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December 2009

November 2009

Gift of My Rose Books

Happy December First !

Gift-of-Rose-Books On Sunday evening, driving in my neighborhood, I noticed that holiday lights were up– what welcome sparkles! I have a feeling the blog world will be brimming with giving and receiving, in coming days.

R-is-for-Rose-Book In the fall of both 1995 and 2005, rose books by yours truly, made it to bookstores, across the US and even in Europe– timed for the holidays. They were giddy times for me– full of excitement. At special events, I was awed by the privilege of signing my name in the books. Both books are out of print now, but I have a little stash here at home. I'd like one of you to have a signed set, as a gift. My most recent book, R is for Rose: Reflections of a Passionate Rose Lover, weighs 3-pounds!

Roses, whose initials form letters of the Alphabet, are the stars of these pages. The above spread features F for Foetida Bicolor. Each chapter explores intimate details about the featured rose. History, growth habit, how they look in vases (yes, there are many rose arrangements– 2, 3, 4 per chapter), how I met said rose (I said intimate details), and any number of other subjects. Uh huh, the roses made me write about all kinds of things– adoption, marriage, death, self-love, the unknown, and much more . . . There are many photographs, some were taken in England, but most are from my garden.

The Poetry of Roses  

Poetry-of-Roses-Book-Photos Above, are photos from my first book, The Poetry of Roses. On my blog, pairing rose images with poetry or quotes, is one of my favorite things. I spent a whole year doing the same for this book, and discovered that poets have always been writing about roses.

Do you see the four pictures lined up below this text? Below those pictures, you will find a comments link in dark blue- click on it and leave a comment in the box that appears. Your name will then be placed in a drawing for the two books. If you win, I'll email you and ask for your address, and then on December 10, I'll send you the books. I know many of you have my book, but it's a great gift too. I'll sign it something like this–

Always, in the love and inspiration of Roses,


It's been difficult for some of you to leave comments- I've finally fixed the problem, so send me a line.

Rose Whispers

My nosegays are for captives;
     Dim, long-expectant eyes,
Fingers denied the plucking,
     Patient till paradise.

To such, if they should whisper
     Of morning and the moor,
They hear no other errand,
     And I, no other prayer.

                                Emily Dickinson

November 30

Carolyn Parker Self-Portrait

Carolyn Parker Photographer I was surprised at how much fun I had with the self-portrait part of project #2, in our photo workshop. Once I shot the image, I couldn't stop. Out came the macro, then came another collage (thanks Camilla). After that, I wanted to write about what some of these things mean to me.



If you asked me my favorite element in all these images– hands-down it's the trowel full of earth. All things come from there. The earth grew roses, and roses inspired a passion that can't stop expressing itself.

Gardens-Illustrated-Magazine BOOKS & MAGAZINES

When I first started thinking about the self-portrait idea– a stack of books and magazines came to mind. The same thing happened to several of you. I've always marveled at how much I've learned from them – whole educations – photography, decorating, design, computing, business, fashion, writing . . . Yes, I went to art school, but books continued my education. Gardens-Illustrated-CoverI have every issue of Gardens Illustrated– the photography alone is worth the price of this British publication. It's also filled with fabulous real-world gardening info. Garden Design, Elle Decor, and Vogue are other favorites– I crave beautiful images. Did I say Vogue?

Allure-by-Diana-Vreeland I learned my most important photography lesson from Diana Vreeland, who was the editor of Vogue magazine from 1962 to 1971. She was a brilliant photo editor. One day, while looking at something like 75 images, shot by a well-known photog, she could not find one image that illustrated the point she hired the photographer for. Lesser editors would have found plenty. Vreeland would hold out for the image with punch- the one that got to the point without fail. She was always after the element of surprise, and if one image would do, she was not about to put in three or four.


Carolyn-Parker-Fashion-Shot From the time I was 5-years old, I wanted to be a fashion designer, and actually was one for too many years. (Can you recognize me in the picture above?) All that construction and styling I had to do enhanced my photo work. I also learned an appreciation for color, texture, and fabrics, and the importance of backgrounds - they are just as important - if not more – than the foreground or subject.

The jewels, and silk roses are part of my image, when I give rose talks. I do like to dress-up on the rare occasion, but prefer lovely cotton work shirts any day.


Mac-Apple No, its not an ad for Apple. But you will notice, in the collage, that the computer mouse gets as big a square as the pile of soil. My life's earthy days seem to have morphed into computer days. My garden is mature now - and I'll admit - I have two gardeners for three hours, each, per month. Time-wise, they accomplish so much more than I ever could! And I'm forever asking them to move things, plant things, prune, weed - it's a true luxury. I want you to  know, though, that I have put in my time, royally, as a dirt gardener. I've done every job, and time and again with relish. I love everything about gardening except for tangled hoses.

But back to computers – what a challenge – you might notice there's an html textbook in my stack. The course I took was 4-hours a day, 5-days a week, for 4-months! When I finally realized my mind just did not get the really technical stuff, I quit. I learned a lot of helpful things though. And, of course, I'm still learning - it does not stop in this venue, does it? I'm grateful, beyond words, to be able to share images and words through this machine. And this workshop is a little miracle.



One day on a shoot, 100 miles from home, my camera faltered, and I didn't have a back-up. Now I do, and it's a thrill to have two cameras. I keep a macro on one and interchange two zoom lenses on the other.

Believe it or not, the camera images, here, are shots of my reflection in the LCD panel on the camera that's sitting atop the books (in the top shot).


After a shoot, icing on the cake is taking a picture of the set-up. It's just fun, and who knows when you might need such an image. I highly recommend it (and I want to see yours, behind the scenes pics are the best).

There are two things here I couldn't live without. The plexi-glass stand (my former business partner's dining table base) on wheels (base made by husband), and the 18x24" piece of white translucent plexi-glass. I move the stand all over the place and can easily change the size of the top, as you see here. I have two sheets of the white plexi-glass. If I want, light filters through it, when on a stand like this. It also offers interesting reflections, and a smooth, non-wrinkled white surface. I do most of my food shooting with this kind of set-up. There are more perks to it- you just have to get one or two, and see for yourself.



Everyone did such a good job with this assignment! I'm inspired by all of you- you open my eyes wider and brighter.

ASSIGNMENT #3 is here.

Some of you might have trouble commenting – try again – I think I fixed it.

November 29