I’ve made quite a decision this week after visiting a friend’s charity garden party last Saturday – the bed below is going to be filled with roses! The great bonus to visiting other gardens is that there is always at least one eureka moment when you suddenly see a solution you can apply to your own haven. My friend has a round bed – he has filled it with a lovely pale yellow shrub rose and it looks really effective.
I’ve previously tried several planting ideas in this bed in our garden – wildflower seed has failed twice (think it’s either too fertile or the birds got the seed) cosmos ‘Purity’ (grew too big and unruly for such a neat bed), low bedding (hard work and I didn’t really like it) and lavender (ok, but not enough impact as the hedge is quite high). So the only plant currently in the bed is the lovely little daffodil ‘tete a tete’ and for most of the year, I’ve got bare soil.
So having made the decision on what to plant my dilemma is now in selecting the right rose. Do I go for a muted scheme – the side garden is very green by choice, and I have two white roses planted already. Or do I go for a statement colour? One thing I am absolutely certain about is fragrance – it has to be strong.
A trip to David Austin Roses in Albrighton has helped with my selection. However, before visiting, I searched through their website and also made use of the on-line help facility (which was excellent) and I had whittled the choice down to four roses with a strong fragrance and a full grown size of around 3ft x 3ft spread – all different colours.
A visit to David Austin to buy a rose includes a walk around the stunning gardens – they are filled with roses and you can get a good idea about how an individual rose looks fully grown. There were several (not on my list) I really liked the look of, but were either too tall (‘Tottering by Gently’ ‘Lady of Shalott’ and ‘Scarborough Fair’) or with only a light/medium fragrance (‘Roald Dahl’, ‘Darcy Bussell’ and ‘Grace’).
After perusing the garden, it was on to the shop – my preference at this point was rosa “Lady Emma Hamilton’ – you can see that I was steering towards a statement colour to really stand out. This David Austin English rose also has interesting dark stems, and the flowers themselves go through a few colour stages as the bloom and fade – it’s a good choice.
Unfortunately one on the list was not in flower – ‘Blue for You’, in the garden or in the one remaining pot in stock. However, this one is very compact and in fact I don’t think it’s quite right for the effect I want to achieve. In addition, if it isn’t in flower now, then maybe its repeater properties are not that good? Gorgeous colour though!
Rosa de Rescht, an old rose, was unfortunately out of stock – this looks like a stunning rose, but I couldn’t find it in the garden. As I haven’t yet seen it, I can’t rule it out!
Finally, with some help from a staff member, I tracked down the white rose on the list – ‘Margaret Merril’ – it is a stunning floribunda, covered in blooms and a fabulous scent.
As you can see – I’m not much further forward in making a choice – I’ve still got three potentials!
This isn’t a bad thing however, as I’m not yet ready for my next dilemma – when to plant. I could buy potted roses and plant them now to satisfy my impatient nature – this option would be very costly and also time consuming as I would be watering daily for months, particularly if we get a hot dry spell. I could alternatively wait until November and buy them bare rooted – my problem is that once I’ve decided to do something I really want to just get on with it! I’ll keep you posted……