A Rose By Any Other Claim

Rose2Some 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.

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12 thoughts on “A Rose By Any Other Claim

  1. Oh how terribly sad. Someone must have loved those roses once. I feel like that about old wedding rings in jewellery shops, or adult cats and dogs in pet shelters. How can you walk away from beauty and memories and companionship like that?

    But still – well done you for re-homing the roses. They are rewarding you with their beauty and their scent. Lovely!

    • Yes, I simply could not leave them behind, but they’re wonderful and hardy too! I lucked out.
      Just as with the dogs and cats (and I prefer a grown up dog or cat because litter and housebreaking are usually behind them) they reward the effort lavishly. We’re adopters,or adapters, our cat just showed up at our front door, and we love her.

  2. I stand to applaud you, O Rose Rustler! You did the right thing. I’m so glad these bushes are in your yard now, where they are getting the love and appreciation they deserve.

    • Thank you, I did have a moment when a police car passed by me with my purloined roses, but they must have thought I was a member of the local garden club or something. Anyway, the police must have better things to do than arrest over-active gardeners!

  3. Hooray for your act of kindness in saving those roses. I love this: “and one day passed by with a shovel and a bucket”.

    cheerio, Anna in Edinburgh

    • I wish I were sure it was pure loving kindness, and not greediness – but the good part is, the roses are alive and well. Let’s hope they have a good root developing Fall and settle in well. It’s too bad about the daffodils….

  4. Oh, I love that you resurrected them!! Good for you. Bravo and Hooray. Seriously….what you did is a loving service to the memory of what was and what could be once more. You are awesome in my book. Period. Photos of these lovelies would be pretty cool……

    • The photo of pink roses illustrating the post are what was left on one of the plants when I absconded with it, and the other little rose is not in bloom.

      Thank you for the thumbs up, I’m really not in the habit of taking things, but gardens should have nine lives I think-just like cats.

  5. ‘Emergency adoptive rose rustling’ is the very best kind! I am enjoying the very last roses from my garden at the moment, and I know just what you mean about a rose scent with a twist of lemon. Have you smelt IUNX Eau Frappee? That is the closest I have ever come to a perfume that captures the rose and lemon facet in one.

    • I wish I could! The IUNX’s came and went too fast for me to get a sniff, so this is something to look out for if it ever comes up.

      Are the IUNXes in production? Thought they were gone.

      • Blacknall, the IUNX scents are still very much in production, but you can only get them in Paris – and I believe that has always been the case. They are at a very small boutique that is part of Hotel Costes (not in the hotel, but located on its property near the entrance). Vanessa is so right – Eau Frappee is just as she describes, and quite enchanting.

        Loved hearing about your rose rescue!! – and your description of their scents.

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