Vita’s View

Vita "hate, hate, hate[d] ‘American Pillar’" rambler roses!

american pillar rose

Photo: Dmitriy Konstantinov (wikimedia commons)

American Pillar rose, Hever Castle by Ernest Arthur Rowe, 1922.

I just read a newspaper column written by the famous British gardener and author, the late Vita Sackville-West. I was amused by it and hope that you will enjoy it too.

She wrote:

In a gracious small and ancient town near where I live, someone has had the imagination to  plant a hedge of rambler roses…in the summer months people come from all over the county to see it. I must admit that it is an impressive sight: a blaze of color; a long, angry, startling streak…a splendid idea; very effective; but, oh, how crude! I blink on seeing it and having blinked, I weep. It is not only the virulence of the color that brings tears to my eyes, but the regret that so fine an idea should not have been more fastidiously carried out. The hedge is made of ‘American Pillar’—a rose which, together with ‘Dorothy Perkins’, should be forever abolished from our gardens. I know this attack on two popular roses will infuriate many people, but if one writes gardening articles one must have the courage of one’s opinion. I hate, hate, hate ‘American Pillar’ and her sweetly pink companion ‘Perkins’. What would I have planted instead? Well, there is ‘Goldfinch’ an old rambler, very vigorous, very sweet-scented, and when I say sweet-scented I mean it for I do try to tell the exact truth in these articles, not to mislead anybody.

Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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