Saturday, April 28, 2007

r.i.p. madame alfred carriere

Twelve years ago, a slender stick of a rose went in the ground on the southwest corner of my house. Because the lot slants to the west, this corner of the house rises nearly 18 feet before it meets the roof.

The stick was a Noisette rose, a bit tender for our zone 6B winters, but with the southwestern exposure I had hope she'd do well. In fact, Madame Alfred Carriere flourished beyond my greatest hope. She rose up six feet the first year, twelve the next, and then she exploded in all directions meeting the roof, covering it, reaching across the casement windows on the back of the house. The rose covered cottage I always wanted became a reality with this luxurious heirloom rose.

If her growth exceeded my hopes, her beauty, extravagant bloom and luscious scent were everything I'd dreamed of. I love old fashioned roses, and Madame is one of the finest I've grown. She was vigorous, lovely in bloom and out. Though she would bloom sporadically throughout the summer, her first flush was the best and we delighted in seeing the hundreds of blooms and the sprinkling of blush pink petals on the grass and the rock wall below.

I loved Madame Alfred and now she is dead. There was no indication she was ill, just sudden death. My heart is broken and I miss my spring shower of petals. I am sad, too, for her companion across the walk, the ailing Graham Thomas, who came to us with a deadly virus and who has been soldiering along for eight years now. I treat him with extra TLC and practice safe pruning to protect the others. Graham is looking good this year but I know he misses Madame.

All of the roses are looking well this year, covered with lush buds and blooms. My shade roses ~ Sally Holmes, Zephirine Drouhin, Gruss an Aachen, Darlow's Enigma and, surprisingly, New Dawn ~ are flourishing. A climbing rose I planted in hopes it would scamper up the pecan tree has overtaken the tree and may have to be whacked back. So many are doing so well and still I miss my beautiful old fashioned lady and the scent of her perfume filling the back garden.


Anonymous Tater said...

I wish I had a teensy bit of your grow savy. I would love to enjoy the flowers and gardens you have thriving in your bit of paradise. I am destined to potted petunias and plain jane plants like marigolds and lavender, and even those don't do so well in my death soil. I will have to pay someone to do this for me, or I will never fully understand your bliss, and the sadness at losing a piece of it. :(

April 28, 2007 11:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow Lynette! Not only do you have a way with words,and a sublime intelligence, but you have 'green fingers' as well!! I am impressed! I live in an intentionally rose free elderly mother has enough for 'everyone'! I seem to spend most of my time when i visit (regularly) avoiding all the 'little pricks'!!

BJ in New Zealand (paradise!!)

April 29, 2007 4:29 AM  
Blogger p.alan said...

I spent the day, yesterday, setting out tomatoes and herbs. Also zinnias, petunias, and a couple of other pretty things I cannot pronounce, and I thought the east side of the house would make for a lovely rose garden. Victorian-style, to fit the house. Thanks for the inspiration Lynette.

April 29, 2007 6:42 AM  
Blogger here today, gone tomorrow said...

Lovely post, Lynette.

April 29, 2007 7:04 AM  
Blogger Willym said...

Up here in the north the tulips, daffodils etc are just starting to bloom. I so envy you the longer growing season and your rose garden - the growing season is so short up here - we really can't plant anything until our May long weekend - 24th or there abouts. The two climbers and two bushes I have make an effort and give joy as only a growing thing can.

Any chance of getting some panorama shots of the garden - it sounds so wonderful.

April 29, 2007 7:12 AM  
Blogger Willym said...

Postscript: I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one who thinks of my perennials as old friends.

April 29, 2007 7:15 AM  
Blogger evilganome said...

My New Dawn and Golden Showers are just starting to leaf out but the Etoile Violet is growing like a week and will with luck, once again entwine itself with the roses to offset the pinks and yellows with a deep purple. I only grow roses as natures barbed wire to keep unwelcome visitors out of my community garden, but I understand your love for old favorites in the perennial beds. My babies tend also to be the cantankerous plants that require a certain amount of coddling.

April 29, 2007 7:57 AM  
Blogger rodger said...

How sad the madame is dead. I grieve with you as I know the loss of a beautiful rose. I lost two beautiful heirlooms when I had the house painted last summer. My hybrids are doing well though and are just now leafing out.

April 30, 2007 4:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A pair of mme Carriere is now ordereed and will be planted in the south of Sweden, thanks for your inspiring post and pics!


March 26, 2009 8:41 AM  
Blogger G8rAlly said...

I planted mine last year. She's just getting established. I hope nothing so tragic befalls her. Your blog is very cool!

April 09, 2009 9:18 PM  

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