Tuesday, April 22, 2014

first roses

Of course the first rose to bloom is 'Knockout'. The first one opened last week. But a close second was surprisingly Annemarie's rose. These first blooms aren't much to look at, but like the last roses of the season, you take what you can get. 'Knockout' is such a popular rose, but it is hard for me to see why. The color is terribly garish.

because David likes to see the whole plant

The flower form is irregular and nothing special. The canes have huge thorns. But I suppose it has its virtues. It grows and blooms despite complete neglect. It seems to bloom better with some attention, though. It has multiple flushes through the season, but not the continuous bloom that is described by others. There are a few weeks between flushes in my garden. It seems to be completely pest resistant (still gets aphids though). It has a very nice fragrance. But the color and flower form! So awful!

Annemarie's rose (not an official name, it's just the name that I gave it since Annemarie gave it to me as a passalong plant, the first person described having it being her great-great-grandmother who described it as a "bourbon" rose) put out a first flower that looks different from last year. The color is about the same, but the bloom form of this first flower is different and bigger.

 This is what it looked like last year. Hmm, maybe not all that different.

This is what it looked like in April last year, growing indoors.

It is doing some strange things. Last year, the growth was bushy and thorny. The new growth this year is upright and completely thornless.  I wonder if the flowers on the new growth will look different. 

I've been getting into roses. There are so many colors, flower shapes, bush shapes, fragrances that I can easily see getting obsessed. I see people's rose blogs (Piece of Eden, and A Rose is a Rose...), of people who have gardens (mostly) devoted to roses, and I admire how far they have investigated their passion. "I should have a rose garden!" I say to myself. It's like that whenever I see other people who are focused on one group of plants. In addition to the rosaholics, there are the penstemaniacs, clematiphiles, orchidophiles. What do you call people who collect daylilies, peonies, lilies, apple trees, grapes, gesneriads? But although it would be nice to collect just one group of plants, what I am interested in, is seeing how various plants grow, bloom, and otherwise reproduce (a force that is at odds with the force that wants a beautiful structured garden, which in turn is at odds with the force that wants a "wild space"). Just the other day, I was noticing how the lilies pop out of the soil, and then grow so incredibly fast. I'm thinking, "wow, they must be very efficient at pulling carbon dioxide out the air, and utilizing it." Such a great plant for me, being winter starved, then seeing something so exuberant in growth, and the result being so beautiful. So of course my next thought is "I should have a lily garden! A garden totally devoted to lilies! Yeah!" Yeah. Along with the garden devoted to roses, and the one devoted to irises, and the one devoted to penstemons, and the minimalist garden, and the native plant meadow...

1 comment:

  1. David, David, David and his whole plant... Your talk about knockout roses reminds me of someone in Austin who does the same...she only has a few roses, but they are exquisite David Austin-types. Imagine how good they would look in Abq or El Paso, without humid climate issues...even if for a brief spring and fall. I say go for those gardens...you have the spaces. Will willing, that is...