Thursday, June 27, 2019

End of June Swoon



Swallowtail butterfly on Rhododendron daphnoides


Everybody knows, “April showers bring May flowers,” and I remember both Grandmothers saying so when I was about five or six. I've heard the saying dozens of times, and even the weather lady spouts it coyly as if she invented the meteorological observation herself. May is long gone and most blossoms have petered out. I look out the office window at Rhododendron daphnoides and see a few lavender-purple blossoms, but mostly I see hundreds of withered brown smudges on the thick 8' tall and wide bush. It was embarrassing in a recent blog that I identified a butterfly on the R. daphnoides flower as a Monarch, when in fact it was a Swallowtail. I know that, after all I've been to the Monarch's migrational grounds in Mexico, and I hope my brain lapses are not going to increase.

Roscoea beesiana


A month ago we nearly hit 100 F – a record for the date in Oregon – and that cooked the crap out of the flowers of Iris, Cardiocrinum and most Rhododendrons. We're in an End-of-June swoon, what with chicken, beer and the Fourth of July just around the corner, but there are still some wonderful blossoms to be seen. Roscoea x beesiana is growing lustfully in our old basketball court and dozens of creamy yellow-white flowers rise above the dark-green foliage. This herbaceous perennial is a possible hybrid of R. auriculata (from the Himalaya) and R. cautleyoides (from Yunnan and Sichuan, China), allegedly developed by the English plant nursery, Bees Ltd., but there is no positive evidence that Bees performed the cross. Anyway the genus is in the ginger family (Zingiberaceae) and was named for William Roscoe (1753-1831) who founded the Liverpool Botanic Garden. Even though the x beesiana name is horticulturally invalid – being Latin, coined after 1958 – nevertheless it received the Award of Garden Merit by the RHS in 2011. Roscoea flowers, to the novice, would appear to be like a cross between an Iris and an orchid and it's hardy to USDA zone 6 (-10 F).

Lilium formosanum var. pricei


The Roscoea flowers are far more demure than a nearby specimen of Lilium formosanum var. pricei, the “Taiwan lily.” The lily features cream-white trumpet flowers with brownish-red outside stripes, which kind of remind me of Rhododendron dalhousiae var. rhabdotum which I saw earlier in the conservatory at the Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden, and I wonder if those linear markings serve some purpose, as in an aid to pollination. I don't know how var. pricei differs from the type because it is the only L. formosanum that I've ever grown. In any case the blossoms are highly fragrant – maybe so much so that they're overpowering when brought into the home.

Lilium regale


Lily box at the nursery


Actually many of my lilies are in flower now besides the L. formosanum, one being the impressive L. regale that E.H. Wilson collected over one hundred years ago in China. I have eight 4' x 5' boxes with hundreds of bulbs, most of them hybrids. Over the years when the crew weeds or cuts off the old foliage in autumn...well, let's just say there's no thought to the lilies' identity. Most labels went into the garbage – the sick reality of a plantsman with mindless employees. Oh well, my grandmothers didn't label their plants; they just enjoyed them for the pleasure they brought, but then they didn't try to make a living from them either.

Lilium nepalense


A final lily* that I'll mention is L. nepalense. It is native to lower Himalayan foothills and surrounding (non-hardy) regions, and that's why I have never grown it outdoors. Some would consider it temperamental and so do I. Furthermore we transplanted bulbs a few years ago, but very few sprouted; I don't know – maybe they were overwatered. It's a beauty though, with yellow-lime green petals with a significant deep purple-red throat. Interestingly the flowers are mostly without scent during the day, but are heavily scented after dark.

*Lilium is a Latin term that was derived from Greek “leirion,” and its root is one of the first name for a flower. The lily represents purity and the beauty of youth, or it can mean motherhood and fertility. Ancient alchemists considered it a “lunar” plant with feminine qualities, while in Traditional Chinese Medicine many varieties of Lilium are said to produce a cooling and soothing effect on the body.

