Wednesday, November 30, 2011

'Louise Odier'

As I prepared to leave my Denver home for good, for one last LONG road trip to Tampa in late November 2002, I verbally said goodbye to 1684 Willow Street and said goodbye, literally, to a few beloved roses in my front yard. One farewell went to this sensuously fragrant gem (see link below) that in my Denver yard was a very tall, winter hardy, pillar rose that needed to be lashed to two tall heavy pipes pounded deep into that clay, in a restricted drainage 15 gallon tree pot, it is a mannerly shrub rose. Visitors lucky enough to be here when new or nearly-new blooms are open seem astonished at the depth and sweetness and pungency of that classic Damask Rose perfume, though my picky nose picks up hints of Tea rose along the lines of 'Mrs. B. R. Cant'.

Mike Shoup gave me this plant four years ago I believe when I gave a talk on 'Probiotic Rose Growing' at his Fall Roses Festival in Brenham, Texas. (see my article on this topic in the groundbreaking book 'The Sustainable Rose Garden' by Newbury Books). As I chose it from his growing field I felt it to be a VERY long shot since it was almost unmanageably vigorous in my Denver yard but the gamble has paid off indeed. What a joy to see (and smell ) it blooming over and over all year long in my "Old Man" yard in Tampa.

In Denver, roses, especially Old Roses, with soul-stirring perfumes, are in Florida, roses PERIOD are very uncommon, and most encountered have little fragrance is perhaps THE top consideration of mine when trialing roses in my low water use, all organic gardens. 'Louise Odier' is stellar in that regard.

My treasured 'Louise Odier' grows in home made compost with no sprays ( a given for me since 1976) and is fed kitchen graywater, and, when I think of it, poop from the chickens and ducks, home made fish emulsion.....sometimes I pee on it when drinking beer and enjoying 420. It is much less leafy and bushy than my Denver specimen so I will try a hard pruning and a handful of Epsom salts in several weeks.

In Denver it was a very heavy hip very few set. I must make a point to boink it with 'Duchesse de Brabant' for fun.....just imagine the seedlings that could arise from such a cross!

Here are two pics from yesterday morning.

If you want to try it in your garden call The Antique Rose Emporium at 1-800-441-0002 as their plants are own root, not grafted.

Growing roses is humbling because they so often defy what we "know" about them by blessing us with heady blooms in spite of us!.


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