And then came the roses …



Unfortunately, the rain accompanied the roses – and continues (endlessly). The tomatoes are unplanted (just as well, the blight would get them), the french beans unsown. Weeds as high as an elephant’s eye on the veggie patch, with barely a thing to eat (aside from some rather gorgeous broad beans and lettuce). Of that more in another post …

In the Iris Garden, as I’ve already mentioned, ‘Souvenir de la Malmaison’ is a washout this year. (But splendid in 2015 – she stays!). But Bourbon rose ‘Blairii No. 2’ was ploughing manfully on when I took my photographs on a nice evening that seems light years away now.



It was recommended to me by the late Peter Beales when I visited his nursery many moons ago, while I was living in East Anglia. This is the second time I’ve planted it and I never regret taking his advice, even though it only flowers once. Needs a lot of restraining/hacking twice a year because it’s so vigorous.

Meanwhile, I’m so glad that I took pictures of the Rose Walk before it was completely devastated and drowned. Sigh … there’s always next year. I don’t have many pictures of this area of the garden in full flower. It’s difficult to take pictures in there once everything is as good as it gets (although it smells fabulous when you walk among the blooms – and that was the point, after all).

Who is responsible for this mess? Roses having a riot.



At the entrance you push your way through (too many) nigella, oriental poppy ‘Karine’, chives, Nepeta mussinii ‘Six Hills Giant’ and Allium christophii. There’s also a fair number of corncockles (Agrostemma githago) self-seeding around, I’m pleased to say. But now that they’ve jumped over into the Long Border, they must be ruthlessly removed from the Rose Walk. (Who am I kidding?)



And the first rose on your left is David Austin’s ‘Eglantyne’. The only rose left here that I’ve any fears about. Last year there was a spurt of growth after the main flowering. I cut things back around her continually – once she gets her head up properly, I hope she’ll be away (providing she survives the nigella assault). So pretty …


Then reliable DA rose ‘Munstead Wood’ …




And Centifolia ‘Fantin Latour’. I love him. So vigorous and disease-resistant, with beautifully  shaped blooms. Even in all this awful weather, perfect. (Just as well, because he’s on the way out for 2016!)



Last year I added two clematis to the Rose Walk. The one next to ‘Fantin Latour’ is ‘Mme Julia Correvon’.



There’s another, probably a little too close to ‘Eglantyne’. The semi-herbaceous ‘Warszowska Nike’.


To the left of ‘Fantin Latour’, Alba rose ‘Celestial’ is flowering already, but more on the south-facing aspect down to the Long Border. The other Alba rose, Great Maiden’s Blush or ‘Cuisse de Nymph’, is only just in bud.


‘Gertrude Jekyll’ is finally pulling it off this year. A year ago she was engaged in the same struggle as ‘Eglantyne’



Just along from ‘Gertrude Jekyll’ is DA’s’William Shakespeare’. Again a question of getting your head up high enough to compete with the crowd. I’m a little disappointed in this rose as the colour (to my mind) is much a much harsher red than the very similar ‘Munstead Wood’.


Is there another white rose more perfect than ‘Madame Hardy’?  Do you have a favourite white I could add to my collection? (Note to self: need to learn how to photograph white roses!)


‘Madame Isaac Pereire’, a Bourbon rose and therefore repeat-flowering,  has a lovely bloom, but she’s prone to black spot. Next year I think I’m going to be more careful about collecting affected foliage and mulching.


Appearing from a veil of nigella and trying to lift her head up from the crowd is ‘Louise Odier’, one of the newest and planted in 2014.

A strong grower and with little sign of the wretched black spot that afflicts ‘Mme Isaac Pereire’. Also a repeat-flowering Bourbon.


Facing Louise is ‘Belle de Crecy’ – no disease problems in the rain, but flowering less well this year. This is a Gallica rose, the only one in the garden. I think they prefer light soils, but I noticed in the autumn last year that Belle had started spreading around in her allotted border.


The last rose in the Rose Walk is ‘Boule de Neige’. Another Bourbon added at the same time as ‘Louise Odier’. I’m tending in their direction, amongst the old-fashioned roses, because they repeat through the summer after a good initial flush in June. But I wish it would get its act together and do something other than produce lots of (rain-drenched) flowers on top of spindly sticks. It was so sulky in the rain that I didn’t bother to take its picture.

