Tuesday, April 09, 2013

A Garden of Roses

One of my passions is old roses. I dream of tearing down my neighbors' houses and filling the resultant empty lots with roses (note to neighbors: it's nothing personal). New Orleans isn't the best place in the world to grow roses, but the warmth that nurtures vulnerable varieties does help make up for the blackspot and balling and the other problems caused by our humidity and heavy rains and hurricanes.

This isn't the most glorious spring I've seen, but spring is always lovely. If I had to pick a favorite rose, it would be this one: Souvenir de la Malmaison. I love the scent, the color, the buds, the open, knotty blooms, the name, the history, the endless blooming, the polite, mannerly growth... I just love this rose.

But this one--Sombreuil, a climber--comes a close second. It climbs up one of the pillars to my gallery, and also splays across the back wall (I didn't mean to buy two; one came disguised as something else, but I didn't really mind).

I also love Prosperity, another climber, entwined with a lemon tree next to the fish pond. It blooms its heart out all year, and smells heavenly. (It also helped pull the fence down in Hurricane Isaac).

And then there's Lamarque, growing up the back pillar to the screened-in gallery (home of Whiskies and Nora).

As you can see, I'm partial to peach, pink, blush, and white; Steve loves red. I let him bring in a few, although I fuss and groan over every one. Space is so precious, and there are so many more roses I'd love to have. At last count, we had seventy, which is ridiculous because we don't have that big of a yard and we have two massive oak trees (hence my coveting of my neighbors' yards). And of course, roses aren't the only things I grow. At the moment, the columbines are lovely...

I could go on and on like this. I love my garden. When I get stuck in the writing of a book, I go outside and work in my garden, or just walk around and breathe. It always helps. I call it garden therapy.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

c- wow that is one beautiful garden. and your roses are some of the prettiest i've ever seen. i live in a tiny apt with a fire escape that i cant block so i have one house plant that's survived for 20+ years. thanks for sharing. the gardenless really appreciate it!

12:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agree - wow. I'm not much of a gardener. Too much work. I'd rather spend the time reading ;-) I do admire those that have the patience for all that hard work. I got ambitious and bought a bag of lilly bulbs to plant from Costco this year. Don't know what I was thinking - hundreds of them. I went outside (between the rain) and planted about 10 of them. My father had roses and I really love them. He would swear that planting garlic around them would keep away the aphids. My childhood home would look so funny with garlic surrounding our rose plants. I've tried to grow them several times since he passed away and manage to kill them every time through neglect, overwatering, underwatering, etc. It is nice to enjoy pics of your roses and smell them vicariously through you. Sabena

1:41 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

Lovely, especially to those of us stuck in late winter/early spring with only crocuses and snowdrops in sight. I actually spent an hour this morning clearing away some of the dead leaf mulch from roses at the front of our 1842 limestone house. The previous owner, an Englishwoman, planted a formal, all white garden inspired by the famous Sissinghurst Castle white garden.

3:35 PM  
Blogger cs harris said...

Ali, thank you! I lived for years in rented houses/apartments as we moved around the world, so I've really enjoyed finally having my own garden.

Sabena, it is a LOT of work, but I do enjoy it, and I tell myself it helps keep me young. I also find that old roses, grown on their own root stock, are much harder than grafted hybrid teas, and I think they look much nicer in the garden.

LIz, I actually planned my courtyard garden to be all white. One of the first plants I bought was a white New Dawn to climb over the archway, and when it bloomed it turned out to be the pink variety, so that scuttled that idea. My mother always wanted a Sissinghurst white garden. Someday....

10:03 PM  
Blogger cs harris said...

Sabena, that should have been HARDIER.

10:04 PM  
Blogger LOgalinOR said...

Thanks for a glimpse of your garden and beautiful pics of your roses. Seventy varieties is quite impressive, to say the least! In fact, you would feel quite at home here in Portland, Oregon, which is known as "the Rose City." New Orleans is not the only city that knows how to celebrate at Mardi Gras time. Our Rosé Festival and its' traditions that are over 100 years in the making, are almost upon us. We have parades (the Grand Floral-think Rose Bowl Parade, the Starlight (night) Parade, Children's Parade, races and marathons (on land and water), dragon boat races, a Royal Court of princesses and Queen, selected one each from the city's high schools, not too mention rose garden displays and contests. Fun, food, entertainment, festivities, fireworks, and so much more, oh my. With your roses, you could compete and exchange gardening tips (and root samples) with the best of them from around the world. You should check it out. Perhaps a trip to Portland at Rosé Festival time might make your bucket list?
PS-with our mild winters and erratic weather conditions, I have seen roses blooming all year round, even in January! It always brings a smile and lightens the heart....

11:55 AM  
Blogger Charles Gramlich said...

roses are beautiful but not my favorite kind of flower. I think perhaps the lily is my fave.

7:24 PM  
Blogger cs harris said...

LOgalinOR, I had no idea the Rose Festival was that big; sounds wonderful! I lived in Oregon for five years as a child, which probably has much to do with my love of roses--my parents had a wonderful rose garden there.

Charles, yes, I love lilies, too. I have probably 50 Easter Lilies naturalized in my yard from my habit of buying one every year. It's heavenly when they bloom. And then there are the day lilies....

8:32 PM  
Blogger Sphinx Ink said...

Your garden is indeed beautiful, especially the old roses. The photos are lovely. I love flower gardens, but don't like the work. Maybe I can win a lottery so I can hire a full-time crew to make a garden for me . . . !

6:55 PM  
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