Roses, Up Close and Very Personal

Yesterday I returned from three weeks in Italy. While there I visited almost 20 gardens, some on my own and some in the company of the group of ten I was leading, along with my friend, travel consultant and organizer par excellence, Julia Guest.

I write this blog once a week, and generally publish it on Sundays. (I hope you look forward to receiving the weekly posts, and that you pass them on to friends who may also want to subscribe.)

Ideally in today’s post I’d share some insights into Italian gardens, but processing all that I saw and learned will take several weeks. Appreciating the flowers that were in bloom takes no time at all.

Last year when I was in the same area of Italy, leading a different group through gardens betwen Florence to Rome, the weather was cool — some would say downright cold. But this year, the days before our tour had been much warmer. That meant, sadly, that the wisteria was finished, but it also meant that the roses were at their best.

So today, I am simply sharing images of some of the extraordinarily beautiful roses that I saw. They varied in size, colour, shape. Some were single,

 

A single blowsy pink rose at La Foce. I love the fuzzy yellow centre.
A single blowsy pink rose at La Foce. I love the fuzzy yellow centre.

 

some more ruffled than any I’ve seen before.

 

Vivid ruffles on a rose at Villa Corsini al Prato, near Florence.
Vivid ruffles on a rose at Villa Corsini al Prato, near Florence, reminded me of a ballerina’s tutu.

 

The colours ranged from the simplicity of white

 

A contrast of dark and light, at San Liberato, a garden designed by Russell Page in conjunction with the owner, Donato Sanminiatello.
A contrast of dark and light, at San Liberato, a garden designed by Russell Page in conjunction with the former owners, Count Donato Sanminiatelli and Princess Maria Odescalchi.

 

to pale pink and white combined…

 

 

A combo of pink and white roses, at Villa Medici, Fiesole.
The harmony of pink and white roses added to the peaceful air  at Villa Medici, Fiesole.

 

to red buds that opened to a brighter pink.

 

Another beauty from San Liberato.
Another beauty from San Liberato. I don’t know any of the varietal names.

 

This unmistakably red rose was ruffled velvet.

 

Another ruffled rose, at La Torrecchia.
Another ruffled tutu, at La Torrecchia. I like the combination f heaviness and just-past-perfection.

 

 

Some bushes were smothered in blossoms with the promise of more to come.

 

Buds at La Torrecchia, near Rome.
The peachy buds will open soon, but those still tightly furled promise a long period of bloom.

 

while others were smothered with blossoms that seemed to open to the sun, even as I watched.

 

 

A different variety in a similar peachy-white tone, at La Torrecchia.
The frilled edge of this soft-toned rose, combined with the very full centre, was at La Torrecchia, a garden built in the midst of 12th century ruins. Very romantic.

 

Some roses radiated colour,

 

A golden glow emanated from this rose, at the Villa Medici at Fiesole.
A golden glow emanated from this rose, at the Villa Medici at Fiesole.

 

some were more subdued.

 

The heart of an old rose was filled with tones of purple, a surprise found at Castello Ruspoli.
The heart of an old rose was filled with tones of purple, a surprise found at Castello Ruspoli.

 

Almost all were intensely fragrant, with scents that ranged from sweet to spicy to sparkle-bursts of colour. Coming out of the villa at Poggio Torselli, into the formal garden planted with English exuberance, the impact was stronger than I can fairly describe — like moving from dim light to centre stage.

 

Fragrance poured out of this rose, at Giardino Bardini.
This close-up tells you how often I had my nose right in the heart of the flower.

 

When will someone invent an app for an experience like that?