Sunrise 32: Ault Park (Garden of Old Roses)
This morning was similar to yesterday morning in that the temperature is in the lower 40s (about 6-8 Celsius), except that today I was ready for it. Perhaps it was this preparedness that made the morning chill seem not too bad. Whatever the reason, I was determined to not let the thick overcast sky and the sharp bite of the wind put down my explorative mood. Today I set off on my friend Geoff’s Trek 4000 again, with its knobby tires and low gearing. I realized, after talking with Geoff last night, that in fact I had ridden the bike incorrectly yesterday morning. I commented on “how low the center of gravity was” on the bike, but what I really was talking about was how low to the ground I felt. As it turned out I rode the bike with the seat all the way down at the post – a position Geoff had set the seat to for storage purposes. After raising the seat about 8″, and suddenly feeling stretched out and more mobile, I set off towards the park at a much more comfortable pace. Eventually I’ll check out the “Garden of Old Roses” – one of the three lawns in the center of Ault Park, below the pavilion. The new growth in the garden is a bit young, having only been blooming for a week or two by now. I imagine in another month it will be exploding in color.
The overcast cloud bank was thick. It was also relatively low to the ground. I lost most of the planes taking off from Lunken Airfield quickly as they rose up into the atmosphere. I decided that instead of sitting at the overlook, a location that has become familiar and comfortable, staring at the featureless gray sky, I would set out to the arboretum and have my morning coffee at one of the benches hidden back under the small trees. I set off for the pavilion to look for a photo subject or theme for the morning. Now that I have a new image processing script that takes the tediousness out of adding pictures to this post, I was prepared to be generous in the usage of my small camera. (Before my update to my script earlier this week, each picture would take, let’s say, 1 minute to add to a post individually. Now I can add all of them at once so it costs no time extra to take a few additional pictures).
These trees surprised me. All the other white blooming apples, pears, and cherries stopped blooming about a month ago. These guys are just getting started. I didn’t get much closer to see what species they are.
The plaque reads “The ‘Smittie’ Concert Green; George G. Smith IV 1909 – 1985; Musician, Band Director, Teacher; A living memorial made possible by contributions from those whose lives he enriched – his students, musicians, family and friends. Dedicated June 14 1987. Cincinnati board of park comissioners”. The lawn, both above and below the wall, serve as a great venue for the summer and fall, including the after party for the awesome Reggae Run.
A third water fountain by the lawn. It is not, however, of the classic design that fit the rest of the fountains. I see no sign of “Murdock” on the metal, unlike the other water facilities in the park. Blasphemy! I wonder when it was added?
You can see the pavilion through the trees.
I find myself excited to check out the old Rose garden. After reading Michael Pollen’s A Second Nature over the past winter, and being surprisingly fascinated by his chapter on old world roses vs new age hybrids, I’ve found myself paying much more attention to rose bushes. In his book Pollen describes how certain species of rose were cultivated by each royal family of old Europe, and often the politics and cultural undertones behind the breeding and display of the roses were as complex as the society that maintained them. A rose is seen as a symbol of love and youth because many species of rose seem to throw future care to the wind, displaying beautiful and vibrant flowers that soon wither. With the introduction of “Eastern Roses” from Asia that bloom all throughout the year, there were periods of instability in the ancient rose culture as hybrids that were selected for time-length of bloom (or multiple blooms per year) over color and scent beat out the native, short blooming species. A “watering down” of the noble rose genes, if you will. There is much more in the book, including talk of the 20th century “modern hybrid” roses that come in every color and have flashy names like “Dolly Parton Hybrid Tea” Rose. Often these new roses lose their qualities after a few generations of inbreeding as environmental selections take over and their ancestor’s genes of ancient stability start to become dominant again. Here’s an Amazon Link to the book if you ever want to check it out. It is one of the most meditative and reflective looks at modern culture through the eyes of the American Garden that I’ve ever read. Pollen’s writing style really shines through. It covers a lot of 20th century garden and horticulture philosophy and history along the way, something I have had literally no experience with. Maybe one day I’ll write a more thorough review on the book – it has probably helped to shape my own personal philosophy regarding our relationship with nature and the garden than I realize. It is worth reading if for nothing else than the comparison between European wall gardens and what you see in a typical “American” garden, and why often the American garden style is not as well defined as many other classic styles – such as the European or the Eastern garden. I don’t know anything about garden styles or horticultural history, so this was quite an eye opener for me.
I stroll down the sidewalk and realize that there are many new flowers that were not in bloom even two weeks ago. These gardens were all green as the daffodils and cherry trees were in blossom, but they are coming alive now. Fair Warning: I don’t know roses that well and it is possible that I mislabel a species or two. They are almost all on thorny bushes, but some don’t look like what I think of when I think of a rose.
Surprisingly this was the hardest rose to take a picture of. The red kept showing up as a washed out bright neon red. After playing with the color settings I finally was able to get a picture that didn’t look too weird.
On the outside of the rose path, facing the lawn and open sky, was this beautiful white rose bush. It has more blooms than most of the bushes combined. Once again – this is a rose right? It is thorny and the small buds sure look like roses, but the flowers open up incredibly wide.
Thanks for reading and checking out the pictures. Tomorrow may be more of the same (overcast and cloudy) but by Friday hopefully there is a break. Nothing beats a surprise slightly cloudy sunrise, especially after the drab and gray overcast ones of the past 4 days.