Friday, May 12, 2017

(Fru) Dagmar Hastrup

When a gardener is pressed by misfortune, by weather, illness, or insect, he or she will sometimes stoop to admiration of the unadmirable; to false flattery of the faulty.  Thank heavens, for the salvation of my sanity and reputation, 'Fru Dagmar Hastrup' is performing at her nondeplorable best this year in my garden and I can be honest about her virtues.  Perhaps in a normal year, she would be and has been outshined by gaudier specimens, but this year she is the rugose Belle of the Spring Ball.

She's about a three-year old plant in my garden, this simple Danish maid, and just now reaching early adulthood and nearly mature growth.  Standing at approximately 3 feet tall, she's short for a Rugosa, although she already shows a middle-aged spread, wider than her height.  Suzanne Verrier, author of Rosa Rugosa, suggests that she "is usually larger on its own roots than on an understock. "  For me she has been, in the past, a not very ostentatious lass for most of the year, although the exceedingly excited bee in the photo at the upper right might disagree.

'Fru Dagmar Hastrup' was discovered by Knud Julianus Hastrup at the Hastrup nursery in Vanloese near Copenhagen, Denmark in 1914.  Herr Knud is said to have likely named the quiet lass after his wife, Dagmar Henriette Vilhelmine, and according to Marianne Ahrne, writing on, she has always been known throughout the Scandinavian countries as simply 'Dagmar Hastrup'.   "Fru" is the older Scandinavian equivalent to the English Mrs. or Mistress, an older formal title dropped by the 1960's Swedish population  in a wildly du-reformen fit of familiarity.  In the interest of political correctness, I should probably also bend to the winds of conformity, since Modern Roses 12 also lists her as merely 'Dagmar Hastrup', but as a married gentleman, I'm going to stick here to the formal address out of respect to Mrs. ProfessorRoush.  

A silvery pink, single Hybrid Rugosa, 'Fru Dagmar Hastrup' blooms freely and often, forming beautiful scarlet hips each fall as I've previously described.    I haven't yet noticed, but she is also reputed to don attractive foliage in the fall, trading her flawless rugose medium green foliage for new and more warmly-colored attire.  Verrier gave an extremely flattering review of her, stating she "ranks as a classic among the rugosas."

Until this year, however, when she finally reached my waist, I did not know that this single rose packed a huge punch of fragrance, the clov-iest spicy clove fragrance that I've ever experienced.   I suppose that sauce for the bee is also sauce for the gardener.  'Fru Dagmar Hastrup' is completely cane hardy, drought-resistant, and, best of all, disease-free.  If there were a Tinder for roses, everyone would be swiping "up" for 'Fru Dagmar Hastrup', intent, like this bumblebee, on an easy hookup.   Like most Rugosas, I'm sure 'Fru Dagmar Hastrup' would be happy to use her thorns to oblige.

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