Monday, 20 June 2011

Roses (20 JUN 2011)

Readers of this blog may have the impression that my garden is filled with weeds, slugs and plant experiments gone wrong. This isn’t entirely true, because my house was built in the 1930s, and thankfully someone with green fingers lived here once, though I’m not sure how long ago. I think about the unknown gardener, especially, when the mature rose bushes, which line the right border of the garden from front to back, are in bloom. There’s a question I wish I could ask him or her …

When I was small, I was given pocket money to buy penny sweets on the way home from school. Parma Violets were my favourite: little, round, lilac tablets with spherical indentations, which I balanced on the tip of my tongue so their perfumed flavour could dissolve slowly. At that time, I didn’t pay much attention to flowers until one day, while being chased by the pet rabbit in my mother’s garden, I caught a whiff of those sweets coming from a lilac-coloured flower. My mother told me it was a rose but didn’t know its name; she never bothered with plant names. This is one characteristic which I didn't inherit from her, because even then I obsessively searched through her gardening catalogues till I found a similar rose, Blue Moon.

These days, I suspect this rose is so common that it is hardly mentioned. However, I was delighted when I discovered that one of the rose bushes left behind by the previous resident of my own house was identical. I haven’t found any references on the internet about Blue Moon imparting the scent of Parma Violets; it’s just described as highly perfumed, as if in a rosy sense. To my nose, it smells very different to other roses, but maybe my mind is paying tricks on me and it’s the colour that brings back memories of those childhood sweets.
                                                                             
Blue Moon was introduced by Mathias Tantau Jr. after he completed the work initiated by his nurseryman father. The parentage of this rose is reported as : 'Sterling Silver' seedling x seedling; ie. one parent is unknown. I looked up Sterling Silver out of curiosity, and to my dismay, it appeared quite similar to Blue Moon. Similar enough that I am now not sure if the rose in my garden is Blue moon (introduced in 1964), Sterling Silver (introduced in 1957) or its predecessor.


If I knew when the unknown gardener planted it, at least that might give a clue. Did he plant it when it was still a novelty, or after it had become a classic? I'll never know, but I promise to label and date my perennials for the next gardeners. I would like to leave them something substantial to enjoy, just like the unknown gardener presented me with a right border lined with roses. In life, I don't often give credit to those on whose shoulders I stand; in the garden, I do.

Here are the other roses blooming in my garden this week :

                      


                 


                     



Useful web-site if you're into roses. The photos, submitted by readers, alternate every time you reference a rose.
One of the parents of the Blue Moon Rose is Sterling Silver; the other parent is unknown : http://www.helpmefind.com/rose/l.php?l=2.757.0&tab=1

It can take over twenty years to give birth to a new rose.
The Tantaus were father and son nurserymen who introduced the Blue Moon Rose : http://www.rirs.org/tantaus.htm

The Blue Moon Rose isn't blue, it’s lilac. The first “blue” rose was introduced in 2008, a result of genetic modification with a blue pigment gene, delphinidin, not found naturally in roses. Some dispute if it’s really blue, believing the mythical status of a true blue rose endures : http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/japan/3329213/Worlds-first-blue-roses-after-20-years-of-research.html

Please visit Masha's blog to learn about rose classification and to see some outstanding photos of roses : http://rosomanes.blogspot.com/2011/04/whats-in-name-tea-or-not-tea.html

Please visit Holley's blog to learn about earthkind roses : http://dreamingofroses.blogspot.com/2011/06/earthkind-dream.html

Please visit Carol's blog to see what's blooming around the world in June :
http://www.maydreamsgardens.com/

©Copyright 2011 b-a-g. All rights reserved.

24 comments:

Giga said...

Chcesz być ogrodnikiem znawcą, a nie tylko wielbicielem roślin. Brawo. Pozdrawiam

greenapplesgarden.com said...

Nice roses. I wish i could grow them like that.

One said...

Although you didn't plant these roses, you definitely have been maintaining them very well. They all look very healthy and beautiful.

Mark and Gaz said...

Gorgeous blooms!I still have a soft spot for roses, especially scented ones, the fragrance is unbeatable.

