Some Flowers For A January Morning

After all the rain we’ve had in Southern California, it’s nice to see a clear sky.  On days like this my mind turns to flowers and their natural beauty.  Flowers with their wonderful symmetries and forms never fail to inspire me.  Here are some photos of flowers from Southern Oregon and Southern California:

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“The Flowers That Bloom In The Spring, Part 2: Southern Oregon

Spring in Southern Oregon has seen widely changing climates, from days over 100 to freezing temperatures.  Most of the spring flowers did not last past the middle of May.  My delphinium lasted just a few weeks.  The stronger foxglove is now giving up the ghost.  The dogwood at my duplex has flowered and gone into hiding for another spring.  Petunias, of course, are hardy plants that will endure just about anything except poor soil.  My jasmine is emanating its special fragrance over the front porch.  My English lavender is still thriving in a comfortable shade.  The impatiens, nestled in a cool spot at the side of the house, are covering the landscape with their resplendent colors.  I plan to put in some zinnias near the English lavender outside the office window, so I will have something colorful to look at from my place of work.  In the meantime, I water and nurture my plants as best I can.  Below are some photos of the spring plants:RH 31RH 16RH 15RH 12RH 11RH 9OH 8OH 11

“The Flowers That Bloom In The Spring”, Part 1: Southern California

Despite a lengthy drought, flowers appeared in their many enticing colors.  Our front entrance was covered with azaleas and outlined by roses.  The back saw the emergence of freesias and camellias.  Unfortunately, the hyacinths didn’t do well due to the arid soil and warm April temperatures.  However, we were pleased with the flowers that did bloom in the spring.  Below are some photos of the Spring flowers around our Southern California home:IMG_6317IMG_6322IMG_6325IMG_6326FW 32FW 34FW 35FW 7FW 15FW 18FW 19FW 22FW 29FW 30

Rogue’s Roost: Paradise In The Wilderness, Part 1.

When I think of Rogue’s Roost, I am issued once more through the gates of childhood into a pristine and untainted world.  This was a world of heady aromas, incredible beauty, the substance of dreams.

Rogue’s Roost was the summer residence of Phyllis deYoung Tucker, part of a family that owned The San Francisco Chronicle.  Her main home was in Burlingame, California, an area known for wealth.  I knew her as an old lady with a bright smile, a certain elegance in her gait, who often wore a broad-rimmed hat.  She loved to walk through her garden, which was pungent with the smell of carrots and point out her favorite flowers.  The path continued to a rocky outcropping overlooking the river.  These rocks marked the coveted steelhead hole of her chauffeur, Joe Chevigny.

The swimming pool below the main Roost was a troublesome affair.  Sharp flagstones lined the edge of the pool and caused one man to require stitches.  I knew it only as a place to frolic in the summer, accompanied by her grandson, Nion Tucker, named for Mrs. Tucker’s husband.

Rogue’s Roost was located off of Highway 62(Crater Lake Highway) about one mile SW of Laurelhurst State Park.  My father said to look for a sign that read N. Tucker.  When I saw the sign, I knew we would begin to descend through a lush forest, ending up at the moss-covered Rogue’s Roost.  Evelyn Ditsworth Walls, whose family settled in the Laurelhurst area in the late 1880s, gives a detailed and poetic description of this special road and of the area of Rogue’s Roost:  “The road from Crater Lake Highway down to the Roost went through a large, weighted gate, which could be opened without the driver getting out of the car by pulling on a three-foot wooden handle cantilevered to the weights at the hinged side of the gate.  The road wound down the mountainside through virgin forest carpeted with moss where lady slipper orchids and lamb’s tongue bloomed in the early spring…  The road looped around a hairpin curve, alongside the irrigation ditch and across a bridge with rustic seats on each side before plunging down the last steep hill and around the final curve.  Then the road leveled off through the landscaped grounds with a croquet court on one side of the road and a deck tennis court on the other.

The landscaping was quite informal with flagstone walks among the big trees and rockeries with coral bells, columbine, maidenhair and sword ferns.  Near the river there was a natural carpet of different kinds of moss and lichens covering the ground and the large river boulders.  I especially remember the exceptional beauty of the area in the early spring, when all the new growth would be bursting forth in its many shades of green, and again in the fall, when all the autumn shades of russet, red, and gold would emerge following the first nippy nights.  The many dogwood trees and vine maple bushes provided bright spots in the undergrowth both in the spring and fall.”

