Sunday, June 14, 2009

To trellis, perhaps to climb?

When I read that the Picture This photo contest for Gardening Gone Wild would center around roses for the month of June, I was crestfallen.

Reading the list of suggestions on how to impress the judge, Debra Lee Baldwin, my heart sank further.
– ID the rose (give its cultivar name, such as ‘Perfect Moment’) if possible. Include the name on your blog or website when you post the photo.

– Effectively show a rose bush in a garden setting. This demonstrates skill on your part because overall shots are more challenging than tight shots.

– Get creative. Present your subject in a delightful and surprising way.

– Idealize the subject, as though it were in Eden. Try not to allow anything unsightly, like a marred petal, detract from it.

If ever there were a contest that I should not consider entering, this my friends, would sure enough be that.

We have two examples of what I consider "real" rose bushes. One red and one pink floribunda. We don't fuss over them and after a year of drought and a week of triple digit temperatures they look it. There goes the whole not letting a petal "mar" the shot idea.

The red floribunda is in an area we recognized last week had a broken sprinkler fixture. This explained the rapid conversion of that spot to a look that could best be described as "early Death Valley". The fixture has been repaired but the rose bush is still considering her options. Live on to return to thriving? Hang on coughing to tragically but slowly die? The jury is still out.

The other rose bush, the pink floribunda, was a gift given us some 18 or so years ago from a grateful patient of my husband's. We have transplanted it probably three times now to try and find a spot with the right amount of sun. We moved it again two years ago to where it is now - in a planter in our triangular bed that is "mulched" with a freestyle broken ceramic mosaic.Under ideal circumstances this would seem a fabulous set up for that whole "effectively show a bush in a garden setting" ploy. Except. Earlier this year we killed the St Augustine lawn around that triangular bed to convert it to garden beds. Right now those pink roses are blooming in the midst of a sea of dead grass sparsely populated by this year's crop of pepper plants. Additionally, the wildflowers in the beds just beyond the path it borders are rapidly going to seed.

None of this makes for what anybody would consider a Kodak moment, I assure you. Rather than Eden, this looks a lot more like some special level of Hell, perhaps reserved for people who were (caff!) careless with the roses entrusted to their stewardship.

As if there were any more straws needed the final one just might be that If I ever did know the name of the cultivar, that information has long since settled into some dusty irretrievable corner of my mind.

So. Here I sit reading the criteria for a June Picture This photo contest that is asking for precisely what I can not provide.

All that said, I despise excuses. I also try not to decide in advance for others what the outcome of any enterprise will be. I am grateful not to be the judge of this contest. Debra Lee Baldwin is. I am nothing if not stubborn and competitive so I decided to enter the contest anyway.

I will put our best face forward, toss a few shots of our pink floribunda into the fray, and see what falls out.
June Picture This Entry #1 Pink Floribunda
After spending more time than I am comfortable admitting to you searching through online photo identification sites for roses, I think this rose most looks like the cultivar Cecile Bruner. CB is typically a climber however and we have never even attempted to let this rose climb. Yet.

Now that I have spent the time trying to hunt down the identity of our blushing blooms out back I am halfway tempted to attempt to justify that by throwing a trellis up and inviting the rose to show me what's it got. If it is indeed a Cecile and has been languishing all these years just waiting for a chance to express its truest nature, well then better late than never.
June Picture This Entry#2 Pink Floribundas backed by wildflowers
Right? If I help this rose find its inner climber, then I think I've already won this contest.


  1. I admire your tenacity--I don't think I possess the right kind of patience for roses! I really like both photos, but I think that in entry #2, the roses get a teensy bit lost.

    Not that you asked my opinion or advice, but I have another idea: could you re-shoot entry #1 with the ceramic pieces in slightly sharper focus while keeping the rose close-up in focus, too? I'm not sure I know how to tell my camera how to do that.

    I'll be rooting for you!

  2. Regardless of what kind of rose it is, I think the bloom in your #1 entry is beautiful! Love the delicate layers of petals.

  3. TexasDeb, reading your post made me want to hug you - had a similar reaction after reading how the photos would be judged.

    Once I read "– Idealize the subject, as though it were in Eden. Try not to allow anything unsightly, like a marred petal, detract from it." knew it was hopeless. It is beyond my power to hypnotize my roses into thinking they're in Eden.

    Good luck with your pink beauty - whoever she is!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  4. Thanks, y'all - it is enough to have some company in our rosy less than Eden type setting for me. I sure am enjoying the PHOTOS of other folks' roses. Happy I am not faced with their care, for sure!


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Rollingwood, Central Texas
Family historian by default. Oldest surviving matriarch on my branch of the Family Tree. Story teller, photo taker, gardener, cook, blabbermouth.