A LONG WALK TO LOOK AT BLOWSY ROSES

I’ve been asked about my red foliage and my roses, so I’ll identify my roses in this post and tell you a little more about other plants. And I’ll take you to a number of other spots around the garden, but let’s start again in the Beech Borders.

All the roses you see here I grew from cuttings from stock first planted in the Rondel Garden in 1996. From left to right they are: the bright pink of the Damask rose Ispahan (early 1800s) which featured often in the previous post. A few blooms of the  Bourbon rose Mme Ernst Calvat (1888) peek out from behind it and look rather similar. The pale pink is New Dawn, one of the best climbers of all time. In 1930 it sported as a repeat-flowering version of a 1910 introduction – one of the most fascinating rose sports of all time, as for the rest they are identical. To its right the rich pink of the Gallica Belle de Crecy(+-1850s) All these roses are wonderfully scented. Towards the back, more Ispahan. The red shrub is Berberis thunbergii atropurpurea and the pink flowered shrub which I love to mix with roses is Spirea x bumalda ‘Anthony Waterer’. They too are grown from cuttings; when you garden on this scale doing your own propagation is necessary 🙂 ! The background is a row of seven now mature Acer palmatum (Japanese maples – a glorious sight in autumn) and to the right is Acer davidii, one of the snake-bark maples.

My nephews aged 16 and 14 were here from Namibia last week. They crept down to The Embarkment to get to the water with good grace. They knew that cutting the plants that had fallen across the path was out of the question –  an Abelia x grandiflora and two roses: the common moss rose Rosa centifolia muscosa (before 1700) and the Four Seasons White Moss Quatre saisons blanc mousseux (1835)

Another of these impressively named roses holds its own across the water after (I must admit) being dumped there some years ago when the area was much more open in the hope it would survive. To its left Acer palmatum atropurpureum with Rhododendron luteum  and Exochorda x macrantha below and Salix babylonica ‘Crispa’, the lovely Ram’s Horn Willow to its right.

Here is a view of my house through the Four Seasons Whie Moss, the camera held above my head. If nothing else this photo proves that it was not pruned last year, but survives quite happily nonetheless! ‘Four Seasons’ is a bit of an exaggeration – it repeat flowers slightly in autumn. Which was, of course, very unusual when it was first introduced…

Whilst on the far side of the dam, a view of my house and yes, my vehicle: a Malaysian designed Toyota Condor 4×4 diesel: it works like a slave, can carry 7 passengers or a load of plants or cement or even take a full-sized mattress when I go camping. Irreplaceable, it has been superseded by vehicles that are hopelessly too sophisticated and expensive to play such a multi-purpose role! (Anyone from Toyota reading this??) White climbing Iceberg roses (1968 – had to add a date for this modern classic!) grow left and right onto my house, with a Clematis montana adding to the show on the right. Overhanging the dam at the entertainment area are two Félicité et Perpétue roses, a lovely old climber from 1827. Penelope, a Hybrid Musk from 1924, graces the Cottage Garden below the Condor.

Here is another view across the Cottage Garden to where we have just been; the green  rod in the right quarter has me baffled. I suspect it is a rather potent Watsonia – but it will come as a wonderful surprise when it flowers. (No, I’m NOT going to identify the trees to the right of the willow right now!)

Near the garage the Wichuraiana rambler Excelsa scrambles up into a pine; wonderful if the mildew doesn’t do too much harm to it!

As  I’ve said before, the Rondel Garden, home to my original old-fashioned roses, commemorating Sissinghurst in its name and Francois in its existence, is in need of serious replanning… This is Rosa moyesii ‘Geranium’. I’ve never seen a single one of the famed flagon-shaped hips on it. Climate? Or just my bad luck to have an infertile strain? Iceberg on the house.

Still in the Rondel, Pink Grootendorst (A Dutch surname meaning ‘big thirst’ – there are three members in the rugosa family!) has flowers frilled like a carnation and dates from 1923. To its left in the rugosa bed is Frau Dagmar Hastrup from 1914. Prunus cerasifera in one of its many forms provides a plummy background.

We now move to the end of the wisteria arbour in the Anniversary Garden where the Polyantha climber Veilchenblau (1909) lives up to its name which means ‘Blue veil’. Below it the wonderfully subtle strawwy yellows of Buff Beauty (a shrubby climber from 1939) can be seen. Veilchenblau is beginning to climb up into the Japanese maple. I can’t wait to see the effect five years from now!

I planted New Dawn in the Upper Rosemary Border by mistake, thinking it something else. It has scrambled about, reaching for the sun through the thick planting of smallish shrubs, and set off especially well against Abelia x grandiflora. The species Rosa rugosa has been a mixed blessing next to it, suckering whenever the roots are damaged during cultivation. However the flowers are a perfect colour match with Spirea x bumalda ‘Anthony Waterer’ and the rose flowers continuously, later producing startling orange hips at the same time as its magenta flowers. I enjoy the unsubtle colour mix and the birds enjoy the food. Win-win, I’d say.

Here is another view, taken from the Rosemary Terrace; I’ve written enough and you’ve read enough. No more details on the planting.

This is the first year I’ve even noticed the Tausendschön (Thousand beauties, 1906, a Polyantha climber) in the purple crab-apple. It must be five or more years since I planted it there. It repeat flowers in a good spot. This can’t be one. But it will grow through the tree and in years to come give greater joy.

Gosh, this walk is exhausting me! We are now up in the arboretum where I planted a number of tough roses some six or more years ago. The rather garish pink was incorrectly marked ‘Compassion’ but has proved itself to be tough alright. Behind it is South Africa. I will sing its praises (the best rose since Iceberg???) in a future post. A single flower is all that can be seen of Rosa chinensis mutabilis about which I will tell you more when I post close-ups soon.

And so down we go and across the Makou Dam to the old stone barn. Tausendschön,  the mother plant of many on the mountain, absolutely loves this sunny spot where I planted it nearly 20 years ago. Beyond it another repeat-flowering pink rambler-like climber grows on the fence of the vegetable garden. I’ve known this rose all my life here on the farm and in neighbouring gardens. Unlike most climbers – and definitely most ramblers – it has an incredibly long season, being one of the first in bloom and carrying on right into winter. It is very happy here where it steals the sun from the veggies, happier than its mother plant, and being a sucker for charm and beauty I allow it to keep pride of place.

We end our walk (pant, pant) at Trudie’s Garden outside the big house, where I reiterate what I said at the beginning of the previous post: I like roses where they can grow as huge as they like and flop over complimentary shrubs and be voluptuous and abandoned. This might be a rather more elegant lady, a prim and sophisticated hybrid tea called Germiston Gold, but she too benefits from the arm of a dapper shrub to show off her assets…

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7 thoughts on “A LONG WALK TO LOOK AT BLOWSY ROSES

    • Diana, I have half a dozen books that give detailed info about roses, especially the old ones. I guess it is all a little snobby, like collecting antiques, but what the hell! 🙂

    • Hi Janie! A limited number of old roses are available in South Africa, but I think all of these are quite well known. If you research the old roses in your area, you wiill surely find them!

  1. Pingback: HOORAH FOR HYDRANGEAS part 1 « Sequoia Gardens Blog

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