Wednesday, June 27, 2012

My Pink Obsession

Ok, it is time for me to admit two things...I am a terrible photographer, and I am obsessed with this rose.  The photographer part...well, I can only practice and pray.  The rose part will never be cured.  It is Doctor Willem Van Fleet.
This is one of Grammie's roses from Medford.  They used to be all over the house and they can become enormous.  It will never happen here, the soil is too poor, but in Wiscasset, I had the thing in the ground for two years and it was over the roof...Three storeys at that.  It had a trunk as big around as my wrist, which is admittedly not large...we are such beautiful, willowy people you know!
The scent is very much like cut apples to me.  Shell pink and a once bloomer.  This is the parent plant to New Dawn, that many people grow, but to me, it has more character.  I have a New Dawn.  It is not as vigorous(read that as rampant) and I just cannot warm to the plant.  My mother tried to grow this in northern Maine(she could do it now of course) and it survived as long as she sheltered and babied it, but for the most part it just laid there and looked back at us and said in a very quiet voice:"Are you out of your mind!?"  The one or two little blooms were the highlight of the summer, and I will always remember that.
Lots of sun, lots of manure.  Spray for insects and black spot early as with any rose.  Clean up fallen black spot leaves promptly.  Water often and in good volume.  Fertilize regularly, especially if you do not have manure available.
If you want this in a cold climate, the old remedy was to gather the plant's cames together after trimming them back a bit after frost.  Then excavate the roots a bit on one side, sort of releasing them a bit from the ground.  Lay the entire plant down on the ground, allowing the excavated part to elevate slightly as the woody cames will not want to bend.  Now...Bury the entire plant! Say a prayer.  Sing a few hymns.  Pray again.  Do not let this remain wet for a long time.  Perhaps a cover would be good but plastic may not be best. Dig up and reset the excavated roots as soon as the ground softens.  It can take frost, but it does not like 20F below like we often had.  Do not put a silly white cone over it.  That will just heat and thaw all winter and kill the plant or at least stress it.

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