• Its Roses, Roses, all the Way

    17th June 2009In The GardenStephanie Donaldson

    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 Beauty has 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’.