My friend and gardening role model, Rodrica Tilley, she of the amazing paintings, many of which have depicted the citizens of her garden in Montrose, PA, is moving away to Vermont, where her gardens will be smaller and less sunny. She has generously given me lots of cool plants over the years, and now a set of potted roses (including the tea rose ‘Inkspot’ pictured here) which never made it into the ground, and which are not making the move to New England. Even though I JUST finished swearing that I was done expanding my perennial beds because I want to have time some day to hike and kayak and so forth in the summer, I am choosing spots for these new roses, and since the existing beds are crammed beyond full, some of these pioneers are venturing forth into new parts of the property, like the orchards. I see no reason why a rose should not be happy as part of the brush island around the base of an old apple tree.
In addition to the bougthen roses in my rosefugee camp, there is also a piece of the rugged old thing that grew over Rosebush Cottage, the decommissioned chicken coop Roddy used as her girlhood playhouse. This rambler is renowned for its insouciance, fragrant pink blossoms and complete indifference to neglect. I am so touched to have a piece of this lovely and historic rose; Rodrica just explained to me that when old rose people come upon a plant they cannot readily identify, they give it a working title until its true identity comes out; hence my new plant is named Rosebush Cottage, and probably always will be, even if we find out what genetics it has, because whatever its original name, it cannot be as charming. I am going to plant Rosebush Cottage next to the self-sown sweetbriar in the North Orchard beside which I intend to build my little writing room some day, and in whose dooryard I intend to have my ashes planted at some even later date. The fact that the garden is preceding the building may be the cart before the horse, but in this case it means that from the very first day it is inhabited, Orchard House will have an excellent rose garden.