Everything’s Coming up Roses.

  • If I could only have one flower it would have to be the rose. In June the garden is only half dressed if it is not filled with the scent of roses. When we came here nearly nine years ago there were a few roses but not nearly enough. Some of them had obviously been chosen for the name: ‘Home, Sweet Home, ‘Happy Anniversary’, ‘Memories of a Golden Afternoon’ and even ‘Happy Retirement’.  Only a non- gardener would choose a rose with a name like that. I don’t mind choosing a rose for its name if it called something like  ‘Reine des Violettes’, ‘Diablesse de Mers’ or ‘Cuisse de Nymphe Emue’ (which is known as ‘Maiden’s Blush’ in English to spare the describers’ blushes) but  some of the others had to go. ‘Boogie’ Woogie’ is still hanging on in there, but living on borrowed time, I tell people I can’t remember its name if they ask me.

I just counted up and I realise I have added more than forty roses since I came here, some of them grown from seed or cutting and others bought. But still there are not enough, I shan’t be happy until every tree has a rose cascading from it. Let’s start with my seed-grown babies, actually you couldn’t call the first one a baby, it has grown to the top of a tall holly and cascades down very glamorously in a torrent of white foam.

Its father was the scarily vigorous Rosa ‘Kiftsgate’ and its mother was ‘Wedding Day’. I think it looks lovely with the red leaves of the Forest Pansy, ‘Cercis canadensis’


My next one is more restrained in growth, it’s mother was the lemony ‘Paul’s Lemon Pillar’ which was a favourite of Vita Sackville- West and I am not sure who the father was.

There was a large standard rose in one of the beds here which had to go, not just because it was called ‘Golden Wedding’ but because I don’t like standard roses. I cut it down because I was too lazy to dig it up.   From the base there grew a lovely, vigorous rose which now climbs on the fence. I don’t know what it is but the horrible standard had obviously been grafted onto it. It is so pretty and has lovely glossy leaves.

I have found that some roses are very easy from cuttings and some quite stubborn. The pretty soft pink climber ‘New Dawn’ is very easy.

Rosa ‘New Dawn’

‘Albertine’ is easy from cuttings too, I love its deep pink buds and delicious fragrance.

Rosa ‘Albertine’

I love the simplicity of single flowers and Rosa ‘Cooper’s Burmese’, also grown from a cutting, has huge white flowers and healthy, glossy foliage.

Rosa ‘Cooper’s Burmese’

‘Cooper’s Burmese’ is very prickly and very vigorous but I have two much more vigorous ones totally covering the poor apple trees that they are climbing up. The first is ‘Paul’s Himalayan Musk’ which is a great favourite of mine, it has sea green leaves and masses of soft pink flowers.

Rosa ‘‘Paul’s Himalayan Musk’

Rosa ‘Paul’s Himalayan Musk’

Peachy ‘Treasure Trove’ is probably even more vigorous as it was a seedling of ‘Kiftsgate’. I didn’t realise this when I planted it. I first saw it looking wonderful on a tree in my friend Anne’s garden where it was beautifully trained and perfectly behaved. It has smothered the apple tree where it is growing here and clearly has designs on a nearby pear tree.

Rosa ‘Treasure Trove’

Some of my climbers are much more restrained. The lovely tea rose ‘Lady Hillingdon’ ambles lazily along the wall and can hardly be bothered to raise her beautiful heads which are a scrumptious apricot colour.

Rosa ‘Lady hillingdon’

The previous owners planted the climbing David Austin ‘Teasing Georgia’ in the shade of a weeping willow and with nothing to climb up, now she has a support she is growing much better and puts up with the shade without complaint.

Rosa ‘Teasing Georgia’

‘Alberic Barbier’ doesn’t grow very tall either, he has not climbed very high up his tree yet. This is a lovely rose with glossy leaves and gorgeous rather shaggy double cream flowers.

Rosa ‘Alberic Barbier’

I have another climbing David Austin rose with very pretty, very fragrant flowers. It is called ‘The Generous Gardener’

Rosa ‘The Generous Gardener’

In the front garden there are two silvery weeping pears Pyrus salicifolia. Why somebody thought that two weeping pears side by side were a good idea I don’t know. But never mind, they make good climbing frames for the purpley-violet ‘Veilchenblau’ and the delightful clusters of ‘Felicité Perpetué’.

Rosa ‘Veilchenblau’

Of course many of these climbers and ramblers only have one brief moment of glory but they don’t all bloom at once. The lovely single ”Francis.E. Lester’ is only just opening its buds and ‘Blush Rambler’ is still to come. Then there are  a few like the glorious ‘Phyllis Bide’ which seem to bloom all summer. I have it on both the arches into my secret garden and it is a wonderful sight.

