Monthly Archives: November 2011

Premiere Episode of Through the Garden Gate

The Butterfly Garden at Willowdale Estate

Holiday Magic or Several More Reasons to Shop Small Not Mall

During my mad rush Tuesday morning to shop for our Thanksgiving dinner, I first stopped in at Alexandra’s Bread to pick up several loaves of their freshly baked bread. Knowingly, I had placed an advance order because the bread at Alexandra’s is so super delicious they are often sold out. I not only needed baguettes for dinner Tuesday evening, but for our fondue dinner planned for Wednesday evening. It is our tradition to serve fondue on Christmas Eve and to the kids, fondue symbolizes warm- and cozy-holiday-fun-dinner; they now request it for “Thanksgiving Eve” as well.

Alexandra’s Bread

I next popped into Pearl’s to see if Sue had any fondue forks. Pearl’s is a wonderful vintage everything shop at the east end of Main Street. Fondue forks are designed with extra long, heatproof handles and I needed several additional forks for our guests. Sue did not have any fondue forks, but Deb, the meter attendant who was, very fortuitously, standing at the counter chatting with Sue, mentioned she just-so-happened to have a set at her home that had not sold at her recent yard sale. Deb said she’d be happy to deliver her forks to Pearl’s and Sue very graciously agreed to be the go-between. I bought them sight unseen for ten dollars.

Next stop was Abacus Computer and The MacDaddy, across the street from Pearl’s and several doors down from Alexandra’s Bread. Their tagline is “Your PC and Apple Repair Service Specialists.” I explained to Frank that my daughter was arriving Tuesday night and was only staying for a few days. Could they possibly squeeze in a look at her laptop to see what was wrong? Yes, no problem, and requested we bring in the computer promptly at 10:00am Wednesday morning.

The following morning Frank and Thad looked it over and thought perhaps they could repair and have it back to her by that afternoon, even though it was by no means an easy fix, needing a new hard drive, along with various other problems. WOW—you don’t get service like that at the big box stores, as a matter of fact, at the Apple Store in NYC, the salesperson told my daughter her laptop was unfixable and not to waste their time.

Next stop was Pearl’s, where we picked up the most gorgeous boxed set of wooden handled fondue forks, circa 1960—very Eames looking— and far more elegant than the forks we had planned to use. Thank you Sue and Deb and thank you Holiday Spirits!

Elegant Fondue Forks

More Holiday Magic—later that afternoon, Abacus Computer and The MacDaddy called with the good news Liv’s computer was ready for pick-up. Cleaned and repaired, it is working perfectly. Thank you Frank and Thad and thank you again Holiday Spirits for working your Holiday Magic!

Beautiful Waterfront

Standing at the parking lot’s edge I turned west toward the silvery setting sun. As the clouds broke the reflected light beneath the pilings caught my eye and a familiar scene became new again. We would be hard pressed to take a bad photo from nearly any Gloucester Harbor vantage point!

 View from Captain Joe’s parking lot


Aloha and Happy Thanksgiving

Dear Friends,

A Thanksgiving column for you–about the sublime rose ‘Aloha,’ for which I am most thankful. Even more so, I am thankful for my family—our son Alex is arriving home from college this afternoon, then later in the afternoon, my dear mother-and father-in-law from Cincinnati, and then darling daughter tonight on the train from NYC. I count my blessings each and every day, but I am especially grateful that this Thanksgiving my husband and I can share this most special of holidays with our family. I hope with all my heart you have a joyful Thanksgiving.

Warmest wishes, Kim

P.S. Programming notes ~ Two specials that I produced are airing on Cape Ann TV this week and they are The Butterfly Garden at Willowdale Estate and The Greasy Pole Fall Classic (see previous post re Greasy Pole schedule).

