Tree Climbing Lavender Lassie
Honorine de Brabant and Complicata
No, I don't have two thousand and ten roses - well, not yet - but this summer I'm really enjoying my collection of over four hundred. 2010 is a wonderful year for the big roses, and the smaller shrub roses are just as showy. And the climbers - magnificent!
My traditional 'big' shrub roses, like Complicata and Honorine de Brabant, are stunning this year - I've never seen them looking 'fatter'. And my English roses are splendid, too. Hurray for Benjamin Britten - sorry, I mean Sir Benjamin Britten - whom I pruned rather severely last winter. I did wonder if this chap would get the sulks... No way! Sirs don't sulk...
The tree-climbers are particularly happy this year. The first to bloom was the spring-flowering yellow Banksia, splendid and high in the big plum tree. The later, more modest climbing roses have surprised me - Buff Beauty in the Crab-Apple and Lavender Lassie in her apple tree are huge. A white Iceberg now covers the top of the large conifer in the driveway, and Cecile Brunner has escaped her fence-line, energetically reaching up and over a nearby weeping Prunus. Constance Spry, a most beautiful once-flowering rose, is pottering gently through the greenery by the septic tank. Dear Constance - she is one of David Austin's early creations.
The hybrid musk rose Moonlight is perfect for tree-climbing rose duties, and I can't imagine growing this rose in any other way. One of my Moonlights did bring down the old apricot tree a month ago - well, that's what Non-Gardening Partner reckons, but I don't believe him. The tree has been dead for years - and Moonlight is a beautifully restrained, modest climber with the gentlest of intentions...
The archway-drapers are having a wonderful season, too. The orchard archway roses are in high spirits, though Souvenir de la Malmaison is in big trouble for balling her blooms. And some of the roses (like Coconut Ice) need to aim just a little bit higher. By the house the tiny-flowered Bloomfield Courage partners a large white - they share a rose archway at the side of the house, and both are blooming well. On the second archway Phyllis Bide shows her impeccable sense of timing - flowering at exactly the same time as the nextdoor Philadelphus.
Santana Climbing Red Rose
Yippee for the Moosey ramblers - the cherry pink Chevy Chase in the orchard, the apple-blossom pink Woodshed Rambler, name unknown, and the collection of lemon beauties in trees here and there (I think they're all Alberic Barbiers). Their weeping rose canes do present a slight lawn-mowing hazard - nothing too serious.
Tribute to the Red Roses
I'd like to pay a special tribute to some of the red roses in this year's rose garden. Santana on the pergola is simply gorgeous (thanks to me pruning it, I reckon), and my new hybrid teas Ingrid Bergman are a delight - well, two delights, actually, planted by the water race.
Now if only Dublin Bay would behave. This is a most over-rated red rose with no fragrance, no colour depth, and a tendency to grab whatever fungal spores happen to be floating around at the time. So why do I put up with it? Hmm...
New Rugosas with Rust!
Apart from a few surprises, like the two new rusty rugosas Vanguard and Sarah Van Fleet in the Shrubbery, all my roses seem to be in reasonable health. Climbing Masquerade is always a worry, but this year I have my little hand-held bug and fungus puffers.
Vanguard Rugosa Rose
And so I'm able to keep a stern and more consistent eye on dodgy rose leaves. Masquerade, however, should thank its lucky stars it has sentimental value (it came from my old garden)...
Thanks, Thanks, Thanks, Thanks...
So I need to say thanks, over four hundred times, to this year's roses and their grand display. Thanks, all!