Hemerocallis 'Kwanso'






















Hemerocallis 'Kwanso'


“Daylilies” are not in the Lilium genus; they are Hemerocallis in the Asphodelaceae family, and the name is from Greek hemera for “day” and kalos for “beautiful.” Generally I don't care for them – there are thousands of cultivars – but I acknowledge their toughness and ease to grow. The genus is native to Asia, however the species fulva (the orange or tawny daylily) can be found along roadsides in the United States and is considered invasive. I do have one cultivar, 'Kwanso', which features interesting variegated leaves but I don't care for its brownish-orange flowers, besides it is known to revert to just green leaves. The Gardener's Chronicle in 1867 says that it was introduced by von Siebold under the name Hemerocallis Kwanso flore-pleno. If that is true, then my Japanese wife suggests that Siebold botched the spelling, as there is no “w” in the Japanese language.

Aquilegia longiflora


Aquilegia longiflora (or longissima) remains my favorite “Columbine.” Its butter-yellow flowers feature extremely long (over 10cm), slender spurs and the lucky hawkmoths that jump on them have tongues with lengths from 9-14 cm long. The rare perennial is native to northern Mexico, Texas and Arizona* and is found in oak-pine woodlands in shaded canyons. I keep my one plant in the greenhouse where it has faithfully flowered for over 20 years, as I'm not sure of its hardiness outside.

*From the Big Bend region of west Texas and in the far south of Arizona on the Baboquivari Mountains.

Leucothoe keiskei






















Leucothoe keiskei


Keisuke Ito
Leucothoe keiskei is a wonderful species but beware of L.k. 'Royal Ruby', especially if you purchase the latter from a long-time but dubious mail-order nursery from Oregon. 'Royal Ruby' may be a hybrid – I don't know – but it has larger and more green leaves than the true L. keiskei. With the specific epithet of keiskei you know that it is a Japanese native, the same with Rhododendron keiskei, and the name honors Keisuke Ito, the Japanese physician and botanist who studied the Japanese flora and fauna with Phillip von Siebold. He put his doctor skills to good use by developing a vaccination against small pox, then went on to become professor at the University of Tokyo in 1881. “Ito” is the name used as the author when citing a botanical name, and he is commonly referred to as the Father of modern Japanese botany. Concerning the growing of L. keiskei, I have learned (from failure) to site it carefully: in moist but well-drained soil, and in Oregon PM shade is absolutely necessary. It's urn-shaped pale-white flowers are evident today, but for me the rich mahogany-colored winter (evergreen) foliage is the main appeal.























Inula royleana


Inula royleana is an herbaceous perennial in the daisy family. Even when not in flower it is impressive for its huge green leaves, then all the better when the golden-orange flowers rise above the foliage. I knew nothing about the genus until I encountered in the Himalayan foothills about 25 years ago at 9-10,000' altitude, then when back in Delhi I bought a copy of The Flowers of the Himalaya and could identify what I had seen. We used to have a vegetable garden in the back yard and I placed an Inula at the edge. Since we don't garden there anymore, the daisy was left with no irrigation for the past 12 years. My one plant self-seeded and now I have 5 or 6 vigorous, healthy plants. Its flowers are hermaphrodite (having both male and female organs) and are pollinated by bees, flies and itself, so the plant is self fertile. Don't mess with it though, because it – I don't know what part – is used as a disinfectant and insecticide. The name is derived from Latin Enula campana meaning “elecampane” + campana “of the field.”























Inula ensifolia


Inula ensifolia is far more dwarf than royleana and it is actually smothered with blossoms, though much smaller. It is commonly called the “Swordleaf Inula” due to the narrowly pointed leaves, and it is native to Europe and Asia. My one plant hugs a large rock where it stays neatly put, and my only worry is that the crew might mistake it for a weed before it flowers and spray it out – they have done that with other things (in spite of the label in front). Every employee walks past it in the morning and evening, but apparently thoughts of drudgery overwhelm them in the AM, while thoughts of happy liberation engulf them at quitting time. I doubt if any employee has walked the ten steps over to it when it flowers to check out its identity.






















Cotinus coggygria 'Daydream'


We no longer produce Cotinus cultivars, due to a lack of demand really, but nevertheless I'm happy with a few specimens in the Flora Wonder Arboretum. I had forgotten about C. coggygria 'Daydream' that a few years ago I bought 20 of the patented cultivar – meaning that I can't propagate it – and that I sold 19 and kept one for the collection. I noticed on my drive to the house how brilliant its “smoke” flowers were, glowing in the evening light, as this was the first year that it has looked so good. But let's face it: I would have given the thumbs-down to the patent and I don't think the discoverer has garnered much income from it. As I drive into town, just past the Hispanic grade school, is a seedling Cotinus that I have noticed for years that is quite similar to the 'Daydream'. I won't belabor my aversion to patented plants – I've done that enough before – but I concede that 'Daydream' was given a catchy name. Probably most of you don't know that Cotinus is in the Anacardiaceae family, which I didn't know either until I just looked it up. The generic name is from Greek kotinus meaning “olive,” and the specific epithet comes from Greek kokkugia meaning “smoke tree.” Some Cotinus cultivars are much more purple than 'Daydream' however. The genus is native to southern Europe and Asia, and if you're in Beijing, China in October-November you can see it ablaze with autumn color along the Great Wall.

