Rosa ‘Blowsy’ & Salem

Photographs — Alex Waterhouse-Hayward

One of my favourite rosarians (a rose enthusiast) was Langley sheep farmer (originally from Holland) John Tuytle who on the side grew roses of all kinds, particularly the ones that struck his fancy.He propagated many of these and would set up shop once a year at the VanDusen Plant Sale. Many of my rarest or unusual roses came from him. I describe here one he provided me in the heat of August (when most roses go for a forced rest) that became a Canada Post rose.

John Tuytle’s blowsy mystery rose

There was one rose that I really wanted called Rosa ‘Ramona’ which was a hybrid of a species Rosa laevigata. At different times of one year he sold me three and none were ever Rosa ‘Ramona’. I have them labeled in my garden as Tuytle’s Mystery Rose.

My favourite is the one illustrated here. It has little scent but is extremely floriferous in an almost untidy manner. I have long given up (and felt much better for it in scanning or taking pictures of a perfect rose. In my photograph here (not a scan) you can see it in its glory. When I look at it I smile. I know it is a female and I have one word to describe her, blowsy.

Blowsy brings to mind a delightful, always smiling young woman, 22 or 23 that I photographed for a couple of years some 13 years ago. I’ll call her Salem.

The pictures of Salem here are from our first session. The photographs in later sessions got more subtle, more erotic, more adventurous and even cute. For my money these are blowsy like my John Tuytle mystery rose.

Link to: Rosa ‘Blowsy’ & Salem

Originally published at

Into Bunny Watson. I am a Vancouver-based magazine photographer/writer. I have a popular daily blog which can be found at:

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