Not deferential enough: French lace

Posted Tuesday, February 4, 2014 in Opinion

Not deferential enough: French lace

by Gina Hamilton

Despite today's snowstorm, winter is on the wane, and the time is come to plan this year's beds.

And so for a week, I worked on the plan, online, which includes not only the typical stuff - a new apple tree here, a couple of cucumber ziggurats there, a lot of tomatoes everywhere - but also includes a new partially underground greenhouse, and a second small chicken coop for Mehitabel and a couple of new chicks to keep her company, and maybe a couple of ducks, too. We have plans to get a beehive.  I've plans to rework my basement so we can have a real root cellar, and my basement doorway to have a place for the cheeses to ripen. 

But, oh, the heart wants what it wants, and I want roses. 

Now, I already have some roses.  I have some rosa rugosa, sweet and fragrant, part of the local ecosystem.  And I have a lavender rose in a pot that I lug in and out every year, along with the citrus trees and other tender vegetation.

But I want some tea roses, and florabunda, and climbers.

So I am trying to sort out where my new roses will be, and everything I will have to do to keep them alive if we have a winter like this one. 

I want, in particular, a rose called French Lace.  I've had this rose before.  I had a lovely vigorous one in California, and I had one that lasted a mere two seasons here. 

But I am determined.  The rose is pale ivory with blushing pink edges, and it is lightly scented like lemon.  It makes the whole house smell like summertime.  I will make it survive through force of will.

I'd like a lovely pink rose, too, perhaps the Peace rose, and perhaps some red and white climbers to plant behind my hydrangeas. 

A friend sent me to David Austin's rose website, and he has a French Lace, and I shall order it.  The others I may choose from local nurseries, hoping buying them from a distributor who gets winter hardy roses in the forms and colors I want will give them a better chance at survival.

There are wonderful things in Maine, don't get me wrong.  I love beach roses and I love hydrangea; I love my forsythia and my lilacs and my rhododendron.  I love spring bulbs and mock orange and crabapple blossoms. 

But I also love real, formal roses.  And I want them.  And I shall have them.

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