So, it's that time of year again, and gardeners all around the world are making resolutions to be more organic, or to plant pollinators, or to use peat free compost.
I, on the other hand, have only ONE resolution... to grow more roses. And repeat!
I have come to roses relatively late in life, or to be more precise, I have become rose-obsessed later in life. The beauty of the rose was always apparent to me, but in a back-of-the-border sort of a way. An 'I like it, but I don't know the variety' sort of a way. A 'buy it from a supermarket' sort of a way.
But the half pleasurable/ half painful obsession has grown large just lately, and threatens to take over the whole of the garden. It started with one David Austin rose, 'Abraham Darby' and when that flowered, it was a seminal moment for me. Such gorgeousness could not be ignored. Those huge iconic, sumptuous blooms were the essence of English country gardens to me. Must buy more, I thought, so I did ... luscious pink 'Geoff Hamilton' (still gamely flowering on, as I write); dark, mysterious 'Tess of the D'Urbervilles' and sunny 'Teasing Georgia', amongst others.
Of course I had to buy more so I got a bunch of bare roots, snowy 'Winchester Cathedral', delicate 'St Swithins', silky 'Sceptred Isle'... I needn't go on ...
The romance and the history of the Rose began to exert its influence on me, and I began to read more and more about them, also trying to learn how best to treat my charges. A sunny, open site, generous planting, well seasoned horse manure, regular fertilising and lots of ongoing preventative (organic) health care, to nip any problems in the bud, so to speak!
|Spirit of Freedom|
Then I felt a different, older power, drawing me, pulling me in. The Old Roses were calling, steeped in history and romance, they occupy a place in cultures which no other plant can claim. With some Old roses dating back to the 16th century, they have played their part in literature, music, poetry and art, for hundreds of years.
Just as the names of the David Austin English roses have a mystique all their own, so the names of the Old roses pique the curiosity. Many are named after individuals such as 'Louise Odier', Mme Alfred Carriere' and Mme Isaac Perriere. I want to find out how these roses got their names, and what part was played by those people, in the history of that rose.
So, I have recently placed some orders for bare root Old roses, and I can't wait for them to arrive. I want to get to know them, to look after them, nurture them ... and watch them flower.
I know I need help ...