Apologies - it's been along time, but
It must have been the roses....
which have kept me away from my keyboard, with June being peak Rose; with gardens with 90+ roses in, this is a full-time job. Though at least I can work from home.
This will be a two part post, as I have apparently hit the Substack limit!
We live in the glorious village of Mells in Somerset. We love Mells, and Mells loves us for that. Take a dekko…
and every Sunday pm, I climb the steps in the church tower to wind up the clock. It’s a “faceless clock” (guess why) but is primed to ring the quarter hour, and every third hour activates a large carillon to play a tune; a different one every four days.
Came late to gardening, got to know my wife working over her small back garden in Frome; moving to Mells in 2013 we have now a house with a large back garden and a front garden larger in itself than any I had had before (bought my first house, in Oxford, with my ex in 1978. £11K. Small two up two down railway cottage, behind which the Great Western used to run - very close to the houses. Now moved a long way away, as has the price. Last time I looked it was sold for just under half a million pounds.
Bike ride to the station and 1 hour 20 minutes to Paddington, and Oxford became another dormitory suburb of London. So it goes.
This year has for whatever reason been a spectacular year for roses; cue Elvis Costello serenading us on this very matter…
and with the rose a central theme for the Good Old Grateful Dead, lets have another rose song…
Now, roses, roses, roses…
This is a perfectly gorgeous rose, Margaret Merril - could be made of spun sugar
Valencia - a very old fashioned bloom
Francis E Lester - a vigorous rambler, already woven into the willow dome (just visible at the far right of the picture) and already flowering on the other side of the dome - some many feet from where it is planted
Shropshire Lad a smart boy - nestling into the Lady of Shallot. They look a good match :-)
Mme. Isaac Pereire. Gloriously fragrant, as mentioned as such in one of Anthony Powell’s masterpieces “The Dance of Time”. Powell lived in the next village, Chantry.
Blanc Double de Coubert. A rugosa, more or less a wild rose, hardy, disease free, super fragrant and easy to grow. We have four varieties in the garden including one lifted from the sand dunes at Mawgan Porth in North Cornwall, where they have been used to stabilise the dunes. Rugosas originated on the Pacific coast of Japan, so are one of few types of roses that flourish by the seaside.
The spikes bottom right belong to Digitalis ferruginea, a rather special Foxglove.
Zepherine Drouhin. Thornless and sweet smelling, here growing amongst the seed heads of Clematis ‘Early Sensation’. We have two growing into our gazebo - as well as a banksia ‘lutea’ an early flowering rose, with tiny double flowers. And four almond smelling Clematis of the famula species, which are noted for their gorgeous wafty frangipani smell. Our garden is very fragrant, roses waft all over it, and the bees are very happy here.
Golden Celebration a light yellow with light fragrance.