And so with hands bleeding after hours of pruning, I will still write about the beauty of a rose. But not today. The beauty will not awaken until spring, but the blemishes stand out in all their viciousness. And while I can see them so clearly I thought I would go through the best and the worst in my garden.
For the bloodthirstiest, nastiest prickles I turn to my rugosas.
Can it get worse? Yes! This is Basye's Purple Rose, with the same prickles facing straight out, except bigger and more. I remember reading once (but can't find the source anymore) that Dr. Basye discarded this rose because it came too far from his original goal of hybridizing thornless roses....
My personal award for the gentlest and smoothest caned rose goes to Crepuscule, a Tea-Noisette and one of my favorite roses.
Not a prickle anywhere on my two plants, canes or leaves.
I should have more of them...
Second place goes to 'Sophie's Perpetual', a found rose, maybe Bourbon, maybe China.
Not a prickle on mine.
There are thorns on the canes occassionally, and it mildews and rusts a bit, so I can't really say it is my favorite despite gorgeous blooms and an overpowering fragrance.
Speaking about climbers, my thorniest is Joseph's Coat. A beautiful rose...
One of the reasons I like Teas so much is that there are enough of them with smooth canes that I can enjoy the blooms without my skin being torn to shreds.
Mme. Berard is a wonderful rose...
... and frequently mentioned as thornless.
Finally, an honorable mention: Mme. Caroline Testout, Climbing. I was really taken by those sivery-pink cabbage-like blooms...
I got a few years ago as a harmless 3" long twig and put it by my front door.
What was I thinking? Not only are they huge, but they come in pairs too:
And it grows canes easily 20' long, and lots of them. I am thinking of weaving them into a No soliciting sign.