Recently, I was talking with some fellow gardeners about things we’ve lost or found in our gardens. Tuesday morning I had one my best “finds.”
When my family moved to this house in 1959, the garden was formal. Boxwoods surrounded a geometric garden, where flagstone paths formed first a square, then a cross inside of it, with quadrants cut on the diagonal by more flagstone paths. Between the paths in triangular and rectangular beds, and one circular bed at the center, daffodils, peonies, irises and roses grew. My mother added roses until there were 90-some.
By the time I moved back home in 1984, many rose bushes had dwindled and disappeared. More disappeared when a garden crew came through in the 1990’s. Still, we have three ‘Queen Elizabeth,’ two ‘Dr. Van Fleet’ and one ‘Red Radiance’ that is really deep pink. Missing are the old climbers that covered a trellis long gone. So are the diminutive deep red velvet and fragrant pale pink hybrid tea roses, whose names I never knew.
Tuesday morning, for the first time this season, I crawled out of bed, pulled on comfortable cotton jersey pants and a tee shirt and headed out to water the rhododendrons before temperatures soared. The shade garden is my addition, created under the canopy of a Japanese zelkova. Bleary-eyed, I carried my watering can down the side path. Brightness caught my attention. Two white roses were blooming among the hellebores and hostas. What? In the shade?
Right where the old ‘Frau Karl Druschki’ rose had stood tall and sturdy for years, two spindly canes produced two big white flowers. That bush, I had thought, had fallen victim to the zealous lawn crew.
I don’t know if the second owner of this house planted it or if my mother did. But Tuesday morning, the bright, cool blooms seemed like visitors from the past. For an instant, they snapped me back to my mother's sunnier, rose-filled garden.