On Saturday I went to Orford on the Suffolk coast to hear an organ and voice recital as part of the Aldeburgh Festival. The performance was held in the village’s medieval church of St Bartholomew. Parking was down near the quay, but there was an agreeable walk up Quay Street to the church.
Of course, June is the month for roses and this delightful, east-facing climbing combination was at peak bloom.
As was this clever elegant use of a white climbing rose or two, at ‘Avocets’, further up Quay Street. This planting also faces east with the blooms in the sunlight and the roots planted about five feet down in the dip of the front garden. It isn’t obvious from the road there is such a difference in levels, but if you look at Quay Street on Google Street View you can see the single storey house along with the front garden from 2011 before the hedge screened the property from nosy passers-by like me.
Turning our attention to the other side of the road a pair of painted cottages are set back from the highway with an open aspect facing west. One cottage has a well-trained rose set off against the painted brickwork. However, the first floral flush had waned and there were only a couple of rich, red blooms still in flower.
As we continue the walk up from the river Quay Street becomes Church Street and just before we enter the churchyard more climbing roses are flowering well despite fairly tough growing conditions. They are planted very close to the walls of the building, in tiny beds and are in partial shade from the large trees opposite. I expect they need plenty of watering and feeding. In truth these conditions are more suitable for hollyhocks and as you can see in the photographs the hollyhocks are doing well, and look vigorous and healthy.
As with so much in life, gardening is all about choices. Choosing the right plant for the right place often makes life easier, however, sometimes the extra effort required to maintain, in less than ideal conditions, a striking planting is worth it. I think the folk at ‘Avocets’ struck a workable balance with the aesthetically pleasing combination of time-demanding roses together with low-maintenance variegated euonymus and rosemary to edge the driveway.