Friday, October 25, 2013

Flowers on Friday: Unexpected Gifts

As I walked to the mailbox yesterday, I was surprised by a flash of pink in an unexpected place.  "Pink Van Fleet" is a once-bloomer that has never rebloomed for me after its spring show, and it had a flower!  

I went over to take a closer look, and saw that there were actually TWO flowers!

This rose is special to me for two reasons.  Walter Van Fleet is my very favorite rose hybridizer ... creator of 'American Pillar', 'Silver Moon', 'Alida Lovett', 'Glenn Dale', 'Birdie Blye', and others.  His most popular rose is 'Dr. W. Van Fleet', which everyone's Grandma probably grew and was named for him against his wishes.  (He wanted to name it 'Daybreak').  The fact that I have an entire garden of roses dedicated to his creations tells you how much I admire him.

This rose also represents the beginning of a rose friendship that I treasure.  In 2007, I was looking for 'Bess Lovett', a rare Van Fleet rose that seems to have disappeared from gardens and nurseries.  In an attempt to perhaps locate someone who grew this rose, I posted a query on GardenWeb's Antique Rose Forum.  I received a lovely response from a gentleman in Maryland, also a Van Fleet admirer, who had a rose that he was fairly certain was the elusive 'Bess Lovett'.  He rooted it from cuttings taken with permission at the USDA test fields (where Dr. Van Fleet worked until his death in the 1930s) before everything was bulldozed in the 1970s.

Within a week, I received a package containing 16 beautifully packaged cuttings.  The rose in my garden came from these cuttings, as did roses that I later shared with friends. 

These unexpected fall flowers on "Pink Van Fleet" are a gift ... and so is the friendship that they represent.


  1. WOW... who knew that they bloomed in the chillier temperatures of this time of the year... or are you still warm over in your area? Grand looking flowers!

  2. A beautiful rose and such a surprise it has some flowers at this time of year, is it a once bloomer? I only know the "Sarah van Fleet". Lots of roses still have flowers at this time of year here, but not of the antique roses.

  3. Beautiful story to go with that beautiful rose and what a pleasant surprise for you!

  4. What a lovely story about friendship, that couldn't have a more lovely and rose to go with it.

  5. Wow-That is a wonderful story. I love the generosity of gardeners, don't you? That rose is just gorgeous and a great unexpected present this time of year-xo Diana

  6. What a beautiful rose! Thank you for sharing it.

  7. It is so rewarding to see the preservation of rose history. I look forward to your talk in Lakeland, next month.

  8. What an amazing gift in so may ways! Beautiful!!


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