Roses that are Survivors

Each spring (for about six years), my father-in-law gave me a rose bush for my garden. He would remind me how to protect it so it would survive our Alberta winters. I was, should we say, less than successful as a rose gardener.  I did everything by the book, and usually the rose plant would be dead by spring. Eventually I decided that every plant in my yard had to be able to make it through the winter with no extra help from me – even the roses.

As a result, only three rose bushes survived last winter. The deep pink one below barely escaped the compost heap by offering up a few feeble leaves to indicate it was still alive. The yellow-orange one gave a good leafy show throughout the summer, but only a couple flowers. The third rose bush is a good ‘leafer’, but has yet to produce a flower.

Then, while the rest of the garden was starting to put on coats of fall color, two of my roses decided to become ‘bloomers’. They have produced a dozen or more flowers in the past few weeks, and considering they are barely as tall as my knees, it is a remarkable show!

64-rose-pinkThis Rose bush was almost consigned to the compost heap!

I once had a rose named after me and I was very flattered. But I was not pleased to read the description in the catalogue: no good in a bed, but fine up against a wall.
– Eleanor Roosevelt –

64-rose-yellow-orangeThis Rose Bush really didn’t kick it up a notch until after the first light fall frost.

One perfect limousine, do you suppose?
Oh no, it’s always just my luck to get
One perfect rose.
– Dorothy Parker –

I can’t help but think of the nursery rhyme – ‘Mary, Mary, quite contrary – how does your garden grow?’ In my garden, though, it is the roses that are contrary.

Do you have a contrary plant in your garden?