Thursday, May 24, 2007

Would a rose by any other name smell as sweet?

As an image, in isolation, this does nothing for me. In the instant it takes to say 'Barbara Cartland' it scores nul points. It is Rosa Zéphirine Drouhin, a Bourbon rose, a gardener's favourite since 1868.

In context, in my garden, emerging from behind the vast and arching silver cardoon and framed between two dark yews I think it will earn its keep. Get up close - and this a rose, which being virtually thornless, lets you do just that - and breathe in its intense perfume. Pink is a smell, soft, sweet and powdery. It hits the spot. It is a reason for living.

In this essentially visual medium I am at a loss to describe this flower's smell. To say that it is err, 'rose scented' is stating the bleedin' obvious. Of course it is. Were I a parfumier or wine taster I might pick up other references in its bouquet; subtle and complex associations, high, middle and base notes.

Instead I think less sophisticated thoughts. I think 'Turkish Delight' and 'Jelly Babies' - but they have taken their flavour from the rose and not the other way round of course. I have to agree with Edward Lear:
And if you voz to see my roziz
As is a boon to all men's noziz, -
You'd fall upon your back and scream -
'O Lawk! O criky! it's a dream!'


Suffolkmum said...

Loved the Lear! Smells are so evocative, and, for me, so hard to describe - you did well! I have loads of roses in my garden, only a few planted by me, yet, unfortunately, few are stongly scented.

mutterings and meanderings said...

I love 'old' roses - the modern ones may look good but they have no scent.

I used to live near to a big walled garden which had yellow, gorgeously-scented roses climbing over the wall to the street.

Her on the Hill said...

Thank you for your encouragement on my blog, Mountainear. Roses, well, what can I say. There is very little as intense and perfect and evocative as the scent of a rose on its stem. So very very English.

Lizzie said...

Mountainear, do you mind if I blogroll you?

Lizzie x

mountainear said...

Lizzie, please do.