A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.


Monday, May 26, 2008

On the 24th of May I realized that I had one open rose in the garden. Every year Rosa 'Jacqueline du Pré' and Rosa 'Blanc double de Coubert' vie for being the first rose of our garden. I noticed that Blanc double de Coubert had lots of buds on Saturday but Jacqueline du Pré's lonely open flower on the same day trumped my ever hardy rugosa (notice the rugose crinkles of the leaves). Both roses are supposed to be white although Jacqueline does have a slight pink tint. Jacqueline is fragrant, delicately and demurely so. She cannot compete with the more intense Blanc double de Coubert.

It is only today, May 26 that I remember that yesterday was the anniversary of Argentina's independence (declared on 25 May, 1810, but the struglle lasted until July 9, 1816). Napoleon had invaded Spain so the residents of what was to be Argentina declared they did not recognize the authority of the Spanish viceroy. I remember fondly the date because I did not go to school and sometimes my father took me to see the desfile or military parade with strutting Argentine soldiers in their uniforms that were virtually indentical to the Wermacht of WWII. There were Sherman tanks and overhead we could hear the jet engines of Peron's Argentine jet fighter the Pulqui 1 and in later years of the Pulqui 2. I was much too young to disavow blatant militarism and it was most thrilling to me to hear the tank track noises and the singing of the Argentine national anthem.

It is perhaps appropriate that the 25 of May now is a competition between two white roses in my garden. But suppressed in me is the thrill of those military parades and the comforting security of holding my father's hand.


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