A pastel pink beauty and thornless too

It is almost the summer and it is sunny. The temperature here in Suffolk yesterday topped 28 degrees centigrade. Just this last week the fat buds of the climbing David Austin rose, Mortimer Sackler, have burst into their double, pastel pink blooms. You can just see from the photograph below that the rose is planted in the corner of the small, below ground level front garden. The aim is to train it up the south-facing basement wall where most of the blooms will eventually be in full sun. This is its second year and it is coping much better now I have improved the soil with plenty of home compost and organic chicken manure pellets. Last autumn I discovered that the builders had dumped their excess sand and gravel and covered it with a thin layer of top soil, something I should’ve noticed when I originally planted the rose!

Rosa Mortimer Sackler.

Of course, sometimes a gardening error occurs that is not the gardener’s fault. This happened when I bought the clematis ‘Hagley Hybrid’. I specifically bought this variety as my late mother had grown it in the partial shade of a conifer hedge and it flowered amazingly well. Harrumphing and disappointment have ensued. From the photograph below I think you will probably know that this clematis is not ‘Hagley Hybrid’, but is most likely the very popular Nelly Moser.

Clematis Nelly Moser

Now, I wouldn’t have chosen Nelly Moser myself and it really needs full sun to flower well, but as it happens the two-tone pink of the clematis has picked up the two-tones of the pelargonium, so all is not lost.

There are always some positive surprises in the garden and this spring it has been the abundance and the long flowering period of the aquilegias. By chance it appears they’ve had the optimum growing conditions. Notably they have not been swamped by any of the towering foxgloves as they were, very unusually, totally decimated last autumn.

Aquilegia Petticoat Pink

When I first started gardening in the 1990s I often listened on a Sunday afternoon to Gardeners’ Question Time on BBC Radio 4. In those days the late Geoffrey Smith was a regular panel member offering advice and tips. I always remember one tale he told of how the gardener (the husband!) should cut the first, main bloom from each cluster of flowers growing on a floribunda rose, but not dispose of the blooms in the compost. Instead he suggested, in a jocular manner, giving them as a gift to ‘the wife’. Of course, this removal of the central bloom is a type of early pruning to allow the other three buds in the cluster to fully develop and give an overall better display. ‘The wife’ being grateful for the waste prunings was the sly joke and the audience laughed. I mused then and even more now that perhaps it was the ‘husband-gardener’ that needed to be disposed of in the compost.

Finally, wouldn’t it be lovely if ‘smell-o-vision’ was available as the scent from this little bunch of very short-stemmed, prunings is truly delicious and has perfumed the entire basement.

Author: agnesashe

Artisan, blogger and passionate East Anglian working from home.

15 thoughts on “A pastel pink beauty and thornless too”

  1. What a great post. I do love a pink rose. And your gardening writing today put me in mind of Vita Sackville-West whose garden works I so enjoy. The simple peaceful pleasures of plants.

    1. Thank you, for your generous comment. I had Vita Sackville-West’s ‘In Your Garden’ audiobook read by the fabulous Janet McTeer in my car cassette player for years. I found it calming when stuck in traffic. I have yet to make a visit to see the gardens at Sissinghurst and it looks like it will be a bit longer now with the virus.

      1. I am sure I will never see Sissinghurst, but I loved the tone of her garden writings and the feeling of observation and enjoying how plants do what they do. I think you do the same things. In my yard, it is not a garden but a yard, and always will be, given the deer and so on, but we have fixed the tiny front yard into something with form and a nice walk into the house, and I always feel so happy to see it and to use the space. Your writings bring that feeling too. Thank you.

      2. Oh thank you. It’s nice to know that the flowers and their stories are appreciated. A green, botanical welcome home is something to be treasured. I am glad you have that luxury despite the visiting deer.

  2. I don’t know my roses from my hoses, but I can feel the pleasure you are gaining from your garden at this time of the year. And if the temps stay in the high-20s, you might be on water restrictions next! (a little joke there, but I have to admit, the last time I was in the UK and temps got to low 30s – I felt HOT. The atmosphere and light is so different to here. )

    1. Yes, our hot weather is nearly always humid. Horribly sticky nights are even more unwelcome than usual as people are desperate for a good night’s sleep in the face of all the ongoing virus news.

      1. If you only have a small electric fan you can try putting a wet face-cloth over it (without blocking the motor vent) and a tray of ice-cubes in front. Old fashioned, but it can provide some night-time relief.

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