Rebecca Anne Stewart & Rosa 'English Elegance'Tuesday, July 29, 2008
This English Rose, Rosa 'English Elegance' has come back from the dead. Some 6 years ago Rosemary thought our garden squirrels were cute. She talked to them and called any one of them Mrs. Squirrel. To make matters worse she fed them. We might be watching TV and we would suddenly be startled by a Mrs. Squirrel staring at us forom outside the window. Or she and her offsfring would snatch food from the kitchen when we left the door ajar and we were in the garden. Our cats believed in détente and lived and let live. Mrs Squirrel felt so at home that she decided to set up housekeeping in the interior space between the outer roof and inside roof of our garden gazebo. To my horror, one spring four years ago I spotted the young things nibbling on the upper shoots of English Elegance which is really a climbing rose. The little vegetarians found the tender young shoot close at hand. They munched and there was nothing I could do. I had no roses that summer. In the next summer I figured that if Rosemary did not feed Mrs. Squirrel, she would go away. But she didn't and her offspring had a memory for the delights of English Elegance in their genes, perhaps? By the time I cooked the idea of walling the outer roof and inside roof with a chicken wire version of Edgar Allan Poe's A Cask of Amontillado, the damage had been done and English Elegance withered away to one sickly short cane. I was at loss as to what to do. I could not replace her with a new English Elegance as David Austin had given her, her marching orders (like Rosa 'William Shakespeare') and she was no longer available. Peter Beales came over from England to talk to the Vancuver Rose Society a couple of late summers ago. I went up ro him and told him of my tragedy. His advice was as follows:
This late fall cut what remains of the rose to the ground. If you pray and you are lucky you will be rewarded with a new shoot in the spring."
He was right! Last year that is what happened but the bush did not bloom. This last Saturday I noticed that one single, almost open bloom and here she is with Rebecca.