Bramblin’ Ma’am

One of the places E.g. and I visited in Nova Scotia was the Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens, at the height of rose season. Knowing nothing about roses at the time, I decided to take a quick walk through their dozens of varieties and take note of four or five that really grabbed my attention.

I found that larger bushes and stronger scents attracted me as much as the look of the flowers. Lots of greenery with scatterings of jolly fragrant blooms counted much more than scraggly stems with blossoms that looked — and smelled — like porcelain.

Just as well, because Foggy Saint John is no place for Hybrid Tea roses. Fast forward to lots of internet research.

Rugosa roses seemed like the way to go, especially if they’re to act as barrier hedging on the remaining part of the property that isn’t fenced in. Rugosas are thorny. They’re bushy.  They’re cold tolerant. They can put up with lousy soil, coastal winds, and partial shade. Plus they have been hybridized for colours and scents and various numbers of petals (roses come in “single”, “semi-double”, “double”, and “very double” blooms).

So off we went to Corn Hill Nurseries, near Moncton, on Monday. I chose three Rugosas and one Alba. All I know about Albas so far is that they’re hardier than Hybrid Teas.

My Alba is a lady.

She’s the ‘Queen of Denmark’, created in Germany in 1816. Not only a bicentenarian but a centifolia. You’ll forgive her if she’s not looking her best; she’s come a long way to arrive in my backyard. 

Now for the Rugosas.

At the far corner, may I present ‘Blanc Double de Coubert’, a white-petaled French gentleman born in 1892:

‘Blanc Double de Coubert’ is seated next to the queen. Though they’re somewhat standoffish still, I expect them to grow closer over the next year or two.

Closer to the house is that vigorous young upstart, the Netherlandish ‘Dart’s Dash’, 30 years young this year:

For a look at him in dress uniform, you can visit Barefootheart’s post here.

Finally, we have ‘Wasagaming’, a respectable Canadian cultivar from 1939:

Of course, you’re wondering where all the roses are. I’m not sure if the others will perform any later this year, but ‘Blanc Double de Coubert’, that gallant old Frenchman, is ready to oblige:

What? Now you want pink? Sheesh. This final photo will have to do:

Turtle's freshly homemade cafe curtains!

C’mon in, pull up a chair, and sip your latté over the morning news.

14 Responses to Bramblin’ Ma’am

  1. Shelley says:

    Look at the ‘Explorer” roses also – they are hardy enouigh to withstand Dundalk I they will probably do well there too!

    I love the Rugosas – I had a wall of them in Newmarket

  2. Good choices, LB. I’m sure you’ll grow to love Dart’s Dash as I have.
    Cute curtains! I’ll be right over!

  3. lavenderbay says:

    Some of the Explorer roses are Rugosas, Shelley, so I’m sure they’d be tough enough. Only objection I have to most of them is that they weren’t bred for fragrance. ‘Emily Carr’ of the newer “Artist” series has the same problem, even though she’s got exquisite rich red blossoms.

    I’ll put the kettle on, Barefootheart! (And I wasn’t copying you with the choice of DD, honest!)

  4. Jayne says:

    Ooooo, ahhh, they look splendid!

  5. Those plants have venerable histories; lets hope they get a good future as well?

  6. Tony says:

    So many varieties. I pruned our roses last weekend. It was an ouchy experience

  7. eyegillian says:

    I’m sure the roses will be lovely, but they do have a lot of pointy bits. I don’t think I’m cut out for pruning.
    Maybe I’ll have another latte.

  8. lavenderbay says:

    Thanks, Jayne! The Rugosas especially look so healthy and happy.

    They’re off to a halfway decent start at least, Gallowaygrave, with compost and oakleaf mulch (both ours) and fluffy vermiculite mix and sheep manure and seaweed granules and bonemeal (all store-boughten). I dressed the trench with the first four items in hopes of encouraging growth along it. We’ll see.

    There are so many, Tony, it makes my head spin! Luckily only a few would work in this particular spot in the yard.
    I’ve seen rose-gardener gloves in catalogues. The things go up to the elbow!

    Harvesting gooseberries was hard enough, wasn’t it, Eyegillian? Don’t worry, the rosebushes are “mine”, just as the veggie patch is “yours”.

  9. Anne Gibert says:

    I wonder what deer think of those roses. I see deer in my yard calmly munching on blackberry bushes, fruit, leaves, stems and thorns, but there are wild roses here that seem to survive. I love all sorts of roses, and would like the Rugosas to plant on banks if the deer would let them grow.

  10. lavenderbay says:

    Unfortunately, Anne, the deer in Saint John are almost as plentiful as pet dogs and cats. Short of replacing everything in our yards with slate and astroturf, we can’t keep all our plants safe. I think we need to emulate Robby Burns by saying, “I’ll get a blessin wi’ the lave,/And never miss’t!”

  11. S. Le says:

    Beautiful photos.
    Lovely curtains.
    I’d love a latte!

  12. S. Le says:

    Oh, and your post title is hilarious!

  13. Alyson says:

    I’m looking at Rugosa’s too because they are drought hardy as well…whether or not they’re horse proof remains to be seen, but they look pretty thorny!

  14. lavenderbay says:

    Chocolate shavings or cinnamon, S. Le?
    I’m glad you appreciated the post title; it was one of those flashes (sudden, not hot) that made me giggle.

    I haven’t seen any horse repellant in the hardware store, Alyson; maybe that’s a good sign?

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