Monday, June 24, 2013

Roses Survive

This year almost all of the roses my friend Quickbeam gave me bloomed, even after a year of drought followed by snow in early May. Bubblebath blossomed first; she makes great fiendish faces when she blooms, and she puts on a show for quite a while. Greenmantle had a hard winter, but she came back in late May and bloomed until the solstice.

Bleu Magenta bloomed in the first half of June; Quickbeam told me she might show more of her blue coloring this year. She made a little nook for herself alongside the lane, near a wild black raspberry patch. My neighbor helped me mow a clear path to show her off.

Alba Semi-Plena
Celestial and Alba, the white rose of York, both bloomed this year, probably because of the extra sunlight created by the local electric company when they chopped down a swath of trees to replace a power pole. Alba is the classic white rose. Celestial is one of her descendants.

Seafoam is almost a mini-rose, white and cream. She had a hard time in early May; some of her petals were nipped by frost. The potted mini-roses, Sweet Fairy and Cinderella, shed their leaves in late winter but came back quickly once they could finally go outside.

The wild roses and feral multifloras bloomed along the roadside in June this year, about the same time as the wild grapes and rough-leaf dogwood. The fragrance blows up from the woods south of the house at dawn. I wake up each morning breathing an unearthly perfume.

A couple of weeks after Beltane, Quickbeam loaded his van with roses and headed to a party in the country. I volunteered to help him ask people if they wanted rose bushes — free roses, folks, really. While I was roaming around offering roses to random people, our friend May, one of the party’s hostesses, told Quickbeam that she would take everything left in his van to start her own rose garden. I didn’t know about that when I asked May’s neighbor if he needed a rose bush. “My wife’s middle name is Rose,” he said, “and tomorrow is Mother’s Day.”

Bleu Magenta
We stood peering into Quickbeam’s van as May told her neighbor, “You can pick any rose you want for your wife, except this one, and — oh, I want that one, too — but please, choose any rose you like.” Eventually they worked it out. I’m getting to be quite proud of the trouble I cause.

Quickbeam is our local Johnny Rosebush, spreading the word and the blossoms to all and sundry. A week after the party he loaded up the van again and gave away a dozen rose bushes at the Really, Really Free Market in town. I’m honored by the survival of his gifts, even here in the shade of the wild wood.

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