Lurking around here are foxgloves starting to spread themselves …


And oriental poppy ‘Patty’s Plum’. This picture is as good as I’m going to get this year. The buds keep rotting off in the rain, but at least I’ve had a glimpse of that perfect colour before they rot.


There was a super Crambe cordifolia coming into bloom at the end of the Rose Walk. The one massive inflorescence was first bowed and then finally broken by the rain – as you will see if you read my ‘Vase on Monday‘.



At the end of our Rose Walk, to the right behind the short length of hornbeam hedge, is our garden gate. It gives on to the grassy village lane down to the river (up which the bull came ‘exploring’ a week or so ago).



The lane hasn’t been strimmed for a while, so not looking quite so tempting for an evening walk (unless you are a bull, of course).

I’ve planted several roses inside the garden along this wall, hoping that I’ll be able to train them over the wall and allow everyone who uses the lane to enjoy them. No doubt the flowers will be better on the other side!

Next to the gate is once-flowering modern climber ‘Alchymist’. A really good year for the rose, finally more than one or two flowers – pity about the rain. You may already have seen it’s portrait in my End of Month View for May, but just a reminder.



The other two roses against this wall are …

‘Ghislaine de Feligonde’. I love the way the almost orange buds and young flowers fade to pale yellow. It’s a very short rambler that could be used as a pillar rose. In a sense that’s what I’m trying to do with it, because it is planted against a buttress in the wall. Not looking her best here, but I hope you get the picture.


And finally ‘Abraham Darby’. Still too low-growing to be enjoyable, but the manure mulch and feed I gave him this spring has produced great upright shoots. A very tall rose that can be trained as a climber on a lowish wall (mine is). No picture – he’s currently ‘resting’ and will hopefully reappear with a little sunshine.

Soon I hope to complete the record of roses in my garden for 2016 with pictures of the roses in the Long Border and the once-flowering ramblers elsewhere.

32 thoughts on “And then came the roses …

  1. sophos

    Beautiful! I’ve definitely been bitten by the rose bug. And speaking of bugs: after reading about neonics via your blog a few weeks ago, I wrote to the company I’ve ordered mine from, Kordes Rosen here in Germany. I had a prompt reply that stated that, although they see themselves forced to use insecticides every few years when aphids get the upper hand and the quality of the plants starts to suffer, they don’t use neonics, havent used any insecticides on their breeding areas since the 80’s, and are developing a 100% pesticide free (organic, if you wish) collection for this Autumn. I thought that was very encouraging! They ship to the rest of Europe, too.

    1. Cathy Post author

      That’s terrific – aren’t you a star to pursue this and very good news about the Kordes roses! You given me a sharp reminder that my own letters MUST be written this week, so thanks!

  2. Christina

    Oh this is what a rose garden should be. Well done, interesting what you said about some preferring lighter soil, I should Lois at those as most roses hate my soul and only ever want to flower once.

  3. Island Threads

    despite the weather Cathy they look wonderful, it seems weird that you now have the rain and though the rain is back here it is much lighter than the last 2 summers, so I totally understand your frustration of seeing beautiful flowers being destroyed by wind and rain, I hope you get better weather soon, I love all the under planting as well as the roses, that riot and profusion of foliage and flower, at least another month before it happens here, if you can enjoy the perfumes then you must be getting warm weather at least, I can only imagine, Frances

    1. Cathy Post author

      Admittedly not that much perfume in the rain this year, Frances … but it looks as if we may be in for a better week.

  4. Tina

    I’d have to agree with Frances! While you show some photos of plants obviously damaged by too much of the wet stuff, overall, your garden is just magnificent. Each photo, each pathway is such a treat to behold. Good job and I do hope you get to enjoy the garden, while not getting too wet.

      1. Cathy Post author

        Thanks so much for enjoying and commenting Eliza. It is rather lovely, to my eye … and glad it pleased you too.

  5. Chloris

    What a lovely post, I shall come back and look at it again. You grow all my favourite roses. They are absolute heaven and grown just how I like them in romantic profusion. Madame Isaac Pereire is always a martyr to blackspot and yet this is the rose that all the books say you have to grow for the most heavenly scent. I have given up on her. I love the flowers of Blairi no. 2 but it never grew very well for me and always had terrible blackspot. Your rose all look so healthy. If you like single roses and have room for a climber Rosa laevigata ‘ Cooperi’ is superb. Huge pure white flowers and shiny green foliage which is always healthy. A really wonderful rose.

