Showing posts with label roses. Show all posts
Showing posts with label roses. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Random roses

On the rose pergola, there's a lot of intermingling between adjacent varieties. Here's a view from the south of the left-hand side of the pergola:

The small bright red roses are Chevy Chase. The bushes growing on the left are Madame Alfred Carrière, and you see a few specimens of these white roses at the top of the photo. But the pink roses on the left belong to Albertine stalks that have burrowed through from the opposite side of the pergola. On the other side of the red Chevy Chase, the small pale pink Paul Transon blossoms are in their right place.

In one of the plots, close to the earth, there's an elegant specimen of Paul Bocuse, all on its own.

Alongside, but high in the air, there are several Queen Elizabeth specimens:

Here's a superb solitary Limoux, with a few Manou Meilland in the background:

I've forgotten the identity of the following vigorous bush of clumps of white roses, which used to grow on an embankment behind the house:

The following, too, is an unidentified bush that I transplanted from behind the house:

As I've often said, one thing is certain: Gamone is an ideal territory for roses.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Garden flowers are back

I'm pleased to discover that I haven't lost a single rose or peony plant since I planted them in 2009. This year, the Gay Paree is splendid, and doesn't appear to be bothered by its position alongside a giant rose bush and a clump of lavender (neither of which are flowering yet).

The Princess Margaret is thriving, but its huge flowers are weighted down by all the recent wetness. (Please disregard all the vegetation in the aisles between the plots, which I haven't had an opportunity of removing.)

On the opposite side of my garden, the Manou Meilland is a rose reflection of the peonies.

But the most glorious flower of all, at this time of the season, is the Don Quichotte, whose aroma is intense.

A month or so ago, in a quite heavy-handed manner, I cut away all the climbing rose branches protruding from the top of the pergola. Today, they've all sprouted even more abundantly.

It's a bit like a scruffy-haired boy whose mother needs to send him to the barber. Notice, on the left, the first small red blossoms of Albertine, whose stalks are also reddish.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

All Saints roses

Today's date has a quite binary look: 2011-11-01. For an All Saints' Day, the weather at Gamone is wonderfully mild, and even sunny at times. This afternoon, I picked up the last few apples from the ground (for my donkeys), and was thrilled to find a few splendid roses in my unkempt garden (where I didn't do any work whatsoever in summer, following my conflict with a fallen tree and my fractured knee).

[Click to enlarge slightly]

On the other hand, I've done a lot of work inside the house, mainly to get rid of old books, papers and obsolete media stuff. It felt funny throwing out all my audio cassettes. I'm also replacing many of my old cardboard boxes (for papers and photos) by transparent plastic containers, which are a great invention.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Comfortable dog bed beneath the foliage

Inside the house, whenever Sophia leaves her big wicker basket empty, Fitzroy has the habit of hopping into it, and often falling asleep. Fortunately, Sophia seems to find it perfectly normal that her basket should be borrowed, from time to time, in this way. As I've often said, she's imbued with a profound Christian spirit of charity. Outside, Fitzroy has always had a fine kennel, but he prefers to sleep out in the open, on a thick wad of straw in front of the wall of the house. This afternoon, for the first time ever, I was amused to discover that Sophia had borrowed Fitzroy's bed for a short nap.

It certainly looks like an attractive place to rest on a summer afternoon. The straw is surrounded by lavender, in full bloom. The shrub on the right is a white-flowering wisteria, whose foliage is sufficiently thick, at this time of the year, to act as a canopy capable of protecting the dog from rain. The plant on the left is a wild dog rose (Rosa canina, called églantier in French), which produces pale pink flowers.

I was wondering why the name of this wild rose (apparently the ancestor of cultivated roses) evokes dogs. In ancient times, people believed that the root of this plant could cure a person who had contracted rabies, after being bitten by an afflicted dog. I'm always amazed when I hear tales like that. I try to imagine the scenario: A gravely sick individual, on a stretcher, is carted along to an apothecary who—for reasons that are hard to fathom—gives the patient a concoction containing the ground-up roots of a wild rose bush. How and why did apothecaries decide that such a preparation might play a positive role in healing such a serious affliction as rabies? More to the point: Did the concoction actually produce positive results?

Maybe, an ancient apothecary happened to notice, like me, that his dogs liked to lie around outside on a bed of straw surrounded by lavender, in the shade of Wisteria and wild rose bushes. So, when one of his dogs went mad and bit people, the apothecary might have asked himself: "Before that animal went mad, what were the plants and flowers associated with its normal state of harmonious well-being?" And maybe the apothecary imagined that these same plants and flowers might play a role in restoring the health of victims of rabies.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Starting to blush and ramble

Up until recently, I was starting to imagine that my Blush Rambler bush, on the pergola, was simply a vigorously-branching late-flowering small white rose. That, in any case, was my judgment after its first flowering, one year ago. Not so long ago, in my blog post of 23 May 2011 entitled Pergola roses [display], I did not mention the Blush Rambler, because it was the only one of the six varieties of old roses on my pergola that had not started to bloom abundantly. Well, things have certainly changed by now. I've finally discovered that the charming blush of this rose is due to the presence of pastel pink petals.

