Monday, April 23, 2007

It's Garden Week here at Bellemaison. The Chows are practically giddy with joy because with all the comings and going of bags of steer and peat and the lugging of big pots around and the replacement of bird houses and planting of seeds, there is plenty of time to get in some good games of ball. Previously this spring, against all good advice, we pruned the Loch Ness of Roses, New Dawn. This rose is flat crazy. She is a rambler, bred by Somerset. She is hardy, she is wild, she throws canes around like a drunken sailor on a Saturday night and she produces the most delicately beautiful, delightfully feminine, dainty roses of an exquisite shell pink. The first time I saw her ablaze in bloom was in St. Alban's Hertfordshire in the UK at the headquarters of the Royal Horticulture Society Headquarters. She is royal in every sense of the word. She rambles along the walls of the garden and comprises the arch to the garden entrance. She creates such a tangle of fierce thorns that the birds like to nest in mine, atop the fence, where I can look out my bedroom window, right into their turquoise blue eggs. Ah, spring. So New Dawn is a favorite, on many levels.

Another favorite is 'Paradise', (Weeks). Paradise is a lovely bluey lavender, whose petals are tipped in soft ruby red. It has exquisite fragrance, as most lavender roses do, and such a beautiful presence with these lovely red-tipped lavender blooms nestled in a shiny, dark leathery bush of foliage. 'Paradise' is a secret gift that I give to me. No one knows....

Oh, and Fragrant Cloud. What a rose! She also is magnificently fragrant (are you beginning to see a trend here?) and a funny, corrally-reddy color that looks like a grandma color to me. I would never pick this color. But I love this rose. God, what a fragrance. It's citrus and fresh and soft, but sharp? See, that's the thing with this rose: contradicts me and itself on every level and just won't leave my consciousness. I will cross 4 lanes of traffic to buy a Fragrant Cloud rose on sale and have been know to buy 2 dozen at a shot. True, I'm afraid. sigh.

Okay, let's talk about white roses, my very favorites. The favorite of the favorites is 'Jacqueline du Pre', bred by Peter Harkness, whom I have met. In St. Alban's. Why do I love this rose? Oh my word. First, it is a creamy white, like cream from the carton, not a startling white, like copy paper from the printer. It has delicate purple stamens and orangey centers. It's fragrant with a lovely, musky, sexy scent. It's a cupped rose, which means the petals form a little cup as they unfold. It has beautiful dark green leaves. This rose is a masterpiece, white or not, and for you who need to know, is the cross between 'Radox Boqet' and 'Maigold' and of course, was named for the cellist who died from Multiple Sclerosis in 1987. If you are going to grow one rose, grow this one. full stop.

And then there's Eden. Oh I know some of you will tell me she balls. Yes, we rosarians talk about our roses this way. Perfectly acceptable. Means if it rains as she is beginning to bloom, she changes her mind, balks and balls up. Undoubtedly a phrase the English coined. To help her get past her stubbornness, you have to take the rose bloom in your clean hands, and gently coax the petals into unfolding with your thumbs. Hmmm. Eden is a delicate ivory and pink cabbage rose, with no scent, but with apple green leaves. She is a perfect wedding rose, the perfect bathroom sink rose, the perfect evening stroll rose. I grow her on the other side of the fence and she crawls up and flops over to my side, giving the Chows and me a spectacular cascade of blooms and foliage. I LOVE Eden.

And yellow roses, along with the lavenders, the most fragrant of all roses: I am particularly fond of Austin's 'Charlotte' and his 'Happy Child', too. Both wonderfully fragrant, lovely, well-behaved roses with good garden-behavior habits.

Next up: The Notable and Special Roses of Bellemaison
~many thanks to rosarians of the world for their Google images

The 'Kan EWA


Carla said...

What beautiful roses!!! Won't you come and help me with my garden? I would love to have your expert touch.

JBelle said...

I would *love* to garden in Canada, Carla. cosmic, indeed!

OrdinaryShark said...

I use 'ta have a formal rose garden as a kid. Came with the house, an old converted "summer cottage" that we moved into when I was 8. I had to weed the bloody thing but in high school I cut roses like a mad pirate. I think I have a picture around here somewhere.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Scheembsie, this was super. I suppose I am a metaphorical "Eden". Hunh. Learn something new every day.




The Fool said...

OMFG JBelle, I have found paradise. I so love roses. They have marked so many moments in my life - and none of those moments were "traditional rose moments." Never for a Valentine's Day, anniversary, or forgiveness. Moments of a very different *special* for me. I am astounded. I have never had a rose garden...and your intimate relation with each variety shows in your personalized personifications in your descriptions. I am going to download the 'Jacqueline du Pre' for desktop...and it may just show up on my site attached to a reflection...or, perhaps I will return it to you when I go nomad as a blogger this summer and write a post for you. We'll see. Thanks, JBelle. Exquisite.

