June’s flower has to be the rose. There are so many to choose from rampant ramblers to miniatures that the choice has to be down to space available and personal taste. Great in a posy modern English roses from David Austin have been bred for disease resistance, fragrance and a neat habit.
Tag Archives: roses
The tulip tree is covered in thousands of flowers right now. To appreciate their full beauty it is best to pick one and examine it closely. With each flower measuring about 8cm across, the tree is quite a spectacle.
Having bided their time while most of the other alliums flowered early, Allium christophii blooms are exploding from the surrounding foliage in the borders, their shooting-star flowerheads making the wait worthwhile.
Fox & Cubs is the common name for a rather glamorous weed Hieracium aurantiacum. A hawkweed, it was originally a garden escape, but has now naturalised in the wild. It is easy to grow from seed and will grow readily on a dry bank.
The tomatoes in the green house are now up to their third flower trusses. The jury is still out on the spiral ‘Veggie Cages’ – it will be easier to tell how effective they are once the fruit sets.
The strawberries are cropping prolifically. The early varieties are coming to an end but Mara de Bois is beginning to ripen. This is a cross between the wild strawberry and its cultivated cousins with good size very intensely flavoured fruit.
The Texas Rose Rustlers
I first heard about this wonderfully eccentric organisation when I read one of my favourite gardening books ever ‘People with Dirty Hands’ by Robin Chotzinoff (available from Amazon). In it she writes about Americans with a passion for gardening that goes way beyond enthusiasm. The rose rustlers are a group of Texan women who visit old graveyards, abandoned gardens or country lanes looking for old-fashioned roses that may no longer be commercially available – and then propagate them. To find out more about them go to www.texasroserustlers.com . I have followed their fine example and successfully taken cuttings from our local churchyard –with the vicar’s permission!
It does seem to be a spectacular year for roses and – from the rampant to the refined – they have never looked better in our garden. At the rampant end, the Cooper’s Burmese rose has defied its tender reputation despite the cold winter and has now entirely clothed our rather ugly garage. Mind you, the first time I saw it was in Italy, where it was up to the roof of an old monastery, so I can’t say I wasn’t warned. Although it only flowers once, its pure-white single flowers have a simple beauty and are followed by great clusters of orangey-red hips in the autumn. The other charming thug is Treasure Trove which grows 30 feet in either direction along a fence, has colonised an adjoining hedge and clambered up a large bay tree.
Although it does look spectacular at the moment I’m not sure I would recommend it – it is just too vigorous and the flowers don’t die very attractively. Moving on to the more refined contenders, climber Buff Beautyhas finally asserted itself among its companions on the garden wall where its soft apricot flowers peer out from the vine’s foliage.The extraordinary Giant Fennel planted in the border in front of it has now reached 12ft! Of all the roses in my garden, the one that has most significance is one that I bought many, many years ago. It spent most of its life in a pot and it was only once I moved here that I finally felt it had found its home. I always thought it was Omar Khyam, which was reputed to have been propagated from the grave of the poet, but it is too deep a pink. Nevertheless it is utterly gorgeous and intensely fragrant and I am now trying to get it identified – for the moment it is my ‘Mystery Rose’.
In the greenhouse: all the windows and doors are wide open all the time to keep the air circulating and the blinds are pulled down on sunny days to stop scorching. I also follow the old tradition of watering the path on hot days to keep the humidity high and cool the air.
In the coldframe: my experiment with sowing carrots in rootrainers to get better and quicker germination seems to be paying off. They are growing like grass at the moment. Of course it could all go horribly wrong – I still haven’t worked out how, or when, I am going to transplant them.
In the garden: After rain, dig up self-sown seedlings that might be useful elsewhere or make nice presents. Euphorbia mellifera and Euphorbia stygiana self sow enthusiastically and I’ve collected up dozens of young hellebore plants that germinated last year. I’m rather excited about a seedling rose* that is poking through the fence of the vegetable garden – I think Cooper’s Burmese has had a pink semi-double baby!