This surely is what an autumn rose should look like – all heps? Well the Hybrid Musk rose ‘Mozart’ sure does this, one sprig only of a large bush visible in the photo. I’ve become a great fan of Herr Mozart, after he flowered away with clusters of small pink and white single flowers all summer, and is now bedecked in tiny, beautiful and bird friendly heps. What’s more despite their diminutive size they contain plump seeds, so some will be kept – what might the harvest be?!
No, not just heps: so many roses are still flowering away that I hardly realised I was building up material for a dedicated rose post on the weekend’s walks. One of my favourites is that great bloomer over an unbelievably long season, a rose that appears to be a species rose – Rosa chinensis mutabilis. This rose changes colour and gave its genes to all roses that grow redder as they age. Here it is in bud and early flower – a warm salmony cream. Then it fades to straw before darkening to a soft pink. The stages follow below.
The final stage is a rich dull red. These flowers are on the largest shrub I transplanted from the Rondel Garden into the New Old Rose Garden two years ago – you can read all about it starting here, the first of a four part posting about my roses
Cecile Brunner, ‘the sweetheart rose’, carries her perfectly formed miniature roses on a substantial bush – she was the second largest of my transplants and nearly didn’t pull through. If you read all four parts mentioned above you would have heard all about it. Today she doesn’t look as though she ever ailed.
Another bush I feared had not survived the transplanting was my favourite of those in the hedge of single flowered early Hybrid Teas around the Rondel Garden: Mrs Oakley Fisher. But she made a fashionably late appearance, a single bush having completed the journey.
No, not a rose but a canna! It was in my mother’s cousin Audrey’s garden – reported on enthusiastically here – that I first realised what lovely companions roses and cannas can be, both the softer colours like this one and the strident colours with the modern bright roses. This beautifully shaded salmon canna was a gift from her that day and gave me great joy in the New Old Rose Garden all summer. I have a pale yellow and a cream which I will be moving in here, the time having come after two summers in which to settle down for the roses to accept serious underplanting in this garden. (Nature has already started the task – nicotianas will stay, crocosmia must go…)
The Hybrid Musk rose ‘Penelope’ is one of my favourites. Some years ago I was very successful in propagating it, but the moment I decided to use it in the Mothers’ Garden my attempts failed dismally. Perhaps this winter we will be more successful. Late in the season it always has a pleasing combination of heps and softly coloured blooms.
Over the years the tough but elegant Portland Rose, ‘Jacques Cartier’, has proved both the easiest to propagate and to thrive on the kind of neglect my roses must anticipate. There must be 30 roses from my original bush around the garden today. Bravo, Monsieur!
After all the old fashioned roses, here is a lady who will always have a part of my heart: ‘Maria Callas’. She is one of the Hybrid Teas I do not wish to be without. Behind her is some of this year’s bumper crop of Browallia americana – to my mind the ultimate blue self-seeder which graces the late summer garden wherever it gets the opportunity.
I end with one of the most rose-like of all the azaleas, a rich red double which flowers on and off through summer but prolifically in both autumn and spring – perhaps my dear friends Laurie and Erie can supply us with a name…?