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2015: What a great year for the Roses
According to the Royal Horticultural Society experts and many of my friends too, 2015 is a very good for Roses, thanks to a mild winter followed by a gentle spring with cold but mainly frost-free nights, which has provided the ideal conditions for a bumper crop of flowers.
Here are just 5 favourites which I grow in my own garden, starting with: A rambler giving a profusion of clusters of small semi-double creamy-white flowers with yellow stamen named Rambling Rector. It's a fast growing rose which makes excellent cut flowers and can be use in a variety of ways, such as scrambling through (and up) a tree or covering a north facing wall and its vigorous nature means that any unsightly structure, such as an old shed, will soon become a mass of flowers and attendant insects.
Some people may be put off by the fact that it is "not a repeater", but the blooms are magnificent in July, just ask my neighbours who are enjoying it at the moment! The Rector has a strong scent likened to almonds by some and musk by others. It's also suitable for covering a new shed, summer house or garage and mine grows behind and over an arbour and has been trained to cover a trellis to the left and right.
A dark and vibrant shade of red is the highly scented climber named Etoille de Hollande. Grow it somewhere near to a door, so the heady perfume will waft into your house as well as scenting your garden. Don't forget to deadhead to prolong flowering of the deep crimson velvet-like blooms.
Etoille de Hollande
I also grow 2 not so well known climbing varieties, Ginger Syllabub and City Girl, both of which were purchased from the Harkness nursery (based in Hitchin, Hertfordshire) who have been specialist rose growers for over 130 years.
City Girl is a free-branching rose which produces semi-double, fragrant and long-lasting blooms. Colour is officially described as salmon-pink, but blooms seem to change from soft lemon, through pink to apricot, so the clusters have ever-changing hues as the buds open. Dark green leaves compliment. They are ideal as cut flowers and another plus is that deer don't seem to like them.
Ginger Syllabub has charming old-style blooms of a gingery apricot colour and is useful for walls, trellis and fences; it produces a very pleasing spicy scent, particularly in the evening.
Blush Noisette was first spotted on a tour of the late Geoff Hamilton's Barnsdale Gardens in Rutland, which were created when he was a very popular BBC Gardeners' World presenter. It had masses of pale lilac blooms, a rich clove fragrance and clambered beautifully over an archway. In answer to my question "I wonder what it's name is?" A voice then surprised me (I hadn't seen a gardener bent over weeding in the middle of a nearby border) who said she knew which rose I was talking about without even standing up to see. It was one of her favourites too.
It's very tough and hardy and I can vouch for that as, due to a combination of high winds and rot, our archway had to be removed and rebuilt earlier this year. First of all the 2 roses were untwined from the uprights (much easier said than done) and only a few branches on the arch itself had to be sacrificed. The roses were then tied up like 2 parcels either side whilst the old arch and posts were removed to be replaced by more substantial wooden uprights and dome. Blush Noisette was then tied in on either side and has flourished ever since, already growing over the arch from both directions and covered in semi-double flowers with yellow stamens. Could be used as a tall shrub or will climb around 8ft.
It's been a good year for clematis too, but that's another story.
Date for your diary: Saturday, 26 September. Tickets for Roy Lancaster's Talk entitled A Plantman's Garden are available on 01427 668412 at £10. Venue: William Farr School at Welton. Doors open at 1pm, Talk commences 2pm. Cost includes Tea/Coffee and Cake. Hope to see you there.
Must go and get on with some weeding!
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