Pelargonium endlicherianum


Our Pelargonium endlicherianum is delightfully blooming at this time, and thanks to office manager Eric for the excellent photo. Actually Eric is like me: we are both mediocre photographers...but we are surrounded by great things. Pelargonium is commonly known as a geranium*, but botanically it's not, although both genera are in the Geraniaceae family. Another common name for P. is “storksbills,” and the generic name is derived from the Greek pelargos for “stork” because the seed head looks like a stork's bill. Hey, wait a minute – Eric collected seed from our one plant last fall...whatever happened to that project?

*Geranium was named after a crane, from Latin gerania or geranos.




























Kniphofia thompsonii 'Triploid Form'



Kniphofia thompsonii var. snowdenii


I grow both Kniphofia thompsonii 'Triploid Form' and K.t. var. snowdenii. Both were given to me by Far Reaches Nursery in Washington state (if I remember correctly). Anyway, check out their website and absolutely buy something from them – you won't be sorry. As they look alike, and I received them at different times, I wonder if they are one and the same. I describe the 'Triploid Form' as a cultivar, but of course it is not and it's just a way to document it into the collection. On the Buchholz Nursery website I describe it as: “A perennial with a spreading form. Long narrow grass-like leaves are bright green. In late summer flower spikes produce beautiful orange-red flower tubes. Hummingbirds will not miss them!” Instead of “orange-red” I probably should have described them as pink-orange?

Eucryphia lucida 'Ballerina'


Hmm...what else is blooming now? Actually quite a lot, but I'll finish with Eucryphia lucida 'Ballerina'. First of all I admit that she's a touchy bitch to grow, just like it is raising my teenage daughter...who is a career ballerina. But, the beauty of both overwhelms me, with thanks to my wife's genes for the latter. A British Nursery's website, shootgardening.co.uk, describes 'Ballerina' as a “frost hardy, columnar, densely branched, evergreen tree with oval, glossy, dark green leaves and, in summer, fragrant, saucer-shaped, pale pink flowers with crimson eyes.” Wow! I know that I often over-whrite myself, me and I etc., but I've never encountered a plant description with shootgardening's plethora of comma's and adjectives, but, every, one, of, them, is, spot...on.

Dahlia 'Mystic Illusion'


The above account lists probably only a couple of percent of what is now flowering in the collection, but then I count “flowering” as parts which now exist and which will continue to develop. Flowers are fascinating...things: they're a “mixture” of structural functions to procreate as well as possessing the ability to fascinate.

Fiorella


The word “flower” is an English name for a blossoming plant which is derived from Old French, that from Latin flos. We can have fun with the various names for “flower,” for example:
1) Floortje in Dutch.
2) Fleur or Florette in French.
3) Flora or Fiorella in Italian.
...Oh, “Fiorella,” my favorite...
or maybe not, I'm torn:
How about SSSpanish with Flora, Florina and Florinda?
No, I still choose Fiorella.

I think you'd better stick with Flora, Talon.”

Friday, June 21, 2019

Half-Baked Spud


Lewiston Clarkston Bridge

Overlooking Lewiston, Idaho



I was born in Lewiston, Idaho – the Potato State – many decades ago but I only stayed there one day. My parents lived briefly in eastern-most Clarkston, Washington, but the only hospital in the area was across the Snake River at western-most Lewiston, Idaho. Both towns were named for the famed explorers of the Lewis and Clark Expedition promoted by the third USA President, Thomas Jefferson. Meriwether Lewis and William Clark camped at the confluence of the Clearwater and Snake rivers in 1805 and again in 1806. Fortunately a bridge was finally built over the Snake to the nearest hospital as my parents hurried across so I could begin my Day One, but at best I can only consider myself a tiny half-baked spud.* After well-over a half century I decided it was due time to return and pay my respects to my birth-place.