Rosa ‘Phyllis Bide’

Rosa ‘Phyllis Bide’

So far I have just mentioned some of my ramblers and climbers but that is enough for one post. As I am totally intoxicated by roses at the moment there will be another rose post very soon.

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64 Responses to Everything’s Coming up Roses.

  1. Eliza Waters says:

    Your garden continues to impress me, Chloris. Over 40 roses and you know all their names? Wow! I feel so lazy in comparison. 😉
    I’ve often wondered, does it hurt/compete to have a rose climb a bush like your holly? I’d be afraid that come fall, there’d be dead patches.

  2. March Picker says:

    Chloris, these climbing roses have me drooling. You are certainly an excellent resource as a seasoned rose grower, and I can tell how much pleasure they give you. The simple white Cooper’s Burmese is especially appealing to me. The colors in Phyllis Bide are soothing and inviting as well. Just gorgeous.

    • Chloris says:

      I fell in love with old fashioned roses twenty five years ago after seeing Sissinghurst and reading Vita Sackville West. I have been growing them ever since and of course now there are the wonderful David Austin roses too. But it is fun to experiment and try a few of your own. Cooper’s Burmese needs a sunny south facing position. It is wonderful but has vicious thorns.

  3. Amanda Clowe says:

    I love your roses …what is the pink one you have growing on the bricks at the rear of the house please. Did you see my blog ? There’s a photo of it on there.

  4. bcparkison says:

    Well pooh! I just don’t have any ‘luck’ with roses. Yours are just beautful.

  5. Pauline says:

    I have Wedding Day here, up and ancient ash tree, it is just starting to flower now. I planted it to mark my daughter’s wedding 19 years ago and a few years ago it reached the top of the tree. I also have Mulligani up my dead oak and that is still to flower. How do you deal with all the dead branches, or don’t you? Do you just leave them in situ? You have a truly wonderful selection, the perfume must be amazing!

    • Chloris says:

      Your Wedding Day must be a wonderful sight after 19 years. It is a good idea to chose some early flowering and some late flowering to spread out the pleasure. I don’t worry about dead branches, the roses are so dense you can’t see them. Anyway I am not agile enough or brave enough to climb up to sort them out.

  6. Christina says:

    If roses grew in my garden as they do in yours I would love them too, as it is they struggle here, the soil is too light for them. I also love roses that are big enough to climb trees as yours are doing so amazingly. Perhaps I should try again with 2 to climb the walnut trees

    • Chloris says:

      But you have a lovely Rosa mutabilis. I think it is a great idea to try growing roses up your walnuts. Choose vigorous roses and keep them well fed and watered.

      • Christina says:

        I’ll try, do you think the walnuts will poison them?

      • Chloris says:

        It mught be a problem if you have black walnuts, Juglans nigra. Mine is Juglans regia which produces much less of the toxic chemical juglone. I have never noticed anything growing nearby suffering.

      • Christina says:

        I’m not sure which variety they are; they were already in the garden when we arrived and I should have removed them immediately. They don’t even produce nuts that aren’t diseased! The problem is now that they are creating a lot of shade and I think roses would find it difficult to get going.

  7. rusty duck says:

    With few suitable walls as climbing space I really should be utilising trees for roses. But it’s always a struggle to get anything to establish given that in most cases the trunks are partially in shade. How is it done?

    • Chloris says:

      I plant roses a little way away from the trunk and feed and water well. For big trees I use a very vigorous rose. It takes a while for them to get going but they always do.

  8. janesmudgeegarden says:

    Walking through your garden must be a sensory delight, Chloris. I’m not familiar with the roses you have shown, but they are all lovely and it would be so difficult to pick a favourite, although I must say Phyllis Bide has a great deal of appeal for me. Do your roses get black spot or do you combat it with feeding and sprays such as lime sulphur, which is what is recommended here. Even with my best intentions and care black spot is a problem, especially at the end of the season.

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Jane. I don’t spray my roses. In the past I have had problems with black spot but some are more susceptible than others and nowadays I am careful not to choose roses that suffer badly from it.

  9. Flighty says:

    Lovely post and pictures. If I had a garden I would certainly have lots of roses, mostly white and yellow with simple flowers. xx

    • Chloris says:

      I love white and yellow roses too. I was very tempted by a single yellow rose I saw today called: ‘Tottering by Gently’, but then with a name like that…. people might think I was describing myself.

