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


The Rose Expert
Friday, June 26, 2009

Last week Rebecca and I spoke in three one-hour sessions (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) at the World Rose Festival that was held at the new Vancouver Convention Centre. Both of us had these tags hanging from our necks that defined us as experts. The theme of the lecture was A rose through a child's eyes. Rebecca exceeded my expectations on how she was going to perform. As a matter of fact I asked her, "Aren't you going to be nervous facing all those people?" She answered something like, "That's not going to happen." On the second day we were preceded by the legendary English rose expert Peter Beales. "Aren't you nervous that we are going to speak after him? " Her reply was a a flat, "No."

We had a trick up our sleeve. We used a basic Power Point program that enabled me to place one, two or more pictures at one time on the screen. Here is an example:

When these images appeared on the screen Rebecca said,"This rose is an English Rose called Mary Rose. Mary Rose was Henry VIII's flagship. She sank on her maiden voyage. Not too long ago they found the wreck. Inside were boxes and boxes of long bows. They put strings on them and they found that one needed a pull of 100 lbs. These English bows defeated the French knights three times during the Hundred Years War. These bows were made of Taxus or English Yew. The plant in the bottom of this picture which is in my grandfather's garden is a taxus."

She, of course, blew them away with erudition! The president of the Toronto Rose Society invited Rebecca to lecture (with an honararium, of course!) if she ever goes to Toronto. And of course, I was most proud. And prouder still when the venerable Peter Beales came up to me and said, "I was impressed by Rebecca."


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