*A false origin of the word “spud” was the acronym for the Society for the Prevention of Unwholesome Diet (SPUD), as some felt potatoes shouldn't be eaten. That is clearly nonsense, and more likely the meaning is for a sharp, narrow spade used to dig up potatoes. Its origin is perhaps from Old Norse Spjot for “spear,” or the Latin spad for “sword.”

But first, it is a grueling, though beautiful journey from my home to Boise, the capitol of Idaho. Besides my nostalgia, the purpose of the road-trip was to deliver my 16-year-old daughter to Ballet West in Salt Lake City, Utah, where she will endure a five-week summer intensive. It took us about nine hours to get to Boise but part way there two events stood out: 1) I exited from the freeway to fuel up: “Fill regular please,” I requested from an earnest boy, and he replied, “Yes sir!” Then he jumped on one side of the front window with his cleaning brush while a second kid tackled the other side, and then he scrubbed the front lights as well. That never happens in western Oregon, where the youth are too high and wimpified to accomplish anything. It was clear that the eastern Oregon youths had polished a million windows before, and even on a hot day they were never going to be accused of slacking off. The second memorable event occurred when my Prima refused to get out to eat at a cafe, even though we had left home without breakfast. I crabbed at her, but she said she wasn't “dressed” to go into a restaurant. True, she was wearing a loose sweat-pant-athletic-type of attire, but who cares – “You have a beautiful body and you'll never see anybody here again.” The sixteen-year-old snapped at me: “I'm not going to wear a ball-gown on a long road trip, AM I!” O kkkkkkk... we continued east to Idaho anyway. She is always right, not me, so I have to accept that.



We would spend the night in a city-center Boise hotel, and when we descended our room in a crowded elevator, two more pushed in as well. Two transgender...people were on board, with one being about 6' 2”, 220 pounds with a four-foot long platinum blonde wig. I have nothing against LGBTQ, in fact I think it's best for people to openly be whatever makes them happy, although I'll admit that I've never been within kissing distance of a transgender person. As we exited my youngest daughter teased me that I checked him...er, the person from behind by staring from top to bottom three times. I denied it, but she insisted I did. Later we learned that Boise was abuzz because the next day was Pride Day which explained why we witnessed so many people with rainbow capes, and that there'd be a parade the next day. My 13-year-old is far, far more understanding and accepting than I was at her age, and from that point of view I think the world is improving.

Buchholz couple on left, Anju on right


Petunia 'Blanket Rose Star'


An absolute must when in Boise is to visit Anju Lucas with Edward's Greenhouses Nursery. It was my wife's first time to see her, and afterward H said, “Now I know why you wanted me to meet her.” Besides her buoyant personality, the company is a great customer, and they seem pleased with our product and never once has there been a complaint. What they buy from others is also wonderful, and when H admired a petite, sweet petunia, yes a petunia for heaven sakes! – Anju handed one to her. It became my task to deliver it home alive since my wife was continuing on to SLC with Prima, my youngest was staying in Boise with my oldest daughter while I was going solo into northern Idaho, then cutting diagonally through Washington to make it back to the nursery to administer payday on the due date.












Before leaving Edwards we indulged in their Legacy Garden which Anju designed twenty-some years ago, so she must have been only ten when she designed it. Not much was labelled because it is a garden for enjoyment with nothing for sale, and who wants to see a bunch of distracting metal or plastic labels anyway? The photos above were some of my favorite plants, whatever their identity.



Before leaving Edwards, Anju recruited members of the staff to introduce me. I liked that because it leads to a deeper connection with the company; and let's be clear that they are good, hard-working people. Portland, Oregon has good people too, but I'm pretty sure that Boise* contains a greater number per capita. One thing that is awkward, in fact embarrassing somewhat, is that some of them actually read the Flora Wonder Blog. I never like to visualize the readership because it is primarily a conversation with myself, although I confess that I'm indulgent enough to post it.

*The woods lining the Boise River gave French-Canadian trappers solace after they trudged across arid lands. They named the area Boise meaning “wooded,” and today it is known as “The City of Trees.” The developed parks, paths and green spaces are as impressive as in any city in America.