Program schedule for The Butterfly Garden at Willowdale Estate airing on Channel 12, Cape Ann TV:

Monday, November 21 at 8:00 pm

Tuesday, November 22 at 2:30 am and 10:30 pm

Saturday, November 26 at 8:00 pm

Aloha Blooming Mid-November

Rosa ‘Aloha’

The French have a beautiful sounding word for a repeat flowering rose and, without doubt, the most remontant rose that we grow is ‘Aloha.’ Embowering our front porch pillars, she welcomes with her fresh-hued beauty.‘Aloha’ begins the season in a great flush, followed by a brief rest, and then continues non-stop, typically through November, and in one recent, relatively mild autumn, into December. I like her so very much that I planted a second and then third and they are all three sited where we can enjoy her great gifts daily.

‘Aloha’s’ buds are full and shapely, and colored carmine rose with vermilion undertones, giving us a preview of nuanced shades to come. She unfurls to form large, quartered, and subtly two-toned blossoms, initially opening in shades of clear rose-pink with a deeper carmine pink on the reverse, or underside of the petals. The blossoms are long lasting, fading to a lovely shade of  pale coral pink. And the petals fall loosely, never becoming balled clumps. With luxuriously long stems and shiny emerald foliage, ‘Aloha’ also makes a divine cut flower.

Oh, and I can’t believe I am several paragraphs in and haven’t yet mentioned her fragrance. She not only welcomes with her great beauty, but also with her potent and dreamy scent. I’ve often heard ‘Aloha’ described as having a green apple fragrance, but find that description only partially accurate; the scent is really much more sophisticated, with notes not only of fresh Granny Smith apple, but also the warm sensuous undertones of the old Damask and Bourbon roses.

Passers-by may think she looks a bit peculiar, ruining my color scheme with her fresh-hued cluster of pink amongst a tumble of drying stalks and seed heads in the beige and brown hues of late autumn, but I don’t mind—to be welcomed by her scent on a cold November morning is simply to be welcomed by a gift—and ‘Aloha’ is a rose that just keeps giving and giving and giving.

I first took note of Aloha, arching along a split-rail fence and growing in the path of drying winter winds and sand. A rose that can withstand winter along the Cape Ann seashore is a rose worth noticing. I asked the owner of the garden if she minded if I took a cutting and she very graciuosly allowed me to take several (see Chapter 14, page 117, in my book Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities on how to propagate a rose from a cutting).  ‘Aloha’ is one of the easier roses to propagate and I soon had several viable plants. I kept one and gave the rest to friends. Roses grown on their own roots are far superior to those grown on a commercial rootstock. The grafted joint is susceptible to disease and damage. Not only that, in the case of a very severe winter, the growth above the graft is often completely destroyed. The growth that returns in the spring is that of the rooting stock, not of the originally desired rose.

‘Aloha’ was hybridized by Eugene Boerner in 1949 and is in the class Large Flowered Climber. Her parents are the Climbing Hybrid Tea ‘Mercedes Gallart’ and ‘New Dawn.’ Although classified as a climber, the versatile ‘Aloha’ is easily grown as a shrub. The foliage is vigorous and leathery, and rarely visited by pests or disease. ‘Aloha’ is the parent or in the ancestry of many gorgeous roses and has contributed greatly to the development of the David Austin roses.

Roses seen in paintings by the old Dutch masters are the Damask, Bourbon, Gallica, Alba, and Portland roses. Hybrid Perpetuals were derived to a great extent from the Bourbons. Hybrid teas are a cross between the winter-hardy Hybrid Perpetual and the tender, yet repeat blooming, Tea rose; hence the winter-hardy and repeat blooming class called Hybrid Tea. These were cross-pollinated with large flowered climbers, culminating in roses that inherited what are considered by rosarians to be the most desirable qualities—that of repeat flowering, strong fragrance, strong stems, hardiness, and disease resistance.

