Monday, May 11, 2015

home roses

It is rose time after all. And roses typically do very well in my neighborhood at least. Too bad I'm not interested in Hybrid Teas, which are what all my neighbors grow. I'll post something other than roses next. Promise.

 I've been eagerly awaiting the blooms of 'Falstaff' whose flowers approach perfection in my mind. The first one opened yesterday. No fragrance at all on its first day, but when I checked it this chilly morning, there was a definite delicious fragrance.

'William Shakespeare 2000' opened a couple of days ago. I can't seem to take a decent picture of it today, probably because it is hanging a few inches above the ground. Probably one of my favorite roses, if not my absolute favorite. At least in flower form, color and fragrance.

Of course, that makes it my most problematic rose. The flowers crisp in hot sunlight. The plant has a scraggly growth habit (at least so far, which will be its third year), and the foliage is prone to mildew even in my dry windy climate. Is it worth it? Maybe I will give them another year, but I'm thinking of removing them and planting more Caryopteris, which is much more reliable and has a better landscape appearance.

In contrast to persnickety WS2K, 'Marie Pavie' is a rose that I've basically been ignoring. It was planted the same year as WS2K. The first year was a nice little bloomer. The second year was a scraggly thing, with a few blooms. This year is fantastic. The fragrance of this one plant drifts across the yard. So why have I been ignoring it?

Maybe because the flowers are not very exciting, small white with a pink blush which comes across as dirty rather than elegant, and not an elegant form. The plant holds on to its dead heads, and are annoying to groom. My DH doesn't really like the musk fragrance and when I suggested planting a few of these to perfume the dining area, he said "How about 'Bolero' instead? It smells much nicer."

'Bolero' has its issues as well. It is very nice so far, in its second year. The flower form can vary from gorgeous cups of glowing white, or they can be lopsided and frumpy. They also tend to get rain damage (from Botrytis, I hear), not that we get that much rain. The foliage is a beautiful glossy green, a much better background than 'Iceberg's yellow foliage. And the fragrance is indeed beautiful.

Yellow foliage and all, I don't care what anyone else says about how common 'Iceberg' roses are. I love my 'Iceberg's.

Fragrance in the morning sun is as intense and delicious as you could hope for in any rose.

In contrast, there's 'Abraham Darby'. This is its second year, and if things continue as they are, it will be removed.

True the flowers can be beautiful, and the fruity fragrance is absolutely delightful, but the flowers crisp in the sun, wilting pathetically, even in yesterday's 65F high, on a valuable east facing part of the garden and with the ground sopping wet from the recent rain (yes, I stuck my finger into the ground beneath it to check).

With the fading of the first flower, comes the start of cutting time. Here, a few 'Old Blush' which was requested by a few friends. And 'Bolero' since my DH wanted 'Bolero' around the pergola.

 Unfortunately, it's also time thrasher time. The curved-bill thrashers making a mess of my nice new mulch. My whole garden looks as if I have dogs who like to dig. Everywhere.

Mr. Robin has again decided that this is the ideal place for a nest. I'm afraid of turning on the lights at night, for fear of cooking the eggs.

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