Saturday, May 9, 2015

albuquerque rose garden

It wasn't with much expectation that I went to the Albuquerque Rose Garden today. After all, my garden had been thrashed by wind and hail, and last night the winds were bordering on extreme and the wind was already picking up with darkening clouds overhead. But to my surprise, there was lots to see. In fact, the rose garden seemed to be peaking.

Something I'm realizing, the more I know about roses, is that the beauty of the flower has only a small part in the choice of a rose. You may see pictures in a rose catalog and think that all the red roses look pretty much alike, and in the photos, they do. It's not the flowers that make the difference. It is in the character of the flower and plant. Is the flower fragrant? What kind of fragrance? Is the flower durable? Does the color fade? Does it make good cut flowers? Is it tolerant to sun/shade? Do the flowers ball in the rain? Do they fry in the sun? What is the nature of the plant? Is it upright, vase-shaped, a groundcover, climber, compact and bushy or lanky? Do the branches arch gracefully, flop, or are they stiffly upright? Are the leaves matte, glossy, round, narrow, puckered, large, small? How disease resistant is the plant, and to what diseases?  Is the plant as a whole pleasant to the eye, or is it graceless but with a beautiful flower? There's nothing wrong with the latter, if it makes a good cut flower and that's what you are looking for, but not so good if you want garden performance. It's a contradictory thing to have both: you can't have long cutting stems that stand up in a vase without growing a plant that produces...long cutting stems.

View from the parking lot.
So as I'm looking at the plants in the Albuquerque Rose Garden, I'm looking not just at the flower, but also these other qualities, and I try to take photos not just of the flower, but the whole plant.

There's a reason they planted 'Iceberg' and its two sports 'Brilliant Pink Iceberg' and 'Burgundy Iceberg' on the corner. They seem to bloom endlessly, although the summer heat diminishes the number, size and fullness of the flowers.

  I still think the original 'Iceberg' is the best.

 'Brilliant Pink' has irregular coloration, like someone sprinkled colored sugar crystals onto a vanilla frosted cupcake, and the sugar had melted. Maybe it will grow on me, but in the years I've been looking at it, it still hasn't.

'Burgundy Iceberg' has the same issue, and the petal reverses to pinkish white. It has a translucent look, as if waxed paper was spread with pink frosting, and you are looking at the back side (I love food analogies).

 'Iceberg' again.

 I had high hopes for 'Margarett Merrill' but here the flowers just don't tolerate the dry wind and heat. Can't tell from this photo, but the flowers are fried, whereas the 'Iceberg' behind it looks great.

 Whoever decided 'Julia Child' backed by 'Night Owl' would make a good combination, should be commended. They bloom at the same time, and the flower colors are both rich. 'Night Owl' is like a longer blooming 'Dr. Huey' and with larger flowers. Not as many though. 

 'Julia Child' gets many accolades, and with good reason. The plant is compact, disease free, blooms prolifically (although less in the summer, at least it has flowers in the summer, which is unusual here), and has a nice scent. At least it usually does. In today's unseasonably cold weather, almost nothing had much of a scent.

 The garden's massive 'Dr. Huey' (I presume, since it doesn't have a label), makes me forgive all the years I spent trying to dig out the plant in my old garden, which grew as most do, from the roots of the understock of some failed hybrid tea rose. The things going against 'Dr. Huey' are the almost complete lack of fragrance, the mildew in invariably gets, and that the beautiful dark flowers fry in the sun, and since it is a once bloomer, once they fry, that's all for the year.

 I loved the look of 'Lyda Rose' in the photos, but in real life, meh. Frankly, it looks weedy to me.

 'Pink Peace' is at its full glory, the garishness of the blooms moderated somewhat in a photo. Unlike the original 'Peace', this one has strong fragrance.

I've never paid much attention to this shrub rose 'Sunrise Sunset'. It does make an impressive planting, with nicely shaped flowers. Maybe my ignorance of this rose is based on the scentlessness.

 'Silver Moon' climbing nicely. I remember it being nicely scented, but not today.

This is not 'Silver Moon' but 'Sugar Moon', which is a bush (but very tall one) rather than a climber.  This rose has a fairly good reputation for its scent, and was my sister's pick for favorite scent in the San Jose rose garden, today has only a light scent.

Typical hybrid tea bush form. In other words, meh.

 But better than this 'Mister Lincoln'. I always think that 'Mister Lincoln' should be allowed to grow into a giant tree rather than being pruned down to make long stemmed flowers on a gangly shrub. Is it just me? But pruning it down makes for long cutting stems, each with a single globe of flower at the top. Maybe this would be better in a cutting garden.

The purple/lavender corner of the garden. I frankly can't tell the difference between 'Twilight Zone' on the left and 'Ebb Tide' on the right. 

 I want to like these roses because they have a compact bush form, and a good number of nicely scented flowers, but in real life, the flowers have a muddy quality.

 I wish they looked more like the photos.

 'Outta the Blue'

 'Lavender Dream'

 'French Lace' has been said by some to be gorgeous, fragrant, and nasty prickly. I'm not convinced of the first, but agree with the second two comments.

 Nice, but nothing to write home about. I've seen it looking better, though.

 I've been very fond of 'Moonsprite' since I first saw it.

 It blooms early, but seems to be just about over.

 'Easy Does It' makes blooming like crazy look easy. Too bad about the color. Not my favorite.

 Another that's not my favorite 'Priscilla Burton.' Just too garish for me.

 'Bonica' showing what makes it so famous.

 'Belinda's Dream' has an enthusiastic following. It does have a nice scent, and a chalky pink color which I find rather boring. The flowers of this plant fry in the summer sun here, but I hear that it is quite sun tolerant in other places. It's another plant that I keep wanting to like, but just can't generate the enthusiasm for it.

The one in the garden has a rather floppy habit, but this may just be cultural.

It's funny that I'm getting so familiar with the garden that I'm beginning to name the roses right off without looking at the tags. 'Sally Holmes' here, with 'Linda Campbell' showing off in the background.

The flowers of 'Penelope' are cute, but the fragrance convinces me that the musk rose smell just isn't my favorite.

'Apricot Nectar', a floribunda which has a very nice fragrance.

'Bronze Star' just to show you that I'm not totally abhorrent of yellow/orange flowers. Wait, maybe I am. This one is scentless.

 Not labelled, but I think this is 'Olympiad' which is beautiful. And scentless. Even less than cardboard.

These were labelled as 'Reba K. Rowland' and 'Showtime.'

 Also scentless.

 'Red Ribbons' is just getting started (another scentless red rose, but this one a groundcover rose). Trust me, in a week or two, it will be glorious. I took this shot while in my car, escaping the hail that started to come down, pelting me with cold stings that somehow wanted to get under my collar.

1 comment:

  1. Stunning, I never hit it until too late, too *$& hot in summer, or late fall when things were fading. The 3rd view always a good one, any time of year. Belinda's Dream has great form on that bloom.

    I remember the struggle I dealt with, to use the live oaks and desert willows there...plan done in 1994. I won, the trees won, the old guard lost.