A Dry October Photo Walk

#Lens Artist – Amy, takes us on a photo walk as Challenge # 117. This week, and Terri with Sunday Stills makes it a dry one. Since we live in a semi-desert area, dry pictures abound. #Tanka Tuesday sweetens the challenge because it’s poet’s choice of theme and type of poem. So here goes, I’m going to combine all of the above along with Cee’s Flower of the Day and Becky B’s October Kinda Squares

My sister-in-law and her pets live with us now. Today we took our two dogs for a mile-long walk through the Woodlake Rose Garden. I was on a quest for pictures of dry beauty like a well-aged red wine.

For once, I couldn’t take pictures to make my Kiwanis group proud. Last weekend Kiwanis recruited 37 volunteers, students and adults who spread mulch to hold in the precious moisture.

Once we got past the Kiwanis section, which could be likened to garden of sweet white wine, I didn’t have to look far.

 
Roses
Spidery
Pitied
#Haiku 2/3/2

The garden sprinkling system fails consistently but the thirsty roses get some water. No one except Chuck House brings a hose and cleans them off. I wonder what would happen if all 7,000 Woodlakers came out to work in the garden for a couple of hours this fall?

Spiders are in heaven making silky webs to trap the dust and ashes in the air. The little bug on the rose can hide out almost anywhere in the garden except where he is. Does anyone recognized him?

Roses need deadheading constantly in the summer to keep them blooming beautifully. Due to COVID, we did not have the help this summer that we usually get from the students, and the Master Gardeners were not able to come until just recently. So you will see Zombie Roses on this walk.

Deteriorated
Dilapidated, dusty
Throw-away roses
"Wait," shouted the grasshoppers.
"Look at this elegant weave
Spiders created."
#Tanka 5/7/5/7/7

The garden could be the Secret Garden before it was rediscovered. The potential of beauty is there, covered with what looks like years of neglect. In reality, it’s only a few weeks. On the cobweb blanket, you can see the ashes from the forest fires.

This rose has company that puts it to shame. The beauty of the morning glory is deceptive. It chokes out its competition, the rose and takes over if left unchecked.

Vibrant
Velvety
Contrast

Withered
Crumpled petals
Faded
#Haiku 2/3/2

Some of the plants are not as loved as the roses. My great-grandmother used to make persimmon cookies. I do not think she would be happy to see this dry tree.

Some areas of the garden have still not been adopted by organizations. In those area anything goes. In this case, the rose is surrounded, not only by thorns, but by weeds.

Lost in a weed patch
Propagating constantly
Drowning in ashes
#Haiku 5/7/5

Once in a while, you have to look up. The trees tell the long time story. Those blobs are cobwebs and debris.

After the garden walk, Cindy and Flo went home, Kalev and I drove home the back way on Sentinel Butte Road looking for more dry pictures. We weren’t disappointed. You can see the dusty, smoke-hazed, 157-AQI-sky. You can barely make out Colvin Mountain in the background.

It struck me that Woodlake is the perfect example of “the haves and have nots” when it comes to water. Wherever there is water, even just a speck, you see green life blooming. Otherwise you see brown deterioration.

Life-giving water
Sucked dry by super hot skies
Humans tricked the fruit 
Giving them a plastic teat
Yielding oranges once more.
#Tanka 5/7/5/7/7

I read this quote on Sylvia Bacon’s website,

“Beauty can be seen in all things; seeing and composing the beauty is what separates the snapshot from the photograph”

Matt Hardy

The weed and dead limbs contrasted to attract my attention.

As I drove around the corner, the hillside on the left marked the end of the dry land and the beginning of irrigated groves of orange trees.

I hope I achieved my goal of seeing and composing the beauty in this dry photo walk.

These images are inspired and submitted for the following blog challenges:

Don’t Forget to Head Over to See Kerry

https//www.kerrylizblack.wordpress.com

In the Garden: Labor of Love

Thank you to all who have labored over the years. We stand on your shoulders and labor to help the next generations have a better world.

#Lens-Artist Challenge #113

#Sunday Stills: Orange

Woodlake Rose Garden began in 2004 as a labor of love, a gift from Manuel Jimenez, a local resident and Professor Emeritus at UC Davis, small farm advisor for the Southern Valley.

Manuel credits the garden to his wife, Olga for her love of roses. I picked a particularly lovely rose from the garden for Hugh and his Sunday Stills challenge of “orange.” This post is not colored orange, but see how many orange items you can spot.

