This post was written by guest contributor Michael Devine, a New York–based textile designer whose upcoming book, An Invitation to the Garden: Entertaining, Cultivating, and Cooking through the Four Seasons, will be published by Rizzoli in the spring of 2014. What flower is more mythic than the rose? The richness of its symbolism is unparalleled, and the fascination with this noble flower has spanned centuries.
When planning my small garden, I wanted to have as many varieties of roses as space would permit. The standout from among the many that I have is without a doubt the wonderful hybrid 'Pierre de Ronsard', named after the marvelous French poet. The gentle pale-pink to ivory color; the amazing first flush of glorious blooms in early June; and the constant flowering throughout the summer make it my must-have. If I could plant only one rose, this would be it. It's as fuss-free as roses get—since it's almost thornless, the slight pruning at the end of March is literally painless. Watering (when it's exceptionally dry) and periodic additions of organic fertilizer throughout the season are all I need to do to guarantee success. To keep roses strong, add a banana peel to the soil at the base of the plant; the peel contains a good source of potassium that roses need to thrive. Early in the summer, when my six bushes are loaded with blooms, I opt for large vases in which to mass them. Once the season progresses and the flowering lessens, I use a single rose in a simple vase to display its ravishing beauty. This is my go-to vase for single stems—and at 79 cents, it’s a bargain at twice the price.