This is the month for roses. Classic roses that adorn our walled kitchen garden are at their peak around the middle of June.
At this time of year, I love nothing more than going into the walled garden first thing in the morning and taking in the wonderful, rich, sweet fragrance of the roses. These include the sumptuous overlapping magenta petals of ‘Tuscany Superb’ – a strongly scented rose that was one of Vita Sackville West’s favourites and is loved by bees, Rosa gallica ‘Versicolor’ which is a very old variety of rose with large splashes of pink and white on a crimson background and Rosa ‘Rhapsody In Blue’ which is the closest to a blue rose you will find, with clusters of blue/purple blooms. Rosa ‘Charles de Mills’ is a superb rose with very striking blooms of maroon and purple that is sweetly scented. And one of my all time favourites for fragrance – Rosa ‘Blairii No. 2 – a beautiful climbing Bourbon rose with full petalled pink blooms that are pale towards the edges and the scent is absolute knock-out.
Unlike hybrid tea or floribunda roses – classic, or old roses produce only one batch of flowers – this is their time. Classic roses include the groups gallica, albas, damasks and rugosa. Their astonishing beauty is reason enough to grow them, but the truth is that few plants are as trouble-free or easy to grow. All are really tough shrubs and will grow in almost any soil or position.
Roses have had me under their spell ever since I was a young girl. I adore them for their beauty, wonderful fragrance and amazing versatility. There are roses for every plot and spot. Roses are not just things of great beauty. They have the power to express emotion, which is why Keats, Robert Burns and so many other poets were inspired to write about them.
Columbine, its roses and its countryside – is at its very best. So much is still yet to come even though the garden is brimming over with beauty. June must be savoured to the very last drop.