Opal Brunner rose
O C Marshall 1948. Cl floribunda, Continuous bloomer, File#_d2615


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Opal Brunner rose

Opal Brunner rose

I don't really stay up at night thinking up crazy places to plant roses. (see planting spot) I don't have to, as this property lends itself to creative foolishness. Well, you don't know what might work til you try. So when I was unable to move any of the three big, close-set rocks to allow for a rose hole, I decided that the crevice between the boulders was going to have to be good enough.

For a very long time, it clearly wasn't. Both roses planted in this slot between the boulders languished and nearly died. Opal Brunner is supposed to be a Climbing Floribunda, with something of a Hybrid Musk look to it. In my garden it wasn't climbing, it wasn't florabunda-ing, it was pretty much on its way to dying. But it didn't quite make it there, which suggests that it is a Rose Which Can Survive Severe Neglect. My garden tends to select for these. Opal Brunner was a plant which never died, but it didn't exactly love life.

This year two things have changed. For one, a nearby tree is dying of old age, possibly reducing root competition. For another, I have reduced the water to this area of the garden. Now both slot roses (Melody Parfumée and Opal Brunner) are looking better with every passing week. Opal Brunner is now 5 feet across and about two feet tall, with light and lithe canes, widely spaced, each bearing panicles of delicate, lovely bloom. Its delicacy contrasts beautifully with the 3 foot boulders surrounding it. If this rate of improvement continues year by year, it will develop into a star in my garden.

Once an insignificant rose, a dismal failure, it is now one of this year's surprise success stories, rescued form the dead, and full of promise.

Comment and photography by Christine, June 2009

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