Friday, May 28, 2010

Abraham Darby, pure beauty

I announced earlier in the year that this rose, my favourite, was dead and would be replaced. It made so many flowers for me last year, and there it was, shriveled sticks. I ordered two David Austin roses.

Then the dead rose made two small, burgundy-coloured, tender, hopeless shoots, sprouting from the base. The shoots grew. My conscience grew heavy. I watched. The two shoots became small branches, each with a tiny bud at the end.

They opened.

To enjoy them, I cut them, leaving the two branches...

...which have now each made two additional shoots (the weeds are lamb's quarters - they are for a Project). Now what do I do?

I put the roses' stems in boiling water for a few minutes as my mother taught me to do when I was small, and then into cold water in a Woodstock tumbler. I find them breathtakingly beautiful.

Last night I paused the movie I was watching so that I could look at the roses, which kept distracting me. Oh, for a Dutch still life artist...Hmmm, that would be a nice present. I love those still lives: flowers, fruit, a lobster, a beetle.

This morning, the petals had fallen.

...and I remain utterly, utterly entranced. I am almost tortured by the impossibility of reproducing this perfection. My eyes drink them.


  1. Almost nothing is as satisfying as a plant that - against all odds - comes back. I think that's part of what keeps gardeners coming back! Congrats!

  2. Ah, I had one of these in my previous garden and loved it dearly but my present garden, high and stony soil but very beautiful in the Welsh hills, seems better suited to the tough Rosa Rugosas. But looking at it again here I am tempted to give it a go.... You never know.

  3. I do love the Abraham Darby and am overjoyed that it came back to life. Such beauty!

  4. Stunning. Of course you must keep the plant going.

  5. I've never heard of placing the ends of roses in boiling water before placing them in a vase. Wouldn't the boiling water cook the ends of the rose and keep water from wicking up the stem, or make the rose wilt faster? The florist taught us to cut the stems under running water and put a penny in the bottom of the vase to keep out the bacteria.

    Your rose is gorgeous, just stunning. I'm happy, for you, that it came alive this spring.

  6. i recently read about your blog in "visi" magazine..... it's such fun. i do believe i will become a follower. tony in jhb RSA

  7. I don't think the rose can make it in the long run, but right now it is raging against the dying of the light, so I shall let it. It's made even more shoots, but 3/4's of the plant is dead.

    Iona, about the hot water - I've always done it, and Googled a little bit and see that florists recommend it, too. I can't explain why it works, though...They seem to reserve it for airlock - if the rose head is drooping...

    When my mother grew masses of Iceland poppies in Bloemfontein, we burned the picked stems over a candle. The firebug in me was delighted.

    Hi Tony - happy you found it. Now - do you know any good gardens to visit in J'burg ( I only know about Brenthurst)? :-)

  8. Thats an exceptional specimen of Abraham Darby. I think it almost competes with this one. :)


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