Monday, August 3, 2009


In my mind roses are dandelions cluttering up grocery store floral displays bundled by the dozen. I have probably spent more time dead-heading, de-leafing and generally fussing over clients roses than I have spent pulling dandelions. Of course I love dandelions, so I probably pull fewer than most people do.
As I have said before I have resisted bringing roses into my life or the gardens I create (unless requested by the client). Maybe I’m cowardly, or maybe I’m brave in my resistance to the most lauded and loved flower on the planet (that’s my assessment). Either way I was destined to partner with a rose lover. Life works that way, drawing you to what you resist to show you that resistance is futile.
So my clever, self-important anti-rose stance is eroding.
Michael ordered over 20 new roses this year. Most from Rogue Valley Roses. I haven’t been able to get a grasp on the actually number of new roses and when I asked him he masked his compulsion with vagueness.
Twenty, or so, roses are a lot if you have a normal city lot. We have 7 acres, or so, once again the numbers are vague with the property lines smearing into the surrounding marsh.
We (you see I could not help but get caught up in Michael’s passion) sought out roses with a very specific qualities. Hardiness, exquisite fragrance, ramblers or climbers to trail among the trees and shrubs in our hedgerow. You might think the conditions we put on our choices would have limited us. But in reality we were both amazed how many roses made it to our list. We certainly couldn’t buy them all.
I have not said “my new favorite rose” since I bought the David Austin rose ‘Othello’ 18 years ago. I don’t think I’ve bought a rose since. Now I have a new favorite rose, ‘Westerland”. It’s an elegant coral pink, long in bud and sweet of fragrance, actually I think it gets a 5 star rating on all accounts even disease resistance (sometimes it good to resist). Finally a rose that has convinced me roses are worth growing.