I’m not a Rose aficionado in the same way I am an Iris aficionado despite my name(s) and my Mother’s passion for roses that saw the full length of one garden boundary fence smothered in them, I have avoided them for much of my life due to the often intense fragrance which would set me off in hayfevery sneezing fits. Though since my early 30’s that hasn’t been the case. Acupunture was my miracle cure. Consequently I have since gathered, tended and planted quite a number of them.
A few years back a gardening friend and I schlepped up to Wolverhampton, or close to, to the Gardens of great Rosarian David Austin. Expecting not much more than a large plant nursery and some gardens we were very pleasantly surprised by the enormous rose gardens, wonderfully stocked nursery and not least the large tea room!
The rose gardens were wonderful not only in layout and extent of roses but also for seeing how the variety grows, height, width, size of bloom and getting in the with the snout and smelling bloom after bloom. I wonder if one loses once sensitivity for scent after a certain number of sniffs?
That trip I chose three delicious plants. Christopher Marlowe, Summer Song and Jubilee Celebration. Two thrived, one sulked and then died. At the moment I am gardenless but have a temporary plot for beloved plants, they thrive there now along with a few others. Westerland (W. Kordes 1969), a Rosa x odorata Mutabilis and an unknown David Austin, possibly James Galway.
Tomorrow we’re heading north again (perfect rose time) and on the list this time are two, maybe three. A Shropshire Lad is up against Wollerton Old Hall and if I cannot contain myself it will be both and possibly an old Bourbon red and white (Ferdinand Pichard or Variegata di Bologna or or or, you can see the problem!). One of the great perks of designing gardens is choosing plants for clients and being able to select the perfect colour, shape and scent for the scheme.
I have put in a good few climbing roses but almost never a bush rose, (well once when, we planted an entire rose garden!). There are many great choices for climbers two favorites are City of York, does as well on a North face as on a South and the climbing Iceberg, but the choice is always garden and client specific.
I will probably never have fall back favourites, I will always be enchanted with exploring ‘new to me’ varieties.