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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Everything's Coming Up Roses, Part One

Crepuscule rose
'Crepuscule' (1904), front arbor;
Click to view in all her glory
My blog post for yesterday's blog hop generated a lot of comments about my garden.  I grow over 200 varieties of roses, from merely 'old' to truly ancient.  I grow some roses that predate Christianity.  I love everything about them, but mostly their rich history.  They have stories.  And they smell really really REALLY good.  :-)

It's early yet for garden pics, so I thought I'd share some of my favorite rose garden photos, this time looking at it through my artist's eye. Inspiration strikes when it chooses, but it certainly helps to invite it in.  

I've posted my reference diagram for those who like this sort of thing. Most of these photos were taken in June of 2009, with a few from 2007. There have been a few changes since then; roses added, some deaths, some moved, but the overall effect is the same.  When first flush (May - July) is on you can smell my garden from blocks away, and everybody under the sun walks their dogs past my house.  I feel honored every time someone stops to smell the roses.

In the interest of loading times, I am splitting this tour into two blog posts - Front and Back.

We begin in the front, including the front parking strip and corner and down the sides - in short, everything that is outside of the fenced back yard.

Largely accurate, with a few additions, deaths and relocations.
I really need to update this.
The best shot I have, although it is older, before the new paint.
Those upper windows are my workroom.
From the kitty-corner neighbor's yard
Down the side; that second story window is our bedroom
'Mutabilis' dominates the corner
Closeup of 'Mutabilis', aka 'The Butterfly Rose'.
'Aloha' and 'Abraham Darby' against the front porch
'Aloha' & 'Abraham Darby' against porch; 'Golden Wings' front R.
The red was in a pot; I think it is 'Zulu Queen'.
Between the house and the front sidewalk, left side.
'Graham Thomas' (yellow), with 'Coupe d'Hebe' (pink) to the right
Front parking strip; 'Pat Austin'
Between front porch and sidewalk
To the left of the front steps; 'Eden' (aka 'Pierre de Ronsard')
Front arbor; 'Crepuscule' (foreground) & 'Jaune Desprez'

Front arbor: 'Crepuscule' on left, 'Jaune Desprez' on the right.
Front parking strip, Golden Chain tree in full bloom
Golden Chain tree
Headed down the side - the pink rose is 'Bewitched'
The side patch in 2005 - the red climber is 'Don Juan'
The same bed in 2009.  Yikes!!!
The pink rose is 'Zepherine Drouhin'
An old musk rose propagated from a cutting I snitched from
a historical garden in Port Townsend, WA (The Rothschild House).
'Roseraie de l'Hay', my most ambitious rose rescue to date.  It's a great story and I took lots of photos; perhaps I'll blog about it one day.

My next blog post, in a day or two, will be of the back garden retreat.  We eat out there as often as not during the summer; food and wine are even better when enveloped in the heady aroma of heirloom roses.

Until next time,

Robin Delargy
LooLoos Box


  1. Well beings as you started this, you're going to have to tell us about Roseraie de l'Hay! I would love to walk by your house when the roses are in bloom. I'll bet it smells fantastic!

    1. Oh my yes, the smell is incredible. Sadly, I stop smelling it since I am home all the time, but when I leave for even a little while and then come back I am struck all over again. :-)

  2. I'm so jealous I could spit! You could have your own florist shop.....LOL

    1. Well, we do cut quite a few, but mostly to give to other people; I hardly ever think to bring any inside, how weird is that?

      We've had two bad winters in a row, and there was a lot of damage. It won't look this good this year, sad to say. I sure hope this winter is 'normal'....

  3. Hi Robin, what a treat to see so many pictures of wonderful old roses. It was my dream to grow as many of them as I could fit into the garden sadly living as I do right above the harbour many don't like the salt in the air but a few do thrive. Camellias do very well though as the tough leaves are pretty well imprervious to the salt! I do I miss a garden awash with the fine scent of many roses though.

    1. Rugosas tolerate salt well, Jackie! Roseraie de l'Hay, the rescue, is a rugosa; in your location I would definitely build my rose gardens around the entire class. Rugosas aren't very good for cutting, and they are thorny buggers, but they are tough as nails, bloom really well, many have pretty hips for interest in the fall & winter (or for tea!) and they not only don't need to be sprayed, they dislike being sprayed!

  4. Hey Robin! Do you ever sleep? You have got to be one of the most energetic women I have known! BEAUTIFUL roses!

    1. Aw, thanks Kate! My hubby helps, and truth be told, the last couple of years they have gotten away from us because of all the summer jewelry shows. We're doing fewer shows this summer - just the really good ones - and working on the gardens.

  5. Gorgeous! Any tips for growing roses? I'm in MI and am having a heck of a time with die-off. My grandmothers both had beautiful rose bushes, so I'm thinking it must be something I'm doing.

    1. Skylar, if your winters were as atypically cold as ours (dang La Nina) then that may have made it worse. In your climate, grow very cold-hardy roses, on their own roots (NOT grafted - you may need to mail-order), feed with organic things like compost (Miracle-Gro is like McDonalds for roses, bad news long term), mulch really well in the Fall, and prune back to live healthy wood in the Spring.

      If your soil is good, close to neutral Ph, and your roses are climate-appropriate, then they are as easy to grow as any other flowering shrub. :-)

  6. Amazingingly beautiful! And here I was proud of my measly 6 little rose bushes :)

    1. Joan, I think you just proved that you are much more sensible than I am. :-)

  7. Robin, this is amazing. Your gardens are so rich and romantic. I'm fascinated by the history of the plants, too, and would love to learn more about them.

  8. Beautiful home and rose garden, Robin! Thanks for sharing this with me! I'll have to send some pics of my old garden later.