A bouquet for the roses

This is the most glorious couple of weeks here at our old farmhouse in Delaware County. The roses are in bloom.

They’re not fancy tea roses with no scent. They’re big, blowsy, shyly fragrant pink beauties that grow in messy chaos and surround one of the maple trees to one side, and on the hillside where Edward, another big maple, stood until just a few weeks ago.

The wild roses are blooming up and down the street, too, and I do not care one bit that they are invasive. They’ve got an amazing scent that’s everywhere right now, and I have a soft spot for them. I’ve planted some at the border of our meadow, and they’re all over the banks of the brook below us. The wind carries their fragrance. It’s one of the most delightful things I can imagine.


I have roses here that moved with us from our former Ulster County home – and thank-you again to the new owner there, who said if I loved them I must take them.

When we moved here, one of my regrets was that I’d be starting all over again with roses. We first saw this place in the winter, and I didn’t recognize the roses that were already here. It simply didn’t occur to me that the massive groupings of plants under the trees could possibly be roses. They were just too huge.

But not only are they roses, they’re the old-fashioned cabbage roses that I love best.

That first summer, the roses bloomed. and my eyes were delighted. But my nose was not cooperating. I had some kind of allergy and I couldn’t smell a thing until midsummer. I wondered if that would be my curse – all the roses I could possibly wish for, and not a whiff.

But it hasn’t happened since. And this year we have a surprise.

Among the abundance of pink roses to the side, two stunningly scarlet rose bushes have bloomed. This is our third summer here, and we had not seen them before.

It is a particularly spectacular year for the roses. The lilacs seemed to come and go before we got to enjoy them. The roses are making up for that with a vengeance.

Read more installments of Village Voices by Susan Barnett.