Monday, November 2, 2009

A Rose Is A Rose Is A Rose...

But this is not just any rose - it's a David Austin rose. And it's now living in my back yard, happy as the proverbial clam. A friend of mine has a neighbour who wanted to be rid of two David Austin roses: one pink and one yellow. Both highly fragrant. My friend, knowing me to be in the Take Almost Anything Especially If It's Free camp, asked me if I'd like them. "Oh you bet!" I said enthusiastically, "I'll even come over and dig them up!"

Which turned out to be exactly what this neighbour was looking for.

So it was, one day a couple of months ago, I found myself over at her house, with my (by now rather long suffering but really handy with a shovel) friend, tugging two rather ancient roses away from their happy happy home. First we pruned heavily (and wiped the blood off our arms), then we pruned some more (and wiped some more), then we shoveled out a lot of dirt, then we wrenched at the roots, which were growing under the concrete driveway. These old roses were none too happy to be moved and in the end we had to cut their roots off short. I got them home and planted them right away, but I didn't have a lot of hope: they were so lacking in the root department. But I gave them what I could: handfuls of bone meal, kelp meal, alfalfa pellets, and daily watering. I might even have done some leaf stroking, because according to Prince Charles it really works and since we were born on the same day I harbor a bit of a soft spot for him, even if he is nutty.

Then we went on holiday for two weeks. I gave my dad strict instructions to pay close attention to those two roses (I know, I know, what a dictator I am, eh) and water them faithfully. He rolled his eyes and sighed a lot agreed.

They seemed to take, thankfully. And look what's happening right now, with the yellow rose. It's been blooming for the last 3 weeks. It's beautiful, fragrant, and I have no idea what kind of rose it is. And being the stickler for garden nomenclature that I am, this bothers me. So help me out here. Are there any David Austin experts out there?

And no, I don't think it's called Gertrude Stein, or Alice B Toklas. Or even Tender Buttons.


Rebecca said...

Gasp! So beautiful. Love that rose.

I was a total David Austin nut for a while. I love those roses so much. I used to get mine from the Old Rose Nursery on Hornby Is. If you can't figure it out, you could send the photo to them to see if they'd help you out.

I also have a book about roses (as in The Random House Book of...) with lots of David Austin types listed. If I could ever get you to commit to a latte, I might be convinced to bring it along.

I had a Graham Thomas in yellow once. It's quite popular and it might be what your new fella is. It's a climber. Do you know if yours is?

Cerwydwyn said...

That rose is fantastic. I love the shape, like a tea cup with spirals inside. No idea what it is but when you're ready to get rid of some cutting I'd love a some =)

sheila said...

When we first dug it out I had it pegged for a Darwin, but now it doesn't really look like one. And as far as I can remember of its growth habits it is not a climber.

The DA website is handy in that all the roses actually LOOK like their pictures: some of the commerical hybrid teas I've bought don't resemble their accompanying photo cards much at all. Kind of fun speculating.

Are you going to Book Night?

sheila said...

C: I'll send some back with the next person to visit me, unless of course I come visiting. You never know, stranger things have happened.

It IS a very pretty rose. So is the pink one. I usually tend to the coral/orangey roses but these are very nice. And free. Who can resist a gorgeous free (and highly scented) rose? Pas moi.

Rebecca said...

I will be at book night, yes indeedy.

Hope to see you there... maybe we'll recognize each other this time. ;p

sheila said...

Well, you wear that long flowing white shirt and I MIGHT recognize you...