Sunday, May 31, 2015

Yellow Roses

Weather: The eastern Pacific hurricane season began May 15; yesterday a tropical disturbance became hurricane Andreas. Mid-week we went from cool temperatures and reasonable humidity to higher morning and afternoon temperatures with humidity levels in the high 20s in Los Alamos and Santa Fé. Last rain 5/21.

What’s blooming in the area: Persian yellow, Austrian copper, pink, Dr. Huey and hybrid tea roses, pyracantha, purple locust, silver lace vine, bearded iris, red hot poker, peony, alfalfa, purple salvia, Oriental poppy, donkey spurge, golden spur columbine, pink evening primrose, blue flax, Jupiter’s beard, Shasta daisy, brome grass.

This week men were in the local hardware stores buying pepper and tomato plants. Beans and corn are up enough to recognize from the road.

Beyond the walls and fences: Apache plume, tamarix, alfilerillo, tumble mustard flourishing, oxalis, bindweed, fern leaf globemallow, scurf pea, loco, sweet sand verbena, goat’s beard, plains paper flower, green-leaf five-eyes, flea bane, common and local dandelions, June, needle, rice, and cheat grasses.

In my yard: Rugosa roses, potentilla, black locust, privet, beauty bush, skunk bush, chives, vinca, California poppy, snow-in-summer, Bath pinks, Johnson’s Blue geranium, baptisia, winecup mallow, Maltese cross, catmint.

Bedding plants: Sweet alyssum, pansy, snapdragon, marigold, gazania.

What’s blooming inside: Zonal geraniums, aptenia.

Animal sightings: Rabbit, hummingbird and other small birds, geckos, bees, ladybugs, ants.

Weekly update: Yellow roses are the most traditional ones in the valley. Most grow on boundary fences, not in special beds.

The ones that aren’t Persian Yellows are their descendants. Rosa foetida is the parent of most yellow flowers in the market and almost all of the hybrid teas that have some hint of coral in their petals.

Unlike the most common roses, its buds are round. The open flower is a shallow cup of semi-double petals. The color is deep, pure buttercup.

The ones you see with larger flowers are probably a hybrid or cultivar. Their plants don’t tend to be as lush.

You rarely see them in the market. I found one several years ago, only it was grafted onto Dr. Huey rootstock. It has never been vigorous, and the root keeps sending up canes of its own. The rose only blooms once, but mine usually blooms in late summer when the unopened buds are encouraged by the monsoons.

You sometimes see yellow roses in adjacent yards. I’m not sure that means the neighbors exchanged plants, or if one took a cutting from something that reached into his or her yard.

I know I did see someone stealing them once. The yellow roses had bloomed for several years outside a stone wall. One day I saw a car parked and someone digging them up. That was the end of those roses. I doubt it was the owner moving them with a car.

Another wonderful colony disappeared in town. A dense hedge hung over a six-foot high wall. The wall’s now fronted with a xeriscaped border of yuccas. I’ve often suspected the landscape architect you recommended the southwestern style bed took the roses and resold them at a much higher price in Santa Fé.

There, tradition is a commodity.

Photographs: The close-ups were taken in my yard this week; the rest were taken in the area on 20 May 2015. I believe # 1 is the parent of #2; you can see they share a wall. I believe #7 is the parent of #6; the properties adjoin.

I believe #8 is the parent of the one above; they are on the same land and it looks like the owner took cuttings to make a hedge when the road became much busier.

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