Saturday, October 30, 2010

A good year for the roses...

I have a tiny garden, a courtyard garden that was barren when we moved in but is now home to two garden beds out the back - one with camellias, azaleas, bluebells, a butterfly bush, cyclamen and other goodies, and a sunny bed for herbs and veggies, and ringed with scented lovelies like lavender.

Along the walls and fences are my pots - typically full of plants that are 'too good' to plant in the garden, as we don't intend to live here forever and I don't want to leave my lovely collection of old fashioned roses behind.

It's the middle of spring here now, and the roses are in their first flush of blooms for the summer. As well as my old-fashioneds, I have a climbing rose that a friend gave me. It was a $2 tubestock and has now taken over a lattice fence out the front. I've been picking armsful of it and together with the old-fashioneds it makes the house smell divine:

And here are some of my other lovelies. The purple rose is Reine des Violettes, an old French rose with an old-world smell. Crush the petals and your fingers become purple with dye. I've pondered what I can do with that... there must be some craft project which deserves to be  dyed with rare rose petals :-).

As well as the Queen of the Violets, I have a standard rose which my friend also gave me. Not sure of the name of it, but it's the one in the middle; as a bud it's pink but it opens to a pale pink-tinged apricot colour and again has a knockout scent. It wasn't doing well for my friend - odd, as she's a horticulturalist and a rose freak - but seems to like living in a pot well enough. It's covered in buds at the moment.

Old friends which I've had for more than ten years are Heritage, by David Austin, and Penelope, whose breeding dates back to the early 1800s. In the pic below Heritage is on the left, that big double, tightly rolled bloom. Penelope is only coming into full bloom now and I haven't taken a pic yet.

Many people prefer to leave their blooms on the bush, and I always leave a few there, but it's a joy to have them in the house, and with the strange stormy weather we've been having lately I think it's nicer to have them inside and enjoy them rather than let them get damaged by the storm and wind.

I've collected fallen petals in a bowl... my petals are around 1cm deep and I toss them daily to let them dry out without rotting. I'm thinking pot-pourri here.  I've never made my own but this might be a good year to start. My roses have never been bloomier (if that's a word). 

On the other hand, my sweet peas which have grown berserk didn't fire at all this year. Not a single flower, and most of the seedlings died in their youth despite TLC. I noticed a guy down the road who always has a splendid wall of sweet peas didn't have a good display this year either. Something just wasn't right for them.

More about cycling and my usual stuff soon. It's been a very busy few months and the poor bikes didn't get enough attention until recently.