The magical mystery rose…

You can see the yellow stamens and occasional white specks in the pinkish red petals.

You can see the yellow stamens and occasional white specks in the pinkish red petals.

IMG_4334There is a rose growing in my garden. It is a climber, and it reaches far above our gutters. Judging from how large its root is, It was probably planted when the house was new. Unfortunately, the people who planted it gave it nothing to climb on, so as it takes off skyward, it oftentimes wedges itself underneath our eaves, from where it takes off outward. From there, the sheer weight of it pulls it down in a big, thorny, tangled mess.



This marvelous mix of lethal thorns and silky petals also happens to be occupying just the spot that is the most logical place for a possible, future deck. Many times I’ve thought of moving it, but it’s just so darn BIG. And, as mentioned, viciously thorny! I’m pretty certain this is exactly the kind of rose that protected Sleeping Beauty for all those years, and ensnared countless nobles and daredevils who suffered ghastly torments and finally met their death in its clutches. Taking it on means I’d have to get some kind of armor… Also, roses are usually well anchored with a tap root. In even attempting to dig it up, I would no doubt damage it beyond repair – likely even severing it completely.


“So, why don’t you just get rid of it?”, I can hear you ask. Admittedly, the thought has crossed my mind. But it is so lovely! It’s not its fault that it is growing in a dumb place! I actually have read up on how to propagate roses from cuttings, thinking that I might be able to start one anew, in a better spot. Not to mention the possibility of spawning several new plants to give away. I have many friends who would love one. You see, not only is this rose a beautiful dark, velvety bluish red – it is also wonderfully fragrant! Each flower is not particularly long lived, but it makes up for that in sheer abundance. This rose will bloom continuously all summer long! Normally, I’m not much of a rose hound, but this one – scraggly and long-legged as it is – has earned a place in my heart. Not by looks, but by its intoxicating scent.



New leaves have a reddish blush, but soon turn green.

New leaves have a reddish blush, but soon turn green.

I once presented a Pakistani friend with a bouquet of these roses. I wish I could tell her what kind of rose it is – her reaction to the bouquet was as intensely emotional as only scents can provoke. She said she hadn’t smelled its like since last she visited her homeland, and she had never been able to find anything like it here! The next day, she brought Kheer – a dessert she had made, and decorated using the rose petals. It was wonderful. I had no idea you could eat them! Since them, I have used them both in salads and for cakes. Delicious!

The petals make for both tasty and striking decorations!

The petals make for both tasty and striking decorations!

I have started cutting it down, as you can see in the photo below. It was dangerously listing sideways, and I needed to stand on a ladder to deadhead it. So, I decided to bring it down closer to my size while I was at it. It won’t take it long to sprout new shoots. With what’s left, I will attempt to take some cuttings. Wish me luck!  Don’t worry – I won’t remove it until at least one has taken root and is flourishing!  And, if any of you know what kind of rose this is – please let me know!



About annamadeit

I was born and raised in Sweden, By now, I have lived almost as long in the United States. The path I’ve taken has been long and varied, and has given me a philosophical approach to life. I may joke that I’m a sybarite, but the truth is, I find joy and luxury in life’s simple things as well. My outlook on life has roots in a culture rich in history and tradition, and I care a great deal about environmental stewardship. Aesthetically, while drawn to the visually clean, functional practicality and sustainable solutions that are the hallmarks of modern Scandinavia, I also have a deep appreciation for the raw, the weathered, and the worn - materials that tell a story. To me, contrast, counterpoint, and diversity are what makes life interesting and engaging. Color has always informed everything I do. I’m a functional tetrachromat, and a hopeless plantoholic. I was originally trained as an architect working mostly on interiors, but soon ventured outside - into garden design. It’s that contrast thing again… An interior adrift from its exterior, is like a yin without a yang. My firm conviction that everything is connected gets me in trouble time and time again. The world is a big place, and full of marvelous distractions, and offers plentiful opportunities for inquiry and exploration. I started writing to quell my constant queries, explore my discoveries, and nurture my curiosity. The Creative Flux was started in 2010, and became a catch-all for all kinds of intersecting interests. The start of Flutter & Hum at the end of 2013 marks my descent into plant nerd revelry. I occasionally contribute to other blogs, but those two are my main ones. For sure, topics are all over the map, but then again - so am I! Welcome to my blogs!
This entry was posted in Cool plants, Gardening and Landscaping and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to The magical mystery rose…

  1. Jordan River says:

    Wow! High Rose. Great way to send a photo too so everyone can see.

  2. Jordan River says:

    Reblogged this on The Fragrant Man and commented:
    The Magical Mystery Rose; In response to Mohur Mother’s Day 2013.

  3. brie says:

    GORGEOUS!!! (Laurie would love these roses!)

  4. Anna, I just did this with a mystery rose in my garden, post your blog link onto the Heirloom Roses FB page and ask for their help. They have a fabulous collection of heirlooms.
    Also, I would be more then willing to take a number of cutting to try to propagate too! Old beauties like this are cherished in the rose world. It is sort of on the level of a national treasure!
    If you come by the store bring me a few branches and let’s get this baby cloned and back into circulation! I would be willing to come visit just to get a whif of the fragrance!
    I have begun collecting roses for my garden and fragrance is a key factor in selection, that and they are OLD roses.
    I will post this on my page too to see if anyone knows…Fun!
    Thanks for sharing. N.

    • annamadeit says:

      Thanks Nancy – that’s a great idea! I asked one of the Heirloom rose people at a garden fair recently, but of course I didn’t have any photos with me. Any chance of proper ID would be much easier with some visual detail. At the time, the Heirloom person said that she could think it could be one of five possible kinds. And yes, you are welcome to take cuttings anytime!

  5. J. G. Burdette says:

    Pretty roses!

  6. I’d love to try propagating your rose, too. I’ve had some luck with cuttings from a Perle d’Or rose from Ben’s family. In fact, I’d happily trade you a young Rosa ‘Perle d’Or’ shrub for some cuttings to try rooting!

  7. Ricki Grady says:

    I have a friend who is in no way a gardener. She stuck a few of the tips she had cut from a favorite rose into the earth around its feet. They all took! I think sometimes we overthink these things.

    • annamadeit says:

      Really? It’s that simple?? Well, then perhaps there is hope! How cool! I think I might have figured out what it is, but am waiting for confirmation from Heirloom Roses. I think it is an Etoile de Hollande!

      • Fatima says:

        Your post got me curious so I looked up Etoile de Hollande, I don’t know if this is your rose or not, but I did find this: Rose Etoile de Hollande Eau de Parfum by Mona di Orio. Thought you might be interested.

      • annamadeit says:

        Really? That’s great! It actually wouldn’t surprise me at all – it is definitely perfume worthy! Thanks for telling me! 🙂

  8. Pingback: My first Bloom Day ever – May, 2013 | The Creative Flux

  9. Jordan River says:

    Any news on the Mystery Rose?

    • annamadeit says:

      By now, I’m pretty sure it is an Etoile de Hollande. I even like to say its name – it rolls off the tongue so elegantly! Another commenter also told me there is a perfume with that name. I’m honestly not surprised!

  10. Pingback: Bloom Day and Foliage Follow-up, April 2014 – a week late… | Flutter & Hum

  11. Pingback: Glimpses from the garden – July 2018 | The Creative Flux

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.