Following on from last week’s post, ‘Mothertjie’ by the lily pond is going over but ‘New Dawn’ is on the ascendant. A most unusual sport in that it differs from its parent (from which it ‘sported’) by being repeat flowering, ‘New Dawn’ dates from 1930 and was the first plant ever to be patented. I should not have added that, for my next statement is that it is easily raised from cuttings and my original specimen was a gift from a friend.
It is a large, robust and easy climber which I have both growing into trees and twirling through a shrub border. A friend very successfully trained one I gave her into a well ordered trellis which it shares with a jasmine.
Outside The House that Jack Built the Hybrid Musk ‘Penelope’ and Portland ‘Jacques Cartier’ are all going fortissimo, backed by Clematis Montana. These too were grown from cuttings.
If we step back a little we notice not just how green everything has become, but also the two climbers in the fence below the water oak. They are ‘Felicite et Perpetue’ with accents on the 1st, 2nd and 5th e, very French… It was introduced in 1827 by the gardener to the Duke of Orleans. One more accented e there!
It too sported interestingly, although some sources claim it to be a seedling: ‘Little White Pet’ (which I’ve not found in South Africa) is a small repeat flowering shrub, whiter than the delicious red bud through pink to white of this beautiful rambler.
Moving on we pass the spot where I planted a number of Yuccas – I think Y.gloriosa, gathered as truncheons from a friend’s garden. Like magnolias, the flowers are fleshy and bruise easily and must be captured at just the right moment to display their full beauty.
I picked one from the huge candelabra and laid it down on the mown grass to photograph.
We turn up the Beech Borders where several pink roses, including huge arching bushes of ‘Isphahan’, are gorgeously scented and appealing, although not at their best after days of soft rain. Details on this rose will have to follow.
Two roses I did manage to take detailed shots of – the first is ‘Mme Ernest Calvat’ who also featured in the previous post.
The second is one of the most beautiful of the striped roses, ‘Variegata di Bologna’, a Bourbon which sported in 1909 from a rose called ‘Victor Emmanuel’; I can’t help wondering if there is a logical link between the Italian King and the Italian city which these two roses are named after… Apparently it sometimes reverts to the solid dark violet of the old king. I shall keep an eye out.
I visit ‘Cardinal Hume’ which I have been meaning to photograph for days after telling about giving him to my cousin. He is rather squashed for such a high ranking cleric, by both the heavenly ‘Angels’ Fishing Rod’ (Diarama) and the rather more earthy, not to say brazen, Rose Campion or Lychnis Coronaria. However she wears her glad rags with no less dignity than he his ecclesiastical purple, and they make a fine couple despite what ‘some people’ might say…
At the end of the walk I sat down on the seat below the spreading branches of the pin oak overlooking the Makou Dam and whilst I was on the phone I kept an eye on the fish rising and the dogs cavorting all around me.
Often these last days it has rained and photo opportunities were quick dashes out the door – or even through the windows. In the process The Ellensgate Garden – close to the house – received special attention.
In the foreground is ‘Maria Callas’, after nearly 50 years still one of the great pink Hybrid Teas, with ‘Bewitched’ growing inside the Ellensgate Garden. A rose with a cast iron constitution, it inherited much from its parent, ‘Queen Elizabeth’, including its towering stature. Also growing here, now in its second summer, is what I suspect to be the 1840s rambler ‘Russeliana’ which gives some repeat flowering. If it has a weakness it is a tendency for the flowers to age and die in the truss to a dull grey. I much prefer its more romantic name: ‘Souvenir de la Bataille de Marengo’, but I am pleased I don’t have to remember it by that name! The Nicotiana elata in the garden are, with the exception of one packet of ‘Limelight’ bought from Thompson & Morgan in the 90s, all descended from plants grown by a dear old friend, many years departed, in her garden in the 40s-70s; my mother always referred to them as ‘Mrs Swartses’ and they are by far the most valuable self-seeders in my gardens: easy, willing, and manageable with a colour range through white to deep plums, purples, reds and pinks, and an ability to chose their colours serendipitously to match or support nearby flowers…
It is too long since I photographed the Ellensgate Garden from the formal lounge, especially as it was designed to reflect the proportions of that room, with its windows as wide as the bay, and its width identical to the room’s, all aligned exactly. This photo proves yet again that the junipers which flank the start of the axis from the front door have grown too large, but I am scared of losing their graceful naturalness to hard pruning. Sooner or later I will have to take the plunge.
One last pic: the living room is flooded with scent from the roses on the roll-top desk Louis picked this morning: Harmonie, Maria Callas, Bewitched and Oklahoma.