As it grew, Woodlake Pride, a local nonprofit organization maintained the garden with the help of volunteers, mostly students.

When Manuel stepped back to focus on the Botanical Garden, three years ago, the rose garden fell into a state of disrepair. Kiwanis of Woodlake stepped in to fill in the gap between what the City of Woodlake could manage, and what needed to be done to bring the gardens back.

As a Kiwanian, I think that the pride in helping our small town stay beautiful is the primary benefit of this labor of love. We also benefit from meeting the many people who come to the gardens to enjoy a gentle walk. I also enjoy giving back in a small way to Manuel and Olga Jimenez.

Kiwanis enlisted some other non-profits to help out. Until COVID 19, the Master Gardeners of Tulare County maintained the largest portion of the garden. UC Davis restricted them from working in any garden anywhere because of the pandemic so they have just begun to work in the garden again. The weeds and work multiplied tenfold while they were gone. We are super glad they are back.

There’s at lease one orange item here.

Above and Beyond

One Kiwanian stands out above and beyond the rest. Sally Pace spearheads the labor of love for the Kiwanis Club of Woodlake. A weekly walk determines the focus of the work. During midweek visits she provides the approved chemicals and sprays the weeds so that no one will get blasted with unwanted herbicide except her.

You’ll have to work hard to see the orange in this picture.

During official workdays, she digs out stubborn weeds choking the roses, deadheads, and makes her husband deliver mulch from their property to spread around the roses. She coordinates sprinkler repairs, donating little parts from her surplus stash at home, purchasing the bigger ones needed to repair the endless water leaks and recruiting volunteers to help her.

The trash that people throw in the garden, turn me orange with anger.

Need student help? No worries, Sally visits the Ag teachers at Woodlake High School to enlist their help identifying great students who need to earn community service hours in order to graduate. Early on the designated Saturday mornings Sally meets them and any Kiwanians who happen to come to help at the garden with snacks and a truck-load of equipment.

Watch out, Dennis. Hold on to your orange hat.

Supervising the students? Not really. She designates them to other Kiwanians. They just hope and pray they don’t get assigned to the man with the chainsaw. No one can keep up with her as she tackles whatever seems the most urgent problem of the day. You have to catch her to photograph her.

Then she sends out an email telling how hard everyone else worked and how fabulous they all are. I’m not sure how she benefits from her labor of love, but she labors tirelessly.

Heroes with No Vested Interest

Another set of unsung heroes are the folks like the ones in this picture who came from nearby Visalia to walk around the lake and saw us working. They have no vested interest other than they love the gardens. The next time they came to walk they brought pruners, and started deadheading roses. Another couple has come from Three Rivers several times to weed and patch vital water lines.

A local police officer dropped by when I was working with two students weeding, and stepped in to lend a hand. Local residents see a Facebook post and bring their rakes and their friends and come to the garden. Denise gets more done in an hour than most people do in ten.

Even the park bench sitters pick up a shovel, rake and hoe when we come near their benches rather than to sit and watch us work.

Here’s to happy Labor Day festivities to you, however you choose to spend them. If you come to Woodlake, might we suggest some labor of love ideas?

Bit Moji wink

Thanks for hosting the Lens-Artists Challenge #113, Rusha.

Thanks to Hugh Roberts for hosting #Sunday Stills – Orange.

Related Posts

Call for Challengers

If you host a challenge, writing or photography, please contact me. I would love to interview you and share the “behind the scenes” story about your challenge.

15 Rosy Ways of Looking at Perspective

Writing a story to a photo challenge teaches you to be an expert blogger. Short action-filled sentences, pictures every 100 words hold readers’ attention.

#Sunday Stills

The online dictionary gives two definitions of perspective and lists 14 synonyms. The first definition pertains to art and the second to attitude. Telling the story of perspective in Sunday Stills, one synonym at a time.

#1 Position

The Woodlake Rose Garden sits at the bottom of a levee around Bravo Lake. From this position on the floor of the garden, you see there are thousands of roses, but the colors in the back blur to pinpoints against the green.

#2 Vantage Point

This is one of my favorite pictures with the Double Delight Floribunda in the foreground forcing the rest of the garden to blend into the backdrop of Sierra foothills .

#3 Stance

From the stance of standing on the levee, you can see the clusters of pink floribundas in the foreground and Miller Brown Park in the background. From this perspective you see one lone rose which shows that the rose bush was not well-pruned.

