Monday, 19 June 2017

Today's Favourite........Roses.

Yesterday I went to an event at JW Blooms in Somerset and spent some time wandering around the Flower Field, a beautiful space full of flowers for cutting. There were billowing stands of larkspur, poppies gently swaying in the breeze, calendula and sweet peas growing happily together and then there were the roses.......

Rosa rugosa-the wild rose found in hedgerows and here in Bristol's Bearpit Garden.

Jan, the owner of JW Blooms keeps her roses in a polytunnel that at this time of year is really only a top as the sides are completely removed for good airflow. Because of this the roses are not battered badly by wind and the plants are all clean of debris and disease. I walked around the corner and what hit me before I had even seen the rose tunnel, was the scent of the blooms. It was intoxicating. The heat of the summers day, the stillness of the air and the birdsong and buzzing of the pollinators in this beautiful place just added to the joy of that stunning scent and it was as if I was back in my childhood garden, with my Grandma who was a bit of a rose enthusiast to say the least.

Rosa Ferdinand Pichard, very like the classic Rosa mundi only this one is repeat flowering!

Pulling myself out of my scent induced stupor I spent a good amount of time looking at the roses and wondering at just what a stunning plant they really are. Yes I know they get blackspot and can sulk if you look at them the wrong way, but this year I am really starting to fall back in love with them. whereas as a nurserywoman growing them can cause some stress, fighting off the disease and training the climbers to do what you want rather than what they want, can be a real challenge, but the more I study their blooms, cut them for the house and really get to know their personalities, the more I adore them.

The rose tunnel at JWBlooms!

Whereas once upon a time I adored the rich and dark reds of Dublin Bay and Munster Wood, I am know beginning to adore the paler colours with their more subtle nuances. Gentle Hermione, Claire Austen and my beloved Gertrude Jekyll are now all firm favourites and I can see my own collection will need to expand somewhat.....
The intricate detail of the petals and their pattern......

I always say it's unfair to ask a gardener what their favourite plant of any genus is but with roses I can absolutely tell you so I will. This is proof of the evocative nature of memory mixed with scents and beauty. My Grandma was and always will be one of my greatest garden influencers. The older I get the more I realise that she and I are peas from the very same pod and she adored her roses, of which she had many I know realise, including some stunning standards. And her favourite perfume, after Chanel 5 which was for best, was Yardley's L'aimant. How many of us remember that scent, with it's matching talc and creams? in 1994 to celebrate the rebranding of L'aimant, a stunning rose was bred and released to the public, whose scent was exactly like standing next to my Grandma. It has pinky coral flowers, is repeat flowering and reasonably good at remaining clear of disease if you keep it well fed and watered. It isn't one seen often but it is still produced and when Mum was making her rose garden I bought her 3 all of which flowered in their first season. Just thinking of those roses makes my eyes misty and reminds me I must replace the one I left in the south east.....

So todays favourite is definitely the rose.
Another from JWBlooms!!


  1. I can almost smell them as I read!

  2. Lovely piece, Sara. Thanks a lot. I didn't know that about L'Aimant. I must go and stick my nose in it!Jan