‘Aloha’ grows vigorously in full sun or a very light bit of shade. A compact climber, she is ideal for planting alongside porch pillars and fences. It is easier to train the canes to grow up a porch pillar or to arch along a fence when they are young as the canes become stiff with age. After the first flush of flowering, deadhead and remove any weak or twiggy growth. Pruning is not mandatory for flowering because ‘Aloha’ blooms on both old wood and on the current season’s growth, however, I like to prune again lightly at the end of the growing season, to shape and to remove twiggy growth. In early spring fertilize and lightly prune yet again, removing any dead winter damage (usually minimal). ‘Aloha’ is not prickle free; be mindful to plant where she won’t create a nuisance (I should heed my own advice, although if planted in a heavily trafficked site she is very easy to keep in check).

Because of her ease in culture, remontant habit, arresting fragrance, and seemingly endless variations in color from within each flower, I would have to say ‘Aloha’ is in my top ten category of favorite roses, if not top five. If you have a rose that you cherish—a rose you grow, or perhaps one you recall from childhood—please write and tell me what it is that you find lovely in your rose.

Aloha (left pillar) Early June

Aloha Late June

Greasy Pole Fall Classic Video Special

As first seen On Good Morning Gloucester. The following is the program schedule for the video special that I produced for Good Morning Gloucester, which is also airing on Cape Ann TV this week.

Program schedule for The Greasy Pole Fall Classic airing on Channel 12, Cape Ann TV:

Wednesday, November 23 at 8:00 pm

Thursday, November 24 at 1:00 am and 6:30 pm

Saturday, November 26 at 7:30 pm

My Cape Ann readers know of the Greasy Pole. For my off -island readers, the Greasy Pole walk is a uniquely Gloucester Sicilian-American event that takes place every summer during the St. Peter’s Fiesta. The pole is rigged on a platform in the harbor off Pavilion Beach. The objective is to walk the heavily greased pole and capture the flag. During the fiesta three walks take place, one walk each on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and there are three winners declared. Much bravado and celebrating takes place during and after walking the greasy pole. To see Greasy Pole videos from the summer of 2011 visit Good Morning Gloucester. To read more about the Greasy Pole and Gloucester’s annual St. Peter’s Fiesta visit the St. Peter’s Fiesta website.

This past autumn the platform rigged in the harbor that supports the pole was damaged first by Hurricane Irene, and then destroyed by a subsequent ‘noreaster. Roughly eighty thousand dollars is needed to reconstruct the platform. The Greasy Pole Fall Classic fundraiser, from where the video footage was shot, was held at the local football stadium, and is a one time only re-creation of the annual event that takes place in the harbor. Gloucester’s St. Peter’s Fiesta is attended by tens of thousands and is a beautiful celebration of St. Peter, the patron saint of fishermen. The Greasy Pole is a highlight of the fiesta, and just one of many religious and celebratory events.

Donations to restore the Greasy Pole may be sent to the following address:

St. Peter’s Fiesta Committee

P.O. Box 3105

Gloucester, MA 01930

Greasy Pole Fall Classic

Rolling Stone Magazine

Great gift idea ~ The November 2011 issue of Rolling Stone is, as typical, bulging with timely, interesting, and well-written features–check out Florence and the Machine, George Clooney (cover story), and a great article by Rolling Stone’s political correspondent Tim Dickinson on how U.S. tax policies have increased economic inequality. Link to hear the  Terry Gross interview with Dickinson on NPR.

Every member of our family loves reading Rolling Stone. I purchased a subscription for our son for Christmas about five or six years ago and then we would all go searching for it in his room after he had finished reading the latest issue. Of course it’s available online, but nothing equals curling up with (the physical manifestation of) a good book or magazine–besides, it gives your eyeballs a break from the computer’s glare.

Fantastic and FREE

The workshop last night at Cape Ann TV, presented by Barry O’Brien, President North Shore Communications Group, was fantastic. We covered keyframing in Final Cut Pro, basic techniques in both audio and video, and then several more advanced techniques in both. Barry and Andrew Love, producer at CATV, are extremely generous with their time and knowledge. It matters that you understand what they are teaching, and they take the time to insure that you do. Thank you Barry and Andrew for generously sharing your gifts!

Barry O’Brien and Andrew Love