All That Jazz, Lurid & WonderfulTuesday, July 23, 2013
My mother was snooty. This was a word she used to use a lot and yet she would criticize people as being that when she was uncharacteristically unkind.
In Spanish the word educación is not equivalent to its translation. In Spanish educación is about manners, bearing and a taste for the better things in life. My mother would often look at me and say, “Hay poca gente fina como nosotros.” This is sort of, “There are few people who have taste and manners like we do.”
When I was about to marry my Rosemary in Mexico City I remember that Rosemary’s mother dispatched Rosemary’s sister, Ruth to check me out. I have never been quite sure how serious Rosemary was when she told me that her sister had come to make sure I ate with a fork and knife.
As a further example of what I am writing about here I must mention the most gracious, well mannered woman I know in Vancouver. When her husband, former Vancouver mayor, Art Phillips died, I received and email from Carole Taylor requesting the use of a photograph I had taken of Phillips when he was 70. Taylor wanted a high res digital version of the picture. I sent it. A few days later the door bell rang. I opened to find a young man holding two beautifully cellophane-wrapped rose bushes from Southlands. Inside one of the roses there was a card from Taylor that simply said, “Thank you.”
That is what I call class and that is something very much wanting these days. My mother would have said that Carole Taylor was “gente fina” and that she had “educación”.
All that, is to introduce to you the story of how we came to have an orange red rose in our garden.
My wife Rosemary is a great gardener. Her taste for plants is less monocultural than mine (hostas and roses). She also has the talent of picking plants this year that will be popular the next. She tends to eschew plants that do not have flowers that are either white or blue. She cannot understand why I have so many pink roses. For years orange was verboten in our garden. She tolerated a few red roses like English Rose Rosa ‘L.D. Braithwaite’ but that was it.
In the late 80s and early 90s our neighbourhood experienced a rash of demolitions precipitated by the uncertainty of Hong Kong after its mainland China takeover. Many of these Chinese came to our neighbourhood with the idea of starting from scratch in a new country with a new house. So houses were demolished. One of the few benefits of this is that Rosemary and I would “liberate” plants before these houses would be torn down. She would inform me, “Alex, they have cut the hydro wires.” This meant that we would get our wheelbarrow, spades and a flashlight.
On Cartier Street I found a rose bush. It was not in bloom. I unearthed it and brought it home. I called it Rosa ‘Cartier Street’. Rosa “Cartier Street’ finally bloomed with extremely fluorescent red/orange blooms that where strangely ethereal in how they appeared as if a mere whisk of a wind would remove their petals (never the case). Rosemary was upset at the lurid colour. After a few years we came to appreciate our red/orange rose as it bloomed late in July when most of the other roses are in hiatus.
Some 10 years ago rose grower Brad Jalbert came to our garden. He looked at the orange/red rose and said to me, “Alex, what a surprise to find All That Jazz in your garden.” And that is how we came to know the real name of our very favourite red/orange rose. There is another that Rosemary loves, called Westerland, recommended by Brad Jalbert. She is orange and she has the sweet scent of synthetic apricot jam!
As snooty as my mother was I think she would approve.
Of Rosa ‘All that Jazz’ I found this cute description by Gary Scales in the Marin Rose Society Web Page.
All That Jazz
Rose of the Month For September, 2004
by Gary Scales
All That Jazz is a happy and fun rose. Often we ascribe human characteristics to inanimate objects. And I freely admit to using this anthropomorphic license when describing certain roses. But you can picture All That Jazz slipping on a glass of champagne, joining the Gatsby Girls in the Charleston. While her Hybrid Tea neighbors in the garden are preening to look prime and proper with high centers and perfect ruffles, All That Jazz pulls her windblown hair back into a pony tail and says: “Where’s the party?”
But don’t let this seemingly unpretentious behavior fool you. You’d easily get the impression All That Jazz wouldn’t take this All American Rose Selection business all too seriously. But guess who walked away with AARS honors in 1991?”
Healthy, vigorous, with vibrant colors, a strong and sweet scent and an excellent repeat bloomer - all necessary ingredients of a winner. And you don’t miss seeing her in the garden. A dazzling combination of red, yellow and pink, essentially coral, with hints of salmon. All That Jazz has another distinctive characteristic. Her twelve petals are semi double at best, but at the height of bloom appear as elegant waves of color. In fact there are few sights as striking as the afternoon sun shining through the translucent petals of All That Jazz. Almost surreal.
The American Rose Society 2004 Handbook ranks All That Jazz with a 7.8 rating: “a very solid rose, with its good features easily outweighing any problems.” All That Jazz is a seedling of Gitte, a Hybrid Tea with brilliant colors. And yet All That Jazz again distinguished herself as being characterized as a shrub rose, and one of a few to garner AARS honors.
This is a rose of many attributes and many virtues. And fun to be with in the garden.