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Thises and thats concerning 'Belle Amour'

Well. Today I spent down in the shade garden cleaning up, which mainly meant pulling the extravagantly spreading Bermuda grass and cutting dead weeds, all in order to make the area attractive enough that I didn't mind spending time working there. Tidying is never the most important task, at least, not in my garden; but if a gardener always does the most important task, the less important ones will NEVER get done. So they have their place, too.

In spite of a dry summer and dry year--and it's getting to be dry again; we could use rain--'Belle Amour' is looking happy. Her canes are up to seven feet, the tallest I've ever seen. As usual, she hasn't been watered or fertilized. I do like this variety, and wonder about her ancestry. She gets listed as a possible Alba, for reasons I don't understand; I do see a resemblance to Damask roses, mainly in the quantity and style of the thorns. I've wondered--this is speaking as a rose grower who knows nothing of genetics--whether BA might be a Damask x Ayrshire (or Rosa arvensis, ancestor of the Ayrshire roses) cross? This would account for the thorny canes, the cheerful simplicity of the semi-double blooms, though not their peachy tint, and possibly the myrrh scent, which is also found in 'Ayrshire Splendens', though I don't know about other links with myrrh-scented roses. Is this an idea worth considering?

'Belle Amour' does extremely well here in not particularly favorable conditions, especially very heavy soil and overall benign neglect. She suckers out, and is trying to overrun 'Mme. Hardy' next to her. Really a joy, when a fair number of roses are struggling in one way or another.

I've been cutting the box bushes in the shade garden to the ground, the ones growing under my Viburnum x burkwoodii and V. lantana. They were pleasantly evergreen as ground cover, but box moth ruined them, and they'll never look good again. As compensation for their loss, the Cyclamen cilicium I planted years ago in the same area has more light and room. These have held out, and expanded in a quiet way, but I think this will encourage them. I love hardy cyclamen, a joy in a low spot of the year.

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