The GGW Plant Pick of The Month for November is roses. I know, I know. Roses can be so boring: the same old, same old. Over the past 10 years, so many exuberant, hardy and easy to care for vines, perennials and bushes have come on to the marketplace. So why bother with roses, specimens that are known to be fussy, disease prone and often difficult to maintain?
This is how I see it. It’s kind of like that old family recipe that gets handed down from generation to generation. For me, it’s my grandmother’s deep dish apple pie. When I was younger, I thoroughly enjoyed spending any amount of time it took to make this delectable dish. But over the years, as I got busier and simple pie recipes and luscious already made apple pies were at my disposal, with great ease (and maybe a bit of relief), I walked away from this old time, deep dish, sour cream apple pie recipe. But now, especially now, somehow this recipe has more meaning to me than ever before. Yes, it still takes time and patience to make. And often it doesn’t turn out the way I had envisioned it would. But no other apple pie can take its place, much like no other flower can take the place of a rose. [gallery]
Like so many gardeners, I was raised with roses, endlessly having my fingers pricked by them and getting their thorns stuck in my clothes. What a pain they were! But when I saw them in a vase on our dining room table, my emotions did a 180 degree turn. They were the epitome of simple, eternal beauty. And they still are today.
I’ve experimented with practically all types of roses: rugosas, groundcovers, hybrid musks, ramblers, old fashioned, hybrid teas and I’m sure several others whose names I’ve forgotten. I’ve gone through my share of David Austin Roses, always imagining that names like Gertrude Jekyll, Abraham Darby and Portmeirion, would automatically transform my garden into a romantic haven. To the contrary, I found these English roses prone to disease and scraggly in appearance. They were unlike those forever lush English gardens where roses thrive beautifully interwoven with mature and lush perennials (how do they stay so perfect when there is little circulation?).
Ramblers proved to be a great success when planted in locations where they had LOTS and LOTS of space. Otherwise, I spent endless hours cutting them back several times a season. One problem with ramblers: most only bloom once a year. Ramblers are just what the name says. If you want a somewhat neat, tidy looking climber, ramblers should not be used. Darlow’s Enigma is a hardy, abundant blooming rambler that I planted on my large, cedar on the side of my front yard. Who would have ever thought that one lone rambler would end up taking over a huge arbor in an intricate tapestry?
It’s thanks to mail order catalogues like www.heirloomroses.com and www.antiqueroseemporium.com
that I became aware of a plethora of climbers, several of which can thrive in northern exposures as they do on the arbors in my front yard and on walls on the front of my house. Hardy, non fussy, fairly drought tolerant with continual, beautiful and sometime deliciously aromatic blooms, what more can a gardener ask for? Lavender Lassie, Eden, Climbing Cecile Bruner, Don Juan, Summer Wine and Madame Alfred Carriere are some of my favorites.
This is how to participate if it’s your first time visiting GGW Plant Pick of The Month. When posting on GGW, put a link to your site with photos of rose you’ve used in your garden. Thoughts, ideas, philosophies, successes, failures, likes and dislikes are what we love to hear about from you….and anything else you want to share!!