Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 63 > Page 23 - Jo Ann Gardner & Heirloom Gardens

Page 23 - Jo Ann Gardner & Heirloom Gardens

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1993/6/1 (311 reads)

slips came from. Every one of the plants were grown from slips. And she knew who they came from, and she knew the date. One of the plants that I inherited was a Rose. And I really was amazed when this first bloomed. It's very, very light, light pink--a blush, blush pink--and very double. And not all the blooms open. Be? cause it's afflicted with some sort of disease that afflicts very double flowers in damp weather. They just don't open-- they what they call "ball," and they turn brown. So it isn't the kind of plant that would get an A-plus in the ail-American trials. It's definitely got problems. But the thing is, when it blooms, it's got the most fantastic Rose scent. It's the es? sence of Rose. And a lot of modern Roses don't have that scent, because it's been bred out of them for other characteris? tics. For colour, for form. The scent hasn't been regarded as that important. So some have more of the fragrance associated with the old Rose, and some of them don't. But anyway, I wondered for years what this Rose was. And I got involved with a Heri? tage Rose Group in the U. S. And I got corresponding with the woman who is the head of the northeastern division. And she's very knowledgeable about old Roses. She's regarded as, you know, the great gu? ru of old Roses. And she would write to me back if I sent her a stamped envelope. And of course, she knew just from the descrip? tion, and she said she thought that that was the Loyalist Rose. She said it's the Southernwood Artemisia abrotanum most common Rose at old farmsites. Now, I don't know the exact history. It's called the Loyalist Rose, I suppose, for obvi? ous reasons--that it was brought by the Loyalists and established here. I've since talked to other Cape Bretoners, and it's all over the place. I'll tell you another cul? tivar, a more modern cul? tivar. The date is proba? bly 1905--I'm not sure. And I think it comes from Sweden. And it's a Rose. And all over the lona area, if you go in the fall, you'll see these beautiful dark pink, almost purple, double flowers, with a strong clove scent. It's a rosa ru- gosa cultivar. And Rugosa Roses were im? ported at the turn of the century because they're resistant to salt spray. So you see them in Nantucket and places like that; they're growing wild, acres and acres of them. But in nature, it's single flower. But this is a cultivar, meaning somebody's played around with it. See, Rose breeding, and other plants that are so popular, are so highly bred that it's no longer even possible to know their origins. But usually with the heritage plants, it's easier, because they're less hybridized. And this means that they're sturdier, they're less susceptible--not always, but usually--to disease. I mean, my Rose that I talked about, the Loyalist Rose, is a very good example of an old Rose that is susceptible to disease. So you can't make simple-minded statements and say that all old plants are disease- resistant, because they're not. But, by and large, they are. Now, another plant I can tell you about is Southernwood, Artemisia abrotanum. South? ernwood is an herb. It's an artemisia. Very aromatic. It's a cultivated plant; it's not wild. People grow it in their garden. But I wondered if there were any heritage exam? ples. In other words, somebody that didn't just buy it in the store yesterday, but it had been in the family a long time. And I Featuring... SOFT ICE CREAM made from Real Quality Ice Cream! Variety of HOT FOODS Prepared on the Spot Clams • Haddock Fillets French Fries • Egg Rolls • Hamburgers • Pizza Burgers • • TASTY TREAT • . OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK: 10 A.M. TO MIDNIGHT 3 LOCATIONS TO SERVE YOU: Grand Lake Road • Keltic Drive • Howie Centre
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