Wars of the Roses

CIMG1465I thought that the Danse du Feu roses that I see when I look out of the kitchen windows and to the right were the best they had ever been last year, but I am not sure even then they were a patch on this year’s, bowed down though they are by the rain today. If I look out of the kitchen windows to the left, facing them across the paved area like massed armies during the Wars of the Roses, is Rambling Rector, certainly none the worse for the severe cutbacks his troops have endured, and perhaps with less than half the buds have opened yet. His rambling is very much delayed this year, as he is often in full flower in the first week of June, but we are not complaining – he definitely has a spring in his step after the surgery last year and as well as losing all the dead wood we have regained flowers at nose and eye level.

CIMG1466Rain has affected play again today as well as waiting in for a courier, so like yesterday I found myself grabbing gardening opportunities when I could. I have potted on all the tomatoes in the greenhouse, and unlike the flower seedlings which I didn’t pot on early enough I have relearned the benefits of potting on the tomatoes gradually even when it looks as if the seedlings have got plenty of room in the seedtray. Most of my flower seedlings will have been too weak to survive being planted out, but the tomatoes are all strong and sturdy plants. My mental list of jobs is growing, and most involve trimming and deadheading – but I will also need to move this lovely geranium, G. pratense ‘Summer Skies’, which has ended up right at the front of one of the borders where it is too tall and lax and badly behaved, but nevertheless very beautiful. She doesn’t flower for long, so I think I can restrain myself from ending her full frontal exposure until she has flowered her socks off as well.

CIMG1469In the same herbaceous border Patty and Sarah are also showing off, but not quite so openly. Finally there are flowers on a Papaver ‘Patty’s Plum’ in the garden after several unsuccessful attempts in the past, but I find myself rather underwhelmed – the flowers are not especially big and blousy, although a lovely colour, but the stems are very tall and way above the bedraggled leaves at the bottom, so she fails to make much of a statement at all, but perhaps in a year or two she will settle down and make a better job of it. For the first time in a few years the Peony ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ has a number of buds which look as if they will open like the one shown lower right. The larger picture, however, shows part of the blue & white border with a white monkshood or Aconitum, correctly identified by Jackie and Anna when I posted a picture of it as a mystery plant – thanks both, you can see now how right you both were! In the foreground are the dependable but slightly thuggish centaura and Geranium magnificum and in the background the currently stunning flowers ofΒ  Hydrangea petiolaris which deserve a close up picture of their own sooner rather than later.


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18 Responses to Wars of the Roses

  1. love your rambling in the garden πŸ™‚ *Brigid

  2. Pauline says:

    Your roses are looking wonderful, definitely worth their cut back! We also have G Summer Skies, but her neighbours hold her up!! Your garden is looking lovely Cathy, just how a garden should look in June.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Pauline – when I looked at the picture of Rambling Rector with all the greenery around it it looked almost unreal its cool lushness. I don’t think this camera (loaned) is set right, but there is no manual – need to look online, I think. Close-ups are OK but the first two pictures lacked definition.

  3. I love my Patty’s Plum which does have large flowers but the stems have got so long this year that it flowered in the middle of a shrub so I couldn’t see the flowers. I think I may have to move it, then it will sulk for a few years. Your roses are looking lovely, my Rambling Rector is supposed to grow up a tree but is trying to create an arbour all by itself this year.

    • Cathy says:

      That’s interesting to hear about your Patty’s Plum, Debbie – obviously I have seen pictures but not in real life until now other than the failed starter plants. Rambling Rector is definitely suited to an arbour, I think!

  4. Liz says:


    Beautiful Roses; I really hope when I move I have the space for a lovely large rambling rose in the garden! At the moment I go for small climbers instead but dream of having some amazing rambling rector or similar.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Liz – ramblers have a real ‘wow’ factor, but over quite a short flowering period. The Rector was one of the few plants that came with the garden so could even be 40 years old or so, as it was the late 70s when the last owner bought the 2 cottages and knocked them together. I have learned this year how well he responds to being cut back – which is what you should do with the flowering stems of a rambler each year but we had just let him get on with it in the past.

  5. In the Wars of the Roses I am definitely on the side of York and the Rector! I’m very fond of white roses, as you may know.

    • Cathy says:

      With its rejuvenation this year I think it is looking even whiter than it usually does, Jason – I used to think of it as more of a creamy white. I must admit I have been standing and admiring it this year!

  6. Annette says:

    Summer skies, that’s nice, didnt know it up to now :). As for roses I’m always amazed to see how different they react to adverse weather. Some -after three days of torrential rain- look at you fresh and beautiful as if to say “oops, is there anything we should know about”, others looks so bedraggled that you can’t wait for the downpour to stop to make an end to it…

    • Cathy says:

      I think you are right, Annette – the Danse du Feu were a bit bedraggled and although Munstead Wood is still small I find the heads hang very heavy, whether it’s raining or not – what are they ashamed of?!

  7. David Eugene says:

    As always your ramblings in your garden brings smile in my face. I am really inspired on people as passionate as you.

    • Cathy says:

      Thank you David for your kind words – I enjoy writing the blog and it is good to share the garden with other people.

  8. The cool spring and rain has made the roses stunning this year although the recent heat has made them retreat…

    • Cathy says:

      It’s really only the last couple of years that I have realised how much June and roses go together, as it doesn’t seem long since I had no roses at all, other than the Rambling Rector that was already here

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