Monday, April 23, 2012

Helen Jane's rose

Helen Jane, the mother of one of my Clearwater friends, was the town's plant lady.  She was the only florist for many, many years, but more than that, she truly loved plants - all plants, as far as I can tell, not just flowers.  She came by this naturally, as her mother had always been fascinated by plants too.

About 3 or 4 years ago, Charlotte (my friend) had the sad duty of clearing out her parents' home before selling the house.  She invited me over to rescue as many of the plants as I could before she put the house on the market.

Sadly, my flower beds were new and not very extensive at this point, so I was only able to take a small number of the plants available in this wonderful woman's yard.

As Charlotte went around the yard, pointing things out to me, she pointed out a large, overgrown rose bush.  It was mid summer and the bush had long since quit blooming, but Charlotte said that this had been her mother's favorite rose.  I obviously couldn't dig up the entire bush, so I tried digging up a start from a low-lying branch that had developed a few roots.  I also weighted down another branch with a brick, after doing a partial cut across its diameter, then went back later to dig up the resulting start.

I don't remember which of my two attempts took, but one of them did and now, 4 years later, the shrub rose to the right of the obelisk is the result.  (The one to the left is a Knock-Out.)  Without the blossoms loading down the branches, this rose is actually much more rounded - taller, rather than shorter and wide.

It's a big, beautiful, vigorous rose that has received absolutely NO special care once it was obviously established, even last summer.  There are very few thorns along the branches.  It blooms once a year in the spring and, as you can see, it is truly loaded with highly fragrant, pink blossoms when it blooms.  The blooms average just over 3" in diameter.  I've had no problem with black spot or any other malady, specific to roses or otherwise.

For any rose people out you have any idea what this rose might be?  I call it Helen Jane's rose, after Charlotte's mother, but I would be interested in knowing its "real" name, if it has one.

Whatever its "real" name is, I will forever think of Charlotte's mother when I see (and smell) this rose.  I just wish I'd had the opportunity to know this special woman.


~Gardener on Sherlock Street said...

I don't know roses but that one is great. What a gift to remember a friend by. You did good getting it started.

Melanie said...


ProfessorRoush said...

Perhaps "Shailer's Provence", Gaia....An old centrifolia. Very common rose here in Kansas in old graveyards, etc. How common? The donor that established the KSU Rose Garden had a rose that was their family favorite they donated as well...turned out to be Shailer's. And I have one I rescued from a local cemetary. And I know of two others growing around town here. Search for it on

Gaia Gardener: said...

Prof, that may very well be it. Thank you so much! (I have to admit that I was hoping you'd know!)

I've browsed a bit; on some sites it looks like a perfect match, on others they show Shailer's Provence as being a lighter pink. Besides trying to match photos, are there any specific ways to tell if this is, indeed, a match?