Pink Rose Gallery

Rosa 'Anne Boleyn'

Everyone was so reassuring about my unseasonal blue poppy / TARDIS post that I’m sharing a few more pictures from earlier this summer – this time of roses. Portraits of roses are still one of my favourite subjects for photography, so I’m a little spoilt for choice (I’m not sure how widely that idiom is known outside the UK – basically it means I had quite a few pictures to choose from). I couldn’t say why I’ve decided on pink(ish) ones: perhaps because if you’re being unseasonal, you might as well be really unseasonable. Red would be much more Christmassy.

Long-time readers may remember I have a theory that some varieties of roses are more photogenic than others. I like the way that each bloom has a different pattern or arrangement of petals. Fresh roses have a purity that I love and a particular type of luminosity. I even find the slightly more battered ones appealing these days, like this little cluster. 

Pink roses

Digging these pictures out to share reminded me of the day two summers ago when my sweetheart and I took some American garden-loving friends to a 6 acre rose garden. Our visit was perfectly timed as I’d hoped it would be. The weather was good – a little too hot, if anything – and the garden was at that first, and most joyful, peak of flower.

Antique roses, climbers, ramblers and shrub roses tumbled together in intricate, layered costumes, in soft and bold colours. If you didn’t know better, you’d think they were secretly vying to outdo each other, like a bunch of bouncing Strictly Come Dancing contestants, crowded round Claudia Winkleman, wondering who’s going to win the competition. I don’t often panic, but having just a few minutes to wring out all the pleasure possible made a Claudia-like tizzy a distinct possibility. Chances were, I was going to drop the rope as in one of her arch snippets of post-comedy business only the British could love.

Spoilt for choice was an understatement.

Pink English Rose with a cupped rosette shape

Gardens are never designed for hurried people. I don’t even like walking in a business-like fashion in a rose garden. I’ve done it often enough during my career to know it feels all wrong. You don’t want to shatter the mood for visitors, for one thing. The other thing is that hurrying is completely counter-productive. Your determination to make progress and relative lack of rapture outs you as an insider. You might as well be wearing a rotating, flashing light on your head plus a big placard saying ’ask me anything’.

For one human being moving in a fixed direction with obvious intent in a rose garden appears to everyone else as a stroke of luck. Someone to whom tricky, technical rose questions might usefully be addressed. Heads turn to you wearing such eager, friendly smiles that any hope of progress is thwarted unless you’ve got a heart of stone. A small queue will form before you’re half-way to your destination.

Peachy-pink rose

A measured sidle, eyes fixed on the blooms is the top speed any employee can hope to get away with. But those days of belonging are behind me now. My visits to rose gardens can counted on one hand per year, rather than being a daily pleasure. (In case my sweetheart is reading this, and in the interests of veracity, I had better confess. Two hands. Make that two hands.)

This visit with friends had been squeezed in to a crowded schedule – we could only spare half an hour, max. While everyone liked plants and gardening, I was the only one on a mission – to capture a few photographs for my blog. It’s surprising how long photography can take and how quickly time can fly when you don’t want it to.

'Wildeve' rose cluster

I eventually tore myself away and presented myself back at the car on time, flushed with excitement from dashing from one flower to another.

And waited.

Lilac rose

It gave me a moment to finger comb my hair, more in hope of tidiness than expectation. What is it about taking pictures in gardens that’s guaranteed to get your hair disheveled? Straying from the car, I was surprised to discover everyone else relaxing in the tea room, finishing off their drinks. They hadn’t wanted to appear to be hurrying me. My sweetheart explained that it’d only taken a little while to look round because, to them, it was ’all just roses’.

All just roses? So many different responses flicked through my mind, but I suppressed them with a sigh. They had probably just been thirsty. And, as I often say, it wouldn’t do for us all to be the same.

24 Replies to “Pink Rose Gallery”

  1. Gorgeous, Susan. I know what you mean about not rushing around rose gardens. I like to see my visits to rose gardens as meditative treasure hunts and I would have been very pleased to discover that last bloom in particular!

  2. Oh, thank you! Not just for the therapeutically unseasonal rose walk, but for reminding me of the word “tizzy,” which I haven’t heard in a long while and which I need at the moment. I thoroughly enjoyed your discourse on how not to walk through a garden. As always, I am enamored of the buds, but of course I had to stop at each rose. I needed that too.

    1. I was attracted to that one by the unusual colour and that delicious curl the petals have. I have to confess it’s a cut flower, not a garden rose.

  3. I hate to rush around a garden so I generally like to go to one on my own although the OH is very understanding and we just wander off on our own. I did hare around one in NZ in the rain, whilst the rest of my family took shelter – I thought they must have returned to the car, so felt quite pressured to hurry up, but no they were sitting happily in an arbour. Annoyingly I could have spent the time chasing back and forth to the car exploring another part of the garden that we didn’t bother with. Sigh…
    PS lovely pink roses. I find red ones a) hard to find b) hard to photograph

    1. I sympathise with you on the parts missed, especially in New Zealand where you might not have the chance to go back. Reds and crimson roses are tricky.

  4. I don’t believe I’ve ever run across the expression “spoilt for choice” but I intuited its meaning even before your explanation. Along similar lines, people over here (and perhaps over there too) speak of an embarrassment of riches.

    1. It always fascinates me how far colloquialisms spread. Some travel thousands of miles and others not much more than ten. The ’embarrassment of riches’ has air miles it seems – we do use it here.

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