Sunday, April 17, 2011

By any other name

When we first moved here, someone had planted three roses (of different colors & types, although I did not know that until later) in a very narrow, smallish space right next to the main gate out of our backyard.  By main gate I mean the one we used from the cars, the one the meter reader used, etc.  The couple we bought the house from had made many positive changes in the few years they lived here; this was not one of them.  By the following spring, the first rose bush had grown the 2.5" inches or so required to start interfering with the gate itself.  Digging out all three of them for replanting (as opposed to just hacking them out) was quite a task & I am not sure would not have bothered except R***** said she wanted them & it seemed churlish not to pass them on.

Anyway, they got planted outside the bay window in her kitchen & that is how we learned one of them was a yellow climbing rose (it was eventually moved to her back fence), one of them was lightly bushy with very few large red blooms (Mr. Lincoln, I presume) & one produced a lot of the tiniest pinkish, yellowish little flowers you ever saw along with many, many, many thorns.  I have not thought much about roses from that spring to this.

That is when the local community education catalog came & there was a one-day class on varieties of antique roses.  One day I could manage & something more obscure (& frankly denser green without the super-abundance of fast dieing blooms that need a super-abundance of deadheading) appealed.  Let me stop here & say this is what I thought antique roses were:  less work, fewer flowers, more likely to be fragrant, not the same rose every local housing development would have somewhere in the landscaping of their show model.  & surprise, surprise I was mostly right.  I might be wrong about the fewer blooms thing, that depends on what varieties you compare.

I came home with an overload of information-I was without question the least gardening person there; which is not to say they were not all excellent & experiences gardeners, the truth is I do not set the bar very high.  So I had several handouts & a list of vocabulary used in class to look up later (I'm not shy but it seemed obnoxious for me to keep interrupting with "& what does that word mean?").

I also came home with three small roses to plonk down somewhere I can smell them & the name of the once-a-month antique rose dealer within walking distance of my front door (I know, right?).  I will let you know how we do.

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