Folks it's rose planting time again - you certainly do not belong to those who buy their roses in spring when they get tempted by forced blooms and mainly week shots (God forbid) you see at dubious plant stores! Oh no! Rose buying is a very serious matter that should happen after long and deep pondering, miles long lists that get revised each time we open yet another catalogue.
Those who have a deep passion for roses go directly to the High Rose Olympus - the Beals/Austin/Lens/Delbard breeders without missing a beat... Then there are quite a few exquisite nurseries which offer the above cited Roses plus a respectable lot of ancient beauties.
Since making a choice is inevitable ( oh we would love to grow them all, but alas, even those blessed with a huge playing ground have to make choices!), I would like to talk about one of my favourite roses. Its name is not at all poetic - Rosa Hemispherica Persiana, a close offspring of the Rosa Foetida Persiana ( stinky - can you believe that!!)
Rosa Hemispherica is a pure sulphur yellow rose. It is in fact one of the parents of all modern yellow roses we grow today! But in my opinion the shade is deeper and brighter than all modern ones. No burning or fading out in bright sun and at the same time a soft and solar colour that does not scream of modern neon!
In fact R. Hemispherica was one of Redouté's pet roses, one he painted like no one else.
The blooms. as the name indicates, are fully double and right out half ball shaped. Round, cupped silky balls of petals bloom en masse on fine, very thorny stems and small gray green leaflets.
When in full bloom, R Hemispherica is a real show and even if fragrance is not one of its features, it certainly does not stink in any way!
Alas as most ancient Roses it does bloom only once and quite early in season. But for true rosarians this is no handicap. After all peonies also bloom for two weeks - if lucky, and I would not be without them for any reason in this world.
I would plant it among masses of silver gray foliage - lavender (I know this one is quite obvious, but still a lovely combination), Artemisias, Stachis and Santoline, Festuca Glauca and a dash of deep blue of your choice...
Both roses are not very easy to find, since they are not extremely hardy and get quite upset if grown in wet and rainy climates. Since the petals resemble more to light chiffon they tend to get soaked and miserable under pouring rain - after all they long for the hot climate of their ancient home - Persia!
I would like to close with this amazing picture of a R. Foetida, taken by Roger Roses. It is a hundred year old specimen, or better said WAS since as he indicates, this marvelous rose has been killed, weeded out, by truly insensitive people!
Apart this truly sad note, it gives us the idea though of how tough this rose can be - even if left completely alone.
If you should fell under the spell of Rosa Hemispherica, here are a couple of nurseries where you can get it:
Museo delle Rose Antiche, www.museoroseantiche.it/
Vivaio La Campanella, http://www.vivaiolacampanella.com