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.|
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.
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.
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.