A Rose and a Rose and a Rose

Dear Mum,

I get to call you that now without it sounding pretentious. It comes from years (which would be not quite four) of my students cocking their heads when I talk to them about their mOms. I'm all for exposure to other dialects (and still bitter about the Harry Potter "translations" to American English), but "mOm" is more peculiar than scary to the little Aussies, and sometimes I need to be scary. (Don't worry, it's nothing like the schools in Vegas. Just bog-standard 8th graders.)

I'm just writing because I was out in our garden (both in the Oz sense of "yard" and our usual sense of "special thematic space set aside in the yard"), and wow, you would not believe my rose bushes. Remember that house we used to drive past in Victoria with the rows of roses along the driveway? "How does he do it?" I mean, we were pleased just to discover that rose growing isn't actually as hard or precious as we thought, but that guy was 10 levels above us.

Those roses are still above me, above us, but you'd be so impressed with how bonny (Mike's sole adjective when it comes to describing healthy, happy plants, by the way) mine are. Okay, Mike fed them some Seasol once or twice along the way, so it's not just me, and let's face it, he usually does the watering, but they do look good. And they're in pots! Not all of them - I have two (so far, muahaha) in the ground out front and two around the side - but five: Belle du Seigneur, Sylvia (yes, for that dear furball), Gold Bunny, Crepuscule, and Eiffel Tower. The last two are "standard" roses, on tall bases like trees, or like lollipops when some people take the pruning shears to them just-so. (I'm sure I'll treat mine like my own hair - settling for clean and not too tangled.)

We were wrong about hybrid teas, by the way. Not "wrong", really, but floribundas are really satisfying, too. We have three: Gold Bunny, Twilight Zone, and Fragrant Plum. Oh, and Champagner, picked up as a near-bare little stick in the discount section of the local hardware shop. I call it "Audrey III" - even just plonked next the window in the living room, it leafed out and grew significantly every single day in its first week. (Now it's outside, waiting to be assigned a destination. I suspect a fourth pot along the southern wall. You should hear Dad go on about the joy of pots. Of course, his - yours - are gorgeous museum pieces that take muscles and man-size trolleys to budge an inch. My choices are more modeled after the "things I can at least tip over and gradually empty by myself if Mike ever runs off to Brazil." Oh, and some are plastic. Forgive me.)

My Crepuscule, though, is some sort of "old rose", a "noisette". It so far has a steady pop-pop of little apricot flowers on its tiny form, which are sweet, but Google Images assures me that the plant will get bigger. (I have a metal fence to hide and some future neighbours to block.) The small flowers remind me of the ones you took from your dried arrangement in the curio to make a bridal bouquet for my 4th grade Halloween costume. Maybe that's why I didn't mind getting married in blue jeans; I'd already done a far bigger promenade in white satin than most brides enjoy.

It's not just roses in our garden. I started tallying (via spreadsheet, of course), and I got to over 120 different species of things I've not killed, and that's without counting all of the different tomatoes and chili peppers. Mike's really the one doing the proper fussing with mulch and nutrients and ostracisation of pests, but I'm out there, caring and stuff. Doing the front yard hand-watering. Why did you never grow bougainvillea? I'm entranced by it, and our white "Penelope" version out front is still small but already lush.

But it's the roses I love the best right now. One of our two potted dwarf magnolias (I hate to double up, but one was chucked to the clearance rack for $8!) makes a truly heavenly scent, but our Eiffel Tower may be the best-smelling flower I've ever encountered. That's probably why Mike bought two (argh, again with the duplicating) - a regular hybrid tea as well as the standard - and that hybrid tea is in need of a pot or patch as well. Five pots along the back, then. And I'll tell myself that when we get a pool (saving goal: two years), I'll spread them out over there. ("Lies I'll Deal With Later" for $1000, Alex. As if I won't allot that space to other purchases ten times over before then; odds are we'll have another rose by the end of today. I'm wanting something Burgundy Icebergish for near the front door - our home is very grey - but with more scent. We have a lovely mauve Blue Moon next to the Fragrant Plum on the other side. Something cool and white might also work - too bad Champagner is creamy-warm.)

I remember that you started growing a Pascali when we caught rose fever. HelpMeFind.com says it doesn't have much scent, though. Should I buy a HMF membership so I can search for white roses that do? (Eeek, I shouldn't have wondered that out loud - now you'll probably find a way to buy one for me, even now. ) Although, why bother when I can sniff them at the nursery myself? (I just like nerding out. You know.)

A rose we're growing that I haven't mentioned is City of Perth, an orangey-pinky-stripey thing. What with it and Crepuscule and some giant orange daisies and something called "butterkins", I seem to have made my peace with orangeish things this year. They're mostly confined to one section of a raised bed, but still. Progress. I wish you could see them. I had to get City of Perth regardless of colour, though - I'm such a fan of the city. I'll be able to apply for dual citizenship next month, by the way. (To all of Australia, not just Perth, although the rest of the country does set us a bit apart here in Western Australia. It's kind of like Texas, but then also not like Texas at all.) Most of our roses have a sentimental link of some sort. (The reason we have two Eiffel Towers is because I asked Mike if he preferred the standard or the regular, and then of course he felt too bad to leave either behind. Garden centres have become as dangerous as animal shelters to us.)

I better go and see if I can talk Mike into some pancakes on the town. (Probably not. He's trying not to keel over too young, and wherever they serve pancakes, they serve bacon.)

Love you, Mom. Miss you.

17 March 2018 |



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