Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Still Life

I am well aware that the few roses in this vase are crumpled and frost damaged and certainly not the best representatives for my gardening skills.  I collected these last few buds from the garden Monday night just before a forecast hard freeze and it occurred to me that I should display their imperfect forms here for some of you who might believe that I don't grow any classic Hybrid Teas at all. 

Any Hybrid Tea roses in my garden have to earn their way in by fragrance, and they can only stay if they will return year after year in Zone 6B with minimal or no winter coddling and without regular fungal sprays.  Thus, I present to you 'Double Delight', 'Tiffany' (on the left) and two buds of 'Chrysler Imperial' (on the right).  I doubt that three more fragrant roses exist in all of the world.  In my garden, but not blooming right now, are also a decrepit 'Garden Party', a struggling 'Pristine', a miserable 'Granada', a scentless 'Touch of Class', two almost-scentless 'Olympiad',  and a mildewed and constantly balled-up, 'La France'.   'Double Delight' and 'Tiffany' are safe from my wrath, and I'll never live in a garden without 'Olympiad', but the rest of these interlopers constantly live at the precipice of spade-pruning.  Indeed, more than once I've expected and wished for  'Garden Party' and 'Pristine' to expire, only to see them send up a measly cane or two just to irritate me.  Some things just don't know when to die on their own.

I've always been particularly fond of 'Double Delight', however.  It is a marginal survivor in my area, but I fell in love with that overpowering sweet scent back in my adolescent rose-growing days before I knew better.  It was sort of like falling for the beautiful high school cheerleader before realizing that keeping her required you to spend all of your hard-earned minimum-wage money and future college funds on jewelry, ice cream, and restaurant meals.  Yes, she was nice to admire and hold and smell, but, darn it, she was still almost more trouble than she was worth.  And that was even without any bouts of fungus disease!  If you weren't a geeky nerd with no other similar female prospects, you'd have gotten rid of her years ago.  In the case of 'Double Delight', yes, it blackspots and it is an ugly garden bush and it throws up lots of double-centered flowers.  I do believe it is more even fragrant on its own roots than it is as a grafted bush, but if I wasn't still a geeky nerd at heart, I'd have shovel-pruned her long ago.  Or maybe not.  Where would I get another rose of that beauty, fungus or not?

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