The First Of The Season - Rosa sericea pteracanthaMonday, May 25, 2009
Late May is very exciting in our garden. Things happen from one day to the next. A hosta can almost double in size as it unfurls it leaves in a day. The hostas have no holes or any kind of damage. They are perfect. The lawn is as pristine as it will ever be. Some vigorous roses may grow almost a foot in height. At about this time there is a red rhododendron that begins to bloom. When it does it signals to me that if I look in the direction of Rosa ‘Blanc Double de Coubert’ there will be at least one open, pure white and extremely fragrant flower.
We arrived from Lillooet and I immediately went into the garden with Rosemary and my visiting first cousin Willoughby Blew and his wife Chris. I was disappointed to not find one single open rose. Rosa ‘Blanc Double de Coubert’ had many buds. None were open. The other rose also had a myriad of buds, but no flowers. That was the case until Chris asked me to point out the rare plants in the garden. That took us immediately to Rosa sericea pteracantha or Rosa omiensis pteracantha. The botanists cannot seem to agree on the name of this species rose which is really one species in the Rosa Subgenus Eurosa Section: Pimpinellifoliae. I signaled the oddities of this rose which has fern-like foliage and very large translucent prickles that with back light turn blood red.
I had had this rose 15 years ago but in one of those moments of botanical stupidity when I was pruning it, I somehow did not think and pruned it to the ground. No new shoots ever came up. This year Rosemary asked me to find one. I found one at Robin Dening’s Brentwood Bay Nursery on Vancouver Island. He shipped it three weeks ago and I immediately planted it.
It was Willoughby who spotted the one flower. Unique in all roses this rose has only four petals. All, single roses; with this exception have at least five petals. Later in the season as the rose matures the prickles will be in evidence. Meanwhile Rosa sericea pteracantha has beaten out ‘Blanc Double de Coubert’ for the glory of being the first rose of the season in our garden.
I could not scan Rosa sericea pteracantha last night because the flower had closed for the night. Today it opened and I have scanned it this afternoon. As I write this I can spot from my window two open Blanc Double de Coubert flowers. I will have to go and sniff them!