English rose, Sir Edward ElgarI have a confession to make… I don’t like rose gardens. Or let me qualify that – I didn’t like rose gardens. The roses are regularly spaced apart, and a good distance at that; all the plants are the same size; the foliage is the same and the flowers tend towards the top of the plant.
English rose, PortmeironWhen I first moved in to this house there were some roses along the driveway, somewhat neglected but blooming away. I was going to take them out, and then I had a revelation. Those plants had survived 5 years of neglect with no summer watering… therefore they were drought tolerant! And with the ever present threat of harsh water restrictions they met my major criteria for a plant in my new garden.
David Austin rose, Golden CelebrationThis was the beginning of a journey into rose discovery, and for starters I wanted a rose garden that didn’t look like the rose gardens I don’t like. I wanted a rose garden that looked like a normal garden - plants jammed in and growing into one another, lots of foliage, and flowers all over. And this is where I discovered shrub roses. I read a David Austin book borrowed from my local library (it is at my house very regularly and here at the moment if you’re looking for it). In it he recommends close planting to create the effect of a large shrub – about 500 mm apart (around 20 inches). Close plant a rose? You can do that? Apparently so. And this from an expert.
Hybrid tea, Ian ThorpeSo why am I telling you all this in a post about a visit to a rose nursery. It’s because I bought more roses to put in and I’m looking to excuse myself. Just following David’s advice.
English rose, Wise Portia
David Austin’s Ambridge rose
A blooming camellia hedge