The Garden Community for Garden Lovers

Roses, Landscapes & Borders


By kowhai


This really is being a dreary summer, its only saving grace being that watering the garden is largely unnecessary and everything in the garden and the countryside is looking lovely and lush.

Surprisingly, our roses have done quite well this year. In fact, the garden isn’t really an ideal site for roses, as, thanks to its orientation (east-west) and the neighbouring trees, it receives sun in fits and starts, and roses really like full on sunshine.

Let’s start with the ramblers/climbers. We ‘inherited’ ‘Kiftsgate’, which really prefers to have a tall tree to climb up. Ours is trained along the fence and the other bushes which grow there. It’s now in full bloom and, especially when the sun is shining on it, looks great.

On a nearby archway, we have ‘Treasure Trove’, which is related to Kiftsgate. It produces apricot coloured flowers which change colour as they mature. This year it’s flowering quite profusely.

It competes for space on the arch with another rose, whose details, unfortunately, have been mislaid. It’s has more modest flowers, and is less prolific, but it’s very pretty.

Probably the most successful one that we’ve planted is rosa complicata, which is flowering quite abundantly this year, despite being in competition with nearby black bamboo.

We also have some ‘splashed’ roses, one of which, ‘Striped Tiger’ I think it’s called, is doing better this year.

However, we can’t compete with the truly wonderful rosa mundi borders at Greys Court.

Nor can we compete with the roses at Rousham, near Woodstock in Oxfordshire. As with Greys Court, the roses are the product of decades of tender loving care.

I noticed a prolific rose at Rousham, which the gardener said was rosa gallica officialis. I plan to get one to put in the front border next year as part of a major overhaul of that part of the garden during the winter.

Another plant where we are also outclassed is the ‘false’ scabious. The one in my border is doing really well this year, being about 7 foot tall and with around a dozen or so flowers. Alas, the counterparts at Rousham are something again!

I’ve also been completely out classed on fox gloves this year. I successfully propagated a few white seedlings which I duly planted out. Only one has flowered, and it got damaged. Meanwhile, in the woods in the Chilterns where we walk, the wholesale clearing of laurel has opened up acres where dormant fox glove seeds have sprung to life, with pretty stunning effect.

Laurel is a really intrusive plant and needs to be disciplined. The landscape at Rousham shows how it should be done (with staff and a lot of hard work). In the William Kent designed grounds, trimmed laurel is used as underplanting, as its shiny leaves catch the light.

Of course, having a landscape garden on this scale is unrealistic. And even having a herbaceous border on the scale of Rousham is, too. But it does provide a model to aspire to!

Meanwhile, we’ll simply have to make the best of looking at our garden from the house rather than being in it in the sunshine, which was how we had hoped to spend some of our summer! And at least Roxanne among the ever faithful hardy geraniums is putting on a good display.

More blog posts by kowhai

Previous post: THE GARDEN IN MAY

Next post: Touch of autumn in the air


There are no comments yet

Add a comment

Recent posts by kowhai

Members who like this blog

  • Gardening with friends since
    14 Aug, 2008

  • Gardening with friends since
    17 Apr, 2011

  • Gardening with friends since
    10 Sep, 2010

  • Gardening with friends since
    28 Feb, 2011