#4 Slant

Stand in the same position as the picture above, but slant your camera to the right and you pick up a different color scheme of roses. You have pulled away from your close up perspective, so that the viewers attention focuses on the striking brown foothills against the blue sky rather than the single rose. Even though the color is not as rich as the picture above, the slant makes a more interesting picture.

#5 View (the art)

This view is almost identical to the last two pictures, but you have turned to the right again eliminating the path and presenting only an undefined sea of color and no bridge or open space in the park.

#6 Angle

From this angle, you see the white roses reaching toward the sky, with sunlight exposing their delicate veins. Like the first picture, you are among the roses, but your lower stance highlights their beauty.

#7 Frame of Reference

In this picture you see four distinct frames of reference, the reporter on the left, Chuck House, the Kiwanian who came up with a brilliant plan to help the city take care of the garden, Laura, the Master Gardener on the right and her husband, Bill who was along for the joy of seeing the flowers. Chuck, the former nursery owner, gave them a lesson in rose history as they search for a name and frame of reference for each flower.

#8 Approach

In this picture high school students learned the Master Gardeners’ approach to pruning roses. They are putting in community service hours by doing much needed winter pruning.

#9 Frame of Mind

Usually these guys sit on the bench in the Rose Garden and drink alcohol. When we come to work in the garden, they hop up, pick up whatever tools we bring, and get to work cleaning up their “front yard.” They work harder and faster than anyone. Most of them are field workers by trade, and know what they are doing. They ask for nothing in return and are grateful that we are helping to keep their space clean and beautiful. We give them what we bring for the students, water and snacks.

#10 Way of Looking/Thinking

This broken valve could be a problem or an opportunity. One Kiwanian in our group looks at this broken sprinkler as an opportunity. We have an opportunity to make sure the roses get the water they need during the hot, dry Central California summer. Sprinklers break constantly. The City of Woodlake staff can’t keep up with them all.

Before we started helping, some in the city would have preferred to pave the Rose Garden because it was such a headache. When the water leaks, the public complains because their water is restricted, so water leaks have to be taken care of promptly. It would have been much easier for the city to turn off the water and let the roses wither. So fixing this sprinkler provides Kiwanians an opportunity to preserve the rosy treasure.

#11 Attitude

Sally Pace is the hardest worker on the planet. She weighs all of 90 pounds and gladly hoists a 30-pound backpack sprayer to make sure that weeds are sprayed with both pre-emergent and weed-killer.

Before Kiwanis pitched in to help in the Rose Garden, the Johnson grass was taller than Sally. Now we can keep it under control with much fewer chemicals and back-breaking hoeing. She also fixes the water lines, brings the snacks, water, garden equipment, and tells the students their tasks during work days.

And she prunes.

#12 Outlook

Visitors come to the Rose Garden from all over Tulare County, but few come with the outlook of these wonderful women. Each time Linda Tan comes, she brings more and more friends. Today they deadheaded hundreds of roses after they walked around the lake. They have no self-interest other than helping us out.

#13 Point of View

From the point of view of the City of Woodlake, this system of collaboration works well. Everyone pitches in and they work harder and put more man power into the Garden each week. We enjoy an excellent relationship with the City and Operations Managers, both Woodlake High School graduates.

#14 Point

For a bee, roses are the nectar of life. Attracted to their beautiful colors they scramble to suck up as much sweet rose juice as they can. Since the planet’s ecosystem depends on bees for fertilization, we have come the full circle with this point.

#15 View (the attitude)

In my view, Woodlake Rose Garden would not be possible without the vision and hard work of Manuel Jimenez, his wife Olga, and non-profit organization, Woodlake Pride Coalition. They dedicated their lives to making Woodlake a place of pride, and turned dry ground into a beautiful oasis. They created a botanical garden of exotic species of fruits, vegetables, and flowers for everyone to enjoy.

Manuel and Olga Jimenez

For additional Sunday Stills Perspectives, check out Terri’s blog. I also recommend that you take squares and you can also participate in Becky’s July Squares – Perspectives.

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Always Write Adopts a Section of the Woodlake Rose Garden

What are you doing with your business, church group, or your non-profit group? Have you considered gardening in a public garden?

