Sunday, April 19, 2009


I grew up with a flower bed full of roses. Mr. Lincoln, Peace, grandmother raised beautiful roses. And they are a lot of work - did you know? Early morning spraying for all manner of molds, bugs, spots because if you did it too late in the evening you could create issues...and when you cut a rose you did it just above the first set of 5 leaves. Every fall the canes were cut back severely, the beds amended with cow manure hauled in from the generous cows where we had a fishing cabin, and either in the Fall or Spring, or possibly both, a new bed of pine straw mulch. And that's what I remember, which means there was more to it than that. And, roses require 6-8 hours of sunlight a day. If you want blossoms.

Meet Mlle de Sombreuil, an antique climbing tea rose. I knew I didn't have the time to devote to the care and feeding of roses and this chick is "a healthy but thorny climber and is the hardiest and most vigorous of the white Teas." And really, I don't think I have the sun. But finally, this 3rd year of it's occupancy in my front yard, it's over the top of the trellis, and has a mass of buds on it.

This is the first one open. And you can see buds on either side of it. But already, something is eating holes in the leaves. Something stirs way back in my memory, and I think it may be thrips. I sprayed yesterday with Neem oil because even if I have made the right guess on which pest it may be, I have no idea what spray to use. Don't suggest going to the nursery which is less than a mile away. Too practical. Must stubbornly try to fix it myself.

The rose is named for a heroine of the French revolution, who is reputed to have drunk the blood of an aristocrat to prove her father's non-aristocrat status. She didn't want him to lose his head, don't you know. I've always thought the French revolution a bit scary--all those hysterical mobs. On the other hand, in our revolution, there was tar and feathering. Seems a lot more brutal back then, doesn't it?

Anyway, back to my rose: It has a wonderful fragrance, and if I haven't lost the battle to pests, the blossoms seem to glow at night if there's the slightest moonlight.

Look at this stem of buds. Interestingly, the first and last of the 4 are on the same plane, and therefore in focus. And you can see the holes in the leaves.
Maybe I will go to the nursery today.


  1. Simply wonderful...tea roses are my very favorite.

  2. Ooh la la Mlle. de Sombreuil! The very thought of having thrips is frightening. But I'm excited that these beauties are blooming for you and bringing joy.

    I now have a healthier respect for the cost of roses. Didn't know they took so much work.

  3. Gorgeous. When we rented a home in the U.K., it as filled with roses. I'm sure we had some very special ones, but I'm not really good at tending to a rose bush.

  4. SO beautiful!

    These quandaries are exactly what keep SSG a "container gardner." And by container gardener she means she has somehow managed to keep a few plants alive for longer than a couple months.

    Hope you had a great weekend! And those lenses ... yeoooow!



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