Wednesday, June 25, 2008
My dear Charlotte
Do you know anyone named Charlotte? I don’t, nor have I ever. The name Charlotte is one I find frequently in the novels of Jane Austen and Anthony Trollope, but never among my acquaintance. I like it, though. If I’d had kids, I definitely would have considered it.
My David Austin rose, Charlotte, has definitely earned my fondness over the years; it has endured, struggled forth from obscurity, and is now one of the most beautiful plants I have. It was purchased from Wayside at least 7 years ago—I know it must have been that long because I only ordered from them once, on the recommendation of one of my gardening mentors. It came as a bare root and just kind of sat there, languishing in the shade of some other stronger roses, for at least 3 years. I figured it was a goner, but it wasn’t hurting anything, so I let it be.
A couple years ago, it actually started growing. A few blooms appeared. Last year was better; a sunny spring strengthened the rather scrawny canes. And now, this year, the heavy blooms are well-supported, on canes that are nearly without thorns. They start out as gold buds and then fade to a buttery yellow as the blooms develop. As you can see, they have the classic quartered old-rose shape when fully open.
Charlotte is bred from a truly great David Austin classic, Graham Thomas. I’m not sure if it’s as good a rose, but it’s proven its worth to me.