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Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Everything's Coming Up Roses (lots of pics)

So yesterday I drove with friends to East Texas to buy roses.

If you need roses, you should check out Chamblee's in Tyler (on Hwy 69, not 64 as we first thought, but that's another story) and ask for Renee. She is their rose expert, and since they ship roses all over, she seems to have an encyclopedic knowledge of roses. Even better, she doesn't mind saying when she doesn't know something, either. But wherever you live, she can tell you how a certain rose should do there, how it will grow and look, etc.

Since I know you're just dying to see, these are the roses I bought. Four David Austin roses.

The first thing I did was buy one that is too big for any spot I have for it. I was told I could keep it trimmed smaller, and I knew I'd be better off getting one that didn't sprawl in the first place, but I fell in love with this rose. The picture doesn't do it justice, since it has yellow centers when it fully opens, and as the bloom gets spent it's more peachy-pale. There were three blooms to see and sniff -- and it smells wonderful! I could NOT resist her. So I got her. Her name is Pat Austin.

I bought Tamora to blend with Pat Austin. They should be great companions, colorwise. I wish I could say I picked her out next for that purpose, but actually I didn't. She was almost the last one I picked, out of a sense of responsibility. "Now that I have all these different colors, maybe I should kind of figure out how they might blend," which led me to Tamora. She also has yellows in her. I like these roses that aren't solid one color, that have shades of other hues.

I asked Renee about Mr. Lincoln. ( Mr. Lincoln is an ugly stalky, thorny hybrid tea with exquisite red blooms on longish stems, and the most fabulous fragrance you can imagine. Huge red blooms, and when only one is open it fills the entire yard with its fragrance.) Renee insisted that there were several red David Austin roses that smell as wonderful as he does, and rattled off three -- William Shakespeare 2000 was one, I forget the next, and then -- "What did you say?" "The Prince." This is the pic from the David Austin website.

I knew even before I found that one open red-purple bloom that I would be buying The Prince.

And I did. This is the picture I took. See the yellow stamens? To me they just set it off. Not all the roses seemed to have them, and I found myself turning away from the solid colored roses with no shading, no yellows. That may be the only thing some of my roses have in common. Green foliage and yellow centers.

After wandering between bushes and sniffing, listening to Renee answer my friend Pat's questions, and some of my own, I settled on John Clare. If I'm not mistaken, I think he had a bit of peachy/orangey tones on his spent blossoms, but I could be wrong. He was the right size and a pretty color and a lovely scent -- they ALL have wonderful scents, which is a requirement for me -- so I bought him.

If you're not familiar with David Austin roses, they evidently combine the best of the antiques with the best of the modern roses, and end up with beautiful fragrant blooms that don't bloom once and spend the rest of the year just being green bushes, or worse, stalky, thorny sticks. I can vouch for the fragrance of those I bought.

But as I was writing my check I discovered that Candace (who had been kidnapped by a darling Pomeranian-looking dog and thus left the rose-sniffing to us while she sat in the cool shop) had found another rose for me. She knows that I happen to have a weakness for single roses. And somebody from a nursery in Longview came into Chamblees to pick up an order to take back to his own place to sell, and he told Candace all about them. I told the guy who was ringing me up, "Would you add one of those to my bill, and go pick me out a really good one?" He did, he was such a gentleman. I sat there and drank the last peach juice drink they had in their case, which I accused him of hiding for himself, since he's the one who first recommended it, then decided maybe he'd already finished them all off.

The last rose is an unusual antique with different colored blooms on the same bush. While this picture shows what a single rose looks like -- in this case only five petals, yellow center, very lovely color here -- the thing about the mutibalis is that it could be any color. The bush I have has one white bloom on it right now.


I did a lot of digging today, and soil-amending, and planting, and mulching. I do hope they get enough sun and water and whatnot, because one they're established and it really gets hot, I tend to leave things to fend for themselves. I've got most of them planted in a long row so that it will end up being a rose-hedge, I think.

But there were a couple of things I was going to tell you, before I forget. First of all, Renee pointed out to us that the pictures on the David Austen website are of these roses in England, and many of them look different or behave different in other climates. For example, some of the ones that appear to have rich color in England may be softer in the Texas heat and even fade out to almost-white when it's really hot. Pat and I tried to avoid the ones that bleach out, but time will tell.

But the other thing, and this amuses me to no end -- some of the roses that are compact tidy shrubs in England get to Texas and -- sprawl. Send out 8-foot shoots. Grow ten feet tall.

And all I could think was, well of COURSE they do. This IS Texas, after all.

The other thing?

The Fairy lived:



And that's okay, because I bought enough smelly roses to put up with one that doesn't smell. For now, anyway. But The Fairy, don't get too comfortable. I may still change my mind.

(Aiming stink-eye at The Fairy!)

4 Comments:

At 9:59 PM, Blogger Cynthia said...

It snowed at my house today.

 
At 10:00 PM, Blogger pooks said...

We had an high of 93 one day last week.

I'd rather have snow.

 
At 10:24 AM, Blogger Candace said...

Pooks, remember what the guy also said about the mutabilis rose? It's also called the "Butterfly Rose" because when they are in bloom and the breeze comes along, the whole bush looks like it is filled with butterflies. Swoon...

 
At 10:27 AM, Blogger pooks said...

Yes, I remember! I found a great picture of the bush, and it's really not going to look that great as part of the "hedge" of other roses, quite different.

So (deep sigh) I am going to have to FORCE myself (deep sigh) to return to Tyler to buy a different David Austin, and move the mutabilis to a different location.

I found a spot for the Pat Austin so she can spread out, though!

 

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