African Garden + [Rose]

The Rose

I'm not a Rosarian. I've never even wanted to grow a single Rose. It's not that I don't like them. On the contrary, I find them beautiful, and I love their intoxicating perfume. But growing up, I watched my mother struggle to grow Hybrid Tea Roses in too much shade. Then, when I was a teenager, we moved to a lot in full sun, where I watched her battle blackspot, mildew and the dreaded Japanese Beetles, then cut back and mound soil over the Roses and crown each with those nasty plastic cones. I got turned off.

I was fortunate in that none of my houses had a Rose on the property. I never had to deal with all that hassle, not to mention the vicious thorns. I don't like spiny, painful plants. And besides, if I ever wanted to indulge in the Rose experience, I could always visit the ones at my mom's house. Currently, she has the David Austin Rose 'Sharifa Asma,' a tall red-orange one, and two climbers, 'William Baffin' and 'Zepherine Drouhin.' Plenty to get a Rose fix.
And then, early in the summer, it happened. My sweet little 8-year-old daughter came up to me and said, "Mom, I want one of those flowers like grandma has." She wanted a Rose. How could I stunt her burgeoning horticultural ambitions by denying her the plant she wanted? Not only would that be heartless, but I'd be a bad mother and a bad gardener. In the face of those big sad eyes and that pathetic, pleading look, all my resistance crumbled. I had to plant a Rose.
When it came time to decide on a Rose, I had already been inspired by two wonderful garden bloggers I met at Spring Fling in Austin, Dee of Red Dirt Ramblings, and Pam of Digging. Dee is a Rose person, and she did a series of posts on Roses, advocating the planting of tough, disease resistant shrub Roses, including a glowing recommendation for 'Carefree Beauty Rose.' In Pam's old garden, which I was privileged to visit, she had a 'Carefree Beauty' Rose. The decision was a no-brainer. I am now the proud owner of a very small, fragrant, disease resistant 'Carefree Beauty.' It is hardy to Zone 4, so I'm not going to give it any protection this winter in my Zone 5 garden. No cutting back. No mounding of dirt. And best of all, no stupid Rose cones.

This post has a triple inspiration: the Rose is the plant of the month at Gardening Gone Wild; Shady Gardener's suggestion of posting about garden bloggers who have been a source of inspiration this spring or summer (sorry it's a little late); and Katarina of Roses & Stuff has started a new Blooming Friday flower meme. This post manages to hit all three!