Sequoiadendron giganteum 'Idaho Champion'


My second purpose in Boise was to see the state's largest “Giant Redwood,” Sequoiadendron giganteum, which was recently moved two blocks away due to a hospital expansion plan. A year ago when I heard about the move I instantly criticized that the hospital should expand elsewhere and leave the champion alone, especially since it was a seedling sent in 1912 by Scottish naturalist John Muir, the founder of The Sierra Club. It would have been cheaper to cut the tree down but the hospital feared a public outcry. A Texas-based company that specializes in moving big trees was enlisted, but this would be their largest move ever, but for $300,000 they were happy to take on the project. A company spokesman estimated the total weight with roots and soil to be 800,000 pounds, nevertheless he put the chances of the tree's survival at 95%. I would have guessed closer to 50%, but I'm not the expert. He explained that “sequoias in their native habitat in California draw moisture from the misty atmosphere and can live for several thousand years...” Obviously his assertion was flawed because he was talking about the “coast redwoods,” Sequoia sempervirens, not the Giant Redwoods from the western slopes of the Sierras. But, he's the expert.



To everyone's relief (including mine) the tree has survived. It will never grow as large in the drier, colder climate of Boise than those in my hometown of Forest Grove, Oregon, but when my daughter drove me to the site I had to tip my hat to the tree-movers. The tree's unusual top was due to damage from Christmas decorations in the 1980's, tree abuse certainly. A wood fence surrounds the redwood to keep people from trampling at its base, but when no one was looking I collected a few cones and hope to germinate the seed. If successful I'll have an indirect connection to Muir who packed the seedlings* himself; of course I like that thought, and I will coin its name Sequoiadendron giganteum 'John Muir'.

*Four seedlings were sent to Emile Grandjean, an employee of the US Forest Service, but two were cut down and the third's demise is unaccounted for. So, the “moved tree” has added historical significance.

Idaho Botanical Garden at Boise

Fagus sylvatica 'Tricolor'

Philadelphus lewisii

Philadelphus lewisii

Linum lewisii

Echinacea angustifolia

Asclepias speciosa


Sacajawea
S. then drove me to the Boise Botanic Garden where I have been once before, but this visit would be in early summer, not in autumn as the first time. A number of things impressed me, such as an espalied Fagus sylvatica 'Tricolor'. Abundantly in bloom was Philadelphia lewisii – in the Hydrangeaceae Family. It was first collected on May 6th, 1806 along the Clearwater River, Idaho. I also admired the delicate charm of the “Lewis flax,” Linum lewisii, and also the spidery flowers of Echinacea angustifolia. Asclepias speciosa, “milkweed,” is an attractive perennial in its own right, but it is also the preferred host plant for the monarch butterfly.




The botanic garden is adjacent to the old abandoned prison where one can take an inside tour, but that sounded too dicey, for “once-in, maybe never out?”

Motel Hell


That afternoon I headed north to the aforementioned Lewiston, but I didn't linger with historical signs as I wanted to get there before dark. Finally in town, the glaring 8 o'clock PM sun blinded me through my bug-splattered window and I couldn't find the hotel I was looking for, so I settled on a cheep dive, $49.00 plus tax. My room was west-facing and 150 degrees inside and I was almost ready to forfeit my payment and look elsewhere. Finally, near floor-level I found the air conditioner and turned it on high, and with exhaustion I had no trouble sleeping.

Lewiston hospital



The next morning I found Lewiston to be much more pleasing. I noticed the hospital, Saint Josephs, up on the bluff. Was it one and the same that assisted my mother six decades ago? I guess that I'll consider that it was. I thought about going inside to inquire on its history, but didn't because it was doubtful that anyone at the information desk would be familiar with ancient history. Anyway, enough about me and my autobiography, so I headed north to Moscow, pronounced “moss-ko,” home of the University of Idaho and the U of Idaho Botanic Garden.

Ulmus glabra 'Camperdownii'

Picea pungens in distance


Administration Building


The University campus was very interesting due to a half-dozen specimens of Ulmus glabra 'Camperdownii' in front of one building. “Colorado blue spruce,” Picea pungens, towered close to the Administration building, and I fantasized about myself, perhaps as a student walking past it in my teens should my parents have decided to remain in Idaho years ago.
University of Idaho Arboretum and Botanical Garden

Sequoiadendron giganteum 'Idaho Endurance'


The next morning I met Paul Warnick who was an employee at Buchholz Nursery twenty years ago, but now is Director of Horticulture at the U. of Idaho Arboretum. My particular interest was to see a 100-year-plus Sequoiadendron giganteum that was propagated, and Paul had given me a start five years ago. The original tree has survived neglect and no irrigation, and especially extreme cold on occasion. When I asked “How cold?” Paul responded: “Depends a little on who you believe, but -42 F seems to be a conservative consensus. My memory as a ten year old kid was that it was damn cold. The -30 in 1937 might be as impressive as it was only 21 years old then...” Paul's Idaho Endurance was too crowded with other trees to photograph, so the photo above is my tree now.

