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Saturday, May 17, 2008

Make time to smell the roses

This is the time of year when gardens and hedgerows look their best. Even along the M25 I marvelled at the lushness of the elderflower and the profusion of white frothy flowers on the cow parsley.
In my beloved rose garden, the roses have burst into flower. I have two types, both pink and both David Austin English roses: Gertrude Jekhyll (pictured), a deep pink that's both hardy and highly scented, and Sceptered Isle, paler pink cup shaped blooms. Both are inclined to be climbers so they get a bit leggy as summer progresses. At this time of year, they're in fine form with no pesky diseases. Although I must say this year I am eschewing sprays which are friendly to ladybirds etc in favour of chemical warfare, to try to prevent a recurrence of last year's black fly.

My love of roses came from my dad, Stamps. I was only about seven when, in driving rain, he painstakingly cut out a circular flower bed in the front lawn. For many years it was filled with roses. I remember going by in a coach on a Sunday school outing and Mrs Newnham remarking on the garden with the roses. I told her proudly it was mine.
Stamps loved Ena Harkness, a deep red, highly scented, which is quite disease prone and has a bad habit, so it's not a rose many plant nowadays. That one sprawled over the back fence. It wasn't a very profuse bloomer: literally one magnificent flush and that was that, whereas my Austin roses start in April or May and happily perform until October. He also loved Wendy Cussons, a pink. I remember the arrival of Superstar, a new genre of highly coloured, highly perfumed hybrid tea roses. Shockingly vermillion, my mum thought it was a bit loud. Meanwhile she and Stamps both had an irrational dislike for Iceberg, which I thought was a shame so I used to put my egg shells around it.
My grandma loved Peace and not surprisingly this was the rose that we insisted on at the garden of remembrance, although it never really flourished.

1 comment:

Debsg said...

Gorgeous roses. They always remind me of my childhood. Our garden was full of roses back then. Deb x