Antique roses captivate my interest. The delicate form, alluring fragrance, and charm of these beauties fascinate and delight. Dozens of varieties have found their way into our garden beds. Our English garden was created to feature 24 favorites. Antique roses have limited availability in local nurseries, thus are typically purchased from an online catalog. My mother’s generation relied upon published catalogs. Hal S. Dover published the vintage catalog featured here.
A month ago, I was working outdoors, and looked up to see a friend purposefully approaching the patio. She placed a treasure in my hands and we peered through it together, with laughter and wonder. A local antique travel event uncovered this find, a 1951 copy of Roses of Yesterday & Today, the artistic vintage rose catalog from Lester Rose Gardens in California, which is still in business today.
This piece of antiquity belongs to you, she insisted. “I know you have the perfect spot for it”.
“When I saw this (image of ladies having a tea party), I thought of you and knew you had to have it,” said she as we gleefully studied the intricacy of the drawing. Before I could soak in the wonder of it all, she slipped away to get ready for her theater date with husband to celebrate family that evening.
“I know you have some of these roses in your garden,” said she. With excitement, we quickly thumbed through the catalog. Some of my favorites are listed in the aged text, as well as a few that are new to the garden this year. Enjoy the timeless descriptions and the vintage clip art.
Here are a few photos of Souvenir de la Malmaison Climber, from our garden.
Quotes about Cornelia, the other rose I would like to feature: “Summer flowers are good but the large, pyramid-shaped trusses of autumn blooms are superb…of a rich coppery-apricot, flushed pink, and tinted terra-cotta in the bud. Bronzy foliage..very fragrant…”
“Welcome to our select company, fair Cornelia!”
Time spent studying the images, reading the descriptions, and savoring the details has been delightful!
“A garden is preeminently a place to indulge individual taste…one does not achieve a lovable, livable, intimate rose-garden until one has put one’s self into it…worked in it…dreamed in it, studied and brooded over it.” Louise Beebe Wilder, 1916. (page 2 in the introduction)
Thanks for taking a bit to study this new treasure with me. Friendship is a blessing!