Six on Saturday: Roses Grow on You

The neighbour who kindly waters the garden as necessary when we are away was exclaiming this morning about all the roses in it, which he must be able to see from his upstairs windows; he then lowered the tone of the conversation by telling me he didn’t really like them himself, just having a token ‘Ena Harkness’ as a tribute to his father. I do remember a time, however, when I was not keen on roses, roses in the only way I had come across them, spindly badly-pruned roses in the middle of otherwise empty beds. My journey began with climbing roses, to avoid such eyesores, but in the last ten years or so has accelerated to the point where I now have ** different varieties – I could tell you exactly how many and how many there are in total, a number which surprises even me, but I am not going to!

Above is one of the newest, Gabriel Oak, another Thomas Hardy character, and this is the first time I have seen him in flower; he is actually a little darker than the photo suggests, and definitely a different shade of pink than any of the other roses I have. Also just coming into bloom is one of my recent favourites, Lady Emma Hamilton (below), affectionately known as Lady Em:

This time last year, the aforementioned neighbour was pleased to be able to pass on a number of excess foxglove seedlings, having propagated rather more than he needed (an understatement), grown from seed collected from flowers he had found particularly attractive. I grew them on, before planting them out around the garden, mostly in the woodland and woodland edge border, and am now thrilled with the results. Most are a delicate pale pink, with some white and just a few typical purple ones – and how wonderfully stately they look! And tall – mostly well over six feet…! This is a look I would like to recreate every year, so I shall be sowing some myself during the summer, although I will choose my colours rather than take pot luck.

I suppose I must also be pleased to find blooms on Peony ‘Sarah Bernhardt’, the peony that features in this blog’s header, my Google gravatar and my laptop screensaver. It was one of the very few plants in the garden when we came to this house, and the ‘peony and geranium’ combination was the subject of one of the very first digital photographs I took, with a borrowed camera, in the early 2000s. Sometime after that, the peony gave up flowering and was eventually moved to a less conspicuous border, where only very recently it began to redeem itself by producing a handful of flower buds, some of which fully opened to full frothiness. Much as I would love to produce a vase full of peonies for IAVOM, however, it is unlikely to happen in a hurry…

Last week, the host of this Saturday meme, Jon the Propagator, showed off his Lady Diana clematis; mine are in bud, but not yet in bloom, although it shouldn’t be long. The first time I saw this clematis, it was fully clothing an archway – in October!

Do visit Jon’s blog for more Six on Saturday contributions, and perhaps also take heart that the temporary end of Busy Lizzies may not in fact be in sight after all, as I feared last week. Despite the mildew on mine there seems to have been no general reappearance of the fungus that took them out of circulation a few years ago, and I have been able to purchase healthy F1 replacements from another local supplier – so far so good…


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18 Responses to Six on Saturday: Roses Grow on You

  1. Noelle says:

    I too have a friend that doesn’t like roses. As you said grown well they are an absolute delight, and I shall be looking up the tonic several of you are talking about.

    • Cathy says:

      It seems to be used by those ‘in the know’ although personally I havn’t used it often enough to know how much of a difference it makes, so I was intrigued by Jon’s comment

  2. bcparkison says:

    I do love Peony and have on that is several years old. For the last few years every time it get a foot tall it dies down. This year it is a little taller so maybe it will someday grow up enough to bloom. Three new ones were up in this Spring and have along way to go …we will see. Now the Clematis is another story. It too is several years going and while it did have several blooms this year it looks nothing like your healthy vine. I’m not sure my green thumb is alive.

    • Cathy says:

      Oh dear, nature does play tricks on us, doesn’t she? The viticella certainly seem to do well here and these are the type I prefer although I have lost one to ‘clematis slime flux’ (!) this year, but there is a chance it might recover

  3. Pauline says:

    I have white foxgloves popping up in unexpected places, a lot in sunshine, so will be saving my seed to get more into the shady borders. David austin roses are so beautiful, I can’t see how anyone could object to them!

    • Cathy says:

      I don’t know why I haven’t particularly encouraged them before – I’d clearly forgotten how fetching they are! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Good luck with the seed collection

  4. tonytomeo says:

    Did we determine if the busy Lizzy that are available now are the same that were available before they became unavailable?

  5. Rosie Amber says:

    Lovely roses and the foxgloves too, they are one of my favourite cottage garden flowers.

    • Cathy says:

      I wonder if it has been a particularly good year for foxgloves? I certainly don’t recall them being as tall as they have been

  6. Anna says:

    I came across โ€˜Gabriel Oakโ€™ in a garden centre this afternoon Cathy. What a distinct colour and most pleasantly scented too ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Cathy says:

      And the ‘halo’ effect in the photo does exist for real, with a hint of paler pink around the edges of the petals

  7. Cathy says:

    The foxgloves are wonderful Cathy! I collected seed from wild ones last year and just scattered it in the garden, but nothing happened, so will try sowing in pots this year. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

    • Cathy says:

      I would always start them off in pots/trays, even for the wilder areas, so I can monitor them. Perhaps in the wild they need stratifying for a season?

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