THE YEAR OF THE ROSES
I imagine the jet stream must have sorted itself out and the feared repeat of last year deluge has been replaced with long spells of summer weather. The garden plants were all running about three weeks later than normal, but they are now catching up very quickly. The garden hose has even been in use after clearing off two years dust from lack of use. The extra moisture together with sun and high temperatures has transformed every part of the garden. I have picked over 30 lbs of strawberries from my wee strawberry patch and I am only a third of the way through the season.
Other soft and top fruits are swelling and ripening up brilliantly. All the vegetables on the allotment just love this year, and salads, rhubarb, turnip, cabbage and beetroot has been getting picked regularly.
However the one plant that is responding above all others is the roses. I have never seen them flower so profusely. The weather is also keeping blackspot, mildew and rust at bay.
My two climbing roses, Gertrude Jekyll on a west wall and Dublin Bay on a south wall are always a good show, but this year they outstanding. They are absolutely packed with flowers from base right to the top of the bushes. Climbing Mme Alfred Carrier must be twelve foot tall but only supported by a six foot fence, yet she is still growing so I will give her more room. She shared this fence with a clematis macropetala, which has not been great, so I have dug it out to let Mme Alfred Carrier get more space. I have another three climbers Etoile du Hollande, Climbing Iceberg and Morning Jewel, which all got severely cut back last year as I replaced the fence line and I needed access to work. They very soon put on good growth and are now all in flower, but it will be another year before they make maximum impact.
Ispahan and Lavender Lassie are both excellent pinks with gorgeous scents. Ispahan is now over seven foot tall but has plenty of space, but Lavender Lassie is beginning to outgrow its space and block a footpath so it will get shifted next winter. I might plant it against a fence and train it into a climber.
These have had no feeding or compost this year, (they got plenty last year) and have to compete with the ravenous roots of a huge eucalyptus tree which is growing in the middle of the bed, but they all seem to exist together just fine. The eucalyptus does not have a dense canopy so the roses get plenty of sunlight, but I have to water in this present dry spell as our stony soil can be very dry.
This year’s display is brilliant. Although there are more hybrid tea types than floribundas, the HT’s are acting like floribundas with a mass of blooms. The star player this year is Myriam which was purchased from Cockers of Aberdeen following a visit to their display gardens several years ago.
It is a large headed soft pink hybrid tea rose with a strong scent growing about four to five feet tall with very healthy foliage. I counted twelve flower heads all in bloom at the same time on one bush.
However they no longer stock this variety.
Another brilliant rose that I can no longer trace is a strong beautiful deep yellow floribunda called Julie Goodyear purchased from Dobbies Garden Centre about eight years ago. Has some rose bush supplier to the trade made up the name to gain sales. This variety is not listed anywhere in the rose world, so what is the real name of this wonderful rose.
However next week another rose (the orange hybrid tea Dawn Chorus or white floribunda Iceberg) will be the star performer while Myriam takes a wee rest.
Plant of the week
Philadelphus virginal, the mock orange is one of the easiest shrubs to grow, but as it can grow up to ten feet tall it needs a bit of space. It used to be one of the dominant shrubs in Dundee Parks as it is very easy to propagate from hardwood cuttings in winter, so it got planted all over the town. However in those days shrubs were used to cover the ground to stop weeds growing so our philadelphus never got above five feet and I never ever saw a flower on it. Today we let shrubs grow naturally so if it is a ten foot tall shrub we let it grow. If you feel the need to prune, then remove some older branches after flowering to encourage younger growth.
This mature shrub is a mass of double scented white flowers in July and one of my must have specimen plants.