A name for a rose

Roses did exceptionally well in Melbourne this season, and my garden was no exception. I only have a few, and leave them to do their own thing apart from a bit of deadheading. img_3895With the plants doing their best to show off, I did take note of one standard that bloomed beautifully. It also had a stunning perfume, but as the label had become separated from the plant I had to appreciate it for what it was.

“Wot’s in a name?” she sez . . . An’ then she sighs,
An clasps ‘er little ‘ands, an’ rolls ‘er eyes.
“A rose ,” she sez, “be any other name
Would smell the same.
Oh, w’erefore art you Romeo, young sir?
Chuck yer ole pot, an’ change yer moniker!”

“Wot’s in a name?” she sez.  ‘Struth, I dunno.
Billo is jist as good as Romeo.
She may be Juli-er or Juli-et–
‘E loves ‘er yet.
If she’s the tart ‘e wants, then she’s ‘is queen,
Names never count . . .  But ar, I like “Doreen!”

“The Play”  The Songs of the Sentimental Bloke by C.J. Dennis first published in book form Sydney 1915

I couldn’t remember anything relevant about the rose’s purchase or planting and plants had been moved around a bit when a new deck was built. Did I replace one that hadn’t survived? This flower is a real stunner, long stemmed, long lasting as a cut flower and that beautiful spicy fragrance. Despite asking friends who know about roses, wandering around nurseries and searching online, no luck.

Then today, as I was doing some tidying around the daisies that are further down the slope from the roses, I found the label. Fortunately plasticised, and folded in two so although the outside was faded, inside – with a bit of a clean – was quite legible.

photographed on 7 December 2016

The mystery rose is Best Friend, a hybrid tea rose first registered as ‘Caprice de Meilland’ but when released in Australia in 2002 named by the RSPCA to honour the unconditional special friendship that comes from loving a pet. So perhaps a name does make it more special.

For those of you not familiar with The Sentimental Bloke – it is a classic of Australian literature, and much loved by the Diggers in WWI. My 1919 edition is the eighteenth, the pocket edition, first published in September 1916.

“The Play” is about Bill and his sweetheart (tart) Doreen visiting a production of Romeo and Juliet. Bill identifies with the lovesick Romeo who also loves a bit of a fight.

Wot’s in a name? Wot’s in a string o’ words?
They scraps in ole Verona wiv the’r swords,
An’ never give a bloke a stray dog’s chance,
An’ that’s Romance
But when they deals it out wive bricks an’ boots
In Little Lons., they’re low, degraded broots.

And every reader remembers the final line.

Then Juli-et wakes up an’ sees ‘im there,
Turns on the water-works an’ tears ‘er ‘air.
“Dear love,” she see, “I cannot live alone!”
An’ wiv a moan,
She grabs ‘is pocket knife, an’ ends ‘er cares . . .
Peanuts or lollies!” sez a boy upstairs.


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