Finally we are experiencing more seasonal temperatures for the time of year; it seems a long time since the last couple of frosts back in late November. I thought my greenhouse heater was going to blow up when I turned it on owing to the number of cobwebs draped over it! The roses, which just the other day were looking as though they were trying to flower, have begun to show signs of several nights of zero degrees.
The sweetpeas were bursting with enthusiasm and it has been like holding back a herd of charging elephants but hopefully they might now return to a slower pace ready for flowering in March. It’s always a worry when they leap into flower too early and then drop their buds. Never a dull moment in the world of growing.
For the first time in days the sun is shining and I’m thinking of all the bulbs which should have been planted weeks ago but are still sitting in the shed, sprouting green shoots. Confused rose bushes are wondering why they haven’t been pruned and a couple of daffodils have made an embarrassed appearance at the top of the garden. This winter so far has been one of mud-management with any venture outside requiring wellies and the kitchen floor is an ever changing mosaic of muddy paw prints.
The Chimonanthus is doing much to raise our spirits, sharing its glorious scent with everyone who passes, it’s heady aroma and warm yellow flowers are such a rich and welcome surprise at this time of year when colour and scent are scarce.
This is the very last bunch of Margaret Merrills as glorious and scented as they were in June, having taken their final curtain as the Rose Paddock is dismantled and put to bed for the winter. I can’t remember another year when the roses have flowered for so long and set against a stark backdrop of leafless trees and leaden skies they looked quite breathtaking. The hedge trimmer has been out, chomping its way through the rose stems which are now a shadow of their former selves and they will remain like this until February when the main pruning begins.
Now is the perfect time of year to be taking cuttings from many of the wonderful plants in your garden, especially roses!
Listen to me chatting to Rebecca Parker from BBC Radio Solent on how to make the best of your cuttings for a beautiful garden next year.
Roses need attention all year round, but right now they need a little extra attention to grow beautiful huge blooms next year. This is a short piece from myself on BBC Radio Solent talking over the autumnal rose jobs to do before the temperature drops.
There is nothing better than the late summer sun shining on the roses which are flowering their socks off after these past few days of warm weather. White Gold, a wonderful rose from Harkness, set against Verbena Bonariensis looks fantastic in The Sheep Dip garden as does Charlotte with Salvia Nemerosa. We, along with The Real Flower Company, are praying we will be spared the frost forecast for later in the week which will put an end to this splash of early autumn beauty.
Where did the Indian Summer go? The weekend was a joy and the warmth in the sun gave our roses a new lease of life. We picked over 2000 on Saturday and with the heavy dew and the sun coming up the cobwebs looked amazing.
The bountiful and unexpected crop of roses has given The Real Flower Company a great start to the week and our florists have been producing inspirational Autumn bouquets filled with seasonal scent and colour.
The roses are now getting into their second glorious flush but they are being somewhat upstaged at the moment by an incredible surge of dahlias which are setting the Rose Paddock alight with their exuberant mass of colour. In gold, maroon, scarlet, crimson, pale yellow and everything in between they herald a shift in summer hues and a quickening of pace to compliment the ripening wheat and distant drone of combine.
Despite the torrential rain we have had over the weekend, (it always starts when the combine harvester begins its manoeuvres), the roses in the garden have held up well, supported by Salvias, Sweet Peas, Allium seed heads and Monardas. I can never face cutting Allium heads down because they look so beautiful, however I shall regret it in the spring when I have a thick mass of chive-like foliage throughout the garden. I have finally given the roses a second much deserved feed and they are all showing signs of an imminent second flush but like a stage performance, while the curtain is down I am relying on Salvia Nemerosa Caradonna and Monarda Squaw to keep the show going and anyone who has been on a Rosebie Morton day will remember me banging on about the importance of later summer colour. So whilst the roses are having a pause for thought, I can celebrate other plants, the unsung heroes of the garden.
Whiter Shade of Pale – even after two inches of rain!
Chris Beardshaw – also having survived the deluge.