It is hard to believe that just a few weeks ago, I was taking a group round the rose paddock, marvelling at the extraordinarily warm and beautiful weather and how amazing it was to still be cutting such fantastic roses for the time of the year!! With the best imagination it’s really hard to imagine! I console myself by digging deeper into a book on Tulips and isolating ones with some serious scent. Now that’s something worth dreaming about on this miserable day! Feast your senses on walking through drifts of Apricot and pale pink tulips wafting their exquisite scent on the light spring wind. My bulb wholesaler is going to enjoy this order but I in turn will delight at the sight of the first shoots emerging in April and the promise that comes with those green shiny leaves.
So it’s not too late to finish ordering spring bulbs from Anemones and Aconites to Narcissi and Tulips. I ordered mine on line from Parkers and Peter Nyssen. Worth setting a budget so as not to get carried away, especially on a day like today!!
Although the rest of us feel like hibernating thanks to the weather, we are starting to plant row upon row of Evelyn, Whiter Shade of Pale and Irish Hope. The digging is heavy going after all the rain and on a damp, misty afternoon the thought of a nice warm office (and even a filing tray) seems quite tempting. However it is a great feeling to be preparing for next year although we won’t be picking from these roses next season as we like to give them a year to get their roots established.
We are still open on Fridays for bare rooted rose sales of Just Joey, Big Purple, Evelyn, Chandos Beauty, Breathtaking, Clare Marshall & Viridiflora.
You only have to look out of the window to realise that summer sadly is finally over and we are starting to put our roses to bed! They are being cut down to stop wind damage and then having a good covering of compost put around their roots before the polytunnels are removed and the roses are open to the elements for the winter. If it is anything like last winter they will carry on growing and barely lose their leaves but from an agronomy point of view we rather hope we might get a bit of cold to give them a period of complete rest and knock any unwanteds on the head! There may appear to be a period of inactivity but nothing ever stops in nature!
Finally the seasons are correcting themselves with the approach of some colder weather. To be cutting roses on 4th November is bizarre and wonderful but it does mean that the rush is now on to get the roses shut down for their winter hibernation before Christmas. The last stems of our English roses will be cut during the next few days and then next week they will be pruned down, the plastic tunnels removed and they will be exposed to the elements. Hopefully some cold conditions will kill off any overwintering pests and diseases. It has been a good year for roses and with luck we will be sustained through the dark winter weeks with memories of this long and beautiful summer.
The Rose Paddock is firing up for a change of season, with autumnal colours and abundance in every row. The hydrangeas are spectacular with big, bold heads in shades of antique white and are proving very popular at the Farmers’ Markets. We have tangles of blackberries and spindle berries, huge deep pinky red rosehips shaped like Christmas baubles and heaps of gourds in creams, oranges and yellows.
The roses have slowed down due to the unseasonal cool nights but are showing plenty of new growth and so if the rumours of an Indian summer are true, we can look forward to several weeks of colour and scent in a last display before the winter.
It has continued to be a fantastic year for Bees. The mild winter and incredible summer that we have been experiencing has made for some very happy Bees. They love the Rose Paddock with the diversity of flowers available. Infact they are spoilt for choice – Phacelia or Agastache, Salvia or Verbena, far too much choice!
In turn we are delighted to have so many Bees in the Paddock and this year we have noticed an incredible array of Butterflies as well and the fantastic Dragon Flies – The rose and gardening courses are fast becoming wild life tours to boot!
If you would like to come on one of our courses please visit the workshops, courses and tours page.
Our sweet peas are out and looking fantastic – so much earlier than last year when we didn’t have any until the end of March. Unlike the rest of us, they haven’t minded the weather. At the start of each season I never fail to be amazed and delighted by their gorgeous scent. www.sweetpeasdirect.co.uk
We are into the second week in May and at last some roses have started to appear. The first stems of Margaret Merril have been cut and according to tradition they have come straight to the kitchen table. They are always one of the first out and their exquisite scent never ceases to amaze me. The mild weather has produced an infestation of aphids – growing roses always provides challenges!