Thelma rose
Walter Easlea 1927, Hybrid Wichurana, coral pink.


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Thelma rose with rabbit brush

Thelma rose with rabbitbrush. File# D3898. More roses with companion plantings

The Hybrid Wichurana rambler Thelma has been a very long time establishing. There could be multiple reasons for this, but the primary cause here is that it is major Rabbit Food. And recently it was revealed that the rabbits in question are not just the sweet little cottontails. In late June, a juvenile jackrabbit had wandered by me without noting my presence til too late to be discrete. An unfenced Thelma would not be keeping any low new growth - in particular new basals. Just a few days before spotting the jackrabbit, a new plastic bunny barrier had been placed around Thelma, replacing the one which had been outgrown and discarded two years before.

The once-blooming rambler, Thelma, was planted four years ago and has had just slightly more bloom each year. First a glimpse, then a taste, then a drink, and this year a leisurely meal. This rose is planted far away from the rest of the garden, near where a house will someday go, but away from where a bulldozer might dig, or park. It hides behind rocks, big rocks, in a flat, open spot bracketed by outcroppings of red rhyolite. Rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus nauseosus) has grown up behind the boulders, and the canes of Thelma can now drape over both the red rock and its covering of grey-green needle like leaves. The rabbitbrush leaves protect the canes from burning, from dessication, and even from bunny predation.

The blooms on Thelma are a sweet pinkish-apricot, and look a bit like a larger version of Cornelia. The bloom starts relatively late, and now that the plant has, at last, a 7 foot cane, the lasting quality of the bloom is quite impressive. Tucked into the Rabbitbrush, the bloom proceeds along the cane, opening first near the start of the cane, then at the tip, and gradually moving through the middle clusters. Some once bloomers have too short-lasting a bloom to inspire love. Not so with Thelma.

Sometimes one acquires a rose for no reason but the name. There are many non-remontant roses one could try, but generally not enough room or resources to try a limitless number. When the name is highly significant, the choice becomes easy. Thelma is a rose I needed, close to my heart. And I so love that it has built itself into such a lovely garden picture this year. Kind of happened without me - way down, out of sight. The very first rose in the eventual front garden.

Thelma rose

Thelma rose 1947, File# D3906

More old garden roses

~ Photography and comment from Christine, Reno, NV 2009 ~

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