It’s the dead of winter, and I’m longing for, if not warm weather, at least the flowers that warm weather brings. For me, that especially means roses. Before moving to England, we lived in a house which had been my parents. They had planted some modern, technicolor roses in the front, and one of the first things I wanted to do was to find replacements. I had had some experience with roses over the years, but didn’t really know much about them, but I realised that they thrived in the spot, had a great scent, and bloomed most of the year (this was in San Clemente, California).
I remembered that I had a friend named Kathy who had been a neighbour and had the most wonderful taste in design. She also had a green thumb and created an award winning garden full of colour and magic, just the type of garden I dreamed of creating now. I remembered that she took great pride in her “old roses”, fussing them, and even buying a couple dozen huge pots to create a pot garden with them on the back patio. I remembered that they were incredibly beautiful, with huge flowers with lots of petals, and most importantly, had a delicious, strong scent. That’s the type of roses I wanted for the house.
I googled “old roses” and found a wonderful site that taught me the basics:
And then I found an Old Rose Forum on GardenWeb where I learned more from the contributions of the members than I ever could from a book:
Soon I discovered the roses by a grower named David Austin, who specialises in creating modern roses with the charm and style of old, antique roses. These roses are sometimes called “English Roses”, and they have become my favourite group of roses. His main nursery is a few hours north of where we live now in England, and I was lucky enough to visit his gardens last summer:
Within a few years I went from replacing the few roses in front of the house to having over 60 bushes, all English or Old Roses. Here in England, in our rented flat, I’ve collected half a dozen in the past year and a half, but long to have a garden of my own again where I can plant to my heart’s content. And here, in winter, I’m longing for my beautiful garden with my roses. I thought I’d share some of my favourite photos to cheer myself, and hopefully whoever reads this, up a bit.
William Shakespeare 2000
Madame Pierre Oger
Jude the Obscure
Evelyn and Tamora
Comtes de Champagne
The most beautiful of all.. Megan among the roses..
Here is the entire gallery of roses from my old garden: