Rose Avenue in the Orchard
One of My New Climbing Roses
In the winter of 2003 the Hazelnut orchard was planted - over seven hundred little trees. Included in the grand design was space through the middle for an avenue of thirteen rose-covered archways. Yippee!
I Love Roses...
Roses are one of my greatest garden loves. I grow climbing roses on pergolas, up old fruit trees, and along fences. A fierce rambling rose covers my woodshed - rather successfully. Over three hundred smaller, more modest rose bushes are scattered throughout the Moosey garden. I grow roses everywhere I possibly can.
A rose avenue!
Oh yes! I could easily imagine a mature orchard full of Hazelnut trees, neatly mown grass between the rows, and in its middle an avenue of archways covered - no, dripping - with fragrant climbing roses! Wonderful!
Such dreams can come true - and it did. All it took was a bit of a plan, a list of appropriate varieties (fragrant, healthy, maybe old fashioned), and a live-in welder - preferably one who could borrow an electric arc-welder from one of his country mates (thanks Peter).
Cat in the Orchard Roses
Then call it a birthday present, and hey presto! It was even free! Quite quite easy, too - up they'd go, and in would go the carefully chosen roses, each with its personal irrigation dripper. Then one would just wait for the summer sun and the fertile soil to work some country magic.
I initially made a list of roses from a Peter Beales rose catalogue (it had such good pictures). Size was limited to 4-5 meters, and the word 'fragrant' was compulsory. Old-fashioned, modern, once-flowering - nothing else mattered but fragrance.
Then I made a mid-winter visit to a specialist rose nursery. The nurseryman there 'helped' me with my purchases. In hindsight he knew even less than I did, selling me some roses totally unsuitable for archways (hello, Parkdirektor Riggers, I'm talking about you!). Also some of the old-fashioned roses I bought were poor, unhealthy growers. But at the time I trusted him, and there was much anticipation waiting for the mail order boxes to arrive.
Red Rambler Chevy Chase
Oops - I did make just a few supermarket purchases, too. I rescued a pair of sad, bare-rooted climbing Uetersens from the sale table. I just knew they would show their gratitude in the most beautiful, flowery way. Humph. Firget the word 'climbing' on their labels. But such a pretty, puffy pink!
First Summer - Weeding Gardener
Welder and Weeder
Thirteen robust steel archways were built from lengths of galvanised steel 20mm (3/4 inch) water pipe, bent and welded in the Moosey garage. Non-Gardening Partner and I carried them into the orchard and stomped them into the ground, one by one.
Thank you to NGP for the archway design, and for spending many masked, 'sparky' mid-winter hours. He was too shy to allow photographs - unlike the 'weeder', pictured bottoms-up in the summer sunshine!
The First Summer
All the roses seemed to grow happily in their first summer, and all flowered. Etoile de Hollande was absolutely beautiful, as was Gloire de Dijon. Eastlea's Golden Rambler had huge flowers, and the pale fluffies like Sombreuil and Phyllis Bide were gorgeous.
I hoped that it wouldn't take many summers for each archway to become completely covered and my rose-dripping visions to become a reality. Hmm... The truth is that some did, some half-did, while a few just couldn't be bothered.
Puppy in the Orchard
Oops. Easleas Golden Rambler was far too big to be contained by an archway, even a strong, sturdy one. Sadly he had to be dug out and moved. Both Lady Hillingdons curled up their toes and died. Sombrueil proved to be a very poor grower, and Madame Caroline's leaves picked up every fungal problem possible. Oh well. Al least over the years there have been some happier replacements.
Original Rose List
Originally I chose the following roses:
Gloire de Dijon, Ghislaine de Feligonde, Parkdirektor de Riggers, Eastlea's Golden Rambler, Souvenir de la Malmaison, Lady Hillingdon, Madame Caroline Testout, Chevy Chase, Uetersen, Etoile de Hollande, Celine Forestier, Meg, Phyllis Bide, and Sombrueil.
There are many early details in the Moosey journal - including a photograph of the very first archway to be built, and the head gardener standing on the bare paddock - the perfect 'before' photograph for a garden project!