Wednesday, 1 June 2011

A Rose By Any Other Name Would Smell As Sweet

Having spent another morning wrestling with the brass in St. M's I was too tired on my return home to tackle the very necessary dead-heading of my roses.

Four days ago they looked truly fabulous and smelled even more so, today, after heavy rain and very strong winds a couple of days ago they are somewhat battered.

This however, does not in any way detract from the gorgeous, heady overwhelming perfume of most of them.

In the small, overgrown, weed-choked front garden "Rhapsody in Blue" is rioting in all it's slate-blue faded violet glory.  The perfume from the front door-step (the wind is in the right direction today) is superb,

"Deep Secret" and "Josephine Bruce" are at their dark red best, " Zepheryn Drouhin" around the front door Leaves bitten by mildew sends its soft sweet meessage to anyone brave enough to enter the dragon's den.

There are many, many more, in the front and twice as many in the back garden, clashing colours but universally admired favourites such as "Weilschenblau" Blairie No 2, (weird name that), and "Alan Titchmarsh" all sending wafts of sweetness into the still chilly air.

But (yes I know sentances shouldn't begin with but, but, most of mine do) the most exquisite scent of all comes from a lovely dark - almost black - red rose called "Tradescant".

This rose above all others, epitomises for me what the love of roses is all about, it is deeply whorled and intricately quatrefoiled with dozens of small petals and mine is currently growing through a half-dead buddliea.  On the rare occasions when everything works as it should, the dark red against the soft green foliage and long pale mauve 'tails' of the buddliea looks utterly enchanting, and the perfume is enough to send the unwary deeply unconcious.

One day soon I hope to acquire the necessary skill to use my digital camera (don't know how) and take and post some pictures of my lovely lovely roses (don't know how to do that either).

If only I had even half the success with the computer and allied technical gadgets that I have as a gardener I might really feel as though I belonged in this century, instead of being merely a byestander.


  1. As a fellow rose gardener, I'm hoping you'll figure out the digital camera and uploading pictures thing sooner rather than later!

    Every year, I love the riot of roses and then remember that I have to deadhead them. I do have a few that are self-cleaning, but most are not. It's worth it, though!

  2. I only have a couple of roses on our very exposed hill-side site in Mid-Wales, but one of them is the truly glorious climber Gloire de Dijon, with its dense, double-petalled creamy-yellowy-pinky blooms and wonderful scent. It's a mass of flowers already, definitely earlier than usual.

    See if you can get David or another technogeek at your church to show you how to manage your camera and upload the pictures. It's a shame not to be able to share your roses with an appreciative audience, even minus their perfume.

  3. I look forward to seeing your pictures too. You have mastered the blog -pictures follow the logic of Blogger too.
    We too love roses. Josephine Bruce is my all time favourite. We love Zepheryn D. too. Just cut some Madame Alfred Carriere from garden wall so that the room smells lovely for housegroup tonight. Have you got any Great gardens near you to visit. We just have Burton Agnes

  4. The weather is so wet and wintry up hee in the Highlands not a rose has ventured out yet!

  5. Penny
    A garden without roses would be unthinkable for me, though to be honest, the rest of the garden is a bit of a disaster zone at present. Still, little by little, then on to the photography (I hope)

  6. Perpetua
    I know Gloire de Dijon well, my dad used to grow it. It's as robust as it is beautifull which is just as well in an exposed position.
    I'm sure David will help, he is not only very well equipped to do so technically, but also kindness itself.

  7. We are all agreed - go and get lessons on how to use your digital camera!!! I was only saying to one of my lovely Golden Oldies (as I call them to their face at Thames View Residential Lodge)as I walked her past the rose garden 'I do so love roses when they are grown by someone else!' so please lets have some photos and prebably 'scratch and smell' ones! :)) take care, Judyx

  8. sorry that is suppose to read 'prefably' even then I don't think I spell it right!! oh well back to packing

  9. Margaret
    I do intend to master the photography thing but it may take a while - we'll see.
    No there are no gardens of note nearby, but nearby means different things to those who drive and those who do not.
    John used to drive me to all the private garden visits arranged by the U3A garden group I belonged to, and some of them were fabulous.
    My horizons have, of necessity, shrunk recently.

  10. Tootallburd
    I don't blame them. If you were a rose would you?
    Hope it warms and dries up for you soon.

  11. Judy
    I will do my best but it won't be instant success I fear.
    As to the spelling of preferably, my blog looks as though an illiterate three year old has written it half the time ( I have a problem with 'double ll, wonderfull, beautifull etc) and as for the typos well some times they make more sense than the original.

  12. Oh, I love roses, can't have too many of them. Have bought one today at Bodnant Gardens, Wales
    Ray, never too late to learn to use your digital camera, and to drive. It will open out your world even further. I hate driving too, decided to try "forgetting" how to when we moved from the US to the UK, but alas, necessity forced me to get my licence a couple of years ago. It is scary, but doable with a good gentle instructor. I can suggest a wonderful reassuring gifted instructor in his late 50ies who lives in Abingdon, OX.

  13. Anita Hi
    Too many roses, no, I agree, not possible. (How's that for a row of double negatives?)
    I will work on the camera - my next task - But the driving is not on the agenda. I tried 10 lessons, no mean feat at my age, and that was enough to convince me to settle for buses, taxis and when on offer, the occasional lift.

  14. Ray,
    Can you recommend a scented climbing rose?

  15. Anita
    There are literally dozens. It depends whether you want large flowers, clusters of smaller ones, what colour you prefer and what you mean by climing.
    For instance, Kiftsgate is a white single-petalled cluster flowered climber which has been known to reach 40 or 50 feet.
    Paul's Himalayan Musk is a pale pink larger flowered climber which reachesa 30 or so feet.
    There are climbing versions of many hybrid teas, including Gertrude Jekyll large deep pink
    Etoile d'Holland dark red and on an on.
    Really the best thing you can do is either visit a few growers gardens, Peter Beales, mattocks, David Austin or see their catalogues and make your choice from those,
    One thing to remember is that many climbers have only one lot of bloom in a season others are repeat flowering.
    The ones I love are not necessarily the best for other people's situations.
    Sorry to be inconclusive.