After May, September is my favourite month. So many reasons…the warmth of the sunlight, ripening fruits, a feeling of ‘winding down’ and the return of the Roses. Here in Eastern Scotland I find that my Roses flower in June and then very sporadically until September when they flower again, often even better than in June. Then they seem to go on for longer and sometimes right into early winter.
These photos were all taken during the last few Mid-September days….
When we moved here almost 7 years ago now, the South-Facing Patio border (full of weeds and elderly shrubs) seemed to me to be crying out for scented Roses. I’ve always fancied growing Standard Roses, and I’ve also collected some shrub Roses and quite a lot of Patio Roses too. I’ve chosen them carefully for colour and scent. Stepping outside on a warm day and breathing in the scent is magical.
I’ve had my fair share of Blackspot, and it is so ugly. I’ve realised that it is inevitable. It seems to be much worse when the plants get stressed, so I try to keep them as happy as I possibly can with lots of liquid seaweed to drink, slow release fertiliser sprinkled once a year and lots of water too. I hadn’t realised just how thirsty Roses are. I sprayed them once with an anti-fungal chemical in the spring, and since then I haven’t sprayed them with anything. But I do water the foliage with the liquid seaweed when I am feeding them, so the leaves get a feed as well as the roots. I love them, and plants respond well to love, as does every thing that lives.
This year has been good for my roses. Not too many aphids, not too much blackspot and loads of lovely blooms.
Even so, I have reduced my Rose collection over the past two years. They need a lot of attention, and there are only so many hours in the day. A few have become too big, and a couple have not performed well. I find the French ‘Delbard’ roses tend not to do well for me. I suspect they prefer a warmer climate. Sadly today I dug out my favourite rose for scent ‘Chartreuse De Parme’ which I love very much. Unfortunately it has been stripped and ripped apart by the winds yet again. It happens every year, every time it starts to flower well, the gales come. And a battered Rose is just so sad. Better to be without than be so upset every year when it gets shredded and stripped of it’s leaves. I still have about 50 different varieties of Rose to enjoy.
Along the other side of the house is where I have a handful of Red-Flowering Roses, mostly Patio sized ones. Hardly any scent, but they are very pretty. I bought them with the intention of growing them in pots, but they weren’t very happy. I think Roses need to be in the ground if at all possible.
Having been moved into this new border, some are taking a while to recover, and being West-Facing, they don’t get as much sun as the others, so not so many flowers. But very sweet non the less.
Today I was working hard all day outside again (started the annual clear-out and clipping of the hedge), but I made myself stop twice just to go along the border and smell every rose that I could reach. I shall miss that pleasure so much and there’s not much time left for enjoying it now. Soon the air will be too cold to carry the scents and all that will be left is a pile of dead leaves on the ground. Until next June.
Lots of people ask me where I get my Roses. I have picked up a couple of great ones in the local Garden Centre (Dobbies), but most of my roses have come from Style Roses of Spalding, bare root, by mail order in the winter. I have never been disappointed with any rose I have bought there, and they specialise in scent! And a few have also come from David Austin who stocks a great range of Standard Roses, and of course, their breeding is just unbeatable.