Wild Rose


Wild Rose 

One of the many floral delights to be found at Illinois Beach State park are the fragrant and lovely wild roses blooming along the trails.

My grandmother was know as “the rose lady” in her little town in northern California. She grew tea roses, and I dearly loved when she would take me on a tour of her garden. Each rose had its own metal tag to identify it. Hers was a test garden, as I recall, for one of the breeders of roses. It all seemed so magical to me….until you ventured into her garage where she kept her cocktail of chemicals to spray on them for a myriad of ills.  I grew up thinking roses were fragile things that needed ’round the clock care and dedicated life support. What a revelation it was to me, then, to come across these gorgeous and tough wild roses. They grow all unaided, in lean sandy soil. Nary a black spot mars their leaves, and you’ll see no sign of wilt or aphids or malingering of any kind. It gives me hope for what I might be able to achieve in my strictly no-fuss garden, and I’m thinking I’ll take the plunge this year.

Here, in the meantime, is a painted bloom. I started this little painting  2 years ago, and somehow never got back to it. It’s done now, though, and is serving to remind me of warmer days to come.

37 thoughts on “Wild Rose”

  1. There’s an echo for me of your rose experience. I always thought of roses as such fussy things. Eventually I discovered wild roses in various wild places and learned to love them. Your painting is marvelous. I love the way you suggest the texture of the petals. I can almost smell the lovely scent. Unlike so many cultivated roses that have had their scent discarded in favor of looks. Almost sounds like a metaphor in there somewhere?

  2. A beautiful painting of a beach rose – the flower center shines against the petals. It is amazing how hardy wild beach roses are.
    It’s also amazing how hardy the invasive multiflora rose is. Wish there was a productive way to rid ourselves of them other than a weed wrench!

  3. This is a lovely painting, and it exudes cheerfulness.
    I also had a grandmother who raised roses – – some had to be tied down, covered with straw, etc. every fall, to survive a NY winter. But she also had a bed with older, wilder varieties – – the only name I remember is “Austrian Copper” and some, she called “apothecary roses” and those were for making potpourri.
    And I learned two important things about cultivating these older varieties.
    1. They are really thorny.
    2. Do not run backwards into them, trying to catch a frisbie, you will be sorry.

  4. I envy you your wild roses. You certainly have captured the spirit of this one beautifully. It must be wonderful to have the fragrance of roses mixing with the freshness of the lake air along the paths. Is this what I’ve always called a “bush rose,” with lots of clustered flowers, or are they more sparse?

    There are nine species of native rose in Texas, but they’re uncommon. Here on the coast, we have all the Macartney rose you could want, but unfortunately it’s a very determined invasive and causes real problems. It’s a beauty, though — many people call it the fried egg rose because it’s so large, with white petals and a large, bright yellow center. If it were a native, it would make a great subject for your brush.

    On the other hand, we have native primroses on the beaches and dunes, and morning glories, and some wonderful succulents — so we don’t lack for beauty. I’m anxious to get out and about in the dunes, but right now the snakes are coming out, and it will be better to wait a bit.

  5. I imagine, like bears, they emerge hungry and irritable. One year after a burn the dunes were covered with little brown snakes basking on the blackened earth. They aren’t venomous thank goodness. I’ve never again seen them in such numbers. I had one for a pet once and he was surprisingly responsive.
    Your invasive rose sounds far more lovely than our’s, multiflora rose. Dreadful plant with small, negligible flowers. Either way they are a menace, aren’t they?
    i wish I could magically transport myself to see your botanical riches!

  6. What a nice reminder of warmer days to come! The petals and stamens look perfectly delicate although, as you say, they are pretty hardy little beauties. There are many in the woods near my house and I occasionally see all kinds of pretty little beetles in the flowers. Very fun to photograph. 🙂

    1. Thank you Myriam! I love all those cute little beetles, too, and tiny native bees. I’m interested to read that they grow in your woods, as I have a longing to grow them but do have quite a bit of shade. I think this year I’ll just try and see what happens.

  7. Such a beautiful painting and celebration of the simple rose. I still search for easy to grow healthy roses and love the single and semi-double forms. I have been reading many of your posts and love your ideas and views. What a delight to visit here!

  8. That’s a wonderful painting Melissa that really captures a wild rose.
    I also love older varieties of roses, my sister has several types of Rosa rugosa growing in her large garden. Flowering seems to last for most of the growing season and the perfume is intoxicating. They are so well behaved and never get blight so I’m amazed they are not more popular compared to the hybrid varieties.

    Best Wishes

    1. Thank you so much, Kevin. I have heard rumors of roses that bloom all season long but wasn’t sure I believed it! Now I know what to ask for at the nursery 🙂
      Kevin, I have decided to step away from my blog. While I enjoyed it tremendously, over the course of 3 years it generated nearly zero sales and was consuming a disproportionate amount of my time. I met some wonderful people, like you, whom I shall remember with great happiness. Are you writing a book? If you do, that would be something I could buy and treasure.
      My very best wishes to you,

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