Featured Image of Roses

Ascot week and what a ‘scorcher’ it has been here! Our poor roses didn’t know what to do with themselves as they prepared for their debut, subject to refreshment! So at the cooler times of the day, ie, 5.30am and late evening, we have been steadily moving the sprinklers and hosepipes around every bed and tending to their needs. Warm weather in early Spring, followed by the late, chilling frost and finally strong winds, have not helped in rehearsals! Luckily, like all true divas,  they ‘pulled it out of the bag’ when required and we have been rewarded with a magnificent ‘Show of Roses’.

Stretching from the glorious Rosa ‘Raubritter’, cascading across the front of the house and nuzzling up to the charming Rosa Apple Blossom, others dart around the Rose Circle, such as Scepter’d Isle, with Rosa Munstead Wood. Meanwhile, and not to be outdone, a symphony of Clematis Romantika, Rosa The Generous Gardener and others, are really enjoying winding themselves in and out of the newly restored trellising there, whilst geraniums and astrantias play at their feet.

Darting amongst the borders, like Puck in a Midsummer Night’s Dream, is the impressive Rosa Burgundy Ice. A rose with the appearance of the finest, silk velvet petals. These are unusually dense in colour, paler on the outside and much darker underneath, giving a distinct ‘velvety’ appearance. It is as if someone has thrown powder onto their surface and the rich glow of pure velvet shines from within them. Walking towards Harpers Brook and the bridge across, the area of old Roses is not to be missed either!  Charles de Mills is packed with petals, has that appearance of someone slicing off a cross section of them to create a flat tight clump! Rosa Tuscany and William Lobb are definitely not to be left out! Finally, I should mention the graceful Violette, dancing and pirouetting around the arbors in the Potager.

It has been, ‘The Week of the Roses’,  in our gardens! Fortunately, they were all out in time for our NGS Open Day last Sunday; the hottest day of the year and a busy time for us,  preparing all and baking homemade cakes. The homemade chilled lemonade went down a storm!

This week we have had various groups of visitors, all delighted to have witnessed the roses’ display. One of the groups was from The Northamptonshire Gardens Trust, celebrating its 25thyear. With over 7,000 members, it aims to encourage a greater awareness of the county’s designed landscapes and to enhance an understanding of them. Most county’s have their own trust. Anyone can join and they offer a varied programme of visits, lectures and news about all aspects of our heritage within this area. See their website click here.

Now all our wonderful Salvias have also entered the fray.  We really are going to be bursting with colour in a few weeks, which is exactly what we want!

If you are keen to take care of your roses and other plants that need careful pruning, search in the ‘What’s Going On’ section of our website and select ‘Masterclasses’ for more information for dates of our Autumn courses. Why not treat yourself to either a morning or afternoon course and learn how to prune your roses, in preparation for a wonderful show of your own next year! I am sure that the time spent on careful and correct pruning last year has paid off for us this season. Along with the excellent Garlic Spray for folia feed and pest control!