Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Nostalgic for my roses

I've been a fanatic rose lover ever since the morning I stepped outside and discovered that the bud on my mother's new Tiffany hybrid tea had opened overnight. Up to that point in my life - I was about nine years old - I had never beheld such beauty, and rarely have since. The perfectly formed petals had a silvery sheen, and in the early morning there were droplets of dew or raindrops that caught the sunlight, forming glistening diamonds in the round. I squatted as close to the bloom as I could, inhaling the famous perfume and just trying to absorb the reality of such an extravagance of beauty.

Fast forward twenty-something years. I had recently moved to a little valley in the north of the island with my son and, joy of joys, there was a garden. The landlord gave his permission for me to plant a few roses along the front wall and the first bush I purchased was, of course, Tiffany. I also got Princesse de Monaco, Garden Party, Olympiad, and another of my mother's favourites, Queen Elizabeth.

Garden Party
The roses gave us a lot of joy during those years despite the never-ending battle with black spot in our damp, humid valley. The first blooms on the Garden Party were the hugest I've ever seen on a bush - glorious creamy globes that glowed in moonlight. Olympiad became my favourite red rose ever despite efforts by other enthusiasts to woo me to the likes of Chrysler Imperial and Mister Lincoln. Princesse Monaco was outstanding in form, colour and the sheer number of blooms on the bush in any flush. I remember my son shocking a neighbour across the street by identifying a new rose she had bought, Double Delight. (He had fallen in love with it in my books and wanted me to get him his own bush. In typical kid fashion, he loved the bi-coloured and candy-striped varieties that I found way too garish.) So many vignettes...

We left that valley in 2000 and went off on our various adventures. I bounced around a few countries and for the last few years have been living in my mom's house in a different part of that same valley. Things are different now, though. She has a garden, but doesn't grow roses and even if she did, they would be her show; she is very territorial about her yard.

Princesse de Monaco
I miss my roses. My vases are packed in boxes (like most of my books, photo albums and other treasures). I look forward to the day when I'll have a garden of my own once more, with roses I raised from scratch. I want to get up in the morning and cut one perfect Tiffany bud, with the dewdrops still on, for my desk. Of such are the great joys of my life made.


Jackie Jordan said...

A lovely story, and eually beautiful roses, especially the Princess de Monaco. We have 20 roses bushes at home, and pruning time was last week ... "Where there is beauty, there will also be pain!"

Liane Spicer said...

Hi Jackie! Welcome to Wordtryst!

Laughing as I'm reading your quote... Tiffany has masses of deadly little thorns along with the big spiteful ones but oh, they are so worth the pain. I'll rebut with another quote: "Your pain is a school unto itself - and your joy a lovely temple". :D

The Princess de Monaco was breathtaking. There were dozens of large blooms in every flush, on long stems perfect for cutting. What other varieties do you grow?