Jun 6, 2014

In Praise of Darllow's Enigma

In Praise of Darlow's Enigma

I have gradually reduced the number of roses we grow, or attempt to grow, to a few dozen here at Trout Creek Gardens, due to the less than ideal conditions. Our overall temperatures are too low and the growing season too short. In Portland, on the other side of the Cascades, it is quite a different story. 'The City of Roses' is not an epithet arrived at by accident. Our roses do of course eventually bloom, but the reward is often not commensurate with the effort and time we have expended - we'd probably be better off spending our time, and garden space, on genus and species better suited to our environment. But, considering roses, there are a few exceptions, and one rose in particular I would like to make note of, even blow a trumpet or alpenhorn, if I could find one. That rose is Darlow's Enigma. This is not one of those tight-budded, long-stemmed roses you pick for a lead glass-crystal vase, or to send commemoratively for births, graduations, paroles, weddings, or funerals, but it is a rose that will provide a profusion of blooms for much of your summer. Darlow's Enigma, at least here, begins slowly, like Ravel's 'Bolero", and then, as if it were a hippo, who, venturing out onto newly formed ice, finally accepts the fact that summer is really here, explodes with bloom. And the scent, on a warm day (we occasionally have one or two), is, well, very rose-like and can even tempt neighbors half a mile away to 'sniff the air'.

I still think the grandiflora roses, like "Queen Elizabeth", are magnificent, and, "The Impressionist" is something I bow my head to every time I pass by, but if you want a rose that is virtually indestructible, disease and pest free, loves the sun, but can shrug off all but the densest shade and still amaze you with its floriferousness, then try: Darlow's Enigma. If weeds were roses then Darlow's Enigma would probably be close to the top of a list of plants to hate.

I originally intended to write a few words about the Paeonies that are in full bloom at this particular time but I happened to wander down our 100 foot rose allee [arching Darlow's Enigma's of course] which are just beginning to bloom and….. 

And of course with thousands of untitled pictures on file I cannot find a photo of our oldest Darlow's Enigma, or any of our other D. E.'s in bloom so you will have to live with a picture, taken last week, of a Snowball Viburnum.

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