Paul’s Himalayan Musk

A graceful rambler

Every year in June is the time for roses to push out and bloom.  We have a mix of once a season blooming and continuous blooming roses in our garden.  When I started fixing our garden, I didn’t know that some roses in this climate bloom only once a year.  The roses in the tropics bloom all year round, at least in my parents’ garden.  I picked the roses based on fragrance and color, never considering how many times they would bloom in a season.  I’m better educated about the roses now, not much better but better than before.

Sea of pink

I picked Paul’s Himalayan musk because we needed something to cover our unattractive chain link pool fence.  When I found this rose in the catalog it was perfect; rambling, soft pink in color, honey scented and will survive in our climate zone.  I didn’t look at whether it was once blooming or continuous blooming during the season.

The first time it bloomed, it took our collective breath away.  There wasn’t much arching of the branches, but every stem produced a profusion of buds, which opened to soft pink, then faded to almost white before dropping off.  But, what captured us most was the honey fragrance, and, in the heat of the day, a little spice added in.

Turns from pink to off white before it drops

Five years later, it covers a large portion of the fence and a trellis.  I have to cut it back every spring to keep it confined and make room for other plants.  This is one of the roses I have a fight with every spring.  The other is its cousin, the Himalayan Alba.  Once established, both of them can easily shoot up 10 feet or more in one season.  There is no doubt that they are true ramblers.  Bill will cut the branches sticking out over the pool in the middle of summer since the thorns keep catch us when we walk past.  As much as we love the flowers we like to have easy access to the pool deck with out being poked with sharp thorns.

A lot of the flowers have opened up now.  There will be a sea of pink floating over the pool fence in a week then the whole garden will smell like honey.  The bees will be busy working on hundreds of roses.  The ground will be carpeted with petals; some will fall in the pool.   It’s very romantic to float among rose petals looking up at the blue sky while breathing in a mix of fresh, sweet fragrance.  ..Paradise.  Until reality catches up and we have to clean it out of the pool.

Close up

I don’t have anything bad to say about the Paul’s Himalayan Musk aside from blooming only a few weeks every spring.  But to make up for the lack of flowers, it provides little red rose hips that will bring in the Cedar Waxwings and provide a beautiful decoration in winter.  I will cut whatever is left of the hips in spring along with the weak or unruly branches.  If you have a lot of space to cover, plant it.

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