You may recall that recently I’ve moaned about the damage our cold winter did to some of my garden plants. However I am happy to report that it certainly hasn’t affected my roses adversely – the exact opposite it would seem – Elvis Costello sums it up well – “It’s been a good year for the roses“. The song was in the charts in 1981- the year after Grumbling Rose and I were married. I read the lyrics recently as, despite having hummed along to it for 40 years, I could only recall the words of the last line of the chorus – it’s actually a depressing tale about a marriage breakup!
“Everything’s Coming Up Roses” is a song from the 1959 Broadway Musical Gypsy – that was the year after I was born (is there a pattern emerging here?!). The title of the song is a play on words – in the show the song is performed by pushy Momma Rose, who has just learned that her daughter June has eloped and left her in the lurch, without a star for the stage show Rose has put everything into – she then focuses on making her other daughter Louise a star – it comes back to bite Rose because shy and retiring Louise loses her inhibitions and ultimately becomes the major burlesque star, Gypsy Rose Lee, casting Rose aside. Depending on which version of the show you see, they may or may not be reconciled in the end.
There are too many songs featuring roses to go on with this much longer, but there is just one more I’ll mention which evokes particular memories for me – not the song itself, made famous by Edith Piaf, but its title, “La Vie en Rose“. This was the name of a Berlin cabaret club Grumbling Rose and I visited with his parents in the early 80s. We had been given “free” tickets which included a “free” glass of “champagne” – in reality something resembling Pomagne. The theatre was laid out cabaret style. We took our seats at a small round table and settled down to watch the show which initially involved a lot of bare flesh and carefully placed feather fans. Grumbling Rose and his Dad were on the edge of their seats, eyes on stalks – I couldn’t bring myself to look at his Mum. We had no sooner finished our drinks than we were swooped upon by a tangoed waiter, wearing only tiny black shorts and a bow tie.
“Would you like to order another drink?”
“Could we see the menu?”
At this point Grumbling Rose and his Dad nearly fell off their seats – the prices were extortionate!
The waiter was back before we knew it –
“Could we have a few more minutes to decide“;
then there he was again –
“We’ve decided we’ll wait a bit thank you“.
He turned on his heels without a word. Our eyes returned to the stage which still featured a lot of bare flesh, but this time adorned with black fishnet stockings, bowler hats and fake beauty spots. The next we knew, a glamorous , sophisticated woman appeared at our table – she told us in no uncertain terms that if we wished to stay any longer to enjoy the show, the expectation was that we would buy more drinks. We left hastily – in hindsight we were maybe a tad naive!
Of all my lovely roses Captain Sir Tom has triumphed over adversity, following in the footsteps of his stoic namesake. He’s fought through greenfly, whitefly, blackspot and torrential rain (see below for before and after rain), to produce an abundance of beautiful red, long-lasting blooms.
Last Saturday Grumbling Rose tested positive with Covid. We are now both isolating for 10 days, so once again I am thanking my lucky stars that I have my garden to care for and enjoy.
It’s been a good year for the roses!