Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Form Foundations

I'm still several weeks away from rose blooms here in the Flint Hills (unless the recent high 70's temperatures persist), but I'm already aching in my bones to see the new roses.  I believe there is no facet of gardening that pleases me more than the first bloom of a rose I've never seen before, on my own little patch of ground.

'Gallicandy', Barden Gallica
And this year, it will be mostly the Paul Barden roses that are new to bloom for me.  I planted several of them in the Fall of 2010.  Last year, only 'Jeri Jennings', the sole remonant rose of the group, bloomed.  They are all now 3 foot tall roses at just past their first birthday, and, looking closely at them recently, I concluded that all are healthy here in Kansas with no winter dieback.  Since the foliage has yet to come on, I took special notice of the forms of the bushes, the "foundation for building" which only heightened my anticipation of the blooms to come.  I think 'Gallicandy', a pink Gallica, has the best vase-like bush form, exhibiting lots of long straight canes from a single source.

'Allegra', Barden Gallica
'Marianne', Barden Gallica
Light pink 'Allegra' (left), and peach-colored 'Marianne' (right) have fewer canes at this stage, but still seem to have good vase-like bush form and supple canes.  'Marianne's canes, in particular, have a nice reddish Winter color.  I almost lost her early last year when her single band/cane was broken off by early Spring winds, but true to the advantages of own-root roses, she sprouted back up and now looks as healthy as the rest of the group, none the worst for wind-shear.
'Morning Blush', Alba
Compare and contrast these vase-like Barden Gallica's with the more asymmetric and stiff-caned form of 'Morning Blush', a 1980's Alba bred by Rolf Sievers that I planted among the Barden's.  I'm definitely growing this one for the white double blooms lightly touched in pink, not for the bush shape!  Right now, it is sprawling everywhere and the large canes are reminiscent of 'Fantin Latour' a Centrifolia rose I grow.  I think this one will need a little more annual trimming than its Gallica neighbors.

Looking forward to a great rose 2012!

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