There are even small dark pink spots on many of the white leaves, as if the flower can't quite decide whether it wishes to remain white or rather start to blush.

As for its rambling, I've discovered that branches and blooms of the Blush Rambler have now spread into (I was going to say "invaded") every corner of the upper region (or "roof") of the pergola.

This is not at all a problem. On the contrary, only the red Chevy Chase is still blooming, so an observer has the impression that all the bushes and foliage are Blush Rambler. This latest photo, which I took a few hours ago, indicates well what I'm trying to say.

In another corner of my garden, there's an impressive bed of mint.

Chinese tea flavored with mint leaves is delicious. The tea I most appreciate, though (and by far), is perfumed with jasmine. Yesterday, when I was buying coffee beans in Valence, I also purchased a packet of their Chung Hao leaves. Once reserved for the Imperial Court, Chung Hao is reputed to be one of the finest reasonably-priced jasmine teas produced today in China. I happen to be drinking this fine tea now, at the same time that I'm blogging, and it's truly superb.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

All the roses at Gamone are blooming

In my garden at Gamone, there are exactly 25 different rose bushes. This morning (probably for the first time ever), all the 25 were blooming… to a greater or lesser extent, of course.

In one square, there are three bushes that I transplanted from odd corners around the house. They certainly appear to be happier here than in their original locations.

The big white bush is thriving particularly well. It's a vigorous shrub variety, whose name I've forgotten, which sprouts out horizontally in the style of ground-cover roses. Here's a closer image:

Its flowers start out as tiny cream-colored buds in large clusters, then they turn white with golden centers, similar to the Lykkefund on the pergola, shown in a recent blog post [display]. Concerning the Lykkefund, I forgot to mention a curious detail: it has no thorns!

The first of the eight square plots in my garden is composed entirely of aromatic herbs. In the center, as in all of the eight plots, there's a lavender shrub, which won't be flowering before summer.

Funnily, when I wander through my garden, I find that the absence of vivid colors in this plot has a soothing effect.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Pergola roses

Nearly all the so-called "old roses" on my pergola are in full bloom today and, for some of them, this is the first time they've ever been in such a resplendent state.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Ronsard in bloom

I wrote about this rose bush a year ago [display].

Its resurrection is amazing.

Cueillez dès aujourd’hui les roses de la vie
Quand vous serez bien vieille, au soir, à la chandelle,

Assise auprès du feu, dévidant et filant,

Direz, chantant mes vers, en vous émerveillant :

« Ronsard me célébrait du temps que j’étais belle ! »

Lors, vous n’aurez servante oyant telle nouvelle,

Déjà sous le labeur à demi sommeillant,

Qui au bruit de Ronsard ne s’aille réveillant,

Bénissant votre nom de louange immortelle.

Je serai sous la terre, et, fantôme sans os,

Par les ombres myrteux je prendrai mon repos ;

Vous serez au foyer une vieille accroupie,

Regrettant mon amour et votre fier dédain.

Vivez, si m’en croyez, n’attendez à demain :

Cueillez dès aujourd’hui les roses de la vie.
Pierre de Ronsard, Sonnets pour Hélène, 1587

Friday, May 6, 2011

A rose by any other name

The names given to varieties of roses don't necessarily mean much. But one of the roses I planted in 2009 has a name that means a lot, not only to me, but to countless ordinary French people. Called Coluche, it's one of the first roses in my garden to bloom.

Michel Colucci, known to everybody as Coluche, was an inimitable French comedian who died in a motor-cycle accident, a quarter of a century ago (at a time when I was out in Western Australia).

He rose to fame instantaneously, on the evening of 19 May 1974, an hour or so after Valéry Giscard d'Estaing won the presidential election. TV viewers were awaiting the reactions of the defeated candidate, François Mitterrand, who was running late. To prevent viewers from becoming impatient, the TV host called upon a little-known 29-year-old stand-up comic, Coluche. His drawn-out sketch, L'histoire d'un mec (Story of a bloke), not only filled in time, but literally went down in history. Coluche lived just the street from my place in Paris, and I used to see him regularly seated outside his favorite bistrot with his fellow-comedians from the nearby Café de la Gare.

The famous sketch about a bloke can only be understood by French-speakers, and Coluche's style of humor is so special that it's almost impossible to even outline the gist of the sketch. But I've included it here for any nostalgic Coluche admirers among my readers.

