September 23, 2009
Mugshots: 2 Creamy English Roses
For a confessed David-Austin-addict, I haven't posted much about my english roses this summer. Perhaps that's because of my angst over the trials of virus, thrips, curculios, aphids and powdery mildew that have afflicted my roses this season. There's a reason some people don't grow roses, quite a number of reasons actually . . . and I don't even have problems with rust and blackspot! Anyway, I still love my english roses, troubled though they are. Here is a spotlight on two of the creamy-white shrubs that were planted in spring 2008: Lichfield Angel and Crocus Rose.
The first three photos in this post are all of David Austin's Lichfield Angel, which is obviously a lovely rose. Side note: when I showed my husband the first 2 pictures, I gushed that if I made notecards out of them, someone might actually buy them! I'm sure he was suitably impressed with my amateur photographer prowess, even if he didn't gush a response (gee, that's great honey, yawn).
I've only had this shrub for two growing seasons, so it's still filling out. Austin roses take several years to build up a good structure with sturdy stems, especially around here with our short growing season.
This photo was shot in different lighting (no wonder photographers talk endlessly about the importance of light) and shows the Angel's fall burst of blooms. Perhaps the stems will hold the flowers up better as it matures over the next few years, but the nodding blooms have some charm. Their fragrance isn't very strong, though I have noticed a clove scent from some flowers.
Here is a shot of David Austin's Crocus Rose. I love the shape of these flowers. They have a more formal shape than LA and look great in a vase on my kitchen table, though they don't have much of a fragrance, either. In the rain the flowers get hot pink spots which are about as attractive as chicken pox. Good thing it doesn't rain often here in the summer.
This photo shows the delicate leaves that grace Crocus Rose. While CR forms a dainty and compact mounded shrub, LA has more wildness with its larger leaves and shooting stems. Their different characters show clearly when you have them planted side by side, as I do. Tidy CR shrubs would work well at the front of a border or as a specimen, while LA would look better in the middle of a bed or surrounded by a low edging plant.
More interesting light in this picture, eh? I might declare Crocus Rose to be the better rose, except that it gets powdery (or downy?) mildew in late summer (plus those pink rain spots), while Lichfield Angel stays clean. I sprayed CR with Neem oil and watered better and that seemed to keep the mildew from getting too bad. To be honest, Crocus Rose is my favorite. It's finely crafted flowers and great shrubby form take the cake. But Lichfield Angel is a nice, healthy rose and useful for different spots in the garden. Which do you prefer?