Saturday, June 02, 2018


June is a festival of roses. A few blossoms open in the last week of May, but June is when the first flush is in full bloom.

Blaze roses aren't the first to open, but they were the first roses in out yard. My mom told me that my grandfather mail-ordered the original rosebush many decades ago. It is gone now, dead for some thirty-five years or more. But its offspring live on, at least in this yard. Three of them, two on the north side of the house, one on the south. These are photos of the of one on the south side.

Blaze roses live up to their name, with an intense red that is difficult to capture in a photograph, and masses of blossoms in profligate clusters.

Next up are the Royal Highness roses I bought about twenty years ago. I have three bushes now, two from cuttings from the original. There are two or three branches on each that can become new bushes. I should go through the steps needed to make this happen.

Royal Highness has a beautiful pink color and an intense rose scent. These are my favorite roses.

In high-contrast monochrome, Royal Highness appears mostly white.

The third - and apparently, last surviving - roses in the yard are a single bush of what was originally Double Delight. I first saw these roses at the Disney World Magic Kingdom Plaza Rose Garden, an oasis of serenity that offered a hideaway from the crowds, now gone, paved over, transformed into something less magical. After my success with Royal Highness, I decided to try my hand at Double Delight, but things didn't work out. In the first year it produced just one or two of the classical bicolor, overpoweringly scented blooms,  which were promptly eaten by Japanese beetles. But then things got...weird. The bush began throwing up long, straight stems without buds, towering over the rest of the bush. Maybe I planted the bush too deep. Maybe it was stressed. Maybe the rootstock became confused and started throwing up stems of its own. In any case, the blooms that came in later years weren't what I was expecting. It was as if only one of the Double Delight precursors was expressing itself.

The roses aren't bad, but they're not Double Delight. They are nearly unscented, and the spiky bits are still an issue.

This was the biggest surprise. In high-contrast monochrome, these petals are very dark, much darker than the similarly-colored Blaze roses, while the central portions are very bright.

There was a fourth variety of rose struggling in the yard, but it doesn't appear to have survived the past winter.  Maybe I'll try a new variety this year to replace it.

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