First of all l have a small confession to make. Strictly speaking these are not my roses. I bought them in England from David Austin, brought them back to France, planted them, fed, watered and pruned them BUT not in my garden! They are in a client’s garden who just happens to have a love of English roses, especially David Austin, oh and only in Pink, so who am l to argue. They live in Switzerland and only visit a couple of times a year but, fortunately for her, had timed one of her visits the other week so was able to enjoy the first of the blooms.
The first one here is Constance Spry, it has a strong myrrh fragrance, almost like the smell of a bar of Camay soap of dream like quality. It can grow 12ft or more as a climber. A full flowered rose. Great as a cut flower.
Next up is my all time favourite, and the nation’s as well by all accounts, Gertrude Jekyll. This has the most amazing fragrance. I wish we had smellinet and l could share it with you! David Austin describes it as having ‘the quintessential old rose fragrance’. I fully agree. I could get high off this fragrance! A real ‘must have’ in any garden, but beware, this lady is quite prickly.
Another rose l planted was in the corner of their house as it has a reputation of being quite a rampant, vigorous rambler, Paul’s Himalayan Musk. This boy can reach up to 30ft and is ideal for a pergola or to cover a building. This, too, has a great fragrance. The flowers are quite delicate and only flower once but wow, what a display.
I also planted two ‘James Galway’ either side of their front door. These have done really well and make a wonderful entrance. the flowers are full and, again, have a beautiful old rose fragrance. Some people say it is a shame roses cannot be in flower all summer long but l think this is what makes them so special. For most of them to be in flower in the months of May and June, this is what makes an English Summer.
In this garden they are lucky enough to have several fruit trees. My favourite is the Quince so l was really pleased to see the fruit had set on the tree. Nothing can stop us now from having a good crop come September and October. A late frost got last year’s blossom and there wasn’t a single fruit to be had. It should be a good year for all fruit, both in the garden and the hedgerow. Can’t wait!