So said Arthur Conan Doyle, author of more than 50 Sherlock Holmes mysteries and true devotee of the beauty of roses.
This year the roses have been spectacular. I’m sure all of you will have seen and nurtured some fantastic roses, many still at their best. I love them, having grown up with my mother’s rose garden in Worcestershire and seeing her continued love for roses over the years and in different gardens when they moved house. Indeed I gave her this salmon pink Fritz Nobis for her birthday which is looking great at the moment. And one for my wife on Valentine's Day.
I love the idea of massed roses in a bed - assuming a combination of the right colours (!) - but my wife (who has better taste than me) likes roses planted to create a splash and blend of colour amongst other flowers and plants.
She’s also planted climbing roses over a couple of arches to create height in an area of the garden that’s fairly flat. They both have a heavenly fragrance and it’s an instinctive treat as you walk by to lift a flower to your nose and inhale the lovely smell.
We also have a deep pink rose bush that we planted by a barn years ago. Every summer it produces the most wonderfully exuberant little flowers in their hundreds, creating a glorious display of vibrant pink.
On another wall of the barn there's a climbing rose that flowers early, but with suitably committed deadheading will flower again.
I find there’s something quite therapeutic about deadheading - the flower has gone beyond its natural beauty and lifetime but the new buds will produce more stunning blooms. It reminds me of this rather philosophical quote, ‘Do not watch the petals fall from the rose with sadness, know that, like life, things must fade before they can bloom again’.
One of the greatest features of roses is their ability to repeat flower. Some flower continuously for months and some, depending on the weather, the type of rose and their location, can even flower well into winter.
Another wondrous aspect of roses is the enormous variety available. There’s literally a rose for all tastes and all sizes and types of garden including:
- Ramblers that can take over a fence or a tree and grow up to 10 metres high
- Repeat flowerers that keep on giving, including shrub roses
- Ones that produce flowers just once a year, such as ramblers
- Hybrid teas that give you a perfect single flower of exquisite proportions and colour
- Floribunda roses that produce a whole bouquet of flowers
- Those that produce single, double and semi-double flowers
- Tiny specimens that bloom in pots
A rambler coming through our laurel hedge
Roses come in every hue to suit a medley approach or create a sea of one particular colour - apricot, lilac, pink, purple, red, white and yellow, multi-coloured ones – the choice is almost limitless.
There are also varieties to suit different soil types and aspects such as windy or coastal areas as well as different flowering times. We also have David Austin English Roses, with about 40 varieties, being one of the largest selections of David Austin roses available in the UK.
The choice is vast and the last note on roses has to go to Shakespeare from Romeo and Juliet:
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet”
Enjoy your roses and remember to start planning for pre-ordering your bareroot roses now - for delivery in November!