Coluche is remembered by his compatriots as the founder of a great charitable organization, Restos du Cœur (Restaurants of the Heart), which hands out countless meals to people in need throughout France.

In a month's time, on 19 June 2011, France will be commemorating the 25th anniversary of the death of Coluche. By then, sadly, the blood-red roses will have disappeared, like Coluche.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Roses emerge from the damp season

Named Lolita, this rose might be expected to bloom precociously:

On the contrary, it's the last rosebush to blossom in my garden. The following variety, Blush Rambler, sprouted a profusion of branches and leaves in all directions (even skywards at times), before calming down and producing clumps of small and delicate blushing blossoms:

This is another so-called rambler, Chevy Chase:

Its brilliant scarlet is likely to dominate my pergola for some time to come… unless the Blush Rambler decides to adopt a more offensive strategy.

Here's a curious image of two former flowers that I removed, this afternoon, from one of the bushes.

They are the carcasses of two drowned roses, which were unable to withstand the recent non-stop rain at Gamone. Like a forensic surgeon, I dissected one of them, to better understand the cause of death.

Inside, reminding me of figs, the delicate gold and pink petals are fetuses of flowers that would never be.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Ordinary excursion

To complete the future rose garden that I've been creating, which will comprise two dozen different bushes, I needed to obtain the final four bare-root plants. The French-language website of the Laperrière horticultural firm informed me that they would be able to supply me with exactly the varieties I was seeking.

So I decided to visit them, in the village of Saint Quentin Fallavier, up in the north of the Isère département, not far from Lyon. From Choranche, the itinerary crosses a broad band of rolling wooded hills above Saint-Marcellin, the Chambaran, which means "barren fields".

On the northern edge of these hills, you drive through the narrow main street of the village of Saint-Etienne-de-Saint-Geoirs, birthplace of the celebrated bandit Louis Mandrin [1725-1755]. You cross the plain of the Bièvre, the site of Grenoble's airport, then you reach the town of Bourgoin-Jallieu, famous for its rugby exploits and its native son Frédéric Dard [1921-2000], author of the crime novels signed by the legendary police commissioner San-Antonio. From that point on, the driver senses that he's moving into the outskirts of the international airport of Lyon, named Saint-Exupéry, hub of a vast European road/rail transport network.

I had no trouble finding the Laperrière rose gardens: a horticultural oasis of greenhouses tucked between huge warehouses on the side of a busy road with a constant stream of lorries. It's an unexpected location for the enterprise, founded in 1864, of a dynasty of distinguished rose-growers.

The ancestral know-how of the Laperrière family could no doubt flourish on any decent-sized patch of flat land in a mild climate. When I parked my car in front of a big greenhouse serving as a boutique for the few customers like me who drop in at the enterprise (instead of purchasing rose bushes at a retail outlet or through the Internet), an elegantly-attired grey-haired lady with a pearl necklace emerged from the nondescript old house that serves as the firm's offices and came jogging towards me. "No need to run; I'm in no hurry," I called out. Still jogging in her high-heeled shoes, she replied: "No worry; it's my daily exercise to keep me in form." I was soon to learn that my jogging shop assistant was in fact Monique Laperrière, a friendly and knowledgeable dame de la rose.

I often imagine activities that would surely infatuate me if only I were to be offered a second life on the planet Earth. Rose creation is certainly one of them. Specialists in this domain are alchemists, on a par with the genetic engineers who manipulate DNA. But they are closer to the Moravian monk Gregor Mendel [1822-1884] who created the foundations of modern genetics. They use an artist's paintbrush to practice artificial pollination, then they patiently harvest and sow the seeds of the resulting plants. Much later, they select the finest specimens of their new roses and graft them onto sturdy wild eglantine plants. So, when we choose a rose bush for our gardens, we're looking at the tip of an iceberg that has been forming for some six or seven years.

Leaving Saint Quentin Fallavier, I decided to visit, for the first time, the nearby village of Crémieu.

From a touristic viewpoint, it's a rare pleasure to be able to saunter through a quiet medieval village on a sunny afternoon.

The title of this article evokes a banal outing. After all, I merely drove to a neighboring village to do some shopping. But I would prefer to speak of a luxurious excursion. In Latin, the concept of luxury indicates "excess". It's a fact that, during my outing, I happened to be excessively happy. It was the excess of being able to drive through ancient places, in magnificent landscapes, in the company of a curious mixture of spirits: the ghost of a romantic bandit, then that of a fabulous author, the presence of contemporary industry, including a dynasty of creators of roses, and finally a lordly Dauphiné domain. Yes, at rare moments, an ordinary excursion can be purely luxurious.