High WASPs are quite fond of roses. All that Anglo-identification, as it were.
That said, we’re fairly specific in our preferences. On the one hand, rows of roses in dedicated planting areas, special soil, specific watering scheme, and correct distance each from the other. On the other, rose bushes amongst untamed plantings, intertwined and ignored.
I have plantings of both sorts in my front yard. Wait. Why my front yard? It gets sun. Roses, no matter your heritage, your culture, your intent, will not negotiate sun.
Here’s my setup. New white roses in a bed, a peach shrub rose, and a small, whiny, red, sometimes-it-shows-up-sometimes-it-doesn’t climber, back against the wood fence.
I planted the white ones in a bed because it seemed like something a middle-aged woman ought to do, and because I’ve always liked the idea of a white garden. I started small. Rather than obsess over which species and with what care, I went to my local nursery and picked out whatever white roses they had in stock, figuring that they knew the climate. I came home with two Moonbeams, of the bushy sort, and two Pope Johns, of the stand up and grow poky stalks sort. I think the correct names are “shrub” and “hybrid tea.” I I could be wrong.
I’m deciding not to care. Impunity. Here’s one of the standy up ones, standing up.
They’re very obliging about putting on dewdrops to provoke hope.
You might be thinking, aren’t roses terribly hard to care for? Probably. Again, impunity. It appears that as long as you plant roses in the sun and keep fungus-growing conditions to a minimum, good enough. I garden organically, so I also spray the rose leaves with Neem oil whenever they start to look odd. I dig in a little fertilizer from a bag that says Roses, Fertilizer, and Organic, all over. What’s the worst that can happen? Rose bushes aren’t apt to tattle to the Rose Teacher, or mount a protest in the street with placards.
Besides, my long-planted roses give me courage. The peach specimen has been growing by my standing rosemaries, left unwatered, unpruned, unsprayed, for 15 years. The little whiny red rose, for 20. They have survived all kinds of indignities.
Roses appear to hold no grudge.
Probably I was lucky in our dry climate, and a sunny spot. Lisa Elliot Grose, over here at Journey to Ithaca, has been a little less fortunate, and compensates with good work. Her roses show black spot, here, but she’s fixing them. It’s humid in the Carolinas.
Probably I could have done better, like the Hostess of the Humble Bungalow. She cares well enough for roses to win Best Bloom, deservedly, here. Mater takes the other path, relying on nature for care, and thrills to wild Nootkas on her little island, here.
Still, my roses do well enough and make me quite happy as I putter around with pruning shears, ignoring rules about 5-leafed branches, pulling off the dead heads as I please, and occasionally taking a few blooms inside to shine all on their own. I’m always bending over the vases and breathing in.
Finally, for Jane, and her Flowers In the House posts, a photo of my guest bathroom. Every month she rounds flowers up, here. I’m late.
Roses are surprisingly willing to share pride of place with gardenias, even those grown in pots and treated like, um, hothouse flowers. Maybe roses, too, are overtaken by fragrance and compelled to behave unexpectedly.
And don’t miss her. Never miss her.