The Franciscan Monastery in Northeast D.C. is rightly touted as a great local garden to visit - especially in the spring. Last month the display of tulips made it a must-see destination but now in early May the story's all about roses. With fewer and fewer rose gardens being tended these days, in favor of low-maintenance landscape roses, this garden is a rare example in our region that stands to remind us of why roses are so beloved they won the coveted title of National Flower.
Masses of full-grown roses and stunning Byzantine architecture is a combination I dare say none of us can duplicate in our own far more modest gardens.
The photo above shows the perfect companion to roses - catmint or Nepeta. That's because it blooms at the same time and really, that pale lavender blue goes with everything.
Another lovely companion to roses is the Siberian iris in the foreground. I prefer its smaller size and thinner foliage to the larger, more dramatic bearded iris.
Yellow's a color rose we're seeing less of these days, and I miss it.
Who'd have thought that white would look so good with orange? Not me!
Heavy bunches of blooms on single stems are pretty darn dramatic, especially on the right where there are multiple colors in each blossom.
More pale yellow in the foreground, but how about the tall, majestic red climber? If you approach them from the other side you see they serve as a background to several benches. Nice spot for sitting a spell.
Another color we don't see enough of anymore in roses is purple. This one's just past its peak but has sooo many flowers, it still makes a great show.
Another example of how much a stunning climber can add to a garden. I bet this one is 'New Dawn', the most popular and probably best-performing climbing rose seen in gardens today.
I love these multi-colored single blooms.
Lastly, a modern touch in rose breeding is found in the parking lot with this mass of super-popular Knockout roses. They'll bloom repeatedly until Thanksgiving or so, without a bit of fussing over.