“The language of roses shifts under our feet. It blows in and out like the wind. It carries the fragrance of the flower and then it is gone…It is how we learn to speak about something that is disappearing as we say its name.”
Helen Humphreys, The Lost Garden
As I write this text, I sit on my old, weathered bench and enjoy the rich scent of old rose varieties. Summer has only just begun for us, but my roses are unfortunately fading again – except for the few modern permanent flowering shrubs. But most of the them only smell a little bit or not at all.
More than twenty years ago, when I began to transform a shaggy, stony meadow into a garden, the first plants I planted were roses.
During this time I studied garden books and rose catalogues and was enchanted by the poetic names of historical roses. There you can find names like: Great Maiden’s Blush, Constance Spry, Felicite Parmentier Robert le Diable. Whereby Robert is really terrible. Because he hides his beautiful, dark velvety blossoms with his fast growing new shoots. You have to constantly chop the plant during flowering in order to see the roses.
And then there are the Scottish fence roses whose foliage, after a summer rain shower, spreads an intense scent of ripe apples. Their scent will stay with me for the next few weeks.
Yes, my rose summer is coming to an end again. And I say goodbye to a wonderful fragrant time and hope for the next summer, which will come again with sun shine, warmth, vibrant colours and the intense perfume of old roses.