My roses here in Denver are all starting to open up at the moment, even the shy ones. They have so far escaped two week’s worth of severe weather including tornados and golf-ball size hail that have just skirted us. The weather has been so damp and cold that my roses have been coming out plant by plant instead of all at once as they usually do.
My interest in roses leans toward the antique and fragrant, I have a lot of polyanthas. In the backyard in a raised bed we have Leda or Painted Damask, a pale damask rose edged in magenta that just blooms in spring; Therese Bugnet a beautiful clove-scented pink rose bush that blooms profusely all summer on prickleless stems, Reine de Violette a very violet-fragrant magenta rose, and Alfred de Dalmas a deep pink repeat-blooming moss rose, even the leaves and stems are fragrant on this plant. Scattered around elsewhere in the back is Dainty Bess; a rambler Albertine by the backgate; pale pink tall climber New Dawn on the back fence paired with the clematis Etoile Violette; and Basye’s Blueberry which is really taking off this year after two years of subdued growth.
In the front of the house on a sideyard I have the white English rose Glamis Castle just opening now, it was badly tramatized by freeze this winter; Marbree a rose-colored marbled Portland rose (marbling almost looks as though raindrops had fallen and stained it where they touched the petals); a mystery rose that I believe may be the Gallica named Tricolore (I sent for Tricolore de Flandres a striped rose, but when it flowered it was not that); lavender Florence de Lattre; the Chestnut Rose; Altissimo, a vibrant red rose; and a potted tree rose Ballerina. Some newcomers from last year are the Red Meidiland rose and a Burgundy Iceberg.
All my roses are own-root stock, which means if they die back badly, the same plant comes out from the roots, not something else. For a long time I have been ordering roses from http://www.vintagegardens.com/ and http://www.heirloomroses.com/ with now and then an excursion to http://www.waysidegardens.com/ with great success. However this is more difficult when I am not here for extended periods as it is hard to predict when ordered roses will arrive sometimes. Since one of the landscape roses Improved Blaze, the only one with grafted roots, died off this winter I am waiting for the arrival of Sweet Afton, my first tea rose, to put in its place. The really difficult part is that I have run out of space to put in yet more roses. There are so many wonderful roses to choose at in 100 Old Roses for the American Garden by Clair Martin which I refer to like a bible, that I go through flagging pages and then in a couple of weeks re-flag them. Someday I would like to have a really big garden that would accommodate 50 rose bushes. That would be a lot of work, maybe I should be content with the ones I already have.