A remarkably warm, dry bank holiday weekend has been followed by torrential rain today which makes me delighted I picked a bunch of full-blown roses for the table! This year there are more blooms than ever before - maybe due to all the rain and a late cold snap... easy to speculate. The bad new is that R. Kiftsgate is covered with mildew that I can't begin to think about tackling. I am seriously considering cutting it right back after flowering this year to see if I can keep it a little more under control/healthy.... The grass would be happy!
I am intrigued by the habits of roses and my various experiments with pruning. Most remarkable to me is how forgiving they can be, especially as regards transplanting. I am happy to report that the good half day I spent digging out R Canary Bird to give to a friend has been rewarded by it taking - in spite of my having to cut back to only about 1/4 of the root.
My creamy-white Mme. Alfred Carriere rose was also a major task to transplant but since I've realised I should tie down all the stems to allow the flowering spurs to grow upwards it has been flourishing and is relatively free of any pests or diseases. Unlike the supposedly well-behaved pretty pink Mme. Isaac Pereire. This was my first rose purchase and is in its third location - ever-looking for a place it is happy. It is blighted by black spot and seems to attract aphids, although it does seem quite mildew-resistant. This year I have decided to ignore it and let it ramble and that seems to be suiting it. Amongst the wisteria and a tangle of greenery the black-spotty leaves will just have to do their own thing, while I collect as many as I can.
After the slow spring there are some wonderful surprises this year - plenty of self-set alliums (in fact they need dividing!), a fabulous crop of white irises, unexpected foxgloves and some surprising combinations of foliage plants. The clematis all seem to be very slow but hopefully they will come late and give me more to look forward to!
My orange-purple tulip contrasts were a success overall although some of the colour shifts were a bit too subtle from a distance. I picked a couple of bunches to shoot in the studio this year - both fresh and as they die gracefully. A few may even reach the web site. Nice to give things more permanent significance. Next weekend I shall be digging them up to make space for dahlias.
Here are a couple of snaps of the garden this weekend. I am so chuffed my hosta Francis Williams has so far avoided any slug/snail damage!.
Small Garden Story
Over some 15 + years, I have been photographing the evolution of my small (85 x 15 foot) garden and it seems a waste not to put these records into some sort of context. Beginning here in April 2010 this Blog is intended to both act as a diary and to share past and present successes (and some failures), pleasures and disappointments with fellow garden-lovers. In due course, I intend to fill in some of the background and early days but that will have to wait until the winter months!