We too live in a 30's house, so mentioning that you live in one too made me smile :)

Christine @ the Gardening Blog said...

Oh Wow Bag ... these roses are gorgeous. It looks like they get lots of love :)

The Sproutling said...

Beautiful! What a lovely selection of colours.

Linda said...

Mmmm, what a lovely collection of roses. Hopefully you're not getting the same drenching rain as we are in the north.

Masha said...

What a wonderful story, it is so great when a plant brings our childhood memories back... You have so many roses blooming, your garden must be such a job to be in now! Thank you for referencing me in this post, I appreciate it.

b-a-g said...

Thanks Giga - Yes, gardening is also about looking after plants not just experimenting all the time. Sometimes I think I'm better at looking after other people's stuff than my own.

Donna, One, Christine, Sproutling - Would you believe that I have done nothing to these roses except cut them down? I know your supposed to prune them to a cup-shape, but I can't find a cup-shape in any of my roses.

b-a-g said...

Mark & Gaz - Glad you like the scented ones too. The fragrance of a rose is more important to me than its appearance.
I always refer to my house as a 1930s house because it makes it sound historical!

Linda - I'm beginning to wish I hadn't pleaded for rain in May because my prayers were answered in bucketfuls during June. On this subject, I've never watered my roses (please see the link to Holley's post on earthkind roses).

Masha - It's a pleasure to reference your blog.
I sometimes think I should stop going on about my childhood, but I do like to tell a story from the very beginning ...

HolleyGarden said...

You have beautiful roses! I like that your mother grew roses. What a great memory. It's amazing how much scent can stir memories. I, too, try to label all my roses for the next gardener, but the labels do disappear at times. Thanks so much for the link!

PatioPatch said...

Hi b-a-g , always enjoy when you weave memories of chidhood into your narrative but being chased by a pet rabbit is hard to imagine. I had a Blue Moon rose in my last garden - had forgotten its scent but never thought of parma violets. So many lovely blooms here

Carolyn @ Carolyn's Shade Gardens said...

I am so glad you have roses--I thought the slugs had taken over.

debsgarden said...

Your rose garden is wonderful! Your Blue Moon, or whatever the name - I would just go with Blue Moon - is the stuff of romantic dreams.

Anita Kumar said...

So many beautiful roses. Wish you could post the scent too!

Caro (UrbanVegPatch) said...

I don't know which one is my favourite - perhaps the one in the middle of your picture grid. How lovely to have such a variety to look at and smell!

b-a-g said...

Thanks Holley - I do my mother's gardening too because she's not well. She's really proud that she passed on her joy of gardening.

Thanks Laura - Our pet rabbit Sammy had the spirit of a yorkshire terrier. I have two childhood plant stories left and he/she features in one of them.

Thanks Carolyn - Me too ! Luckily slugs don't feed on rose bushes.

Thanks Deb - Romantic dreams ... What a lovely compliment!

Thanks Anita - I particularly enjoyed your post about Auroville : http://redripetomatoes.blogspot.com/2011/06/auroville-city-of-dawn.html
I tried to leave a comment but I couldn't - there's a problem with Blogger.

Patty said...

Wonderful roses. I am drooling here ;) Now to check out those links.

b-a-g said...

Patty - If you visit Masha's blog, you'll be drooling even more !

linniew said...

Roses are the hook that catches many gardeners I think. And, like in other things, children are particularly susceptible. My first love was the little pink Cecile Brunner roses that grew in a cascade over my grandmother's chicken house, right over the top of it. I have grown that rose and so much more ever since! We really should catch ALL the children with roses...

b-a-g said...

Linnie - I googled that rose, it must have looked spectacular. Lucky chickens !

Alistair said...

Beautiful Roses which you have inherited b-a-g and only looking so good because of the attention which you give them. I am glad I scrolled down and came to this post, the story made for enjoyable reading. Blue Moon one of the first Roses which I planted in our last garden in 1970. This floribunda came in a batch of roses which we purchased for not much more than one pound, that was the year gardening became a big part in our lives.

b-a-g said...

Thanks Alistair - Glad we share happy memories of Blue Moon!

Donna said...

Stunning roses in all sorts of colors...hard to choose a favorite...

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