The City of Woodlake has way more work than they can handle caring for the fourteen acres that is Woodlake Botanical Gardens. The founders, Manuel and Olga Jimenez and their non-profit, Woodlake Pride Coalition, manage all but the three acres designated as Woodlake Rose Garden. That Garden is divided into small sections and several groups have reached out to support it.

This little neglected area is about a third of the way along the Garden path. I probably should have counted the number of roses before I volunteered to adopt it, but I’m impetuous. With some community help, I think it’s doable.

There are probably about fifty roses on the property, several pomegranate trees and about 20 Rose of Sharon bushes and several clumps of overgrown Pampas grass. The tree front and center is a mystery to me.

Woodlake Rose Garden Floribundas
“Adopt us,” cried the roses as Chuck and I walked over to check out the Master Gardener’s well-groomed rose bushes.

What prompted me to adopt the garden is that it’s time to prune roses in CA. This is as cold as it gets, and you can still see roses in bloom on the bushes.

The Master Gardeners lead the way with their work in the Floribundas. Last year they held a training workshop at the Garden, and we have another one scheduled on January 25 from 11:00 – 2:00. It’s a great opportunity to learn how to make your roses gorgeous.

Pruned roses examples
Model section ready for the January 25th pruning workshop at the Woodlake Rose Garden.

The pruned roses looked so good I blurted out that I thought I could take care of one section. After I announced my decision on the internet, I told Mr. Write, AKA Vince, about my project.

“There’s an adorable cove that I did not even know existed in my new section. I bet you could create something really beautiful there.”

An almost secret garden in the middle of the Woodlake Rose Garden unadopted section.

Vince loved it and quickly came up with several ideas of what he might do with it. Meanwhile, I got started turning my new section into a Master Gardener amateur masterpiece.

My bucket is so handy to carry all my tools: loppers and clippers are essential but the knee pad allows me to work for two hours instead of three minutes. You can see my long-armed leather-like gloves peeking out of the bucket. Don’t even try to prune these thorny critters without them.

I advertised on Facebook for community members to help the day before, but that was pretty short notice. However, the Garden has its own regulars.

The first person I saw was Jose. He offered to help so I gave him the loppers. He can’t see well, but that didn’t stop him. He chopped the roses down to a manageable level. Then I dug them out a little farther. Leaves, old branch trimming, and cockroaches filled the center of the plant, so I cleaned them out with a trowel as I clipped the smaller branches.

One garden regular said, “Put your hair up in a ponytail, then it won’t get in your face.” Duh! Good advice – dress for success.

My friend Sally raked the unwieldy branches into piles so they wouldn’t trip walkers after she finished working in other parts of the garden.

Instead of the three or four rose bushes I might have been able to prune on my own, we pruned fourteen roses, and I even found an old label telling us what they are.

Coral Meidiland Floribunda rose
Coral Meidiland introduced in France in 1993 by hybridizer, Alaine Meidiland, it is a Floribunda shrub with lots of thorns. I can vouch for the thorns. It is shade tolerant and disease resistant. Good choice, Manuel!

Last year the Master Gardeners hosted a pruning class in the Garden. That information came in handy. It takes me a while to make the decisions as to which branches to prune, but the basic idea is to think of the rose as a bowl and clear out anything that points inward. They also say to prune off little branches and anything that is crossing.

Woodlake Rose Garden regular, Victor
My neighbor showed me how to add his name to his picture on my phone.

Meanwhile, a friend of Jose’s named Victor came up and said he couldn’t help but would love to help the next time I come. He pruned a Rose of Sharon tree and several rose bushes before he left an hour or so later. Working in the Garden is addictive!

Pruned roses
You can barely see the Rose of Sharon trees in the upper left of the picture.

On Sunday afternoon I returned and three people dropped by to say hi as I worked.

If you have a business, church, or a non-profit, this is a great way to get out of your own circle of acquaintances and make some new friends. Today I chatted with Jose, prayed with a woman on a motorized scooter, and chatted with a police officer who offered to help during my next workday, which is February 22.

pruned roses
The sign says, “Unadopted.” That’s changing to Always Write.”

If you live in Woodlake or nearby you might be interested in caring for this garden which has been dubbed a Tulare County Treasure. Let me know if you are interested in adopting a section of the Woodlake Rose Garden and I’ll get you connected.

Or you can just drop by and help me in my Always Write newly adopted section.