Ashland’s Lithia Park

IMG_1410 ASituated beneath the Siskiyou Mountains is a 93 acre refuge called Lithia Park.  The park was built in 1915 by John McLaren and retains some of its original features.  It is in the town of Ashland Oregon and meanders along the sparkling Ashland Creek.  In recent years, crowds have become a major problem, so weekdays are best.  The lower part of Lithia Park features a pond of floating swans that marks the entrance to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.  The upper part offers a waterfall, a pond of ducks, a band shell, used for concerts and a series of intriguing steps and bridges.  Lithia Park is a favorite spot for hikers, actors, who want to rehearse in the shade of trees and families seeking a beautiful picnic spot.  Children love to play in the shallow, clear water of Ashland Creek, and are heard often, laughing and cavorting.  I offer some photos of the upper part of Lithia Park.

An aside:  For visitors that are new to Southern Oregon, one must realize that the towns of Medford and Ashland are like different countries, so great are the differences.  Ashland has had a teacher’s college for years(Southern Oregon College).  It recently became Southern Oregon University.  However, it is a university in name only.  It offers no doctoral programs.  That was the agreement reached with other Oregon universities to avoid competition for students.  In general, Oregon has been a state of ecological awareness, but poor education.  At one time, it ranked 49th out of all the states, outranking only lowly Louisiana.  But the Oregon Shakespeare Festival brought in many people from the arts, and Ashland offers more educational opportunities than any other Southern Oregon town.  People throng daily to walk the streets and investigate the many shops the town offers.  By contrast, Medford is not a town of walkers, and does not attract many visitors.  West Medford is notorious for crime, poverty and drug use.  Type 2 diabetes is the illness of choice for women, since obesity is rampant.  Alcoholism is the illness of choice for men.  The youth prefer pot or meth, because of its availability and relative cheap cost.  Medford abounds in single mothers with multiple fathers, while Ashland has the region’s largest gay community.  The poverty is so bad in Medford, that during a recent teachers’ strike, the Medford Superintendent, Long, stated that more than half of the children were either receiving free lunches or were getting them at a discount.  This does not mean there are no poor people in Ashland.  Just that they are less visible among the teeming citizens.  Ashland is the most liberal community in Southern Oregon.  Medford, and all other communities in the region are far more conservative.  A friend of mine, when he arrived from the Bay Area, told me he thought of Medford as a different country.  And, in a way, he’s right.IMG_1235IMG_1243IMG_1248IMG_1249IMG_1306IMG_1269IMG_1341IMG_1285IMG_1355IMG_1408IMG_1234

The Amazing Dodie Hamilton: One Of Medford’s Treasures

“My art is my life, and it has been since I was very young, scribbling away at drawings on every scrap of paper I could find…”DH 2DH 1

 

Glendora “Dodie” Hamilton has been a major part of the art community in the Rogue Valley since her arrival in 1982.  I have had the privilege of working with her on a number of projects, from small town histories to the study of form and she has always embraced my work with enthusiasm and a willingness to do something new.

Her indefatigable spirit led a Missouri girl to the distant state of California where she taught English and art for many years.  During her California stay, she attended many art courses and workshops, working primarily in oils, acrylics and pen and ink drawing.  When she came to the Rogue Valley, she began to focus on watercolor.  Her favorite subjects are the flowers and landscapes of the Rogue Valley, but she has also done children’s illustrations and abstract renditions of shapes.

Dodie is now in her nineties, but she continues to paint, offer art workshops and she remains an active executive member of the Art and Soul Gallery in Ashland.  Despite her age, she loves to travel and recently held two workshops in Mexico.   She also takes workshops with other artists.  The amazing Dodie Hamilton continues to surprise with her zest for learning, her willingness to share and her desire to explore new horizons.  Dodie, who now lives in East Medford, is indeed one of Medford’s greatest treasures.  Please visit her website at:  dodieart.comDH 9ADH 8ADH 15DH 14 DH 13DH 12

Some Flowers For November

Soon most of the plants will have shed their leaves.  Autumn will have accomplished its purpose.  I offer the following photos as a testament to the beautiful season which has passed.  I have always loved flowers, and I hope the photos reflect it.FO 3FO 4FO 5FO 6FO 7FO 9FO 10FO 15FO11FO 1