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Sally Holmes


'Sally Holmes' the shrub
Image: Genevieve / North Coast Gardening

Yesterday evening I walked through Portland's Washington Park where all the roses - several thousand of them - are in bloom. Sally Holmes was climbing tall trellises in a cascade of white and apricot roses. They are charming close up. RA Holmes, an English gardener, bred 'Sally'. An initial search on the web provided little information about him, but I did learn that Holmes was gardening in the 1960s and he was an amateur. The word amateur comes from the word for love, and I like the idea that a person can dream of a rose whose every stem is like a bridal bouquet and through trial and error - and love for Sally? - create this rose for us.

You may think it's an odd thing to say, but when I think of Holmes in his garden, I think of all the things - often invisible - that made it possible for him to work. Especially there was peace in his country and reliable sources of food and water and. . .well, you understand.

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