'Therese Bugnet' came out of the gate strong this year, bright and flashy, fast to open. She's still running well with a terrific display of speed, out-showing every other rose in my garden, but as you can see from the ground around her (photo below), she's starting to fade and drop back. I think she's going to place in the final rankings of my rose year, but we must wait to see if she can put on a vigorous second and third effort and then keep going right on to the frosty wire in October. What do you think, a photo finish in Garden Musings this fall so that the judges can deliberate?
In all seriousness, 'Therese Bugnet' seldom has a bad year, but I can't remember such a floriferous display or her pinks to be quite so vibrant as I'm seeing now. Am I being objective, or have I been influenced by a long dark winter, conditioned to fall in love with the first cute, bright beauty to cross my path? Unlike many of my so-called hardy roses, this harsh winter never touched her. Her canes remained strong and healthy, no tip dieback at all, even after the late freeze. And every bud is opening to a perfectly-formed flower. Even with a ride-along spider (look closely at that first picture), she's gorgeous, from the tips of her petals right down the white streaks to her ovaries and further along the red canes to her roots. And her foliaged attirement is attractive as well, no trace of disease or insect or frost damage. It's nice, occasionally, to find a pretty woman in this modern age who also knows how to dress.
I've grown 'Therese Bugnet' almost as long as I've grown roses and I tend to take her for granted most years, knowing that she'll be there, requiring no extra care, blooming slowly along in the background. After her display this year, I regret that I once called her the trailer trash of the rose world. She's a tough old gal, and strong women often are less-appreciated because they take care of themselves instead of calling for attention from the gardener by swooning at the first touch of heat or drought. This year, however, I think it is her time, a time for 'Therese Bugnet' to shine once again and remind her why I fell in love with her those long years ago.