Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Coming up Roses

Well, hardly anyone could be bothered to comment on yesterday's post, and I must admit it was a bit of a cheaters post. So here is something of my own and I hope you are all impressed and comment, especially as I am posting from Rambling Woman's kitchen. And I used my new prize camera which arrived last week, and which is fantastic.

When I started gardening, I wouldn't have imagined choosing to grow roses. The roses themselves can be lovely but I associated roses with awkward ugly sharp unyielding stems or unnautural looking standards, fixed and regimented. Municipal flower beds. Vicious pruning.

The very old roses in my first garden in Durham converted me with their lovely natural form, soft green foliage and wonderfully sweet heady perfume.

I have 9 different roses in my garden now, with a 10th which just arrived on my birthday and not yet planted.
Some are very old varieties, some are David Austen roses - bred from ancient plants but continuously flowering and disease resistant, unlike some of the older ones - and some are more modern roses but chosen according to my fussy criteria. No hybrid tea roses for me. (Nor blue roses. NEVER).

Most of them are deliciously scented, all are beautiful as plants, not just sticks which produce flowers, some are single, simple and elegant, some are blowsy and ruffled. Their scent depends on the weather, their colour changes with their age and I love having fragrant bunches of them sprawling untidily or arching gracefully in the house.

So here are the first to flower in my garden this year:

Mme Alfred Carriere

This is a fairly old rose with a soft, full pom-pom type of flower, covered with flowers at the moment. Almost - pale pink, sometimes looks slightly buff/golden too. Gorgeous scent, its climbing and trying to escape in the wind, I must go and tie it back a bit.

Golden Showers - this is a twentieth century climbing rose which I had to move from a large tub outside my back door, because it wasn't getting enough sun.

Its doing better now. Not a lot of scent, but it flowers very generously, pretty yellow/gold flowers, with beautifully shaped buds.

Kazanluk - This is an ancient variety of rose which is used for the production of rose oil. It only flowers once, in the Spring, but is worth the wait not only for the pretty ruffled flowers but particularly for the exquisitely sweet scent.

Napoleon's Josephine commissioned her own spies to smuggle particular varieties of rose from England during the Napoleonic wars - I'm not sure I'd go that far, but I can understand people developing a passion for them.


ramblingwoman said...

Lovely roses Lettie....better than that management speak yesterday!

On the Chelsea Flower show programme last week they made us choose between..

Roses, Irises, Clematis, tulips or lilies to find the nation's favourite flower.....

Tricky choice eh? But I think old fashioned roses win don't you? (Clematis a close second, although tulips are lovely, oh maybe irises, hum possibly lilies)

euro-trac said...

I've always thought Roses were underrated myself! For someone like me who knows nothing about gardening other than to stand about with a glass of wine in my hand ordering Nick about, roses are fab! Easy to grow and look after, look great and smell beautiful! Best of all, they pop back next year! :o)
Ren has been going on about a 'strong song' for a few days, and we have been trying to figure out what he's talking about!? Finally, we now know what he means, as he keeps disappearing into his bedroom and playing that Arctic Monkeys CD, very loudly!! He's always been much more Rock'n'Roll than his 'square' brother! :o)

grumpy old woman said...

I'm sure I can smell those roses, Lettuce. They're so beautiful ...

euro-trac said...

As for your previous post. That so took me back to when I actually used to work for a living... Scary!

I was the following..
11 - that was my job, to nit pick

As for no.18! hahahaha!
If I did get to work on time, which was rare, I would hang about a bit outside as I didn't want my boss to know that I could actually do it if I tried! :o)

wendz said...

Gorgeous roses Lettuce..I just adore them...for fragrance they are top of my list (followed by freesias and sweetpeas)...for aesthetic appeal I love tulips though.

BTW - Trac - very scary - we could have been one and the same person in the office ...

Calamity Tat said...

Oh Roses grow on you, why wasn't there a photo of my favourite roses? But seriously, we put my Nans ashes in the roses, if that can be serious....
They remind me of my Nan therefore...

Kitty said...

Lovely woses as Womy would say.

We had some by the gate to our drive but they kept leaping out and getting me whenever I stopped to open it. When it ripped the sleeve of a third shirt (one I weally liked) I stormed out with the garden shears and hacked it to the ground. It kept trying to make a come-back but I won in the end.

Woses are like Twiffids in my opinion. Pretty Twiffids but violent nonetheless.

Molly Bloom said...

I agree with GOW - the smell came to me as I read this. I think Roses are wonderful. For reasons more than one!!

I did laugh at the 'golden showers' though. Sorry. I couldn't help it.

Heavenly scents.

euro-trac said...

Crikey! Roses accidently tear a shirt and LeChat storms out and hacks them to death!
Then calls roses violent!??? Eeeeek!

Kitty said...

But it was self-defence, your Honour.

cream said...

I'm not keen on thorns but I love Roses...
...But just in chocolate form!

Donna said...

I adore roses though the pruning part is hideous and painful! We have a beautiful bush around our front door that has grown so much that we have to duck to get in the door now. I feel a session with the secaturs is in order!

PG said...

That Alfred Carriere looks wonderful, mmmm. I think the first thing I would do to my very own garden (not our ratty rented one) would be to plant some tumbling roses like this. I've always fancied a Gloire de Dijon (I think it is).

Kitty said...

How are you then? Good to be home? I'm sure I should be able to think of something witty to say involving roses but well, I just can't . . . sorry.

Bird said...


i am worried my balcony just doesnt' get quite enough sun for roses - which is why i opted for a miniature plant at first - to see how it goes. i understand roses like it dry and my niece has come over to instruct me on pruning.

with any luck, the rose plant will thrive and i won't kill it off with over-watering and over-pruning. wish me luck!

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