Tuesday, 12 June 2007

Turkish delight

Well, not really - though my garden is starting to smell like rosewater which is one of my very favourite scents.

I used to think I didn't like roses - to a small person they just seemed like big prickly lollipops with flowers that looked like they should smell wonderful but ended up being an olfactory disappointment.

No more.

Bear and I went to the Chelsea Flower show five or six years ago, and finally discovered there was more to be had than standard roses - miniature roses that wouldn't be out of place in a doll's garden, wayward climbing roses, gorgeous scented shrub roses and my favourite, the very badly behaved rambling roses. Of course that's also the visit that had us turn half our little patch of lawn into a wild flower meadow for a couple of summers which is OK if you have acres to spare but just looks wrong in our small garden.

But I digress. We really loved Paul's Himalayan Musk, and Seagull, two very rampant scramblers but really can't fit them in our garden. We did inherit two climbers, one of which bit the dust as the trees it was planted under grew larger and shaded it out - it couldn't climb up into them, poor little spindly thing that it was - and the other of which received its final warning last year - "Flower well or you're for the chop!" That seemed to do the trick because look at it this year:

I think it has earned its place now.

We held off buying any for ages - Mum & Dad gave us two pretty patio roses and I'm not quite sure what I did to them but they didn't survive - and I got it in my head that roses just weren't for us - I kept killing them; they never seemed to smell of anything anyway; I don't spray anything as we try to garden naturally; and careful pruning is just not me - more of a hack and slay approach in my garden I'm afraid! Then we found David Austin's webpage and started to identify roses that would suit us perfectly. This is Octavia Hill, who has really come into her own this year in a bed that is frankly too crowded for her. We love her so much we sacrificed some of the surrounding plants and look how she repaid us:

I have picked up unnamed tiny roses at plant sales - I guess this is something like rosa glauca, the rosa rubrifolia I found last week. I have never had a rose so generous with flowers before - they are continuous through the summer followed by pretty hips in the autumn.

This is Gentle Hermione - ohhhhh, how I love this rose! She's outside the kitchen window surrounded with lavender and a few wild flowers, and replaces a light blocking conifer the previous owners had planted to hide the water tap. Though it didn't really hide anything.

We also have a Rambling Rector - I had to move him from his original position where he just sulked, and he is now getting quite uppity but not flowering yet. Last but not least is Zephirine Drouhin who promises lovely flowers when she is settled in but is as yet a bit reluctant to scramble much. Maybe it's time to threaten her ...

I still have a hankering for Blairi, but Bear won't let me grow anything prickly over the oil tank - something to do with the oil tank man suing us if he hurts himself - and we're currently out of vertical supports. Mum and Dad have lots and lots of roses - they did tell me how many different varieties once, and it's scary - so we have a long way to go. Best get building then!


  1. I love your roses, it makes me wish we had some but I never seem to have much luck with them. No matter what I always seem to end up killing them.

    On a separate note I can't find an email address for you. Please could you email me caroline at dolliedaydream.co.uk?

  2. LOVE your roses post! (I did one yesterday--everyone's coming up roses--LOL!) What do you do to keep them so perfect? Our roses are being hard it with bugs at the moment, despite trying to keep them at bay. The plants bloom, but the leaves--oh, the sad leaves with black spot, etc. Seeing your roses gives me hope that ours might be saved yet! Happy Days! :o)


Thank you for leaving me some feedback! I love reading your comments and I do my best to reply to them. If Blogger gives me your email address, or if I can find one on your blog I'll try to reply by email; otherwise I'll reply in the comments here.