed to use hydrangeas of many kinds all over the city.

Clusters of Snow White Hydrangeas

"Pinky Winky" pink hydrangeas.

"Chloe" - Red and White Gladiolus

"White Cosmos"   Big blossoms and feathery leaves.

Pink and Magenta Cosmos

"Feather Top Daisies."  An unusual variety.

"White Strawflowers."   The plants are native to Australia, but have become 
very popular in the U.S> The flowers always look very crisp, almost like 
little explosions of white.

Yellow Strawflowers with ochre or orange centers.

Pink and Purple Strawflowers

Pale Blue Balloon Flowers.  The buds swell up like balloons before the petals pop open.

"Pink Champagne" tuberous begonias.  The Gardens have lots of hanging pots of
begonias all along the covered walkways.

Pale Pink Phlox

A large head of Pink Phlox

White Hydrangea hedge with orange marigolds

"Harlequin Blue Flag" Iris.  This flower is the symbol of Quebec on their flag.

Coral Zinnia

"Aztec Sun" golden dahlia

"Lemon Burst" - Yellow  Dahlia

"Naomi" - Pink  and  White  Dahlia

"Duchess of Cambridge" - Pink  and  White  Dahlias

"Orange Popsicle" -   Frilled Dahlia

"Anamary"  Dahlia

"Frothy" - Peach  Dahlia

Peppermint Patty" -  Shrub Verbena

"Aloysius" -  Shrub Verbena

"Madame Bovary" - Pale Peach Rose
The Montreal Botanic Gardens have a very large Rose Garden with hundreds
of varieties and color, from mini-roses to tea roses, climbing roses, fragrant roses, etc.

"Queen Matilda" - Red and White Rose

"Grandma's" - Pink Roses

"Diaphanous" - Yellow Rose

"Susie Z" - Pink Coneflowers

White Coneflowers

"Kathy S' -  Water Peony in Chinese Garden
The Gardens also have a number of ponds which have hundreds of water lilies
and lotus in every color and size growing in them.

"Miss Marion" - Pink Spider Flower / Cleome

I' m having a wonderful time; it is a great place to visit.
Tomorrow I'm off to the Museum of Fine Arts to see two special exhibits.

I hope you have enjoyed this virtual walk through the Gardens with me.