Pink rose time!
Good morning, web-garden! I have over fifteen web-pages upon which to place new photographs. It's pink rose time, and Gerbe rose and Zephirine Drouhin don't even have pages of their own. Cornelia, such a sweet rose, has one solitary photograph, as does her look-alike, Clair Matin.
And it's pink shrub time, with the variegated Weigelas looking so beautiful. But again, no web-page upon which to show-off. Nor has that beautiful pink shrub called the Beauty Bush. Shameful!
Wednesday 20th November
+10What a lovely way to start the day - sitting on the verandah of Pond Cottage watching young Minimus (my cottage cat) disembowelling a tennis ball. It's a technique full of contradictions. The front paws scoop the ball maternally, as if it were a precious egg, into the warm furry depths of the cat-tummy. Hold for a loving instant. Then the back legs strike. Claws - rip and Rake! Kick out! Rake harder!
Minimus and the Tennis Ball
But enough of tennis balls. The gardening day stretches out in front of me. I'm still a bit sleepy, thanks to my ginger cat Percy. He now chirps a beautifully shaped melodic phrase, complete with baroque ornaments and a rather scoopy 'question mark' at the end. He practiced it on me several times in the night from the cottage window-sill. Young Minimus didn't even move a paw - she knew it was him. Minimus loves Percy.
A Good Rose Idea
I've had a good rose idea (so many ideas, so many roses, so little time). For many years now I've been 'topping up' the rose archways in the Hazelnut orchard. But the newcomer roses have been positioned wrongly (see, it's my fault) and have been accidentally semi-sprayed by Non-Gardening Partner from the tractor. Naturally this is quite damaging.
Ghislaine de Feligonde Roses
Today I'm digging out Sir Edmund Hillary (who climbed Everest but can't even manage knee-high up one of my archways) and the City of London (what's left of it). And any others I feel sorry for. They can recuperate in fat pots dripping with potting mix over the summer... I'll ignore the weeds for now, but I can take my rose fungus gun (Madame Caroline Testout is a shocker for rust). Right. Let my rose rescue mission begin.
Three Hours Later...
Oh dear. Remember September's gale force winds which you're probably totally sick of hearing about? I'd tidied and pruned the orchard roses some weeks before the winds ravaged my garden. Let me rephrase that. I thought I'd tidied and pruned the orchard roses...
Bantry Bay Climbing Rose
Well, I'm blaming the big winds. I've spent the morning tying in floppy canes and pruning what I can reach. I've organically sprayed the squillions of aphids with my puffy bottle. The following roses (I think) have been dug out and are in pots - City of London, Sir Edmund Hillary, Bloomfield Courage (when on earth did that get planted in here?), Birthday Present, and three others which are possibly Golden Showers, Zephirine Drouhin, and Baroness Rothschild. It's terrible that they've done so poorly. I've definitely killed Ivory Magic, Bonica, Prospero, and white Knight. Appalling. I am so ashamed.
- Non-Gardening Partner :
- It's so handy to be able to blame someone else, hee hee...
The trouble is that Non-Gardening Partner does all the work in the orchard. And he does the spraying. Not that I am saying it is his fault... Anyway, I'm the one who needs to take action. I've got the irrigation drippers on. It's impossible to weed underneath the arches when the earth is baked hard. These roses are desperately dry. And I am in charge of the roses in this garden.
Zephirine Drouhin Rose
If there is any justice in the gardening rose world I will be spending the next couple of days weeding around their bases, giving them each a dose of rose-food, and mulching. I reckon I'll have to slice the weeds off with the spade. Sore shoulders will be rose penance for my neglect!
Only thirteen archways to clean up. I can do this!
Well... I can do six of them. That's almost half. Much of the weed is clover which has crept happily in from the paddock grass. I've barrowed all the rubbish onto the bonfire, and added a couple of loads of pine tree mess to aid combustion.
Great excitement - I've found the rose called Alchemist on Archway no. 8. I can't really remember it flowering before. My goodness, it's showing off! This deserves some photographs, since Alchemist is a once-flowering climber.
I puffed some rose spray on Bantry Bay and Teasing Georgia, both of which were looking awfully unhealthy. When some people get stressed they break out in spots and rashes. When my roses get stressed it's black spot and rust.
Coconut Ice Rose
Thursday 21st November
I have a whole of this morning to complete that which I started yesterday, before the predicted southerly rain arrives. Rain! Brilliant! Please be aware of your timing, though. I'm going to work madly until you start spitting. With no breaks!
Oops. I've already gone apres-gardening and its only two o'clock. But the roses in the orchard are weeded. And, funny thing, suddenly they look so much better. My sore shoulder tells me this is no illusion. When the ground beneath is cleared, the shrubs above look ten thousand times more beautiful, black-spots and all.
I remind myself of a chance remark made by a well-meaning nurse-aid when I had my cancer operation. 'Oh', she said, 'So you're a gardener. Well my dear, you won't be able to grow roses any more'. Oh, yeah? Just watch me! I jolly well can.