Posts Tagged ‘Dart’s Dash’

Take Time to Smell the Roses

Planted along the walk to the front door of Willow House is a hedge of Dart’s Dash roses. I wrote a bit about these roses a year ago in a post titled A Rose by Any Other Name. Now it is a year later, the roses are once again in bloom, and their scent is as lovely as ever.

The roses are adored by bees. It is funny to stand by the bushes and listen to them. They aren’t content with just settling on the flowers gently. They wiggle and squirm and buzz loudly with their faces shoved deep into the centre of the rose.

RailGuy and I are heading out for a few days of vacation to smell some different roses. We are travelling east, into the Gaspe region of Quebec, and will be stopping at Reford Gardens (Les Jardins des Metis). Elsie Reford began work on her garden in the summer of 1926. The gardens that she created over the next 30 years were opened to the public in 1962. It’s always inspiring to witness someone’s vision and I’m excited about our visit.

While we’re gone, Birdgirl has kindly agreed to look after the animals here. We’ll be back next week. Look for some travel posts in the future!

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…would smell as sweet. Maybe. But when it comes to scent, not all roses are created equal. As rose breeders have sought the perfect form, or longer-lasting flowers, or some other particular feature, scent has sometimes fallen by the wayside. Here at Willow House, I have become the guardian of a row of rugosa rose hybrids, which line the walk to the door. I’m not blessed with a keen sense of smell, but even my challenged olfactory awareness can’t miss the heavenly rose fragrance with which they infuse the air.

My grandfather grew roses, lovely hybrid teas. They were the centerpiece of his garden, neatly lined out in their own beds, carefully tended. I lack his devotion, however. Plants in my garden need to be able to look after themselves. They can expect no pampering and fussing from their gardener. Rugosa hybrids, tough, vigorous and disease-resistant, are my kind of rose.


Rosa rugosa is native to northeastern Asia. Being hardy and disease-resistant, it was very successful in adapting to conditions in Europe where it was introduced. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, breeders in Germany and France began to develop exciting new rugosa hybrids. The Darthuis Nursery, in Holland, hybridized Dart’s Dash, pictured above. The rugosas arrived in North America in 1872, introduced directly from the Far East. The “Explorer” series was originally developed at the Ottawa Research Station by Felicitas Svedja and includes Henry Hudson, introduced in 1976 and pictured below. In addition to their other virtues, the bushes are magnets for pollinators.


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