For 10 years, I had the pleasure of living beside Mr. Werner Gerber, who was the second person to buy property and build a house on our block in Pacific Palisades, California. He bought the property next to ours for $150 in 1939, but couldn’t afford to build the house and move in till 1941. I saw Mr. Gerber every day out sweeping the sidewalk and for a couple of colorful summer months, tending to his renowned dahlias. I was very fond of Mr. Gerber, and photographed him a few times. I fed him oatmeal, gave him green vegetable juice, “Mr. Gerber, I’ve got your rocket fuel!” I’d call, and he swept my driveway. This was in August of 2003 when his dahlias were in full display. He would set them up out front for all to enjoy and had dozens of varieties.

In the jungle which was his yard, though, he had a couple of heirloom roses, which he never tended to. They were spindly and had grown into the ground from disintegrated clay pots, but they had the most intoxicating scent I’ve ever experienced. He told me the name, but I don’t remember. I just recall that he said today’s roses don’t have a scent like that. After he died in 2007, I was determined to keep them going in memory of him.

For nearly five years I have tried and failed to get them going. I transplanted them three times from ground to pots to ground. They never produced more than a single rose. Everything attacked them. When I really began my gardening life last fall, I committed myself to doing it right this time. I went to a rose workshop, had my friend Dotty prune them (after I pruned them), used all the recommended organic amendments, and this is the first time I’ve had multiple blooms on both plants, which have doubled in size. My focus is growing vegetables, but I am bound to these roses. Pink with a tinge of lilac, and a thousand petals. Anyone know the name?

Here’s another bloom a bit farther along. Soon after this stage, the petals start falling off.

You can see the pollen has been worked over.

This triplet got attacked and I don’t expect them to open now. I’ve been spraying with Captain Jack’s. Before I did that, the buds all got eaten by borers or earwigs. At least, earwigs would fall out if you turned them upside down and tapped them. Maybe they were after the borers. By the way, if they don’t open, they give off no scent.

The buds are dark rose color. Here are five on one tall stem on the same plant. Fingers crossed they open.

For scale, here’s one bud in my hand. There are so many petals and they are all impossibly bunched together.

Here are the leaves.

Call upon your rose experts to help me identify this rose. I would love to know what it is. Thanks for reading! – Kaye