Always Write logo

Ten Things to Do During Rose Season in Woodlake, California

Welcome to Woodlake Rose Garden

Manuel and Olga Jimenez transformed an abandoned railroad right-of-way and a weedy dam levee into a beautiful and unique garden more than twenty years ago. Now Kiwanis of Woodlake, Homegrown, Master Gardeners, and other non-profit organizations partner to help the City of Woodlake to maintain western section up to the gate to the Botanical Gardens now dubbed the Woodlake Rose Garden.

There is nothing quite like this collection of around 2,000 roses in all of the Central Valley and indeed, all of California. The question is how can you delight in and preserve such a treasure?

purple rose
Breathe deeply

#1 Smell the Roses

The first most obvious thing to do is to stop and smell the roses. Even though it is only a one-mile walk from the beginning of the rose garden all the way through to the back of the Woodlake Botanical Gardens, it will take a while to sniff over 2,000 roses. Take your time.

pink tinged yellow centered rose
Can you name this rose?

#2 Bring Friends

Bring your friends, dog on a leash, kids, or grandparents with you to walk or sit and enjoy a pleasant visit as you smell the roses. It’s romantic. It makes you think pleasant thoughts. Unwind, relax, and spend and make some “scents” out of life. 🙂

visitors enjoy the Woodlake Rose Garden
People of all ages find something to adore at the Woodlake Rose Garden.

#3 Take Photos and Videos

Bring your camera, phone, video recorder and take pictures. With over 2,000 roses and 134 varieties to savor, you don’t want to miss a shot. The gardens will look different the next time you come. Some of the roses change colors as they age.

Post your pictures in our new Facebook Group, Woodlake Rose Garden.

mixed color roses on the same bush
Yellow roses on a mixed rose bush

#4 Picnic at the Garden

Enjoy a picnic. Find a cool spot. Watch out for insects. Don’t forget to pick up your trash. There are trash cans at the gardens, but they fill up fast, so bring a trash bag and take it home with you to toss.

spider enjoying a yellow rose
Watch out for insects.

#5 Enjoy Bravo Lake

Walk, ride a bike or a horse, or run around the Bravo Lake, the secret lake behind the levees. Used mostly for irrigation purposes, it’s about three miles around the perimeter of Bravo Lake. If you feel ambitious, do it twice. Smile and say hi to everyone you see. Woodlake is the town with true western hospitality.

walkers at Bravo Lake
Path at Bravo Lake

#6 Pick Up Trash

Speaking of trash, it happens. If you see someone littering, point out that they dropped something. If you didn’t see it happen, take a trash bag and beautify the garden yourself. Bending is an effective exercise for flattening your tummy and burning off your picnic lunch. (Unless you use trash pinchers.)

kids pick up trash
Here is the Kiwanis/Builders Club de-trashers standing in the Botanical Gardens.

#7 Help Weed

Bring a spade and stop and dig weeds for a while. While the City of Woodlake owns and is responsible for Garden maintenance, it’s much too much work for their small staff. Each area of the garden is maintained by different non-profit groups. Weeds grow faster than all of the groups can get rid of them. So don’t be afraid to pull crabgrass, johnsongrass, and morning glory. If you get close to the rose bushes it helps to have long leather gloves or sleeves to protect your arms.

tea rose with weeds
Pull those weeds.

#8 Identify Roses

Help identify the roses. We don’t know what all of the 130 varieties are. Send your identification ideas to woodlakekiwanis@gmail.com or Message Kiwanis of Woodlake on Facebook. or post a picture in our Woodlake Rose Garden Group.

pink roses
Cluster of pink roses Enjoy an online puzzle of this picture. April Rose Garden 110 puzzle on TheJigsawPuzzles.com

#9 Donate

Remember the Woodlake Rose Garden. Make a donation to Kiwanis of Woodlake or Woodlake Pride to maintain or build up the gardens.

blooming cactus
Don’t be like these prickly turkeys. Stick your neck you and donate.

#10 Remember Your Visit

Turn your pictures into gifts, or purchase a Traveling and Blogging gift to remember the garden. Puzzles, Playing Cards, or other gifts made from photos.

Related Posts

One Last Thing Before You Go!

Didn’t you love the roses? You might not get to visit Woodlake Rose Garden but the ten ideas work almost anywhere you go, so I hope you try at least one of them.

Before you go, drop me a line, and let me know you’re still alive. Leave me a like and/or a comment, Like my Facebook Page, Always Write. It’s always fantastic to hear from you. 🙂