Rose of the Month #15
By Gaird Hamilton
This is the fifteenth in our “Rose of the Month” series and for those of you who enjoy this series, you are probably aware that there has been a long pause since the last one. The inspiration for renewing at this time, is a request from our webmaster who would like more for the website. Any of you who have not checked out our website at www.humboldtrose.org are missing out because it is a very fine addition to our rose outreach for the public.
All of the “Roses of the Month” have been roses which do very well in our cool coastal climate, and which I would not hesitate to recommend to anyone. Of course having said that, I should add that different rose growers have needs and desires for various types of roses, and not just any rose will fill the bill in every situation. I have included hybrid tea, floribunda, grandiflora, shrub, miniature, climbing, and old garden roses of all different colors in previous articles. Choosing the right rose for the location to be filled is of paramount importance. The story of the rose for this month will make this point, I am sure.
Some years ago, when Pat and I were in the process of building up our rose garden from a modest 30 or so to several hundred, we had been putting in beds of modern roses and then we got a number of climbers plus some old garden roses from Heirloom Roses of St. Paul, Oregon. These roses turned out to be very nice, but when we got them as own root very small plants, we badly underestimated the space needed by some of the old garden roses compared to a hybrid tea. Fortunately we spread them out wider and had them mixed in with perennials in what we thought of as an English style garden.
Wow, did they grow! Growing especially nicely was a damask rose by the name of “Ispahan”. This rose grew to enormous size, almost completely covering “Madame Hardy” which was planted about four feet away. Today, “Ispahan” is about 20 feet in diameter with the mass of the bush about 8 or 9 feet tall, although there are some canes at least 14 feet tall. There are so many buds on this rose that it would be impossible to count them all. Let it suffice to say that when it is in bloom it is a solid mass of a delicate pink which looks awesome and the aroma is incredible too. It is a one time a year bloomer, however, that one time lasts about two months and looks great the whole time. As for work, we never prune it unless it gets across our path, and also we have never had to spray it and the foliage is lovely.
Modern Roses XI describes “Ispahan” as Damask, medium pink; flowers bright pink, loosely, dbl., blooms over long season, intense fragrance; foliage small. While their description is accurate, it really needs to be seen to be appreciated in its full glory. If you like old garden roses, you should love “Ispahan”. Just give it lots of room!