Thursday, February 14, 2013

Dispel not the dream


The arrival of the everblooming rose in the early 19th century was no small event. In fact, it was huge. Queens, most famously Marie Antoinette of France, posed with this earth-shaking discovery for their portrait. Georgia Torrey Drennan states unequivocally that “nothing in the history of the rose has been of greater importance than the creation of the Tea.” I have come upon her book, written way back in 1912, and I’m enjoying it as I would a bowl of luscious strawberries in the shade on a balmy, late spring day. Her writing style, naturally, is of a bygone era and delightfully transports me to her time and sensibilities. Her title page gives the first indication that today’s reader is taking a step back into a much different time.

For the Out-door Garden of the Amateur
"Rose culture may claim to be quite the oldest and the most
highly developed of the many struggles of man with nature."

In particular, right at the first page I was moved by her dedication of the book.
My dear children and grandchildren:-
The loveliest and sweetest of everblooming roses that I am telling you about grow in a garden in the South.
      You will never see the roses nor tread the garden walks. It is a beautiful garden. The roses are always in bloom. The buds never blight and the roses never shatter nor fade. The seasons never change. It is always summer. Daffodils, hyacinths, snowdrops, and tulips - flowers of spring; lilies and pansies, sweet peas and honeysuckles of summer; chrysanthemums and asters of autumn, in one sweet day of summer are blooming with the roses.
      There is a wealth and tangle of bloom. Weeds are crowded out by many kinds of flowers close beside the roses, blooming as flowers only bloom for those who love and tend them with patient care and thought.
      From the near-by orchard, fruity odours blend with the perfume of the roses. Bees are droning over the old pond pasture, white with clover blossoms. There is a vinous tang in the air from the Concord grapes in the little vineyard. The ambient air is sweet with the spicy breath of pinks and the fragrance of violets bordering the beds where the roses grow.
      Children are there at play. The heart of the happy young mother responds to their flute-like voices mingling with the notes of song birds flitting in and out of the roses climbing over the nursery window. - Tread softly. - Close the garden gate. - Dispel not the dream.

Were I to hold that dedication in my heart each day while I am tending my garden (notice I did not say working in my garden), I am convinced that the dream would be much closer to becoming the reality.

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'Cracker Rose Pink', a found China rose. There's also a red version. This petite rose can be purchased from Rose Petals Nursery.
'Madame Lombard', a Tea rose bred by François Lacharme (France, 1878).
'Madame Lombard' again
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'Souvenir de la Malmaison', a Bourbon of Tea heritage bred by Jean Béluze (France, 1843) and named in remembrance of the garden of Josephine, wife of Napoleon Bonaparte, at Malmaison.
This silly Florida gardener planted tulip bulbs last month after chilling them in the refrigerator for two months. Imagine my excitement upon seeing them bloom. This one is called 'Happy Generation'.
'White Maman Cochet', a Tea discovered by A. Marshall (Australia, before 1896) and by John W. Cook (United States, 1896).
'White Maman Cochet' again, hanging her head as she is wont to do. Yesterday's drizzle guaranteed that her 5" flower would not stand up for sure.
'Madame Antoine Rebe', a Tea bred by Joseph-Marin Laperrière (France, 1900). Known as a red Tea, yesterday she was definitely this fuchsia rose color at least on this blown flower.
'Madame Antoine Rebe' again, showing more red in this slightly opened bud.
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'Souvenir de la Malmaison' again. It's early in this flush so she's not covered in blooms, but her habit is to just keep blooming and I don't often see her completely covered. Her flowers in this early spring have been very large though, easily 5" when fully open.
'Rosette Delizy', a Tea bred by Clément Nabonnand (France, 1922).She was only a tiny thing when planted last November, but she has grown impressively and is now covered in buds. So thrilling to have her back in the garden.
I thought this photo conveyed somewhat of a bygone feeling with the climber 'Clotilde Soupert', a poly/Tea, dribbling down over the azaleas. Oh, red and fuchsia are an appropriate combination in Florida...just sayin'.

If you would like to download this public-domain book, Everblooming Roses, go HERE. Google has graciously scanned many old books and makes them available in the EPUB version and in PDF. I do hope you’ll settle in amongst your cushy pillows with a cup of tea or hot cocoa and take this trip to Georgia Drennan’s Mississippi garden. You will surely discover the true meaning of everblooming roses and their impact on your gardening life.


  1. You know just how to get my attention, don't you. Tease me with an old rose book and some lovely portraits ... then go in for the kill with the link to the Google book. Thanks a BUNCH. Book downloaded, and I plan to take it with me on my trip next week ... if I can wait that long. :)

  2. LOVE roses :-)
    Linda at Beautiful Ideas

    1. Roses do have a knack for whisking us off our feet, don't they? So glad you enjoyed them, Linda.

  3. Your roses are just so beautiful. I have been inspired by reading your blog and picked up a Louis Philippe Rosa.

    Thank you for sharing the book. I never knew Google did that.

    1. Crybug, you'll love Louis Philippe. He's a very sweet and easy rose. Someone just recently said I'm an enabler and now inspirational, but the roses are their own inspiration. I hope you enjoy the book.

  4. I need more articles and blogs please post soon.
    gardening victoria bc

  5. Daniel, what a sweet thing to say! I'll get on it. Hopefully, we've had our last freeze and the garden will start greening up and blooming real soon. Have a great spring!