A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.




 

That Magical Myrrh
Friday, June 03, 2016

Rosa  'Fair Bianca' June 3 2016



I have no explanation for the fact that roses that suffered for years in our Athlone Street garden in Vancouver are rewarding me with lots of wonderful blooms in our new small garden in Kitsilano.

There is an “old wives" rosarian tale that states that if you plant a rose near another one or take one out and replace it in the same spot, with another, the rose in question will not thrive. It seems that roses might throw off nasty antibodies to protect their supremacy. And you might think that by planting an identical rose next to its sibling that it might  do well. Well it seems not.

For years I ignored the above. Our Athlone garden had encroaching shade from a neighbour’s trees. Lack of light, sunlight and the old wives’ tale might have resulted in my declining rose plants.

In the new little house there is fresh new dirt  (but I must add that it has lots of clay and poor drainage) and a lot more sunlight and light.

Rosemary and I purchased bags of grit and sand at a garden centre and we have been amending our wet and spongy soil. Perhaps all that has made my 20 roses (I counted them today!) happy campers.
Just a few days ago I read this article about rose perfume in the NY Times. It is most enlightening that men might splash themselves with the stuff. I stopped using after shave around 1977. My fragrance of choice was Vetiver. I liked its pungent spiciness.

But I must confess that I do not like any of the rose perfumes that women I have known have used. The NY Times article does mention that most perfumes do begin with an essential rose oil (attar of roses) that comes from (My Wikipedia):

The production technique originated in Persia and then spread through Arabia and India, and more recently into eastern Europe. In Bulgaria, Iran and Germany, damask roses (Rosa × damascena 'Trigintipetala') are used. In other parts of the world Rosa × centifolia is commonly used.


Since about 1990 I have been crazy about David Austin roses particularly in the ones that are myrrh scented. The first one in my garden around then was Rosa ‘Fair Bianca’.  This is the rose that is now thriving in my Kitsilano garden. It is in a very large Mexican clay pot.

I have tried to describe the scent several times in my blogs. I have mentioned that it is reminiscent of and a combination of Magnolia grandiflora (soap if there is such a thing!), Pernod (better than that common word licorice), lemon, pepper and some other botanically secret ingredient come from up high.

I wonder why nobody has tried to make a perfume from this magical scent that the English call Myrrh?







     

Previous Posts
Rosa 'James Mason' - A Modern Gallica

Another Pleasant Photographic Accident

La Suidisante

Aja & Statically Moving Towards Death

Woman - Woman Divine

Rosa 'Sombreuil' - Blood or Wine?

The Dancer - An Essence

Beatrice, Béatrice, Degas & Marie van Goethem

Two Eleven-Year Olds of Note II

Rememorando - The Ritual of the French Press



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