It sounds very simple really ! I am currently mid- Autumn garden re-shuffle, and I have found 3 rose-sized gaps in the borders. The logical - and wonderful- thing to do is to hotfoot it down to my nearest David Austin nursery and buy 3 roses to fill those gaps, pretty damn quick ! Simple ? 'Fraid not !
Some people do this with boxes of chocolates, others with shoes, but I do it with plants. I am unable to make a decision . Ever. At all. Because I want them all...
Choosing is a delicious mix of pleasure and pain. I am so excited at being able to choose brand new roses to add to my collection, but unable to choose ones I really, really want because I don't know which ones I really, really want.
Believe it or not, this is genuinely my THIRD attempt to do this. The first time my partner was patiently standing waiting, and he put me off. I couldn't concentrate even though he wasn't even sighing or looking at his watch. he was just watching me, and apparently that was enough to destroy my concentration, so we had to come home.
The second time (different nursery) I was with my daughter and grand daughter. Now, my daughter said I could be as long as I wanted, but after only ten minutes, she started saying things like "that red one over there looks good, why not buy that". Oh dear, seems that put me off as well, so we had to come home.
So today I went by myself and allowed endless time to perfect and hone my skills of indecision.
Unbelievably, I had two roses in the trolley after only about fifteen minutes - two unplanned Floribundas, for the price of one David Austin. I do love a bargain. One was 'Joi de Vivre', voted 'Rose of the Year 2011' (see header photo). It grows to about 50cm high x 40 cms wide. It is a repeat flowerer and the foliage was positively crackling with health. Not a sign of black spot even at this point of the season.
My other purchase is 'The Attenborough rose' which looks like a shrub rose, big, vigorous and healthy, with very pale pink flowers. It will grow to about 1.25 metres and is a repeat flowerer. It is covered in flowers even now. It is not a rose I know, so hope it lives up to its promise.
So ... that just leaves the DA contenders...
It took me 45 minutes to draw up this shortlist:
Boscobel - new introduction 2012, salmon pink, 1m height, repeat
The Countryman - strongish pink, height approx 1 m, repeat
Wildeve - pale pink, repeat, height approx 1m
Claire Austin - white, repeat, height approx 1m
Lichfield Angel - white, 4 feet high, don't think it repeats
Sister Elizabeth - small , only about 60x60cm. Didn't say it was a repeater.
I had my David Austin catalogue to refer to, so that I had all the info on them, plus scribbled notes of mine, and I also went through the whole catalogue yesterday, marking the frontrunners. Should have been easy ...
I finally whittled it down to my top three, Wildeve, Claire and from there got my winner ... ta dah ... 'The Countryman'.
So how did I finally decide ? I applied the following critera - it had to be a repeat flowerer, and it had to still look good, even in mid-October. Lots of the roses on display at the nursery (not just DA) had blackspot, yellowing leaves, or were de-foliated. The ones in my final three were all clearly disease-resistant and had good healthy foliage. The plants themselves, had to be a good size and shape, with leaves to soil level. Flowers or buds were a bonus, and I tried not to be influenced by those.
So, they were finally in the trolley ... and it only took an hour and a half !