With many of my peonies so close to the end of their flowering season it is time to turn my attention to the beautiful roses that will have finished flowering if I do not act quickly! When we moved into this house in August 2009 we found just a few climbing roses attached to the pergola, so building up a beautiful collection of roses is one of my long term plans for this garden. Roses were one of my fathers favourite flowers and have featured in every garden I have ever occupied. In this garden we found acres of space but so few roses – I have set out to remedy the situation, but roses are an investment plant and I have to go slowly, adding a few new specimens every spring and autumn.
My flowers today include two roses – Crown Princess Margareta and Teasing Georgia. Both are David Austin English roses, so they offer beautiful shapes and colours combined with delicious fragrance and good repeat flowering. So far almost all of the roses I have planted have been English Roses – in time I will add some of the beautiful old roses that only flower once, but for now I need impact in my borders throughout the season and the English Roses work the best.
With my roses I have put my favourite fillers for arrangements of roses – unripe blueberries, alchemilla mollis and a hardy geranium. I also use hardy geraniums and alchemilla mollis as border staples for underplanting my roses along with lavender, nepeta and astrantias.
Crown Princess Margareta is one of my favourite roses – I just love the beautiful apricot shade. I have already planted her in a variety of locations and as both a shrub rose and a climber.
My other rose today is Teasing Georgia. This is a beautiful yellow rose with a similar shape to Crown Princess Margareta. I planted this rose in the spring of 2013 and saw very few flowers throughout last summer. This year she is dripping with flowers, so I am pleased to welcome her into the garden.
I have chosen to display my flowers in a Wedgewood mug today as it seemed a very English vessel for a selection of English roses. I have a few pieces of blue Wedgewood given to me by my father – I have no memories of these in my childhood homes, so it is possible that they originally came from my grandmother who was a great collector of all sorts of china, ornaments and jewellery. Although my father is no longer here it seemed appropriate on Fathers Day to combine his favourite flowers with a gift that he gave to me.
I put the flowers outside to photograph, as I was planning to have lunch in the garden. Sadly the temperature never really got to a suitable level, so the plan was abandoned. I did make a cake, however, with a recipe from Cathy at Words and Herbs. She posted about a strawberry and lemon cake last week and it tasted every bit as good as it looked in her photos. You can find the recipe here. For anyone with an Aga I will add that 30 minutes in the hot oven with the cool shelf was perfect timing.
The flowers are displayed outside my Summer House, which makes a lovely spot for a summer lunch or to take a tea break in at this time of year. I can often be found hiding away in here with a selection of magazines and a good book – particularly on a rainy afternoon. Situated in the heart of the garden, it is a perfect place for a spot of border planning or plant list making!
The planting around the Summer House is planned to have a cool, slightly tropical feel with mainly evergreen shrubs and ferns and a few white flowers. Starting the season white tulips and dicentra ‘alba’ have now been replaced with the white allium ‘Mount Everest’ and self seeded foxgloves. These will make way for white agapanthus in a few weeks time and finally the white fuchsia ‘Hawkshead’ will finish off the season. I still need to plant up the pots for the Terrace, which are always white geraniums and the white hydrangea ‘Madame Mouillere’. I would also like to invest in a fire brazier for this area to make it more usable on cooler evenings.
This has been a good week in the garden, if a little too hot for me on occasions. I have managed to keep on top of most of my jobs, almost finishing planting out my many dahlias. I also put out the tender vegetables so squash, sweetcorn, courgettes and beans are now in place ready to grow away. I am hoping to get all the half hardy annuals planted into the Cutting Garden this week and then I will be ready to start sowing the seeds of biennials for next spring.
I will write more about biennials soon – these early spring flowers are a crucial part of the Cutting Garden succession and one that I forgot to do last year. Fortunately my foxgloves are self seeding happily now, but I still need sweet williams, wallflowers, stocks and honesty to fill the space between the last tulips and the first peonies.
If you are starting to plan a Cutting Garden for next year, or have favourite roses you would like to share, please do leave a comment – I love to hear about what other gardeners are up too.