Deadheading and nipping back the roses makes for a
It has been a beautiful day outside and in my heart as I worked with the roses. I order them in the spring, very tiny own root roses just leafed out and "bands" which are also very small but it is a wonderful way to buy a bevy of roses that are otherwise hard to find -- I mostly buy old heirloom roses but have begun to add a few more "modern" varieties (... from the 1950's and '60's or so, but I have a mad passion for David Austin's English roses that while cultivated in the last few decades are descendants of the old roses, and I must also admit to falling for unusual colors that I read today are referred to as "coffee" colored, deep rusty browns with tinges of orange or pink.). My favorite roses of all are the Noisettes and the Teas, the old ones. And now there is a variety called "Tea Noisettes," which is not yet an official category, but these grow very well in the south.I adore them and have virtually every one planted here.
David Austin's 'Abraham Darby,' one of
my absolutely favorite roses. It is always
in my garden...
And so today I started moving the once tiny baby roses into large pots or into the ground. It is such a joy and an exciting time because now I am ordering the fall roses to plant in October that will begin their little blooms and start toward their own maturation process so that they can grace the garden with their fragrance and color, they do take one's breath away.
Beautiful Rosa 'Juliette Wingfield'
Being in the garden with the roses seems to refresh my spirit and wipe away the laundry list of things that I worry about. How can one worry about a thing amidst so much beauty? And I plant the roses for many reasons. Of course I fill my little cottage home with roses, and love to give bouquets away to family and friends, but I plant for the future. I have been bereft, in the past, to have left very large gardens that I had made, one with seventy or more roses planted over time, but one day I came to realize that every place you plant a garden lives on even after you are gone, beautifying the landscape for the enjoyment of the people who follow, and leaving lush color and fragrant delight for passersby. We never lose a garden when we leave it, we simply pass on the glory of the garden for those who follow.
And in my heart I am a "rose rustler" though I have not really had that experience. In one of my favorite all time books on the subject, In Search Of Lost Roses, by Thomas Christopher he writes about these grand rustlers who scour the countryside for lost roses, in old graveyards and abandoned homesites, by the side of the road, and even, when they see huge old rose bushes perhaps in an elderly woman's garden, they would knock on the door and ask if they could take a few cuttings. There are few people more generous than gardeners and the rose rustlers saved a lot of roses in their wild and wily pursuits because of the gift of these cuttings from the gardens of other rose lovers whose roses will be perpetuated far into the future. Oh, if you love roses you have just got to read that book. (By the way I am not an affiliate and make no money referring you to amazon but it's the best way to share these books with you.)
For years most of the roses I purchased, and still do, have come from Heirloom Old Garden Roses. Sadly, to me, they are now simply called "Heirloom Roses" and have modernized their catalog and website, but such are the times. Luckily they are still the same wonderful rose growers in Oregon who offer own-root, virus free roses. I have planted so many of their roses over the last twenty years I have longsince lost count. Another favorite has been the delightful Antique Rose Emporium in Texas. I love to just read through their site and dream.
Today I ordered roses from two rose companies that I have grown to love. First of all Chamblee's which I have loved for a long time, and then a company that I just found this year and have been having a heyday ordering from because they have the little "bands" which I had heretofore not heard of, very small to start, which allows for purchasing a number of them, and for every so many roses you buy you get free roses and mystery roses as well. They are Rogue Valley Roses. Talk about a bonus! All of the nurseries I mention are family owned and run and this too I cherish. They so love their roses, they are not just commodities, and so buying roses from these companies is also supporting these wonderful folks who really love and live for their roses. I long for "Romantica Roses" and will order some of those next Spring.
Rosa 'Souvenir de la Malmaison'
The utterly amazing thing about these old roses is that they have come to us from centuries back by cuttings passed forward, for example the above beautiful rose, 'Souvenir de la Malmaison,' comes to us hundreds of years later from the garden of Empress Josephine (Napoleon's wife) at Malmaison which she purchased in 1799! The history of roses is so fascinating to me. I have a vast library of books on roses and I will never learn enough in this lifetime. While I grow many other things, annuals, perennials, flowering bushes, herbs and more, roses are my heart-flowers, and what I mainly concentrate on now. I want to pass cuttings of my roses on so that they may live and grow in other gardens and bring the joy and delight that they bring to me.
Luscious 'Jude The Obscure,' another David Austin English Rose
And so today as I worked in the garden, with the three pugs wandering around and about and wondering when mommy would EVER go back inside, I gloried in the blue sky with tufts of white clouds floating past as I dug roses up out of their "growing on" containers and planted them in their permanent spots. Pricked fingers and arms bled and I didn't notice because I was pressing my nose into fragrant blooms and marveling at their color and form and dreaming of the day they would grow into big roses bushes.
One must get out into the natural world. It is soul-saving. As much time as I spend on the computer, as a writer must needs do, if I didn't turn it off and go out into the garden everyday I don't know what would become of me.
Another favorite, 'Maggie,' a "found" rose...
And so I will end this day dreaming of roses, and losing myself in rose catalogs and websites, and planning gardens that will not mature for years, but will bring me pleasure and delight at every stage, and in the process of planting these roses I am following Joseph Campbell's dictum, "Follow Your Bliss..." and it is a blissful thing indeed. Plant a rose bush today and enjoy the beauty ever after, even when it is just a long ago memory in your mind. We never lose the roses we've planted. They are firmly planted in our dreams...
Blessings to one and all...