Charles said that the garden is about to reach its peak. Because I was very focused on the later flowers, I was a little surprised. Then he said that the rambler was out, and I acquiesced. At least three are impressive monsters, and one of them, Wichurana, has a wonderful perfume that you can smell from a few yards away. This is very special in scented flowers, because most of them need to stick to the nose.
Hedgerow machine? Well, maybe, except for the extra frivolity of the clematis I grow on them to complement their second flowering. I did let them die last year, I did get a good second blossom, but I'm not sure I can face it again.
Those of us with sceptical eyes also know that most roses are not delightful to look at in winter. Most shrub or bush roses have ugly legs and display them for all to see when the leaves are down. Sometimes, in the hybrid tea and similar models, they show their legs in summer too. Yuk.
They used to give a rose to us lucky speakers at the Hay Festival, along with a far more welcome bottle of booze. They were the most horrible things you can imagine. Stiff and ugly on an enormous stalk. Scentless, just to make fools of all those who inevitably sniffed them. Their only possible merit would be as an assault weapon.
Most roses though, are beautiful and somehow evocative. Even a photograph of one beautiful rose flower in the middle of winter can lift the spirits. So when they haven’t gone all brown and dishevelled, they can be a pleasure. That does draw you to an inevitable sniff and surprisingly that is not always rewarding. Sometimes, nothing. But recently we came across one that was actually horrid. Which had us both repeatedly sniffing, in disbelief and distaste. Strangely I didn’t take note of the name.
So. Hm. I haven’t yet tipped into getting rid of them. And Charles is quite right, the ramblers are a Thing. And they are no trouble generally speaking, though the one attempting to wrap itself round our broadband fibre cable may be inviting problems. Apart from things like that, they may be kind. They don’t need pruning (though there IS a pruning trick. Wait for next post..) unless you have been mad enough to plant one over a small arch (you know who I am thinking of, Jessica..). The flowers are mostly small and mostly disappear discreetly. And they have an undoubted wow factor.
However, I also have to admit that most of our ramblers have struggled up to the top of trees and flower there, hardly visible to frustrated earth bound humans.
And why are so many ramblers white!!??
There is a garden not far from us which has grown ramblers over everything, everywhere, just rambler rambler rambler everywhere you look. I do get bored of mediocre gardens being described as ‘inspiring’ but this one is not mediocre and really and truly is inspiring, for those with space. I might even have done the same thing if I’d seen it early enough and believed that I could have settled for two or three amazing weeks every year. I’ll introduce you to it in my next post.
So I won’t dispose of the roses yet. Indeed, we have one, Kiftsgate, growing over the garage roof and I often wonder how on earth we will dispose or manage that when the roof inevitably disintegrates. It has made its own little world up there, a true roof garden, except that no-one can go near it. I have no idea what is now growing with it after 30 odd years.