I wanted a climbing rose under my bedroom window, 12 feet up from the dirt plot I had cleared of unruly and too bright blue plumbago -- a tropical shrub often used to landscape California freeways. I wanted a scented rose whose perfume would waft across my window sill on a still August evening. I wanted Kathleen it turned out, a rose of renown among the gardening literati of the East Bay. A climber capable of shrouding small houses in a cloud of ivory, the flowers clustered in ready-made bouquets, and at the center of each single-petaled rose a bright gold corona. Fat furry bees heave their bulk into them each morning and dusk, carrying off pollen like saddlebags hitched to their hind legs. Finally, the rosy pink at the base of each petal fades and the petals drop one by one, leaving stubs of colorless bristles. But by October these have metamorphosed into smooth orange rosehips. I strung up a trellis for my lanky romeo to climb. But Kathleen has taken a more languid route across the barred basement window. For a rose it's just another rung to freedom.