Only a Rose
This spring-summer the roses are all showing off, blooming brilliantly. So I've been desperately trying to identify several of the no-names, some of which I've never before noticed or photographed. Searching through my old journals, looking for rose lists and details of plantings...
Hmm... For a compulsive recorder I am pretty hopeless. I'll find a wish-list, with no follow up as to which beauties, if any, were actually purchased. I ramble on about roses being shifted, but their new locations are never mentioned. All the 'nuts and bolts' of my rose gardening exploits are missing.
Unknown Ice Pink Rose
I remember planting two 'Winchester Cathedrals' in the Wattle Woods. Well, I think I remember - their name (like the song) is well and truly stuck in my head. But I can't find them. Instead, I've found two ice-pink fluffies, tall shrubs which I've never ever seen flowering before, nothing like the whites of Winchester.
Ha! What about an incorrect label from the nursery? Now there's an idea!
And here's a radical question - why on earth didn't I let the labels stay on the roses? Obviously this would have offended my 'keep it completely natural, no packaging' instincts.
Recognise this rose?
Here's one such rose, which must have been an early purchase - or maybe even a recycled, re-homed rose. A friend has suggested Jacquenetta - an early bred David Austin, which was available here in the rose nurseries.
Maybe Jacquenetta Rose
And now I've found another which is the dead spitting image of Jacquenetta, as shown by Mister Google. Oh boy. I bought two of them? We're talking fifteen years ago - a blink of a good gardener's eye, timewise. There's no record in my old journals, either.
Maybe Charles Austin Rose
I've always thought that Gertrude Jeckyl's neighbour is the yellow Charles Austin. But it's a woolly half-formed 're-guessed' thought. I have an Emanuel (somewhere in the Birthday Rose Garden) and an Ellen somewhere.
My maybe roses...
Maybe another subtle apricot rose in the Birthday Rose Garden is The Ambridge Rose. Maybe the short stubby pink in the Allotment Garden is Pretty Jessica. Maybe, maybe, maybe, My garden is full of maybe roses!
Sometimes my gardening journal is simply a big rose tease. So whatever did happen to Austin Wonder and Austin Velvet? Did I make 'Austin Velvet' up? Did I imagine Clare Austin? I've claimed she was the pink rose underneath the variegated Elm tree. Claire Austin does not look very pink in Google images. Oops again.
Maybe The Countryman Rose
The vaguest memory...
I have the vaguest memory of another pink rose being called 'The Something-or-other', one of David Austin's Chaucer Canterbury Tales collection. The Countryman? The Miller? After some much needed research I know that 'The Miller' has thorny stems, and shows its stamens. The Countryman? Allow me to quote from the David Austin himself (well, from the writer of his web-site) :
'The Countryman is a particularly healthy variety and has much of the character, fragrance and beauty of an old Portland Rose. The flowers are of the clearest fresh rose pink, with numerous, narrow, quilled petals opening to form shapely, flat rosettes. It has one of the strongest and most delicious fragrances of all the English Roses - Old Rose, often with strong strawberry overtones.'
I've read and re-read this paragraph, but I can't match it to the shrub I'm looking at. Trouble is, mine has been struggling in the shade for some years, and this hasn't been the happiest thing. I can't smell anything, either. Hopeless.
It's not just the David Austins which confuse me. Where on earth is Anais Segalas? And Tuscany Superb and Fantin Latour? Gruss an Aachen gets itself onto several lists, but doesn't seem to follow through and get itself into the garden, either. Well, it certainly hasn't visibly survived.
Aha! Success! yesterday I found a dead rose with a label still on it. Oops. Did I use the word success? RIP, Mme Pierre Oger. Sorry about that...