Rosa 'Charles de Mills' At VanDusen Plant SaleThursday, April 25, 2013
|Rosa 'Charles de Mills'|
Some years ago I was taking photographs of the cemetery at the Tsleil-Waututh Nation (formerly the Burrard Indian Reserve in North Vancouver). My companion was Chief Len George. It was in the middle of winter and snow flakes were filtering down among the tomb markers and crosses. George told me, “We have the tradition that if you survive a winter you will probably live for another year.” When he said this it struck me that we who garden live with the same idea that if a garden and its individual plants, survive the winter, spring will bring the hope of another year of beauty and fulfillment.
We live in a zone that is somewhat similar to that of England so many of the plants that grow in that old country grow here. But we have those infrequent but deadly March frosts that kill many a plant ready to bud out.
This particularly affects roses in my garden and perhaps in the gardens of others.
I have many hostas and hostas are hardy in Yellowknife. They live year after year not fazed by anything. The trees of our garden, some are very old, succumb to that very human but really universal thing we call old age.
Roses are in a different classification. For me a rose is the plant incarnation of an individual human being.
All babies are born as pure potential. They are slapped and cry and breathe into the existence of our really unsheltered world even if in those early years they have the arms of their mother.
Roses are pure potential. You buy them and regardless of what catalogues will say about them, you buy an unknown entity that will seek your help or somehow survive (sometimes) in spite of your un-motherly instincts in the garden.
It is that unknown factor (that thrill of surprise)and hope, that a particular rose will thrive and give you fragrant and colourful blooms that explains why I now have about 80 roses in my garden. Some roses, the remontant ones will bloom once and then again and again. If your rose is in a sunny situation you might boast of having a rose bush still in bloom at the end of November.
Then there are those unremontant (a word that with the exception of Lazarus and his Master defines us all) roses, generally called once-blooming roses that are like generous fireworks that “come hither to me” once and they are gone for a year.
Amongst those once blooming roses is a Gallica Rose (and old rose that may have originated in France or in Germany, people are not sure, it is a mystery) called Rosa ‘Charles de Mills’. It is many petalled and in an almost impossible colour to describe that is a mixture of red, crimson and purple. The scent is heavenly and the individual roses look like some rosarian barber with a very sharp razor has flattened the front of the blooms to a precise perfection that astounds those who see my Charles de Mills.
No what more can I say about Charles de Mills to lure you into going to this Sunday’s VanDusen Plant Sale and to run in the direction of the Vancouver Rose Society booth to buy one?
This rose suckers. This means that after a couple of years you will note plants, identical brothers (or sisters?) will grow around your parent plant. You will wait a year and then you will carefully (this is easy) lift the rose out of the ground (best done in winter or in early spring when the plant is dormant) while severing its connection to its parent with a sharp knife or with secateurs (a nice French word for a rose clipper).
This means that you can give these little plants away and share with your friends that potential so close to a human that every rose is one’s garden.
Here is the complete list of roses being sold this Sunday at the VanDusen Plant Sale. Click on the image to enlarge. There is Mutabilis, there is Guislaine de Feligonde, there is...if in doubt ask any of the rose experts at the booth. I know them all and two in particular are dear to me:
|Peter Lekkas & Rebecca Stewart|