The Queen has arrived: the rose season has started
– Zur deutschen Version – Having taken a strong dislike to roses very early on in life, it took many years before I accepted them back. I still don’t think they make a great contribution to the garden as a plant, unless they are in flower, or covered in rosehips. They rarely have a good shape, mostly their form is ruined through pruning, and with time they develop stout, prickly stems with knobbly joints where they have been pruned in the past.
Our tender treasures
Saying all that, I have been enjoying these past weeks being greeted by one familiar sight after the other, as the season slowly comes into full swing. At the Garden Academy there are two not very hardy China roses I brought over from my previous garden in English which have been tucked into the most sheltered corner. Here they have established well. They get severely knocked by frost in the harder winters during the past 12 years, but the recent mild winters have been very kind to them. Both are single, relatively small flowered, but for that they are very profuse and particularly the red ‘Bengal Crimson’ will, in a mild climate, flower all year round. We are not that lucky, but, having flowered up to Christas, she took only about 3 months off before starting again.
Similarly, the first scattering of flowers has already faded on ‘Mutabilis’ which starts off pink fading to apricot as the flowers mature. I prefer not to prune these shrubs, and let them become tall (2m or more), slightly unruly shrubs, with great character. Next to those is another tender special climber ‘Coopers Burmese’ (Rosa laevigata ‘Cooperi’) with large single white flowers and glossy dark green leaves. The hope is that it will cover the roof of building one day, its strong new shoots are promising.
The great dames
The root house is reaching its peak at the moment. The South-easterly façade has been slowly covered by three totally different climbers. Central stage is a very blousy, large flowered semi-double Rosa ‘Madame Grégoire Staechelin’. Pink and strongly scented, she is always the first. Though only once-flowering, she produces huge rosehips in the autumn.
Similar in character is ‘Madame Alfred Carrière’, probably my favourite climber. When not pruned too hard, she is always one of the first climbers to start flowering, and will continue to produce her large, loosely filled creamy coloured flowers that are heavenly scented into the autumn. She is a large climber, in need of a tall wall.
Roses with nodding flowerheads
Peopl are sometimes quick to criticise some of the David Austin hybrids as some tend to let their heads nod down. Both the above two Dames tend to do so too, and for a climbing rose, this is actually a great benefit as you can look up into the flower, rather than up its back side.
Therefore, a climbing ‘Graham Thomas’ is just the right plant to grow up an arch or a pillar.
On the righthand corner of the roothouse is ‘Climbing Cécile Brunner’ in total contrast to the large blousy dames. Her charming miniature pale pink rosebuds open into fluffily filled, deliciously scented small pompoms. These dainty flowers belie her true character: in reality she is quite a beast. With great vigour she will produce strong new dark red shoots generously covered with thorns. She requires quite a bit of pruning to keep her under control (and she’s quite a prickly candidate!) On the opposite corner of the building, is another vigorous Rose – this one a repeat-flowering rambler: The white, filled ‘Guirlande d’Amour’. She is always a few weeks later than the other two, starting when ‘Madame Grégoire Staechelin’ is nearing the end.
I apologize if you think I am repeating myself – I have written about some of these roses in the past, but they never fail to charm me so that I have to share them with you in the hope of convincing you to plant them. There are more roses coming into flower in the coming weeks so that more Blogs will be dedicated to them!