Roses – they are just the best and I think a gardener that does not have any is just waiting to come across the right one. In my previous garden I didn’t have a single one. Then, when we moved to our current house and I started the new garden, I knew that I wanted a sense of romance, an old fashioned look. An urban take on a true English garden. With that in mind, roses were a given. I started off with four and can clearly remember how hard it was to choose. I sat for hours and hours making lists, selecting the most beautiful out of all the gorgeous varieties available, working out which ones might cope with our semi shaded situation. Then finally I decided, they went into the ground in April 2016, the first blooms arrived a couple of months later and I was hooked. Their beauty, the delicacy of the blooms, the scent…I love everything about them.
Now I have twelve different roses in my garden and I imagine that I will carry on collecting them for as long as I am fit to put a spade in the ground. I may run out of space but will do my best to find a way to squeeze a couple of new ones in every year. In anticipation of rose season 2020 I thought I would show my collection so far and what I like about each. So, here they are.
I must start with this one, the queen of the crop – Gertrude Jekyll. Just look at those flowers. The vibrant mid pink colour of them will stop you in your tracks. A strong healthy rose that flowers profusely despite being put in a slightly shady spot in my garden. And the scent. Intoxicating.
Next up is this amazing climbing rose, James Galway. I am so impressed with the vigour of this one. It has covered a five metre stretch of fence in just three years with many strong shoots from the base of the plant and lots of fresh new lateral shoots every year. The flowers are so gorgeous, tightly packed petals in a delicious soft pink with irregular edges that give it a frothy look.
This is Louise Odier, my grandmother’s favourite. It is the first to flower in my garden and always such a welcome sight. Deep pink beautiful blooms send out the most amazing strong scent. Take a single flower inside the house and it will fill a whole room with fragrance. The flower clusters can get a bit too heavy for the stems so important not to be cautious when pruning this rose – better to chop away and get strong new shoots that can support the blooms than to leave any leggy growth that will just flop over.
Sceptre’d Isle. Have you ever seen anything prettier? Those cupped flowers with their round petals in the softest pink. Like generous scoops of soft strawberry ice-cream. Can’t get enough of this rose. If you are thinking of getting one, don’t hesitate – it will bring you much joy well into autumn with those exquisite flowers.
This is New Dawn. A crowd pleaser, I know, but what a beautiful rose. It had a tough start to life here with me when a fox dug it’s way underneath the fence and scratched this poor plant badly just a few weeks after it was planted. I wasn’t sure it would recover from this trauma but here it is, blooms aplenty! Hopefully this year it will make more headway and send out lots of new shoots to achieve good coverage of our ugly fence. Come on New Dawn, you can do it!
Super fairy. So happy I got this rambling rose, it has literally sprung up and outwards and grows smothered with pretty flower clusters in early June. It is the only rose I have with weak scent but I will forgive it for the way it has thrown itself about and made a dull space truly beautiful.
New for last year, Harlow Carr. I got this when I found a large terracotta pot buried under lots of rubbish at the back of the garden. This rose is supposed to do well in a pot and I loved the warm pink colour fo the flowers. Hoping for lots of bushy growth this year.
Another climber that will hopefully make it’s way up the trellis this year, Mortimer Sackler. Adore the shape of the flowers with the rich yellow middle. And yes, this one is pink too. Clearly I have a thing for pink roses.
Now, of course, as well as these lovely plants which have worked out really well, there have been a couple of failures. I have a rambling rose Paul’s Himalayan Musk that I was sure would thrive and quickly cover a big area of trellis which divides the front section of the garden from the back. But it has suffered terribly with powdery mildew, also some black spot and although the stems have grown rapidly I have yet to see this rose flower. I was really unsure what to do about his, whether to move it or persevere, but decided to give it one last chance in this spot. I cut it back really hard in October and within a couple of months it had grown back with strong new stems. So far so good – no mildew visible yet but I fear I will be disappointed again come May time. Let’s wait and see.
I also planted The Generous Gardener the year before last and even though I thought I had put it in the ideal location against a sunny wall, it didn’t put on much growth last year and there were no flowers. I hope it will do it’s thing this year, fingers crossed.
And lastly, the two most recent additions that were planted in November. I have been lusting over Olivia Rose Austin for ages and finally got one. Inspected it at the weekend and it is looking super! More than ten shoots on it already so I am feeling hopefully that it will carry flowers this summer. Also, inspired by the wonderful London Blooms, I got The Lark Ascending. Veering away from the truth pinks with a touch of peach – who would have thought! Can’t wait to bring in stems of this beauty to add to my rose pickings.