  10. homeslip says:

    Gorgeous roses, can’t wait for Part 2. My new roses are being nibbled by rabbits (come on you buzzards and foxes who despatched the rabbits very efficiently last summer) so I have had to resort to chicken wire cages. I inherited two R. ghislaine de Feligonde climbing up one end of the pergola and I have planted two R. Penny Lane (bare-rooted from Apuldram Roses ) for the other end. I also inherited three pearly white roses (R. Ocean Pearl?) and have added R. Lavender Lassie, R. Blush de Noisette and a label-free rose from Apuldram which I think is R. Margaret Merrill and whose perfect buds look fantastic in my mother’s silver bud vase. These three were all growing in large terracotta pots and came with me when I moved. I left behind R. New Dawn (a parent of R. Penny Lane, rose of the year in 1998) and Rosa Mundi – two old favourites. I’ve just bought seed of R. glauca rubrifolia and seed of Digitalis ferruginea as rabbit-proof plants. Do you suffer from rabbits Chloris? I understand from neighbours that it is a bad year for rabbits this year and I know from the allotment that these things come in waves but I am almost crying over all my spat-out flowers. Untouched (so far) are allium, hellebore, foxglove, Salvia, iris, alchemilla mollis, stachys, dianthus, lavender, peonies, comfrey, hosta, verbena, Veronica, (most) grasses but everything else is being nibbled, including two new Clematis (Etoile Violette and Wada’s Primrose) nibbled to the nub overnight. I have read through my list of unnibbled plants and it could be a lot worse. At least the sweet peas were up and away early and I have a well-defended old chicken run for my veg growing. Also my new winter border by the house has not been discovered … yet! Gardening – always the triumph of hope over experience.

    • Chloris says:

      Oh no, bunny trouble, how awful. I used to have them but now I have a rabbit fence that keeps them out and the granddog in. I also have a fox on regular patrol. But for the last year I have had a beastly muntjak deer as a regular visitor. He is very destructive. They are also vicious, I had a dog attacked by one a few years ago. Writing about roses made feel I urgently needed another one so on the way back from Pilates this morning I found myself driving past a nursery and Ghislaine de Féligonde just fell into my trolley. I nearly bought Variegata di Bologna too until it occurred to me that I would have to dig up more lawn to plant it. Do you mean ‘Pearl Drift’? It is so pretty.

      • homeslip says:

        Yes, that’s the one, thanks Chloris. Oh dear, deer are dreadful. They took up residence at my old allotment site and caused much damage and disgruntlement. G de F is gorgeous. Apart from the scented flowers, her stems and young foliage glow red and pick up exactly the colour of the cotinus in an adjoining bed, I’ve just come home from Parham where they are also being troubled by rabbits – makes me feel better about my predicament. Btw I had a fab time earlier this month on a Wildflower Meadow Study Day at Great Dixter. It was great to have the gardens to ourselves during the breaks. I remember dinner at Gravetye about 25 years ago, in particular the lobster bisque served in a tiny copper pan. The only drawback was that I was pregnant and therefore drove us home. Will book lunch for a special occasion soon. I thought the whole place looked fantastic on Carol’s Show last night, full credit to HG Tom I think.

  11. Tina says:

    These are breathtaking! Your garden really must be something to see–so impressed!

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Tina, planting ramblers up trees is a case of delayed gratification, it takes a few years for them to get there and strut their stuff.

  12. How amazing! I feel like I can smell the garden from these pictures! I can’t wait for the next part!!

  13. Heyjude says:

    I really don’t have the room for roses, though that hasn’t stopped me buying two recently, and the Cornish weather can be pretty ruthless on the blooms. I was in a garden today and could have wept at the damage the rain has done – so many brown buds and soggy flowers – I wanted to take my secateurs to them! (Don’t worry I had left them at home). Yours look absolutely fabulous so I shall happily admire them, just a pity I cannot smell them. Lady Gardener has the most lovely lemony fragrance! And your ‘Phyllis Bide’ is just magnificent. Thank you for the lovely tour around your roses, I shall look forward to the rest.

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Jude. This is a wonderful year for roses but the constant downpours gives them a bit of a battering. Some suffer more than others. I used to grow a beautiful old fashioned one called ‘Souvenir de la Malmaison’ but the rain always ruined it. I love the idea of you busy dead heading in other peoples’ gardens. I find the urge to pull weeds almost irresistible when I am out and about.

  14. Kris P says:

    The shrubs in my garden don’t even look like roses when compared to your glorious specimens, Chloris. I’ve got just one climber and not a single rambler. The notion of a rose climbing through shrubs is lovely but, with my limited success with growing roses in my sandy, alkaline soil, they probably aren’t the best investment I could make. Do you prune your ramblers? I can’t imagine the rig that would be required to do so!

    • Chloris says:

      No, I just let the ramblers do their own thing, apart from Phyllis Bide on the arches in my secret garden, I try to keep that from getting to wild and woolly.

