A few posts ago I wrote about a June trip to Mottisfont, home of the National Collection of old-fashioned roses, where the overall effect was so overwhelming, it gave me an out-of-body horticultural experience before I even got to the ticket booth. Coming back to my own garden I realised that while I can’t compete with a National Collection, I’m not slacking in the rose department either; though they’re all at various stages of growth – with some still in pots, waiting to be planted and others just establishing after being planted as bare root in the winter – many are coming into flower and the effect is eye-catching and promises to be jaw-dropping in future years as these “Queen of flowers” mature.
Rosa Gertrude Jekyll in the front garden.
In the front garden, a “Teasing Georgia” and “Gertrude Jekyll” are planted either side of the ornamental cherry. Both are flowering well despite having suffered from deer with a case of the munchies in spring, they have gradually recovered and are dotted all over with flowers. “Teasing Georgia” has Clematis “The President” growing through it – rather it did have – the small, single-stemmed clematis I planted snapped close to the base in windy weather. Thankfully it has survived and there are new leaves emerging from the only leaf nodes the poor plant was left with. The clematis is currently far, far smaller than it was when originally purchased, which is about right when it comes to my record with Clematis.
Miniature patio rose planted in the border.
The Rosa Banksiae Lutea isn’t showing much sign of growth, but don’t let this lull you into a false sense of security. It spends a whole season not really doing much or getting anywhere and just when you think it’s never going to change, it throws up a thick rose cane as tall as the house in a single summer. This is what the last one did and I don’t expect this one will be any different. At the moment all there is, is a mass of leaves mingled with the Wisteria to show for my efforts.
Wisteria Floribunda and Rosa Banksiae Lutea getting to know each other.
Madame Alfred Carrière is a rose from the past; we saw this at Mottisfont and remarked on just how large it can get. It has a fragrance that I immediately associate with rose gardens, sunny days out, gentle walks and pleasurable perambulating ending in cream teas and cake. This is a rose with sentimental value that transports me to happy days in the past when I smell it. At the moment, it seems to be done flowering and has put on a lot of fresh green growth that we will tie in later in the summer.
Rosa Strawberry Hill readying a second flowering flush.
Strawberry Hill has made a spectacular show this year after putting on some impressive spring growth. This was planted when Magnolia Hill was created and it seems to be making up for lost time after spending 2014 in a pot on the patio. The flowers are informal and smell of hand cream. It’s a wonderful rose that can be seen wrapped round its obelisk from all windows at the back of the house. This will be one to watch (and smell) in subsequent years.
The Bay Window Border is planted with seven roses that went in as bare root this winter just gone after the whole border itself was rejuvenated. The hard work with tilling the soil has paid off though, with all roses going in for flowering this year. “Olivia Rose Austin” has exquisite flowers, each one framed by an ordered outer circle of petals giving way to a ruffled interior. “Princess Alexandra of Kent” has huge fragrant flowers that are too heavy for the stems to hold up. “Munstead Wood” is a sumptuous deep red where the flower itself looks to be made of velvet. “Jude the Obscure” is on the verge of opening, “Wollerton Old Hall” has clusters of flowers that are too heavy to be held up, just like “The Generous Gardener”. A lovely perfume casually wafts into the house on warm days when the lounge windows are left open.
You now need a 3-section ladder to reach the top of Rosa Kiftsgate.
The dragons – rambling roses planted at the back of the garden – are taking their time to get established. “Rambling Rector” is suffering with a lack of sun and continually being nibbled by deer. We have had to protect it with some wire fencing to give it a break and let it grow more than two feet off the ground. “Alberic Barbier” needs tying to the tree and keeps throwing up new canes that the deer help themselves to. “Kiftsgate” on the other hand, has one cane that had grown very tall, to the point of having to get the three-section ladder out to guide the top into the wire framework that I wrapped around the tree last year. “New Dawn” is waiting to be planted and “Paul’s Himalayan Musk” is heeled into a temporary bed waiting to be planted in the winter.
There are a couple of other roses about too, bringing the total to about twenty or so. It’s scary that I’ve so easily managed to get to this many without effort. I’ve been banned from buying more, but I know that’s only temporary.
Rosa “Graham Thomas” giving a second spectacular flowering flush
The garden in July is very much that of roses.