Tuesday, October 26, 2010


I fear I am at risk of writing too many blogs in succession about the wonderful roses of Dr. Griffith Buck, but I have promised the GardenWeb rose community that I'd post soon on 'Polonaise', so I should get that done before I move on down the list of roses that I eventually want to accentuate.

The first question one might have is "why did Dr. Buck name this red rose 'Polonaise'?"  Many of the Buck roses have whimsical or unusual names and I wish I knew more about the selection of this one. The definition of polonaise, according to the Free Online dictionary, is either a) a stately, marchlike Polish dance, primarily a promenade by couples, b) the music for the traditional, triple meter rhythm of this dance, or c)  a woman's dress of the 18th century, having a fitted bodice and draped cutaway skirt, worn over an elaborate underskirt.  Now personally, I'm hoping that Dr. Buck was referring to dance or music which might make a little sense considering the dramatic fall display I just had in my garden, but it's always possible that an old professor might have had other ideas in his head when he named this beautiful rose.

Regardless of the name's origin, 'Polonaise' the rose is a beautiful red hybrid-tea like rose which opens to somewhat blowzy full-double flowers.  I think I actually prefer the fully-open flowers to the barely open, but I tend to like double roses and more old-rose style in the blossoms.  I was quite surprised about 10 days back when I realized that my two year old 'Polonaise', shown at right, was the most blooming rose in my garden at this late time in October.  And it continues to bloom, a rose that has been quiet and parsimonious with its blooms earlier in the summer, but now has decided on its own to dress up the garden.  

'Polonaise' is described on the Iowa State Buck Rose website as a deep pink rose, but I would have said it was closer to bright red in my climate than to pink.  You decide, because the closeup picture is pretty true to color (although these late blooms are a little bit weather-beaten).  I will agree with the official description that it is a very double rose (40-45 petals) with 3.5-4 inch clustered blooms that age lighter.  The rose has a light fragrance and the bush is fairly tolerant to fungal disease as you can judge yourself from the picture taken in a garden (mine) that hasn't been sprayed for fungus all year.  It grows 3.5-4 foot tall and is supposed to bloom continually.  From the way it looks now, in Fall, I think my early-year sparse bloom on this plant was probably just that it's a young bush and had some growing to do before it started blooming.  It also survived a pretty tough Zone 5B winter last year without protection.  What more can one ask from a budding garden stalwart?

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