JBelle said...

OH MY. Thank you. Thank you. It's great to be back in Boston. (Seeger Live, remember?)

I love my garden and I love those roses. Like true love, you can't completely explain it.

Counselor, PLEASE come up with a picture. And tell the ladies and gentlemen of the jury, just how many times did you score off those silly roses you'd present at the door when you'd pick her up??

Wendo, not many will willingly admit to responding to the thumbs or heck, to balling. You are an authentic and sooooo naughty. So naughty. :)

Foolish! Who knew?! Unfortunately, I am quite picky about florist's roses. I think it comes with the territory. You know the absolute best florist roses available? Costco. 2 dozen for 17$. such a rush. such a rush! IF the garden is unavailable at the moment, of course. Of course.

The Fool said...

Costco? I live in Fairbanks. We just got a B*rnes and N*ble and a W*lM*rt last year. I book @ Gullivers and don't do the W*lM*rt. Uh-uh. The next nearest city, Anchorage, is about 360 miles due south...I think there's a Costco there. I'll be right back....let me go check. I can do a ten hour turnaround on the motorcycle easy enough.


InlandEmpireGirl said...

Thanks for sharing your roses. I am always interested in what others grow. I have not had any luck with David Austin roses. Maybe it was the brand of rose I bought. Many of mine seemed to have taken a winter hit and I had to cut them way back. I can only hope they will revive. My husband loves climbers and one of the Golden Showers climbers is looking bad. Time will tell!!! I laughed when I read that your critters are also obsessed with fish oil.

MarmiteToasty said...

Goodness me...... just goodness me...... so beautiful..... Ive only got a tiny little climbing rose in me little garden..... its in a pot outside me back door and it climbs up a little trellis...... and entangles itself in the purple climber.... my Jacob came home with it one day and just said..... you always said you would like a cottage with a climbing rose over the back door :) - I cant buy you the cottage but we can climb this LOL......... gawds sake...... it dont grow very big cos we up til now use to have to cut it for the stick insects to eat LOL...... I keep thinking oneday I will have a big garden again to grow and nurture and live off....... but I have to be realistic and know thats hightly unlikely now lol - but at least I can live it through your garden :)


Julie said...

I've been pruning my New Dawn all along. Each year it is a breathtaking rambler that blooms throughout the year. I absolutely love it!

I can't say this loud, because rosarians everywhere will faint dead away, but I take the easy way out when pruning the New Dawn lady. She is 12 feet highx7 feet across and starts down the other side of the arbor about 2 more feet. That makes her a total of 21 feet long. She is so big, she can take the abuse of pruning and snap back like no body's business. She has a 3 inch diameter trunk on her and will take over the arbor with ease. Completely disease resistant, I rarely spray this rose with anything, feed it once a year and with that only it takes off like mad.

Last summer I had a 10 inch hornet's nest in my New Dawn lady which I didn't see until I got stung in the eye. I usually have 5 to 6 bird's nests in her every summer and the Hummer's hide in her (near the feeders).

I really love this rose and am getting another to plant on the other side of the arbor. I've also rooted an untold number of cuttings off this rose for family and friends.

JBelle said...


What easy way do you take?? Tell me!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful. I'll simply second The Fool is saying that I loved your poetic and very personal descriptions.

So many gorgeous images and evocations.
I like the idea of a "grandma color". :)

And as for those delicate purple stamens and sexy scents...

Whoa! ;)

Anonymous said...

Typo. Grrr.

" saying..."

ciara said...

what a way to continue living by learning something new bout roses. just beautiful. too bad we don't have much of a yard here where i live and what is out there in front is virtually maintenance free. of course if it wasn't, we'd have to get someone to take care of it because i have the blackest thumb lol we did have roses at the old house, but i couldn't even begin to tell u what they were. all i know, not nearly as magnificent as these. steve brings me flowers every few wks, but never the beauties here. guess i must be content as that they are the only flowers i'll see around here lol

E. H. said...

I was at the cda post office today seeing if anyone I know has their picture on the wall...a couple looked familiar. Anyway I did see a picture for sale, behind the counter as I purchased my last 39 cent stamps, that certainly looked like the one of the Chows. Do they have an agent?

Carla said...

I just came by to take another look. Dreaming...I must get out into my yard.

JBelle said...

hi ciara, One thing our garden is NOT is maitenance free. I don't spoil the animals like the do the garden and the animals are just brats. brats.

eh: Can I call you Thompson? The Chows have a lot of agents apparently but I don't know for sure who or what. When I asked them about this, they burst into immediately, uncontrollable raucous laughter, falling into each other. yeah, whatever.

hey Carla: I posted some more pictures just now in a new post. I have blooming roses in pots on my front porch that are from California. Geez, what life they have down there. And today, it's cold as hell here.