A Rose-plosion

Spring has sprung. Maybe. Fingers crossed. The winter has been relatively warm, without the hard, dry freezes that do so much damage to roses. And it has been relatively wet, so there’s good soil moisture. I’m cautiously optimistic for the rest of the spring. The roses? Are not cautious, on no. It looks as if there was an explosion in a chintz weaving mill around RedQuarters.

Maiden’s Bower and semi-buried roses. The low blue stuff are salvias. The weeping plant is over nine feet tall.

A vigorous climbing Old Rose. Those thorns are serious. There’s a painful semi-joke around Redquarters that roses require blood sacrifices to do well. We go through a lot of small bandages and stain-stick between March and November.

So the soil moisture and mild winter have contributed to the floral frenzy.

Knockout (TM) brand shrub roses, with 5 month old kitten for scale. On me they are just over waist high.

The Knockouts (TM) were planted three years ago and are really coming into their own. They are the second youngest roses on the place, not counting a few miniatures. The oldest are Sweetbriar (Eglantine AKA the Attack Rose), Dortmund, and Darlow’s Enigma. There was also a beautiful, huge Joseph’s Coat, but it succumbed to the need to replace a gas line last fall. We’ve had York and Lancaster, and Brother Cadfael, and a few others over the years. We’re at the point where all the roses are own root. Grafts just don’t make it.

Cabbage, anyone?

I don’t recall which this one is. It is trying to hide under the Maidens’ Bower.

The water is because I had to spray everything down before I released 1000 ladybugs. Without water, they’ll fly away. The neighbors love it when I forget.

Not rose alleyway, but rose gantlet. The rambler is irrationally exuberant and about 15 years old. The canes are as big as my wrist at their base. The hook (blue thing) is six feet tall.

Miniature version of Harrison’s Yellow, the designated “Old Rose” Yellow Rose of Texas. Blooms are the size of the nail on my thumb.

These are the buds of Ebb Tide, the rose in the previous picture. That’s my index finger for scale. The perfume is amazing. Ebb Tide is my “pet.”

Gertrude Jekyll, named for the famous English rosarian. Gertrude’s thorns and long canes demand respect in high winds.

Cane is the term for the main branches of a rosebush. The pink rambler, Sweetbriar, Goldbusch and a few others have enormously thick canes that require serious situational awareness of the passer-by or gardener.

That will be Ketchup-n-Mustard when it finally opens. This is the youngest rose, along with a Firesprite near the Knockouts (TM). This year they will not flower as much as when they were new because they are getting really well settled in. Roses are slow to mature. I dropped the ladybugs onto the plant about four minutes before this photo.

More of the Knockouts(TM).

There are at least a dozen more, either duplicates of those shown, or right where the evening light made photography impossible. On a humid, early morning the scent is amazing, which is the effect Mom and DadRed and I have been hoping to achieve. It has taken 30 years to get this garden. But roses can live forever, or so it seems, unless something kills them. that is, own-root roses. Around here grafts just don’t really last more than a decade, probably because the cold-dry winters freeze the grafted part, leaving the rugosa roots to do their thing. And then the native plants, the salvias and desert sages and all sorts of things will kick in over the summer.

Yes, you are seeing a whole lot of very hard work. But when everything lives over winter, and blooms, and the evenings and early mornings are sweet with slanted light and perfume and butterflies dance in the sunbeams… “It was very good.”

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5 thoughts on “A Rose-plosion

  1. Beautiful! You all have put in quite a lot of work over the years to achieve that. This is what diversity is supposed to look like!

    I haven’t seen that many different breeds of rose since the last time I visited an arboretum. Well done.

    • Thank you! We go for show and scent – is it so colorful as to be borderline tacky, and does it have a strong perfume? If yes, then we look at hardiness. The delicate colors fade into white-with-something because of the sun and heat.

    • It’s probably one of the shrub rose floribundas, of which there are somewhere between thousands and a gazillion. Old Roses tend to bloom from once to three times (depends on location), hybrid teas once to constantly (depends on kind and location), floribundas don’t know when to quit, unless it is August in Texas, when the entire yard takes a well-deserved nap.

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