  15. Frog says:

    Wonderful. I wonder if there is a beautiful plant you don’t have ! The last two pictures are the stuff of dream.

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Frog. I do have a lot of plants, I can’t leave the house without coming home with a plant or two and my pockets stuffed with seeds and cuttings. It means I constantly have to dig up more lawn. Yes Phyllis Bide in the last pictures is a wonderful sight.

  16. I admit roses are beautiful, but pruning can be a bit of a chore. All those thorns. Some cultivars here have an over abundance. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  17. Wow. You are an accomplished rosarian. I am more restrained about roses but I can appreciate yours. I agree that single blooms are best and standards are pretentious and unappealing. Of course I had to look up a translation of ‘Cuisse de Nymphe Emue’. Oh, those French. But what I want to know is, you would never choose a rose for its name but would you remove a rose for its name?

    • Chloris says:

      I love single roses too. You have Sally Homes don’t you? She is magnificent at the moment. I got rid of ‘Happy Retirement’and ‘Home Sweet Home’ a horrible orange hybrid tea. Hybrid teas are banned, whatever their name.

      • Well, I sort of have Sally Holmes. She was killed down to the ground over winter and is tentatively sending up some new canes. Not sure about her prognosis. She did have some good years, though.

  18. What a gorgeously healthy bounty of Rosy goodness in your garden. Coming from humidity and black spot land they are breathtaking. So is the foliage.

  19. pbmgarden says:

    Oh my goodness. Such glorious roses.

  20. tonytomeo says:

    So much white – my favorite.

    • Chloris says:

      Yes, white is particularly wonderful on a summer’s evening when the light is just going.

      • tonytomeo says:

        White also excels in the shade and dark color of the redwood forests. Even sunny spots are darkly colored. It is actually a contrast to gardening in town, where white flowers look like trash blown into the planter boxes on the mall.

  21. Ah you’ve got some beauties there. I tend to avoid roses ‘cos I hate the pruning and working round them. We’ve not really got any trees that they can scramble over. That said, I’ve just conceded a small rose bed to keep Steve happy. Your Paul’s Himalayan Musk looks stunning.

    • Chloris says:

      Well if you grow Hybrid teas they are an awful faff. My David Austin and old fashioned roses don’t get a lot of pruning but I tie them in to their supports in the winter and generally tidy them up. I enjoy doing that. The ramblers up the trees don’t get pruned at all.

  22. Cathy says:

    I had to smile when I read this, Chloris, as I too have just counted how many roses I have and it seems I have 42 different ones, although some are in pairs or groups so the total will be more – only Rambling Rector was here when we came… Hey ho – I am sure I will find space for more and your post has made me think about the option of growing into trees as many of yours do, in fact, the pink hawthorn may get a reprieve as my young Paul’s HM has begun to climb into it. What conditions are at the base of the trees yours are climbing in? I am sure I will be picking your brains more after this stimulating post – and will be taking cuttings from New Dawn!

    • Chloris says:

      It’s funny how we all compulsively count our flowers. I bought two more roses this week, ‘Ghislaine de Féligonde’ and’ Imogen.’ I plant the roses a little way from the trunk at an angle and of course they have to be kept well fed and watered whilst they get going.

      • Cathy says:

        I wanted a list of roses to display for our openings, so counting them was inevitable – same for clematis (about the same number) although, unlike the roses, I can’t quite remember all the names without checking but I am working on it! So exciting for you to still have space for more roses! Is it quite shady at the base of the trees where you have roses climbing up?

  23. CCBethune says:

    Beautiful! More roses is part of my plan for next year, but I do envy the sheer number of wonderful ones you have! 😀

  24. What a fabulous array of roses Chloris. The scent must be delightful especially now that we have some warmth at long last. Like Cathy I will be taking cuttings from ‘New Dawn’ after reading your encouraging words.

  25. snowbird says:

    Your climbling/rambling roses are nothing short of utterly delightful! I just love seeing roses in trees, I have two in my apple and they are just gorgeous albeit horribly thorny. All these roses are gorgeous, but my faves have to be the Generous Gardener and Teasing Georgia. How I’d love to sneak around your garden taking cuttings! Your secret garden is looking heavenly.xxx

  26. antonia_ says:

    Stunning photos! Great post

  27. bittster says:

    I’m glad you don’t go around posting such pictures in January. I would have ended up with many more boxes on my doorstep in April. As it is I added just a few climbers, and they’re still so tiny there’s nothing to worry about for a few years.
    Your archway is amazing. It’s something most people only dream of.

    • Chloris says:

      Well, you always have room for more climbers. It is the ramblers which really take off and decorate trees beautifully. Phyllis Bide, the one on the arch blooms all summer, you really need to find room for her Frank.

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