Monday, March 5, 2012

"Fairmount Red"

Noticing this rose in Denver's Fairmount Cemetery in 1991  while on a bike ride turned me into a rosarian. I snuck back that summer with organic soil foods and pruners in my back pack and brought the sad bush from near death nestled up against a very old granite headstone. Years later, root sucker clones of it thrived in my Denver yard and landscape clients' yards.  I was obsessed with determining its true ID  for years. It shares much with 'Great Western' but when I showed the original plant to Mike Shoup, Fred Boutin, Bill Grant and Stephen Scanniello and others they agreed...very reminiscent but not the same as 'Great Western'.

I am so pleased that High Country Roses has carried it for years from cuttings I gave them, which is why I wrote about it  in 'Sunset Magazine' many years back in hopes that people from a wide mix of soil and climate types would give it a try. In Denver it is an arching, husky shrub rose, once-blooming June into July bloomer. It died for me a few times here in Tampa in the ground, as happened to a Sunset reader of mine who tried it in the Florida panhandle who moved there from out west. It thrives year after year in a Restricted Drainage Container Garden made from  a scavenged black plastic tree pot.

A specimen that Heather sold me  is now entering year four here in south Tampa, thriving in a Restricted Drainage Container Garden made from a scavenged 20 gallon black plastic commercial tree pot. It is SO cold hardy in Denver....I am baffled and delighted that "Fairmount Red" once again is bringing me joy with its vigor, saturated color, and evocative perfume.

I hope you enjoy the photos of it here....I will share the wonderful photos that my long time Denver friend Michael Mowry took of the original plant in Fairmount Cemetery one June in the late 1990s. So cool to see it go leafless as needed this mild is now breaking dormancy with swelling leaf buds. Tomorrow I will take cuttings.

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