Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Is Old the New New?

Posted by MAKMU ta On Tuesday, March 27, 2012 No comments

The proverbial baby keeps getting tossed with the bath water.  Its true. And nowhere has this been more debated than in the rose world.  As the story goes, the commercialization of the cultivar "Peace" by Meilland after WWII, ushered in the age of the hybrid tea, which saw a great many roses perish in their midst.  Now, all kidding aside, I think many of us now sigh a big whew, and thank those 1960s, 70s and 80s folks who stuck to their guns and kept around an old rose or two instead of hoisting them all in favor of the latest and greatest.

But come on everyone, lets get real.  Rose growers have long been in the business of commerce, and there has always been "this years winner" be it wines, or flowers, or fashion trends.  Some of those items honestly SHOULD be deigned fit only for the history books (kindles). White skintight jumpsuits for instance. Hoopskirts, knee breeches, knob and tube electric, telegrams. And yes, many many old roses.  There are also those things that come into and go out of fashion throughout the years.  And yes, gardening itself goes in an out of style, and flower type, height, smell, and form all seem to win or lose favor with each successive generation.  Even before the advent of hybrid teas in the later 19th century, the annals of time have claimed many a flower variety.

Rosa "Peace" ~ The Conquerer
So with this as the setup, we have an interesting trend going on now in the rose world, as well as the gardening world as a whole: organic, original, heirloom, old.  Old is this generations next greatest thing.  So much so that I read somewhere recently that hybrid tea roses, once the overwhelming ONLY selection of roses in commerce are having trouble selling and languishing on the shelves!!!  This means that hybrid tea varieties, the good, the bad, and the ugly will perish in the whiplash. Hold on to your favorite varieties now, because soon they'll be hard to come by (life's full of blackspot and then you die).

And so it goes... in my lifetime I'm all but certain that new will move back into being the next new thing, and old garden roses, heirloom vegetables and whatnot will again have to step aside for some amazing new horticultural marvel as the whim of popular opinion moves along.   As most of us probably have found out in our lives, not all progress is actually progress, but no progress isn't progress either.  And sometimes you can't tell the difference for a good long while.  Something to chew on, that.

So to each his own I say.  The fact that there are remontant lilacs and hydrangeas and short versions of every old garden stalwart isn't a bad thing.  It reflects what we the people really want.  Not all of us (I sure as heck would rather the taller dianthus, coneflowers, and salvia's of yore), but the masses have spoken for this day, this moment, and have done for many many many generations.  And hey, my hydrangeas stay in bloom 10 months of the year.  I can live with that. And just to throw it out there, if I could grow lilacs at all down here, I wouldn't care if they came from Mars, and were only available at the "evil box store": I'd be growing them.

So how about this: Lets stop beating each other up about our choices... what do you say?  Organic or not, heirloom or not, OGR or knockout, purebred or hybrid, remontant or species, the choice is yours, and surely any current generational zeal you conform to for anyone's reasons but your own will shortly be the next worst thing.

For the record: in my garden in zone 9a super humid all year long Southern Coastal USA, I fertilize primarily organically with a midseason dollop of osmocote, spray for pests and disease only when absolutely necessary (but I absolutely do), think lawns are sort of pretty, and I grow 18 cultivars of roses:

3 types of knockouts
2 david austin shrubs
1 species rose
5 OGRs (or almost) a noisette, a polyantha, a bourbon, a china and a hybrid musk
4 modern bushes/climbers
2 bermuda/mysteries
1 miniature

They ALL grow quite well, and have no distain for each other.  Imagine that!  I make my own choices, and to those of you who think I do so in an uninformed fashion, I'll also state for the record, I think its nice that you have an opinion.  We all do.  And since nostalgia is such the rage these days I'll add this oldie but goodie: If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.  Now I sure do wish that WOULD come back to stay.

The defense rests.


Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...