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Thursday, June 06, 2013

Off Topic: Roses

By Tom

I love roses. Not usually in perfume since I think it's oddly one of the most difficult one to do well. There are a couple out there that do get it right: Mona Di Orio's gorgeous Rose Etoile de Hollande is one, Serge Lutens Rose de Nuit and La Fille de Berlin are a couple of others (see, I got perfume in there!) But mostly I like the flower itself.

But mostly I like the flower. When my friend Sue lived in LA she was an avid rose grower. Her driveway was lined with them. I haven't been there since she moved, but I assume they're still there. The rose in the picture is from one of the blocks in Beverly Gardens Park and is a Gemini rose. Which, since this is June and my birth month I think is apt. This garden was designed by rose expert Dr. Tommy Cairns, who will be a judge in the 2014 Rose Parade.

I met Dr. Cairns because of a project I volunteered for. In January of 2014 the city of Beverly Hills will be 100 years old. The city is celebrating in a number of ways and one of them is to have a rose named after it. Dr. Cairns walked us through the project and helped us select where the garden will be.

Dr. Cairns came up with 5 finalists that would be good in our soil and give good color. It had been decided that we didn't want white and we didn't want too dark, so the choices were in the range of yellow to peach. The one that won out was the dark peachy-pink one, a floribunda (multiple blooms like the pictured Gemini). The reason I liked it was that it had the most petals and is almost the color of the Beverly Hills Hotel and the bed is going to be in the park right across the street. They will be in the center planters in the picture below.

I think it will be gorgeous. I will be started soon so that the 200 plants will have a chance to go through several bloom cycles before it's formally dedicated as the "Beverly Hills Centennial" rose next April.

Oh, and of course it does smell. Dr. Cairns was nice enough to take my suggestion- all the ones he brought to the table had a scent. This is a spicy one. Yay! I love the scent of roses en masse and will be looking forward to spending some time in this park reading when it's in bloom.

The other part of the committee is selecting a centennial tree. We wanted one that would last at least until the next centennial. We chose a Moreton Bay Fig. It was a no-brainer; they're a beautiful tree, and it will be a twin to the one that was planted when the city was founded. It will be in Beverly Gardens Park diagonally across from City Hall.

So, do you like roses? Tea rose or floribunda? Single color or bi-color? What color? Let us know in the comments.

Photo of Gemini Rose from my iPhone
Photo of Will Rogers Memorial Park from the City website



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Tom,
I am a rose lover and next year I hope we can wander through these lovely specimens as the bloom in summer. My personal favourite rose is by David Austen and named Wise Portia, there were 2 in my garden but they are now in pots at a driends family home. Floribunda, very large and fragrant, on a short bush.
You have picked one of my 3 favourite trees, and an Aussie one to boot, the Moreton Bay Fig is glorious.
Portia xxx

3:37 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

We didn't go down San Vicente through Santa Monica, which has them in the wide center median. They're gorgeous.

Next year I hope we can have a nice stroll though the park and look at those roses, then hop over to the Fountain Coffee room at the BH Hotel- the food is really great and it's a total 50's trip with the Don Loper palm wallpaper and original Paul Williams fixtures.

5:04 AM EDT  
Blogger rosarita said...

Reading this while sitting on my porch, surrounded by red rambling rose bushes that are threatening to climb to the roof. I love roses but know very little about them - that would be a good summer research project. The rose chosen for the park is lovely, thanks for sharing the story.

7:03 AM EDT  
Blogger JoAnne Bassett said...

I love roses ...all colors and types. I grow them and really love the hybrid tea roses the best. Roses when steam distilled have over 300+ nuances...spicy, honey, sweet, rosy smells..I find it fascinating the diversity of color and scent. Loved this post!

10:23 AM EDT  
Blogger Blacknall Allen said...

Yes, adore,adore roses, my favorites are the singles that bloom and bloom. Golden Wings is one, pale yellow, graceful always blooming, also anything by the hybridizer Griffith Buck. You cannot kill his roses and they are all beautiful, try the pale pink Hawkeye Belle. Wow is it good.

3:17 PM EDT  
Blogger Tama said...

I love roses! I like to go to the Rose Garden in Golden Gate Park, but also just like to roam the neighborhoods. My weather is not as conducive to roses as yours is.

Once at the rose garden I smelled this lovely yellow rose. "It smells like butter" I thought to myself and went to look at the breed. It was a Julia Child rose! How apropos.

4:37 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...



5:52 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


It is fascinating how many different scents they have!

5:53 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Blacknail Allen-

I need to look those up!

5:54 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


Funny you should mention that- one of the other roses in that garden in the park are masses of Julia Childs- they do smell buttery!

5:55 PM EDT  
Blogger Datura5750 said...

Tom I have over 100 kinds here in my carpinteria garden, and you are welcome to visit if you are ever up this way! It would be hard to pick a favorite, two I like very much are Molyneaux and Butterscotch.

10:06 PM EDT  
Blogger Flora said...

How nice that Beverly Hills will have its own special rose! I love roses in the peachy-pink color range.

I love roses in perfume (I love the same rose perfumes you do, among others) and in bloom, and of course I grow a lot of fragrant ones in my own garden. I have a number of David Austin English Roses - I am especially fond of the ones like "Saint Cecilia' that smelly strongly of myrrh, and the deep, rich old-fashioned rose aroma of 'Gertrude Jekyll' is unbeatable. I grow Hybrid Teas too, because I like to cut them for bouquets -the deep red 'Velvet Fragrance' is a winner in that department.

11:32 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Black Baccara

12:40 AM EDT  
Blogger Yves Fey said...

I'm still hunting for a rose perfume that smells like clove-spicy dark red roses like The Prince. I get a hint of dark red rose in Rosine's Rose Diable, which is an interesting mix of dark and playful, sexy, but not lush and seductive like the real flowers. I have a lot of roses in my garden. The dark crimsons are my favorite, but Rock 'n Roll is very sweet, almost marshmallowy, but somehow not cloying.

3:25 PM EDT  
Blogger Jesdamala said...

I live minutes away. This will be an exciting event. A wonderful color choice that will compliment The Pink Palace! While not a huge fan of rose fragrances to wear, I love a fragrant garden. I love big, big roses! As big as saucers! I love pink, any shade from the palest blush through the pastels, into the pinky purples. A wonderful post!

12:10 AM EDT  

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