Roses – Imported and Domestic

The roses were near peak when I was in Germany.

This was growing in a street near the Elbe river. Author’s finger for scale.

We saw amazing roses all over the place.  Like this specimen from Bad Pyrmont, on a fence by houses behind the church above the spa district.

Amazing what cool temperatures and 60″ of water will do.

I’m ready for my close-up!

One somewhat unusual thing we saw were roses planted in tiny patches of bare dirt left in front of houses. Many of the old towns and cities have no front garden, and the house and store walls abut. But people find a way, and climbers are trained up from these little patches of dirt. Since there is plenty of rain, no evaporation, and a little fertilizer from time to time, the roses thrive.

Oh, the yellow rose of, um, Lübeck

And they don’t fade! Whimper, whimper.

Across from my hotel (Hasse. Highly, highly recommend but you must be able to climb narrow stairs and carry your own luggage. The building dates to the early 1300s.) in Lübeck was a stift. A stift is a foundation, in this case for the poor and widowed elderly. Everyone must meet certain moral standards, must contribute a little to their own upkeep, and must follow set rules. Many stifts are still private foundations and get no government money, so they can be run and managed per the original donor’s request. In this case, the stift is open to the public in the morning, and has a large courtyard with a veggie garden and this:

A multi-cottage cottage garden.

This stift dates to the 1400s and is also a historic landmark. Thus the visiting hours.

A bit of trivia about stifts and the Reformation. The popular take on the Reformation is that after the German princes chose Protestantism, if they did, they took over church properties, with the implication being that they used the income to line their own pockets, or sold them off, like Henry VIII did in England. Not exactly. A lot of the charitable operations just changed management and went from Catholic Masses to Lutheran worship. Orphanages, alms-houses, hospitals, they all remained open. Some of the convents were kept open so the princes and nobles would still have a place for spare daughters, widows, and excess female relatives. It’s one of those things that I read and did a face palm, because of course the need for such institutions remained after the arrival of Lutheranism. Duh.

OK, back to roses. I’d been home for a week or so and went by the grocery store. They had a bunch of miniature roses out front, in all sorts of colors, for $3.99 each or three for ten. They looked rather pathetic. I kept going. They bothered me all weekend, those poor little abandoned plants. Especially the lavender ones, since I don’t have a lavender rose.

Monday at 0700 two followed me home.

They just followed me home, Mom. Really!

The lavender colored ones had all died, so I got a red and white stripe and a purple.

The main house roses are pretty much resting. Copper Penny got hit hard by grasshoppers and I’m a little worried. Fire Sprite succumbed to the hard freeze in spring plus aphids and getting dry. Otherwise things seem to be hanging in there. The native plants are filling in color right now.


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