So I have a bit of a fetish... with flowers. My love affair started at a young age, when on walks with my parents I'd escape from their view to pick every flower in sight from neighboring yards. I'd repeat to myself: "Flower, pick! Flower pick!" with every new specimen I plucked from the earth (roots and all). No flower was safe. As I grew older, my parents found a way to control my impulse flower picking by investing me in our own garden - every spring I would accompany my dad to Home Depot where I got to select flowers for our yard, some of my favorites being snap dragons, pansies and morning glories.
As I've aged and gained a little gardening insight, my tastes have shifted slightly. My favorite flowers from childhood where chosen primarily based on color - I loved the multi-colored snapdragons fading from soft yellows to pale oranges then to pink. I loved the bold patterns of pansies for a pop of color in early spring and the bright blues and purples of the morning glories that engulfed our deck and mailbox in the summer. While I am still passionate about color, certain plants have sparked my interest for new reasons, the first being scent. There is nothing I love more than an aromatic garden. And when scent is combined with beautiful blooms, you really can't lose - this brings my to a new love of mine (an old love for many others): Roses
There is something so elegant, so antique about roses in the garden that has only just recently peaked my interest. Growing up I always associated roses as red, long-stemmed, tired/dated and unoriginal. I suppose I still think of stereotypical red rose arrangements that way, but roses in the garden have a much more wild, laid-back splendor to them, especially the climbing varieties. Here are some of my favorite climbers for the Tennessee gardener:
- The Sombreuil is a great white climber. It has beautiful large milky flowers with a honey-like smell - great for cut flowers. Does extremely well in the hot and humid climates, zones 7 and above - perfect for our Tennessee climate.
- My next favorite comes from David Austin. A Shropshire Lad has tightly cupped flowers that open out into beautiful rosettes with age, packed full of petals. The flowers are large and with gorgeous color - the soft salmon color is of the middle fading to a pale peach as the petals age. The fragrance is fantastic, very fruity like many tea roses. In zones 6 or above (ahem... Tennessee) it can be grown as a climber, reaching heights of 8 feet. Too much heat, however, encourages green growth costing it's owner a repeat flowering.
- And last but not least, another David Austin beauty -Snow Goose. A repeat flowering rambler growing to 8 to 10 feet in height. It bears large amounts of small, white pompon-like flowers. These flowers boast tons of narrow petals, giving it their pompon-like appearance. To me, they resemble a more full, daintier star magnolia flower. They have relatively thornless stems and straight and are easy to train across a wall, fence or trellis. Very disease-free and reliable.
Gardens hold some of my fondest memories from childhood and are probably why I gravitated towards plant sciences in college. My parents cultivated my love of plants and the outdoors from an early age and for that, I am forever thankful.
Photo Credit: Pinterest