The grand dames

There are some old rose bushes in our side yard. And I do mean old. If I had to guess, I'd say 50 to 60 years, but they might be even more ancient. 

They're nowhere near as hearty as the newer breeds. They tend to be a little stalky. And they're sensitive to molds and such. But the red flowers they produce give off a wonderful smell that the new ones don't have.

They first bloom right around Rose Festival time here in Portland, late May and early June. Then they tend to take a break. But if you play your cards right, in late July and early August they can really go to town.

And so it is this year.

In the current heat wave, those flowers don't last long, but the few days each one gives are pretty sweet. These may be dark times, but not in the side yard. 


  1. Heh...'stalky', eh? Prune them harder and go lower when you deadhead. Some varieties are notably more 'stalky' than others (Mr. Lincoln, Queen Elizabeth), but bad pruning (in being shy about taking 'too much') can lead any rose bush to be leggy. I prune mine every President's Day down to under knee-high, with a 'chalice' shape on the primary stems left. Mulch annually. If you do, you'll prolly get more blooms and three separate blooms during the season (weather permitting)...late May, late July, and early October...with the most robust usually being the first, in May/June. This year, that bloom was ruined by the excessive rain at that time. It induced 'bud blast', where the buds rot on the stems before they can open. I lost nearly seventy percent of my first bloom to bud blast this year. The fungal diseases can be countered with cheap home remedies and aphids can be kept at bay with green lacewings.

    Whiff away!

  2. Oh, boy, do I love the smell of the Mr Lincoln rose…


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