Blaze In SeptemberTuesday, September 05, 2006
Mrs Young bought our house in 1954. I can see her going to local nurseries and buying plants to stock her garden. She had a heart attack in our kitchen in 1985 but survived; sold her house and moved to Ontario. Rosemary and I inherited her garden and for many years we tried to respect her choice of plants. We imagined that she was somehow a ghost in our garden. Whenever I would tell Harry Nomura (back in 1986 I thought I could afford a gardener) to do this, or that he would question me with a, "Mrs Young usually wanted me to do it this way."
Little by little her presence became less so and we started putting in our own plants. In 1954 Mrs Young did not have the choice of species rhododendrons with fragrant flowers (except for the lovely Rhododendron luteum she planted and I so love) so she planted what was hot then. And hot pinks and reds were hot. We have a few of those left. I removed most of her hybrid teas except for white Rosa 'Honour', I just can't pull the plug on her.
I now understand that all this had to be and that we lived the transition that was Mrs. Young's garden which we then had to make our own. In our back lane garden Mrs Young planted four climbing Rosa 'Blaze'. In 1954 it was one of the few disease free red climbers in the market. Blaze is supposed to be moderately fragrant. In our garden it isn't. I replaced three of the four Blaze with Rosa 'Madame Hardy', Rosa 'Climbing Ophelia', Rosa 'Charles de Mills', and Rosa 'Ayreshire Queen'. All of them are very fragrant and people who walk their dogs on our lane often comment on it.
Today I looked into the lane and few of my roses were in bloom, with the heat and the drought. But not Blaze. She was in bloom. It seems that for now she gets another reprieve. Mrs Young must be smiling somewhere.