Monday, June 15, 2015

five yummy pinks

The question in my garden is always the same: Design or Collection? I initially wanted an elegant garden with a limited plant palette, to show off my design skills. However when confronted with a budget, the design was limited (I can't spend more on the garden than I did on the house, can I?).

Then, came roses. I knew I wanted roses for a number of reasons: sentimentality, fragrance, long season, flower size, connection to history both local and world, how well they seemed to perform in my neighbor's gardens, and probably a few other things I've since forgotten. I really wanted white roses, which were my favorites in the photos, or deep red/purple roses, which would look great in my house. But my research and subsequent findings said that pink was the way to go for heat tolerance and fragrance, particularly for those quartered cup-shaped roses that unstitch me. So in my backyard I planted a number of varieties last year, thinking that I could choose the best, for that limited palette garden. Yes, in retrospect I realize I was only trying to fool myself.

The first one I chose was 'Madame Isaac Pereire' for whom I have lusted for years, and failed 3 times for various reasons. Full flowers, wonderful rich head-filling old-rose scent (like Turkish delight!) arching almost climbing branches, to 8 feet tall. Here is one of the first blooms.

But then there is 'Evelyn' whose famous fragrance is heady with the smell of peaches (my favorite tree fruit).  Stingy with the flowers, I'm told, and a bit (or more) of a diva, but others have called her a non-stop bloomer. Mine is just planted, and this photo is of the plant at the ABQ rose garden. Long gangly growth from what I hear, but this plant is very compact and bushy.

I bought a 'Radio Times' rose, even though some have called the growth gangly and thorny, but a heat tolerant blooming machine. So far the bloomiest of my new roses, and a strong scent redolent of lemons. Lax growth from what I hear, but mine isn't big enough to tell.

I had heard that 'The Alnwick Rose' aka 'Alnwick Castle' was scented of raspberries, and tolerated the heat. Indeed it seems to enjoy the heat this year. To my nose, the fragrance is more raspberry than rose, reminding me of raspberry jello, or my spouses favorite: raspberry chiffon pie. It is so fragrant that even the buds are deliciously scented, and open, I can smell a single flower from 5 feet away. Alas, the flower's cup shaped form doesn't last, and the inner petals are too small for my taste, and the branches stark upright.

Many people have called 'Bishop's Castle' one of their best bloomers in the heat, and with a fragrance that wafts. Mine just opened and has a fragrance of old rose, dipped in honey, like baklava (which I love to make).  Growth is said to be floppy but vigorous, I think the color is rather ordinary, but it has bloomed in 90 degree heat like this.

None of them have shown much disease, but blackspot and rust just don't occur here. But how to choose one for a limited palette design? I think I'll just have to settle for a collection.

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