For five years after Miriam Wilkins' passing, we have had the privilege of harvesting roses in what remains of her garden. The property is a wild thing now with no care taken and the few roses that remain are the hardy species types that Miriam loved best in her later years. These pictures were taken last year, once again, on the Friday before the Celebration of Old Roses. You will see that amongst the ruin we still managed to gather spectacular things. This rose is Dorothy Perkins.
First a nod to the species roses Miriam loved.
This is a hardy European rose- if you think you know the name, let me know.
Year after year, this rose thrills me. It is a monster though, huge, extremely thorny, but with the most compelling and photogenic blooms. I've taken many pictures of it and you will see it in the bouquet below. I've never seen a rose to compare with this one, and who knows, this may be the only one in existence.
To me, a garden of the heart would be a modest affair, whatever the true gardener who loves to work in the soil comes up with, not lavish estates. We are all limited in one way or another. Visitors to gardens must take this into account. That is why I never hesitate to let anyone see our rose collection. There must be something here to teach or please.
The harvestees are now ready to wow people at the Celebration.
As we were harvesting, I noticed the steps and pots below Dorothy Perkins, and then realized Dorothy had demolished a pergola.
We bought our dream lot in 1944 when Dick returned from the South Pacific. It looked out at the Golden Gate, a mysterious sight when wreathed in fog. Five years later the house was built and we moved in with three children under five years. Soon we had a lawn with play equipment, and a badminton court. I was buying old roses from Roses of Yesterday and Today. They were planted in neat rows with paths between the plots. The lawn and everything went in 1952. Roses grew as roses will. I began to garden on my neighbors back forty. That was soon filled. Five years ago (2002), the two yards were well worth a visit, but it's been downhill every since. I do not encourage visitors but they may come if they care to.
The wonderful thing is that she always welcomed us and in that overgrown state there was wonderment! Miriam's garden has given its all again and again and here it's 2016. I hope to see you at the Celebration–there will be many wonderful roses for sale propagated especially for you!