Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Old Roses

I seem to be going on about roses lately. But, I decided to replace the red rose (a hybrid tea) taken over by rootstock rose. (The shoot from below the graft is visible in the photo above.)

My friend, Cindie, offered me a ride to visit Ruth Flounders at “Roses In Thyme” in Sculps Hill, Pa. Click on the website for an idea of the nursery’s philosophy. And check out the 2008 rose list for an idea of the profusion of old roses.

Masses of old roses filled seemingly endless beds. Soft pinks draped over rustic fences and ascended tree-limb fashioned arbors. Lilac, white, peach, red filled the garden in a secluded spot near the Blue Mountain.

I learned a lot about the care and feeding of old roses. Ruth’s attitude belies all the work that goes into her nursery. Some will get black spot. Some will be breakfast, lunch and dinner for Japanese beetles. Relax and enjoy them in June when they’re at their best. Ruth’s narrative also brought the roses to life - roses found in cemeteries, on estates and farms.

I brought home ‘Mrs. Baker’ a hybrid perpetual medium red. According to Ruth’s information sheet –

‘Mrs. Baker’- Not found in the literature, Rev. Seidel (Rev. Douglas T. Seidel, consultant for the rose collection at the Thomas Jefferson Center) believes this to be the “true Rose du Roi’”. Mrs. Keays (Mrs. Frederick Love Keays, author of Old Roses) lists several Hybrid Perpetuals that were found growing at the farm of Mr. & Mrs. John Baker, in Great Neck New York. Named ‘Mrs. Baker’s Deep-Pink,’ it is easy to see how the name evolved.”

I came away from “Roses In Thyme” with a sense of the romance and history in old roses and, of course, my ‘Mrs. Baker’.

(My friend, Cindie, is a professional photographer. Visit her website at for a look at her work.)


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