Sunday, September 18, 2016


When asked what is someone's favorite in the garden, most people hedge and haw, unable to choose among their children. This is particularly true of rosarians, I have discovered. When asked for their one favorite, rosarians give half a dozen, and when asked for their favorite half dozen, they give a dozen or more. I am no less guilty than the rest, although my technique instead is to choose one, then change my mind every few days...or few minutes. Fortunately my garden is now large enough to grow a number of roses in my search for the perfect rose. I quickly came to realize that there is no perfect rose. But in the last week or so, I've come to realize that there is one rose that makes my heart sing more than any other rose in the garden. That rose is Abraham Darby.

one of today's blooms

It's not a perfect rose, but the combination of plant vigor, upright yet graceful stature, cupped blooms, bloom size and fragrance that are of my preference are not that common in my experience. The color is more often that perfect blend of glowing pink/peach that I love than most other roses, although sometimes swerving off too far toward yellow/orange when the blooms still open. The fragrance is a mouthwatering delicious fruity fragrance. The flowers nod gracefully, not weakly. If they were stark upright, I would still like them, but perhaps somewhat less. Faults? The leaves are not particularly beautiful, although not ugly. The flowers don't take heat well, and get damaged in the wind. I think I can deal with that. A close comparison would be Evelyn, but Evelyn's flowers are often deformed, and less commonly of the color that I like, both of which make Abe more eyecatching to me even when  they are not perfect. The blooms of Evelyn are on stiffer stems rather than gracefully poised, but similarly richly fragrant (though different, and less reliably fragrant). It also seems less floriferous.

And when it comes to dahlias, my favorite is 'Snowbound', with its 8-10 inch flowers and reliability.

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