late october roses


Roses are especially beautiful right now. Most of the roses I grow will keep pumping out blooms for another 6 months but their first spring flush of flowers is the loveliest. Visible in the picture above from left to right are rosa rugosa alba (white), ‘madame isaac pereire’ (pink) and ‘graham thomas’ (yellow).


The napisan brightness of this rugosa rose is conspicuously whiter than anything else in my garden. It has the slightly unfortunate effect of making other white flowers around it – viburnum and foxgloves in spring, and gaura lindheimeri and echinacea ‘white swan’ in summer – appear dirty.


Boom. Up close, the perfume of Mme Isaac Pereire is an absolute knockout.


But I’m not at all sure I like that weird dark pink. It is easier on the eye from a safe distance when surrounded by green.


Here is disney princess pink ‘gertrude jekyll’ (rhymes with treacle) and the first deep magenta flower of ‘charles de mills’. Poor Charles doesn’t have much elbow room, squeezed between Gertrude and the salvia ‘black knight’. This could partly explain why it has been so beset by aphids. I have held my nerve and not sprayed any eco oil, waiting for the ladybird larvae to arrive.


Meanwhile, out the front, ‘munstead wood’, whose blooms look strangely magenta right now for a rose which often appears almost fire engine red, forming a pleasing partnership with the tall bearded iris ‘bordello’ and one of the many self-seeded clumps of knautia macedonica.


And a posy of reisling scented ‘jude the obscure’ roses and ‘high scent’ sweet peas is perfuming the dining room.