Garden Blog - Blog Post

A Fan of Roses


It may only be late August, but the weather has gone right ahead to late November anyway. Driving rain, cold, dull days and overwhelming wet means that we’re really delayed on digging the borders. In between downpours, we’re managing to do little maintenance jobs such as dead-heading here and there, potting on little plants, tidying the border edges and just recently, retraining a climbing rose growing against the fence.

Madame Alfred Carriere Year 2At one end of the side border is planted Rosa Madame Alfred Carrère, a white, fragrant, old-fashioned, Noisette rose planted only last year. I haven’t really been keeping this border watered and despite the competition from all the plants in this border and those on the other side of the fence, the rose has established nicely and even flowered earlier in the year when the weather was warm. As the summer bore on, the rose looked increasingly messy and leggy until we decided to take a morning to untie the rose entirely from the fence and re-tie it to create a new framework.

The result is a graceful curving main stem off which fan several stems that are trained onto the horizontal wires. As the rose is so young, this shape may only last a year of two until the rose matures and begins to throw up mature-sized canes. Rosa Madame Alfred Carrère is a large rose, growing to eight metres tall and the fence is really far too short but I’m hoping I can divert its vertical energies to growing horizontally as the fence is several meters long and I would like this rose to cover most of it.

This rose has strong sentimental value in that it reminds us of a favourite National Trust property we used to visit often close by where we used to live. The sweet, almost fruity fragrance of this rose transports me back to when we used to amble about this property and gardens, have picnics on the lawns, eat ice-cream and sit, enjoying the sunshine. There are several plants that are strongly associated with places, memories and experiences and this rose is associated with some of the most dearest. I’m looking forward to seeing this rose grow and establish and flower along the fence, just as a similar one does in a place and time that is now far away.


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Sunil Patel

I'm Sunil Patel, this is me. I created the Garden at 13 Broom Acres and I open it to visitors. I also bake and write blog posts giving a "behind the scenes" look into what it's like to maintain such a garden.

Visit the blog, then come and visit the garden. We can have a good sit-down, a jolly chinwag and a relaxing cup of tea with a sinfully generous slice of home made cake.

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susan maclean 25/08/2015 - 10:48 pm

That little side border is looking very healthy, beneath the rose….. good-oh! My own roses are not doing at all well this year, have to have a rethink about feed I think. That white rose is going to look good on the fence like that, I’m sure it will be successful sideways rather than up.

Sunil 26/08/2015 - 6:13 pm

Hello Mrs Mac, I really wish I had taken a picture of the original because the transformation is really impressive from how it was at the start. I’m hoping Ms Carrière will grow and mature in the coming years to be a summer show-stopper.

Sarah Shoesmith 26/08/2015 - 9:13 am

Madame Alfred Carrière is a beautiful rose. I am very fond of it. Our first garden after we were married was a walled garden and I grew it up the wall and it covered it in no time. I like the idea of growing it across your fence, it should flower well like that and since it is a plant you love, spending time with it and keeping it under control will be a pleasure, not a chore. It’s always lovely to have plants which mean something.

Sunil 26/08/2015 - 6:22 pm

Hello Sarah, there are several plants in the garden that either mean something, or are among my favourites that are gaining sentimental value as they grow. Years down the line, this could be a garden filled with as many memories as it is plants.

casa mariposa 27/08/2015 - 2:46 am

Wise move to retie the rose. I took out yet another rose this year due to blackspot so the few I have left are treasured. Your climber will be beautiful against that green fence.

Sunil 12/09/2015 - 11:01 am

Hi Tammy, that’s such a shame. All my roses have black spot to some degree no matter how resistant they are supposed to be. It’s something that I have to manage and try not to let get out of hand. I’m looking forward to this and all the other roses next year too. The shrub roses planted in the front are still flowering on-and-off!

gardeninacity 29/08/2015 - 4:15 am

Looks like that rose will make a beautiful display on that wall next year.

Sunil 12/09/2015 - 11:02 am

Hello Jason, I hope so too. I think it will need re-tying in occasionally as it grows to it’s mature size, but I’ll be keeping this kind of fan shape as best I can.

aberdeen gardening 08/09/2015 - 5:30 pm

Sunil, Madame Alfred Carrière, we have also planted it on the trellis fence in our back garden. You have certainly made a grand job of fanning it out, I will try and follow your example, very difficult as I haven’t really given it the room it deserves.

Sunil 12/09/2015 - 11:04 am

Hello Alistair, I hope it does well for you on the back trellis in your garden, it is a lovely rose and one of the best aspects against having it against the fence like this is that it’s close to the kitchen door and right against the path so you can get close to it and smell the flowers.

Clair Lewis 13/08/2021 - 6:27 pm

Hi Sunil, did you manage to train Mme Carriere to grow along your fence and if so, how difficult was it to keep her in check? Thinking of something similar, but our fence borders with a pavement

Sunil 13/08/2021 - 9:25 pm

Hi Clair, I did manage to train it to grow along the fence, but it only does so reluctantly because I put a plastic greenhouse in front of it that shades it. I ended up directing it up to the house and it grows along the wall. It is a very vigorous rose and easily reaches the roof. For along the pavement you’ll want at least one foot, maybe two of width between the pavement and the fence because it will grow outward and this amount of space will give it some room to leaf and flower. If you need something that has to stay tighter against the fence then a clematis might be a better bet otherwise you’ll be continually pruning the rose (and cutting flowering stems off).


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