A Good Year For Roses
'I've never seen your roses looking so good' says Non-Gardening Partner, having completed a rigorous circuit of Mooseys on the ride-on lawnmower. He's right - my roses are more boisterous and colourful this year than ever - blooming big, you might say. They are putting on this stunning performance without any help from me, or should I say in spite of me.
Rose Phyllis Bide on an Archway
Hey - I tried to get it right last winter. I got around most of the littler ones, pruning them sensibly. I was most thorough with some - cutting out old canes, making an aesthetic shaped bush. And I even gave them a winter spraying. The hedge and archway roses were trimmed with the hedge clippers.
Golden Tribute Roses
I promised the patio roses that I would spray them before a single pustule of rust attacked a single leaf. I would be super vigilant (I lied).
Roses by the House
Thanking the Rugosas
I remember making quite a fuss of the Rugosas, thanking them for coping with weeks of dry neglect, and living up to their reputation for being inedible (as far as aphids were concerned). I told the reject roses on probation in the new Willow Tree Garden not to worry - they were safe for another year, and were to enjoy the air and space around them while they could.
I made quite a few personal pledges, too. I promised everyone I would deadhead them sensitively, making sure my secateurs were always sharp and clean (I lied). I promised Abraham Darby I would cut down his pushy neighbouring evergreen shrub (I lied).
I explained to the Pergola roses (Crepuscule, a big lemon climber strangely called Casino, and a big red Santana) that I did understand their special needs. Hadn't I already shown this by removing a colour-offensive lilac colleague?
And I promised to find a fence-line for the two spindly Gerbe roses growing in their midst - of course the soft pink also clashed. And Gerbe was prone to black-spot, and die-back...
In an attempt to be organised and think ahead, I bought two old fashioned Lady Hillingdons from the local nursery, for the intended rose walk in the orchard paddock. When did I honestly think this would be in place? The hazelnut trees are only in their very first summer, knee high and growing. The ladies are still in their pots, only just surviving a lack of water and plastic pot temperatures which must be seriously warm.
Lilac Rose Rejected
There were a few roses who didn't quite make it. I got greedy at the supermarket, buying aged old David Austins from a bargain bin. I even bought a cheap rose arch for them, placing it in the ground at the same time as planting them. Oops - I forgot about the nearby peonies, whose foliage shut out the light and effectively killed the roses - I blame the peonies.
But overall, at the end of the day, taking everything into consideration, when all's said and done, I'm going to take some credit! My roses! I'm very proud of your efforts this summer. Well done, keep up the good work, and keep on blooming! I promise to dead head you daily, and water you weekly, and feed you old banana skins...