Janet has called twice in the past two days to invite me to come around for a look. As she doesn’t invite unless there is something splendid to see, I stopped on my way home from work-around 6pm. The skies had finally clouded over and looked stormy. Her courtyard-redolent with the fragrance of roses. Thousands of roses. Anyone who loves roses believes, works, and hopes for a moment like this.
I spent perhaps a half hour there. The first view as I drove in shocked me- it was so stunning. A mild winter, an unusually mild and rainy spring had given way to a relentless spell of hot weather. Her early summer garden burst forth with a spectacular show of hands. My second trip around the garden, I took the time to see everything. The Canadian Explorer rose John Davis-perfection. Who knows how many years ago I planted this pair of roses.
This kousa dogwood has been in her garden as long as I have known her-25 years. I have never seen it bloom like this. I am especially fond of Kousas, as they comes into bloom slowly enough to give you time to enjoy all of its stages.
Roses and clematis are a heavenly combination. I spent a half hour in heaven at the end of a grueling day-thanks a million, Janet. I did spend some of that time thinking about all the work that has gone on in this garden over the years-at one point (when I was young) every square inch of this garden was double dug and loaded with all manner of compost.
The explorer rose John Cabot was representing just as beautifully as John Davis. These roses are tough and hardy in my zone. They are also amazingly long lived. I have planted a number of them over the years; those that were planted in front yard gardens I see they are still going strong. When I managed the perennial department for Al Goldner, he indulged my passion for roses. In addition to the tea roses he was so fond of, we carried many varieties of shrub roses and rose species. I have a memory of being pulled over at the US-Canadian border; I had been to Hortico, and had five hundred bareroot roses on my truck-and no phytosanitary certificate. I never tried that again.
This June flush is the best and the brightest we will have in a season. That alone makes a strong and splendid display all the more precious. Of course I went home wanting to grow more roses. The few I have are beautiful in their own right at the moment, and I am greatly enjoying them.
These queen bees of the garden are worth the trouble, as when they are good, they are very very good. They have a beauty and charm missing from the newer varieties of “landscape roses”-I cannot exactly explain why. The knockout series of roses have their place-they are tough and disease resistant. They lack a little of the romance I associate with roses. I will plant them in places where no other rose will do-but what I saw here was everything I would ever want in a rose, and some years do not get.