Lenten Roses

A rose is a rose is a rose…

Climbing, rambling, twining and regally displaying their blossoms red, white, pink, yellow, apricot, lavender, and shades of every hue in between, roses are delighting our eyes and our noses this glorious spring. 

From wild natives and state flowers such as the Cherokee to elegantly perfumed French florets, I spied a few roses on a walk through Charleston not long ago. Even this Farmer’s own garden has a few ramblers here and there, touting sprays of divinely scented blossoms into the sweet spring air – air already laden with magnolia, gardenia, honeysuckle and privet mind you!

Of course, the resistance of not cutting a few of these delicate blooms to bring inside was quickly subsided. After stopping and smelling the roses, literally, I had to snip a few shoots to arrange in my favorite silver rose bowl. Aromatically positioned near my desk, a few tucked into sink side vessels and the remainder not far from the sunroom door, I relish to be surrounded with the trappings of the garden. Truly, this is garden living at its finest.

If you’re new to growing roses, then knock yourself out with ‘Knock Out’ roses. Their name and their nature and perfectly congruent and I’ve been floored by their outrageous riots of blooms in medians, parking lots, cutting gardens, and perennial beds alike. From apricot to yellow to pink and double red, these dynamic plants are truly worth a spot in your plot.

For cutting and absolutely unreal fragrance, hybrid tea roses are your ticket. ‘Mr. Lincoln,’ ‘Queen Elizabeth,’  and ‘Peace’ are stalwarts in the hybrid tea family. Classically red, pink, and soft ivory yellow respectively, these roses and many other varieties are must haves in the cutting garden. Arrange some ‘Mr. Lincoln,’ which smells like a rose is supposed to, with some sprigs of mint, and your little bouquet will be the sensation of the season with a sweet, minty, floral perfume able to transform any moment into the most delightful flora experience.

That particular combo is a direct memory to my childhood, for ‘Mr. Lincoln’ has always been a mainstay in Granddaddy’s rose beds and on my childhood farm. Mint usually on hand made for convenient greenery for my rose bouquets and to this day these two scents are instant links to childhood springtime. Besides, aromatic appeal, visually this combo is stunning.

Life is too short to bypass smelling the roses. Stop and smell them, maybe clip a couple, and may your garden and home be enlivened and enriched by the glories of roses. From this Farmer’s garden to yours, happy spring!