    1. Cathy Post author

      Yes – I was looking at Mme Isaac Pereire yesterday and wondering if the struggle was worth it (I don’t really like spraying). Still, I will give her another year or so. It’s normally much, much drier here. The only problem I’ve really noticed with Blairii No. 2 is mildew later in the summer after flowering is over and the new growth is produced (in too much abundance!) I have looked at R. ‘Cooperi’ on your suggestion – glorious (and yes, I do like single-flowered roses, not many here so far). It is slightly tender so it would need a rampart wall higher up in the garden. They seem to give out a good dose of warmth and comfort, even in winter, because they are south-facing. It may well be on my autumn 2016 shopping list. Thanks so much for the suggestion!

      1. Chloris

        I know it is supposed to be slightly tender but I have never had any frost damage on it, I grew it for years in my previous garden.

  6. Sam

    Beautiful roses. I’m going to have to read all this again and make notes! We only have a few unknown roses that we inherited here and I’m keen to add more. Your garden is looking luscious. Fingers crossed the rainclouds move on asap and you have glorious sunshine to enjoy it all.

    1. Cathy Post author

      Rain clouds moving on, fingers crossed! I’ve found it so helpful reading about roses performing in other people’s gardens. For health, repeat-flowering and colour, I’d say ‘Munstead Wood’ is the one that pleases me most (although there are other David Austins here that are really starting to come into their own). Fantin Latour for health and amazing flowers amongst the once-flowering, old roses. Hope you find some roses that suit you perfectly!

  7. Cathy

    Oh Cathy, I was trying to visualise what it must be like pushing your way through all your planting – must feel like heaven sometimes although not after it has been raining I suppose! It was so interesting to read about your roses and how they have performed – so far I haven’t noticed how the weather affects them here, apart from S de la M, but it is something I am getting more observant about. Do you deadhead all your roses, I wonder…?

    1. Cathy Post author

      No – not like heaven after it’s been raining. Light showers I can accept. Endless torrential downpours make life impossible. Further to deadheading – spent two hours in the garden deadheading and cutting herbaceous stuff back in glorious sunshine yesterday. It was such a joy, usually my gardening work is muddier and more back-breaking!

  8. karen

    Your garden has such a glorious atmosphere. It’s just beautiful, whatever the weather does to it. My garden is similarly suffering the deluge. It;s certainly spearing the roses into two groups- those that cope and those and just go to mush in the rain. I can highly recommend Pearl Drift which is white with pink flushed buds. Never needs spraying , and very little pruning. Can be grown as a shrub or a short climber. Repeat flowers, and copes with any amount of rain thrown at it.

  9. gardeninacity

    Your rose walk is absolutely marvelous, but beauty is a transitory thing. ‘Madame Hardy’ is indeed a wonderful white rose, though I would say ‘Sally Holmes’ is not her inferior.

    1. Cathy Post author

      I noticed ‘Sally Holmes’ this year on Christina’s ‘Creating my own garden of the Hesperides’ and am now thinking of adding it here. Your vote for her kind of confirms those thoughts. It’s a beautiful rose and I haven’t got enough single ‘wildy’ roses here.

  10. bittster

    Fantastic. Hope things have dried out a bit, but even with the rain it looks like a wonderland.
    I always enjoy seeing the hornbeam and yew sprigs showing up in your photos. I can only imagine how your garden will look over the next few years as plans come together. You have really accomplished so much already it will only get more wonderful.

    1. Cathy Post author

      It has dried up a bit! How nice that you notice the yew and hornbeam in the photos! I am nurturing my little yew hedge carefully and still puzzling how I am going to clip it. Hopefully in a few years time it will make a nice blocky background for the roses and herbaceous perennials.

  11. glebehouse

    Looks fantastic. We seem to have a large overlap on our roses. One to think about is Rosa ‘Crown Princess Margareta’ if you have not already planted one I am sure you would love it.

    1. Cathy Post author

      Thanks for visiting – I never did my part 2 on the roses (sometimes I just get left behind in trying to keep up with blogging!) But you are so right about the Crown Princess. I admired it on so many blogs last year that I planted one this winter.


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