One of my greatest pleasures in gardening is when I get to view the first bloom of a new rose or another plant; some prize that I've never viewed before even if the plant itself has grown in gardens since Cro Magnum man first came back tired from a hunt and asked his frumpy cave-spouse if the wild blackberries were ripe yet.
This summer, my pleasure has been enhanced by the first blooms of a set of Griffith Buck roses from Heirloom that I planted in the early Spring. In the running for "most beautiful rose of the year," I'm going to have to place 'IoBelle' front and center. This beautiful bi-colored rose is a hybrid tea, released by Dr. Buck in 1962, and this picture is one of the first full-sized blooms I've gotten from the still-tiny plant. There seems to be a little confusion on the Internet over the name. The Iowa State University websites list the plant as 'Iobelle', I purchased it as 'Iowa Belle' from Heirloom Roses, and HelpMeFind lists it as 'Iowa Belle', with the registration name of 'Iobelle'. Since Dr. Buck worked for Iowa State, I'm going to have to go with 'Iobelle' as my official reference.
The most surprising of the new roses to me has been 'Folksinger', a 1985 yellow-blend shrub rose. I wasn't sure I would like the color of this rose when I decided to purchase it, but I've really been awestruck by the beauty of the bloom and by the quick-repeating nature of the bush.
I added a pair of red roses to my order this Spring, and both have performed to my expectations and beyond. 'Queen Bee' is a nice darkish-red 1984 release from Dr. Buck with high-centered and very full blooms that age a bit lighter. I'm more impressed, though, by 'Bright Melody', another 1984 shrub that blooms in bright red clusters and holds its blooms amazingly well in my summer heat. The two pictures here are of the same flowers (well, two of them at least) taken a week apart, hardly faded despite the harsh sun. One of the few reservations I have about many of the Buck roses are that they tend to open quickly and disappear soon, but 'Bright Melody' retains its form well over time.
'Bright Melody' 07/10/11
'Bright Melody' 07/03/11
So there you have it, the latest rose acquisitions to bloom in my garden. What, I wonder, will be next? There are still several once-blooming roses out there yet to bloom for me as well as a couple of (new-to-me) Old Garden Roses. The anticipation has me all a-prickle.