Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Name of the Rose

I was introduced to David Austin roses a few years ago by the neighbour of a friend. She had recently divorced and was seeking to rid herself of ex-husband memories, and asked my friend if he wanted a couple of roses her ex had planted in between their houses. My friend didn't want them but he knew of my inability to refuse a free plant, so he called me and the two of us went over to dig them up.

It was a difficult task removing those roses, mostly because they had been planted against a house and beside a concrete driveway, in a very small amount of soil. They were leggy and thorny and getting them out was fraught with disaster: we broke roots, we had to prune them fairly drastically, and one had grown so far under the driveway we ended up having to just yank it out, breaking the root almost to nothing. I got them home, sank them into buckets of water and bone meal and kelp meal, and transplanted them, hoping they'd survive.

Fortunately they both took immediately. Then came the task of finding out what their names were.  Those first blooms were so beautiful and so fragrant and so amazingly gorgeous. They were everything I thought a rose should be and everything my current roses weren't. I poured over the online David Austin catalogue and even took a bloom to a local rose supplier to narrow down my choices. Obsessive, me? Well, Maybe a little.

 The yellow rose was easy: Was it Golden Celebration or Graham Thomas? The rose grower and I both decided it was Golden Celebration. (I can see some of you snickering, stop that now) The other rose was more difficult and this was where it became rather more fascinating, because the colour changed slightly as the rose settled in. At first I thought it was Shropshire Lad, but this year I realized it couldn't be, so back to the catalogue I went. Now I think I've found the name: Lady Emma Hamilton. What do you think? Is this the name of my rose? Keep in mind that the catalogue photo is enhanced a bit, whereas mine was taken on my deck this morning by mine own hands (and mine own vastly cheaper camera).

Lady Emma Hamilton was Horatio Nelson's lover, according to the David Austin catalogue, and this rose was named to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar. Rather apt, I think, because I've always called these two roses my Divorce Roses (because they came to me as the result of a smaller but no less significant battle of their own).

David Austin's Lady Emma Hamilton


Maya said...

Hi Sheila!

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sheila said...

Hi Maya! Do we know each other?