It's June 15, and if I were a God-fearing girl, I'd be down on my knees and thanking the Lord. The whole world is exploding with beauty and fruitfulness. It's hard even to remember that I lived in a barren wasteland just in March and that I will live in a barren wasteland again in November.
As in Buffalo, this is the rose moment in Saratoga Springs, NY. I used to grow roses in the country, but have found that roses are like my husband: They really enjoy urban living. We have no Japanese beetles here. And the winters are warmer than they were 45 minutes eastwards and closer to the Taconics, so I'm also able to grow showy climbers of more recent vintage, rather than the tough-as-nails, established-in-1620 types. (Though I have to say that I'm not sure anything is more beautiful than those ancient Albas and Gallicas.)
This is Climbing American Beauty. She is always the first to bloom and explodes all at once with no follow-up. She is already looking a little ragged now, but was admired by all just a few days ago.
Now meet Reine des Violettes, a hybrid perpetual that never repeats for me and looks more like a Gallica than a hybrid perpetual. Now, THAT is a great old-rose color.
Here are Alchymist and Constance Spry sharing a fence. The really frightening man-eater in the group, New Dawn, has yet to do its thing. It's still sending out barbed canes that look like they want to conquer the town. I've never seen a repeat bloom on my New Dawn, and its general ambition and viciousness have me wondering if I didn't instead get its once-blooming parent Dr. Van Fleet, which makes up for its refusal to repeat itself by climbing much taller.
Below is the rose of the year: Russelliana, another ancient rose that has picked up a million different other names in its checkered history, including Old Spanish Rose.
Its blooms are relatively small, but incredibly numerous and they keep opening over the course of a few weeks. I love their pulsating magenta color when they first open and the way they fade to grey before they shatter. Plus, it's such a healthy bush that I just planted another for the other side of the porch.