Mermaid, A Beautiful Old Garden Rose
Mermaid is a beautiful old garden rose (Hybrid bracteata 1918) that long time readers here know well. In May of 2006 it was reaching its peak after having been planted several years before. It took Best of Show at the Spring 2006 Albuquerque Rose Show, along with the ARS Victorian Award for Old Garden Roses with unknown date of introduction or introduced in or after 1867. Who could have imagined what December of 2006 would bring?
Mid December of 2006 brought an 8 inch snowfall to my house. It was heavy and wet, and pulled Mermaid and its trellis a little away from the wall. But I was sick at the time, thought there wouldn’t be more snow at least for a while, and I could repair things when I felt better. Big mistake!
A week later or so I got an unheard-of-for-here 22 inch snowfall at my house! The melting and refreezing, melting and refreezing added more weight, and in the middle of one night with a noise loud enough to awaken me at the other end of the house, Mermaid and trellis came crashing down across the patio. It took me weeks to get that mess cleaned up to the point I could walk out into the rest of the yard. To do it, I had to cut everything, including the clematis that had been growing with Mermaid, off at ground level. I thought everything was gone.
Imagine my joy at finding tiny basal breaks later in the spring of 2007! Mermaid did not grow a lot in 2007, but the companion clematis came back more rapidly. 2008 was even better. By 2009, things were looking very good. At the Spring 2010 Albuquerque Rose Show, Mermaid once again won the ARS Victorian Award along with Best of Show.
The 2014-2015 winter in Albuquerque was quite mild. Mermaid’s spring bloom this year was probably the best I have seen since the 2006 damage. Once again, at the Spring 2015 Albuquerque Rose Show, Mermaid took Best of Show (5 matched sprays in the entry in “Exhibitor’s Dream”) along with the ARS Victorian Award. This is a rose you will not see often in rose shows, because it is an “eight-hour wonder!” It opens in the morning, and drops its petals by evening. But, it is gorgeous during that time!
These are images from this year’s spring bloom:
Mermaid – one of my favorite roses, and back to being a focal point in the garden of my small Albuquerque yard.
Such a great recovery! Every small garden needs one monster rose. 😉
Hi, Christine. Yes, I was so sure it was gone, but Mermaid is tougher than the Energizer Bunny, it seems.
I do keep cutting it back constantly, so we can live together in harmony. 🙂
Thank you for visiting and taking the time to write a comment!
Congratulation on Best of Show. Your Mermaid is really big. Ours is hanging in there, but nothing like yours.
Hi, Tim. I think this Mermaid was, simply by good luck, planted in the right place for it to thrive. It was not a good place with the 22 inches of snow melting and refreezing, but except for that, it is in a protected spot. It wasn’t fazed by that extreme cold of February of 2011. I was just lucky when I chose that spot for it. (My father used to say, “Better to be lucky than smart.” But, he was smart enough to make his own luck. 😉 )