Monday, October 4, 2010

In praise of roses

Souv. de la Malmaison

There are orchid people, and there are rose people. Despite having dozens of orchids, I'm firmly in the latter category. Nothing speaks to my heart like a rose.

Our garden in England was full of roses, mostly hybrid teas, and we had a gardener take care of them, a luxury I certainly can't afford. Oh, but I loved growing up with vases of sweet scented blooms around the house.

Natchitoches noisette

Moving here in '86, I was happily surprised to find that roses grow in tropical climates, too. In fact, we used to visit a nursery out on Krome Avenue, way west of the city, operated by a lovely man who had grown roses in his native Cuba. You could even buy bunches of roses, and you'd never know what you'd get as he or his wife wandered around selecting the best blooms. That was part of the charm. Tragically, he was murdered when he was depositing cash at a night safe, and his wife didn't have the heart to keep the nursery going.

Natchitoches noisette

For a while, I grew hybrid teas, but I gave up because they're a lot of work and it takes masses of chemicals to keep blackspot, mildew and the like, at bay.

While roses can take all the heat and the sun on offer, they don't like humidity. Nor do they like the nematodes in our soil, so most roses are grown on nematode-resistant Fortuniana root stock. Since I grow my roses in pots, it doesn't matter to me.

Then, last winter, I ordered three old garden roses from Rose Petals Nursery in Gainesville: Souvenir de la Malmaison, Natchitoches noisette, and Louis Philippe; I'd heard that all three did well in Florida humidity. After a rocky start, when I thought they were all going to die (and thanks to Meems at Hoe and Shovel for encouraging me to stick with them), I am simply thrilled!

This past summer has proven to have been one of the hottest and stickiest on record, and my roses have thrived! They're all in pots and I feed them rabbit pellets (because they're made from alfalfa), and worm tea.  I occasionally find leaves with blackspot, but that's the worst of it.

As soon as I can afford it, I'll be buying more OGRs.

A vintage oil painting I found on eBay


Terra Mirabilis said...

Does anyone know why the photos can no longer be enlarged? Thanks.


MrBrownThumb said...

That first one is beautiful and almost makes me want to grow one similar to that. I'm not a fan of roses, maybe it is because the rose in The Little Prince made such a bad impression one in my youth. But every once in a while I see one (like yours) that just takes my breath away.

Sorry I can't answer the question about clicking on the pic to enlarge. I'm going to go check my blog and see if I'm having the same problem.

NanaK said...

Thank you for sharing such lovely roses and the background info on them. I'm new to roses this year and have been lucky to find some easycare ones for our Florida climate. I do think there are two I will be replacing sometime in the future. I will definitely be looking at OGRs.

Susan said...

I love your painting, and I love roses, too. Like you I only grow antique varieties with the exception of knock-outs which do exceptionally well in Florida. I had never heard of the nursery in Gainesville, and am going to check them out when I finish my comment. I wish you continued luck with your roses.

David, Melanie and family said...

Hi from Houston!
I can't grow roses due to shade, but my neighbor grows antique roses...roses that are pretty much on their own and found at old homesteads around Texas. I wish you could visit the Antique Rose Emporium in the little town of Independence, Texas. The place is magical when all the roses are in bloom.
They have a website, but not sure if they do online orders. Most people here just take cuttings from the roses growing on the fences in older neighborhoods and grow their own.
Thanks for the nice post.
David/ Tropical Texana :-)

Meems said...

Hi Penny,
I think roses are one of those endearing flowers hard for any gardener not to love. I'm sticking with OGRs also with the exception of a lone knockout I had to try. I'm not familiar with the first two you mentioned but will check them out when I leave here.

This is another case of 'going with the environment' rather than fighting against it.

Thanks for the link-back and all the pretty photos of roses. I don't know the answer to our photo question.

Have a lovely weekend.

lbc flower delivery philippines said...

Beautiful roses. Very attractive and I love it. I've been looking for interesting topic as this. Looking forward for your next post.


Terra Mirabilis said...

Thanks, everyone.

@MBT: You must fall into the orchid category! But there are some lovely OGRs that take extreme cold. Perfect for Chicago.

@Nana: Rose Petals nursery is currently changing hands and it's not offering plants online at the moment. The Antique Rose Emporium, in Central Texas, has a wonderful variety, but their prices are higher.

@Susan. I love my painting, too! I wish the photo could be enlarged. Pity. I have a couple of Knock Outs, and they are happy in their pots, even though they don't get the all sun they should have. They serve a purpose, but they're far from a beautiful rose. Check out my response to Nana, above, re the nursery.

@David: Sun or shade, it's a real dilemma, isn't it? I crave a shady garden, but that limits so many flowering plants. My OGRs are in the one sunny spot where I can see them from the kitchen window. I regularly check the ARE's website, but I would love to visit it one day. I used to visit nurseries in England back in the early 80s that specialized in OGRs. On a warm, sunny day, it was bliss.

@Meems: You're welcome! And you're absolutely correct about working with nature than trying to fight it. I promise you will fall head over heels for Souv. de la Malmaison!

@Yumi: Thanks so much for visiting. As an FYI, the blog, Rosa Sifu, in Malaysia, is dedicated to growing roses in a tropical climate.


James Missier said...

love your roses. I felt sad after reading the story of the tragedy.. it surely had tortured his wife whenever she sees the garden when it reminds all about him.

I would suggest - go to settings and rearrange the template setting.
But before that - probably you want to save your blog and experiment on a new one.(Create a new blog and try on that)
Sometimes the side bar takes up the enlarging space and therefore you get a standard picture size.
Good luck!

The Redneck Rosarian said...

I found you blog today. So glad I did. Your roses are beautiful. I have a variety of roses, but always lean toward the old garden variety and Earth Kind Roses. Happy Gardening

Terra Mirabilis said...

Hi, James and Redneck. I apologize for not responding sooner, but I've had major computer problems. Time to get a Mac, I think...

@James: Yes, it was a tragic event and one can't blame her for giving up the nursery. Thanks, also, for the tips about the photos.

@ Chris (I looked at your blog): Thanks! There are some hybrid teas that I love, but on the whole, there's not much to beat an old garden rose. Your photos are glorious. What is the rose you revived?

ROUGH.ROSA said...

Hi Terra, agreed on the chemicals & hybrid teas. I am definitely okay with blackspots and the like but here in my place, thrips seems to be the biggest culprit and they damage any roses, no matter antique or not. Chemicals are inevitable sometimes. I am glad your roses give you both pleasure and less work.

Terra Mirabilis said...

Hi, Rosa. Sorry for the delay in responding. I haven't found thrips to be a problem; they prefer the gardenias. Currently, the biggest problem, literally and figuratively, is one of my dogs. He all but killed my beautiful Souv. DLM by trampling on it! I've got a sad photo of it in my latest post.