In some ways, this is the best week of the year in my little garden. Two of the three roses are in full bloom and the third us covered with buds, ready to pop.

My old garden Bourbon rose, Variegata di Bologna, above, has only bloomed this one time every season. But what a flirt this “bella donna” of Italian origin is, in her striped flounces.

Her busty buds look almost like peonies (or pivoines, as the French say, which just sounds more appropriate).

Then, there is my prim and prissy pink David Austin English rose (the name of which escapes me — had her several years). She stays full of buds off and on throughout the spring and summer, into the warm days of September and October.

If you’re wanting to dabble in roses, you can do no better than the Austin roses. They have those wonderful cupped petals that give them that “full figured” look of the roses in the paintings of Fragonard.

Besides their beauty, the great thing about the old roses and the David Austins is how easy they are. Old garden and antique varieties are bred from old European stock — some several hundred years old, so they are hardy and disease-resistant. (As opposed to fussy and self-absorbed.)

This about the Austin roses, from Sir David’s Web site:

He “set out to breed roses more suitable to the needs of the gardener, which would be outstandingly beautiful, yet very easy to prune and care for. This meant going back to the wonderful shrubby habit of the old roses which made them perfectly at home in the mixed border or the traditional English cottage garden.

“The flowers would have the cupped and rosette forms and heady fragrances of the old roses but would have the repeat flowering capability and wider colour range of modern roses.”

Also in bloom this week is one of my irises, our Tennessee state flower.

I have grown to love the state of my birth so deeply over the past few years, as I have worked for a number of my fellow Tennessee Democrats.

I’ve had the good fortune to drive along many of the hills and hollows, to walk about the town squares, and pass by the tiny “pocket” cemeteries and handcrafted architecture along the way.

Please come visit this pretty place. Our schools, like everyone’s, I suppose, are struggling, and we need your money. You’ll find Tennessee to be a bargain.

á bientôt, from my iPhone…Tatie

Location:Sawyer Brown Rd,Nashville,United States