Roses are the root stock source of so much of the fruit that we love. Apples, plums, cherries all derive from the lovely, humble rose. They are stalwarts of the flowering garden – planted well, and tended periodically with simple measures such as a good dumping of rotted manure in autumn and spring, they will flower and flower year after year. Wonderful!
I thought I should make some notes about the roses at the allotment, which we found out about from the lady who originally planted them on H’s allotment side in the 1980s.
One is a Gertrude Jekyll – a quite leggy pink blooming rose that is reaching yards towards the sunshine. It’s planted at the top terrace at the front of the newt pond. This year (2020), with the extra corona-time on our hands giving us time to attend to the things we usually don’t have time to get around to, we added a support pole to help hold it up, and as I deadhead I am trimming it down to encourage lower growth and to improve the rose’s overall structure. I’ve taken two stem cuttings, which are in gritty soil and out in a shady area at our allotment.
Gertrude Jekyll (English Shrub Rose bred by David Austin): Always one of the first English Roses to start flowering, its perfect scrolled buds open to large, rosette-shaped flowers of bright glowing pink. The beautiful, perfectly balanced Old Rose scent is often described as being the quintessential Old Rose fragrance. A vigorous rose; it will form a medium-sized, upright shrub. Named for the famous garden designer and author. David Austin, 1986. (David Austin Roses)
The other magnificent rose on the allotment is the rose that I call the Damask Rose – a deep crimson red, long-stemmed, highly fragrant cultivar.
It’s absolutely magnificent, and when the blooms are fully open are as large as my open hand.
The scent of these roses is heavenly – absolutely psychedelic and intoxicating, especially when amplified by the gentle warmth of late spring.
Mary, who planted this one as well, says it’s name is ‘Deep Secret.’ It turns out it is not a damask rose after all – though must have some connection to the original damask roses which were the origins of rose water and perfumes. (The original damask roses are smaller with pink, open blooms.)
Deep Secret – Hybrid Tea Rose: An abundance of fabulously fragrant, velvety, deep crimson blooms which emerge gracefully from dark purple buds between June and August. These are produced on small trusses throughout the summer above vigorous, upright stems and glossy, deciduous, dark green leaves. It is a large-flowering variety whose beautiful deep colour, rich fragrance and strong disease resistance makes it an easy and rewarding rose to grow. The prolific production of classic, hybrid tea shaped blooms helped it to win the RHS Award of Garden Merit in 1991.(Jacksons Nurseries)
We don’t know the name of the little red flowering climbing rose which is now completely covering the rose arbour, which marks the start of the central gravel path which borders the raspberry patch to one side and the lower terrace vegetable growing plots to the other side. This year in late spring it started to show powdery mildew, but I’ve resisted cutting it back until after it flowers, as it is absolutely covered in small candelabras of flower buds. It came into flower in 2020 in the third week of May.