Some people can’t pass Delis, some people can’t pass an Apple store, some people stop reflexively to look in the windows of jewelers, but my weakness is for flowers (when it isn’t for perfume) and so I have a hard time passing gardens by. I wonder what everything is, and, having this nose and this curiosity as constant companions, what everything smells like.
Roses are a particular hazard for me. There is almost no rose I don’t like, although I’ll admit to battling black spot grumpily. (It’s the sprays. Nozzles, old technology that they are, always get twisted in the wrong direction, and I end up spritzing myself, which is a powerful motive for organic gardening chez moi.)
To return to flower beds, though – one in a commercial property near my neighborhood was neglected.
First the property was uncared for.
Then it was abandoned.
And finally, this past year, it was put on sale and the bed, a garden bed full of roses, was mowed down.
I grieved for the roses. There were two especially admirable ones, a huge old grandiflora, six feet high, producing five inch mid pink star shaped blooms that were heavily perfumed, and a pink shrub that flowered little round roses, as decorous as a spinster’s tea set, all summer long. One day last spring, I walked past, and everything was gone, everything but some diseased looking cypress trees and a barberry bush the landscapers must have recognized as ”not weeds”. Everything else had been leveled.
However, this is the Garden State, and if you leave a healthy rose alone it will recover even from being cut nearly to the roots in June. The roses made a stealthy come back and had even begun to bloom, although the property was still nearly derelict, and still up for sale. I passed by, and passed by, and one day passed by with a shovel and a bucket, and somehow or other both of the roses wound up in our front yard.
This activity is known as “rose rustling” or “plant theft” if the plants are not abandoned. In my case, the rustling was of an emergency adoptive sort, since obviously no one was left who cared for those roses, or who would not destroy them, so I took them in, just like the cat, and they have settled into my rose patch with surprising rapidity. They have not even dropped all their buds (unusual) but then I have never been shy about moving garden plants, and have learned to give all recent refugees lots of vitamin B.
As for identifying what I have, that’s proving a bit more difficult. The tall rose is probably an old variety called Pink Perfume, and I guess this because of the distinctive star flowers and the very strong scent. It smells like Creed’s Fleur de The Rose Bulgare, with a twist of lemon. In fact this rose is so heavily perfumed that two flowers will scent an entire room, and that is uncommon.
As for its little companion, I’m not sure what that is. It might be a small shrub rose, or possibly a little floribunda. It has pink freckles on its pink petals, and an old fashioned damask rose scent though no damasks would bloom in September. Probably I’ll never know for sure what I’ve gotten, but at least both of them will be here to bloom next spring, and they would not have been, as the garden has now been mowed over for good.
Now I feel bad about the downed daffodils.