Sunday, June 10, 2007

Roses not by design

" … I believe that in his choice and arrangements of roses in the garden alone, one can read a man's character …"

What a frightening thought. The quote is Christopher Lloyd's and he's playing off Ruskin's statement that a person's true, undisguised character is revealed through his art. I won't quibble about the choice of pronouns, but I am horrified to think that my choice of roses might say anything about my character. If so, it wouldn't be anything terribly good.

Lloyd struggled with roses throughout his gardening career and in the end got rid of his formal rose bed in favor of a colorful splash of cannas, dahlias, and other flamboyant plants, including tropicals. When he still had and wrote about roses, he felt strongly about awkward color mixes and the ungainly bushes themselves. He also favored rugosas and older roses, as I do (though he grew a lot of hybrid teas as well). I had all white and red roses at one time, but for various reasons I now have an uneasy mix of colors. I choose roses for performance and resistance to all the ills of roses more than for color; plus, I like to have different colors for cutting, even if they don't look all that great together in the bed. So that's why I have pink, white, red, yellow, apricot, and pink. At the moment, the pinks are out, with the apricots hot on their heels.

This blowsy one is the very floriferous and resistant Carefree Beauty.

Louise Odier has a better form but not much rebloom.

Abraham Darby is a David Austen with a delicious fragrance, but bugs love it.

This Golden Showers is behind the house and puts up with a lot of neglect.

The sunny May has brought everything forward, so I actually have more roses for this time of year than usual; Let's see how they look in late July.


gardenmob said...

Fantastic article and quote - too which I would only add that character in wine, children, and dogs develops over time.



Ziggywigs said...

Fantastic....a good read. I love your pics of the roses...i have a golden shower rose too and the scent is lovely.

Blackswamp_Girl said...

Gorgeous roses. I think that 'Golden Showers,' although unfortunately named, is a stalwart around here in NE Ohio.

As far as Christo's statement, hmm... I'm going to have to think about this one. And what the roses I have say about my character. (Apparently, I'm thornier than I thought!)

susan harris said...

They really named a rose "Golden Showers? Oh, dear.