Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Fishy Miracle of "Cardinal Hume"

Isn't this a pretty flower? BUY ONE. NOW.
OK, let me explain. This is more than just a handsome purple rose, ladies; it's a POWERFUL RECRUITING TOOL. This particular cultivar, called "Cardinal Hume," is the perfect specimen for any gardener who hopes one day to turn into a fish, or who hopes to turn her neighbors into fish. How can a member of the WRONG PHYLUM help us with our glorious cause, you ask? Stop asking questions and take a whiff.
Different sources describe the scent differently, to say the least. This is always the mark of a complex and compelling fragrance. In fact, to say only that much about the scent of "Cardinal Hume" is to damn it with faint praise. It's been compared to cinnamon, overripe fruit, cleaning chemicals, cheap perfume, heavy musk, and, most importantly for our purposes, FISH. Wait'll you see how it affects unsuspecting humans who sniff this flower.
I was visiting a high-toned seaside nursery in England when I personally witnessed the miracle of "Cardinal Hume." A human female accepted an invitation to take a whiff; she stepped backward in surprise; she then turned on her heel and charged straight across the parking lot and into the ocean. Squinky and Gertruuid were with me at the time and can vouch for this incredible story. The salesgirl seemed to consider it a lapse of taste when Gert rounded on her and asked to buy the bush. She was only a kid and could hardly have understood what she was seeing. All I can say is, first, Gert knows a good recruiting tool when she sees one, and second, no woman turning into a Grouper is ever going to have a lick of social delicacy, OK? So she went for it. The story showed up the next day in the papers over there; NOT A SOUL connected it to "Hume," not even in the Letters To The Editor later on. I had my people keeping an eye on that. Further proof of this rose's power over humans, wot? If it affects you at all, you instantly know enough to KEEP YOUR HAIRY MONKEY MOUTH SHUT.
I have seen many, many humans sniff this rose in the years since, because I have them flanking the front gate of my secret entrance. Every one of them falls back a step. None of them has plunged yet into the Detroit River, at least not while I happened to be watching; but an astounding number of them have been recruited on the spot. Most of them sign on the same day. That perfume has a real kick to it.
I can't help wondering what old Basil Hume, a landlubber to his last day on earth, would say about the unexpected gift hidden in the plant named after him. Maybe just "Are you kidding? They breed a rose that smells like low tide, and they name it after me?" But I like to think he might have gone for an unexpected swim if he had ever had the chance to inhale the sweet breath of this rose. I recommend that even the eager recruits still up on dry land get access to this rose and take a sniff; all I can tell you is that is smells like home, like Land's End, the place we all want to be. One comes away from the shrub with a renewed sense of purpose.
Even if you just know a human practical joker who'd proven impossible to recruit, this rose makes the perfect gift!
This used to be available in a lot more places, but I found it on just one sales site after 45 minutes of searching. I hate to tell you, but I apparently bought the last one they had, because the sales tage vanished off the site with my purchase. Never mind; they'll have more next year. Meanwhile, IF YOU'RE NICE you can have a slip off one of mine, dipped in rooting compound for your convenience. Wait, that's illegal. You can have some of the flowers, and if you root the stems it is NONE OF MY BUSINESS. Oh, here's the place that sells them:
They appear to prefer e-mail communication at roses@ashdownroses.com

MAIL: Ashdown Roses
PO Box 129
Campobello, SC. 29322
FAX (864) 468-4889

The nursery address is
Ashdown Roses
2220 S. Blackstock Rd.
Landrum, SC. 29356


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