Cornus kousa 'Summer Fun'


Paul showed me other trees in the arboretum, and pointed out some from Buchholz Nursery. I was surprised to see our introduction of Cornus kousa 'Summer Fun' for example. In the xeriscape section was a nicely-shaped Pinus edulis, but an even better Pinus monophylla. In fact you could say it had no “character” because it looked like it was perfectly manufactured. Another exciting find was a witches broom mutation on a Larix kaempferi 'Diana', and I imagined a dwarf with twisty foliage. Paul will send me scionwood this winter, and if I succeed, he has decided to name it 'Twisted Sister'. Of course, if I am successful I will send one back to him.

Little Salmon River


Idaho* is a state of fantastic rivers: the Columbia, Snake, Salmon, Little Salmon, and especially the Payette. The latter was wild and churning, and apparently contains the longest stretch of Class 5 rapids in the world. There must have been a thousand rafters or spectators along the river, and I learned later that a race occurred that weekend that draws river-rats from across the country and even Europe. I know because my daughter was one herself, and now she makes a living working for the Boise Parks and Recreation Department where she occasionally leads rafting trips. I reflected that this day demonstrates that everyone has different passions, that some love to raft, some choose to march in a Pride parade, while old Buchholz is into nurseries and botanic gardens.

*The origin of the name Idaho – which has a beautiful sound, better than Orygun – is actually an invented word. A mining lobbyist presented the name to Congress claiming it was a Native American word meaning “Gem of the Mountains,” and indeed Idaho is commonly known as “The Gem State.” Eventually the deception was revealed, but by then the name was in general use. Another theory is that the name means “Land of Many Waters” in the Nez Perce tongue.

Coeur d'Alene


Near the end of my time I decided to head north into Idaho's panhandle, but settled short at Coeur d'Alene which was far south from going completely up to the Canadian border. The French name means “heart of the awl,” and apparently refers to the fact the natives were shrewd traders – but I don't get the connection. When I travel solo for business or pleasure I do so without any music or radio talk. I can't multi-task that way. Actually I'm kind of jealous that myself doesn't get enough time with itself.



C.d.A. is a tourist trap to be sure, but at least it is wholesome, clean, and a fun place, especially for people who love water on a sunny day. I wandered around an enormous water-front park on well-groomed side-walks, and the young, middle and old all seemed to be perfectly happy. Younger women were sparsely dressed, and though attractive, the majority were intent on displaying their free-spirit womanhood, and the chosen media was via their tattoo or tattoos.



Feeling like I should eat, instead of feeling hungry, out of many choices I decided to try the Iron Horse Restaurant. The wait for food was unusually long but I was in no hurry. A middle age man walked by with a parrot on his shoulder, but I had to wonder if he – the parrot, that is – was toilet trained. A group was gathering next to my table, and every time a few more showed up the new arrivals would exclaim, “Happy Father's Day!” As the large family continued to assemble, I heard the greeting at least three more times. I enjoy being completely alone, believe me, but today I envied this happy gathering and I admit that, all alone, I welled up a little.



When my daughter was completely delivered to the Utah West ballet dorm, my wife called and said her plan was to return to Boise to pick up and stay with my youngest daughter. It was nearly dark so I encouraged her to spend the night in SLC and drive the next morning. H. protested, but I insisted – “you'll hit a deer, or something.” She often over-rides my concerns, but when Prima, independent of me, begged her to not drive, H. holed up for the night in a cheap two-star motel. The following morning, when near Twin Falls, Idaho, the car blew up and she nearly caused an accident. Good thing she didn't drive that night after all, or somebody might have been killed. H. was shaking and crying when the rental company showed up with a new car, but still S. & H. made their flight and came home safely. I ended my trip early (after 1,756 miles) because I couldn't relax after her near disaster. My children and I need her obviously, but so does the rest of the world – her light, kindness and energy. When finally together I held her for a long, long time.