Thursday, April 26, 2012

Roses of Yesterday and Today

This was the title of a fabulous catalog of Old Fashioned Roses from California - one that I used to order from every year to add one or two fragrant species to my garden. Im thinking that it could also be a title for a chapter in my own garden story - as so many of the roses I have planted, tended and loved are now truly "Roses of Yesterday".   

William Baffin once made quite a splash on the arbor. I cut him back two years ago when he seemed hopelessly riddled with fungus and disease, and I do believe he is trying to make a comeback this year.

Too many to count,  I remember most fondly a pale pink Moss Rose with a fragrance like sweet clove that once rested against the white fence , and of course Constance Spry, the very first David Austin rose,  that I saw climbing robustly in nearly every garden on a trip through  England.

 My "Constance" embraced the post of a dovecote  in my garden for years, but finally decided she was done living with me abut 3 years ago. A very vigorous Honeysuckle has since  taken her place.

Missing Constance,  I ordered a new one last spring,  and she is settling in a little reluctantly I think. We shall see . . .

Roses before Peonies? 

The star Rose in my garden today is this Rosa Rugosa  "Belle Poitevine". She is blooming as never before, and in April ! She is said to be from Bruant , France, 1894, and of unknown parentage - how romantic is that?

Speaking of unknown parentage - this white rose has been with me for about 20 years and continues to thrive, growing to over  8 feet tall if I let it . I have forgotten the name, and while most years it resembles a very large bush sporting hundreds of wads of  limp wet white tissues, this year it looks like it has real roses!  Hooray !

I'm harvesting petals every day for potpourri , the most deliciously fragrant chore you can imagine.
It started out as a way to keep ahead of the soon to emerge Japanese beetles, clipping the open blossoms each morning, when I realized  that the more flowers I clipped, the more bloomed the next day. 

I did get a bit of a scolding yesterday from a very busy little bee - one of many that are every bit as happy as I am with these voluptous pink blooms.

The petals are drying in the loft, filling the old barn with their perfume. When dry, they will join a sweet symphony 
of other herbs and spices in a Potpourri to enjoy for years to come.  
 A perfect way to make the Roses of Yesterday remain The Roses of Today.

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