Tip of the Iceberg

This is not about lettuce.

As I have been banned from buying any more clematis, terracotta pots or climbing roses by my other half, I thought the relationship would survive if I restrained myself to breaking just two of those three rules in a recent trip to the garden centre. We didn’t go with any purpose in mind (does there need to be a reason to go to the garden centre!?), it just seems to be the default place to go, when others would go to the pub or a restaurant,  theme park or night club, we go to garden centres.

At said garden centre, walking along I naturally head towards a few favourite areas such as pots, climbers and hot tubs. Along one particular row were roses and they were potted but pruned for the winter. I looked down the rows of labels and there it was, Rosa Iceberg (climbing).

This is a well-known and well-regarded climbing rose, introduced in 1968 it has remained in cultivation since, presumably due to its popularity. Masses of lightly scented, pure white flowers that go on and on, what’s not to like? Indeed, the person next to me, looking at the same set of roses commented that the one they had was, “brilliant, very highly recommended”. It has been on my shopping list for a couple of years and with scant disregard for the rules, it went into the trolley and came home with us.

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Unlike several other roses that are currently in a queue to be planted, temporarily heeled-in until their permanent home is ready, Rosa Iceberg already has a section of prepared border and its own rose tower ready and waiting. It will be at the back-end of The Crescent, right on the edge of the “designed” garden, which is the line where the borders and my ideas finish and the original half of the garden resumes.

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While the rose tower is a little short for Iceberg, there will be a Laburnum tree (currently heeled-in as well) planted not too far away for it to scramble the rest of the way when they both eventually become large enough. This part of the garden is very wet and waterlogged for a lot of the winter so I’m hoping the rose doesn’t mind too much. The “permanent wet” layer of soil isn’t too deep here and in some instances, we’ve noticed when new shrubs and tree roots have hit this layer and they’ve suddenly shot up like a rocket, I’m hoping Iceberg will do the same. I’m not sure of the rose will flower next summer, as it has to wrestle with and get above the Philadelphus planted in front of it, but I’m looking forward to a tower of rose flower power in a few years’ time.

8 Comments


  1. I always try to go to nurseries with a list and to limit myself to no more than one impulse purchase. But I can’t imagine how it breaks any rules to buy a plant that has been on your list for years 😉

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    1. Hello Jean, I try and look at it that way too, there are a lot of plants that have been on my list for a long time and you can’t apply the rules retrospectively!

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  2. Break the rules, Sunil! This will be a fabulous addition to your already gorgeous garden. 🙂 I just bought several plants the other day that I had no true idea of where they’d go but I found the perfect spot. Sometimes, you just have to follow your heart. 🙂

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    1. Hello Tammy, I hope this rose does well, as long as it can get above the Philadelphus in front of it, it should be fine, I’m hoping it will scrabble through it, the flowers will be the same colour but the two scents should be lovely together. We have been turning down buying too many plants recently as we don’t have border space prepared to put them in and don’t want them languishing on the patio with the nomadic collection.

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  3. So you just had to have it? I know, I know! There are things that are going into the garden here, they just don’t know it yet! Gooseneck loosestrife is one of them……
    Fingers crossed for the Iceberg Sunil – I look forward to seeing it in full flower next year sometime, even if it’s only a couple of feet tall by then.

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    1. Hello Mrs Mac, it was at a price I couldn’t refuse as well and that clinched it for me. Climbers take a few years to get going but I’m still hoping for it to flower next year, even if it might be at ankle level!

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  4. Sunil, Myra and myself share your leisure activities in having the garden centre as our default place to go to.
    When we moved to our first house with a garden way back in 1969 we received a job lot of floribunda roses from a friend which contained Iceberg, not the climbing one. Hope yours performs as well as ours did.

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    1. Thanks, Alistair, I hope it does too. Roses do take a few years to get going so the ones we have are all relatively young and unfortunately, I’m just not organised to get all the different roses from around the garden together and put them in a vase to appreciate them all.

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