by Doctor Science
I used to think I didn't like roses. The standard roses of my youth in the 60s and 70s were Hybrid Teas: gorgeous, large flowers without much scent, from plants that are magnets for bugs & diseases. Ugh, not worth it.
What really changed my mind was a particular rose. It grows in front of the Sullivan Real Estate office on Water Street, Block Island, at the south corner of their garden. It's been there for well over 10 years, but I can't find a picture of it. It's a light-to-medium pink, many-petaled "old rose" type, repeat flowering and salt tolerant, with the most wonderful, full, rose-and-lemon scent. The people there don't remember what the name is, but I figure it's a David Austin rose introduced no later than 2000 (might be "Gertrude Jekyll").
Every time I go to Block Island, I make sure to stop by this rose at least every other day and stick my nose into it, snorting the delicious scent until I feel almost drunk. "Roses might be worth growing!" I said to myself, "too bad my garden is all shade, all the time."
Now, though, I have a new garden with some sun. So last Monday a friend and I went to the van der Goot Rose Garden and sniffed pretty much everything they have that might tolerate partial shade. We discovered:
- many roses smell strong or good to one of us, but not to the other
- there's a "soapy" quality to a lot of rose scents that we do not care for
- I'll probably have at least one Rugosa rose (for trellis around propane tank?), possibly Blanc Double de Coubert
- I really like Westerland, too:
- They don't have nearly enough David Austin roses, and too many Hybrid Teas. Of course, that's partly because no others can compare to HTs for color varieties and for their long, cutable stems.
I've been thinking about roses, but what I've been putting in are some native plants plus a whole lot of Sedums:
Though the hill we're on top of is only about 150 ft. above the village, it's so dry and windy (by the standards of central NJ) that we have very few mosquitos and almost no poison ivy. We'll have to terrace the front to make a garden that can grow things like Garden Phlox, but meanwhile I'm trying all kinds of supposedly shade-tolerant Sedums to see which will grow.
I've put my pots of herbs on the front porch, because that spot actually gets the most consistent sun:
That's: basil, basil, parsley, mint, parsley, basil, basil, parsley. Next summer I'm going to really try to get some more kinds of basil, especially lemon -- it makes the *best* tuna salad.
I'll take a picture of the front garden after the annuals have had a little time to settle in. Other garden developments: there are several places around the house where leaves have apparently been piling up for years. When the top layer is removed, wonderful leaf mulch like you pay for is revealed! My garden elf is making a screen to get out the gravel so we can use even the bottom layer.
We're also collecting old pallets to use in making a compost bin. Following suggestions I found online, I discovered that the local lawnmower & power equipment store, just as they predicted, often has pallets to get rid of. My biggest problem: we don't have a station wagon like we used to, so we can only get one pallet at a time and it has to be the small size. We've got two so far, and the elf thinks he'll only need 3 (or maybe 4) to make a double compost bin.
So what's up in your gardens?
ETA: It turns out Sprog the Younger has a picture of the Block Island rose I love:
Any idea what variety it might be? I'm pretty sure that's *not* "Gertrude Jekyll". "Abraham Darby", perhaps?