My love of roses started way back when I was a little girl. My paternal grandparents lived in a small outback town in Queensland, Australia and we would make an annual Christmas visit. My memory of those journeys is fairly vague, I do remember it being very dusty and very dry. I enjoyed my Christmas holidays with Nana and Pop – lots of time to lie in the cool of the house and read romance novels!
One of my loveliest memory of those holidays is of the roses. Nana – Dorothy (Dot) – loved her roses. She had two circular beds at the front of the house that were planted up with (what I would call) ‘modern’ roses – a single rose at the end of a long stem. They had a heavenly scent. At the end of every holiday she and I would walk around these beds and she would let me choose a number, she would cut them and they would go into a bucket for me to take home. They would always be placed in a vase in my room.
So I totally credit her with my love of roses. If she was alive today I’d love so much to pick her a bunch of my roses for her bedside table.
I ordered two more roses today for my garden – another James Brydon, a scented pink climber for an arch at the front of the house and one Boscobel for a newly dug patch in my ‘jewel’ border. Around the garden my roses are all shooting well and there appears to be a good number of buds. So far the roses that I have ‘tied down’ have a greater number of buds than those I haven’t, but it’s still early days. The green fly have been terrible this year and I’ve not yet seen a ladybird, so have taken to squashing by hand. I did notice yesterday a tiny Nuthatch eating them off a yellow rose that climbs over the house at the back – fantastic on many fronts!
Baby birds learning to fly, frogs exiting the pond, blossom in flower, tulips! Spring is a stunning time of the year, everything refreshed, me included. I’m tending to wake much earlier – 5:30am most days this week – how sustainable is this…?! As I’ve not been getting back to sleep I make myself a lovely coffee, pull on the wellies and wander around the garden in my dressing gown and nightie. One morning this week one of my neighbours caught us outside at 6:30am picking slugs off the alliums, my street-cred has been significantly downgraded!
The little girl is also cheery, telling me “the sun makes me feel happier mummy”. Very nice acknowledgement of a feeling. I’m so very grateful to be able to make the most of the sunny days that come our way.
In my garden the ornamental cherry is in flower – it’s my favourite tree in the garden and I plan to find a matching tulip so the colour seems even more vibrant next year. Sadly I’ve not yet done any vegetable or salad planting – with a couple of very cold evenings it’s still been too early. I have lots ready to go, the last frost date here was 2nd week of May, so fingers crossed the weather is kinder in the week to come. The greenhouse is packed full of plants – I’ve even successionally sown lettuce and peas – have certainly been an advocate in the past, just have never got round to it. This year I planned to do it better – so far so good.
Next week I will have a mass plant-out, finish two assignments, plant-up and mulch a new bed and start the preparation for my mini-orchard and bee garden. I am very hopeful for some sunny, springy days.
Finally, I have something to harvest. Rhubarb. Was given a beautiful terracotta forcer for Christmas that I have put to good use. I admit, I did only harvest about 8 stems, but they were very sweet and very tender. Enough for a tart and half a crumble – I really did notice a difference between the forced and un-forced.
We had glorious weather in Buxton last week and things have finally started to grow. The tulips are just coming into flower, as is the cherry. The new roses have a proliferation of new shoots, hoping for a glorious display in all the borders.
In the potager things are off to a slow start. Have finally got the sweet peas and the first lot of peas planted. I have lots of crops hardening-off and in the greenhouse…. The delicate balance between being too early and actually having a worthwhile harvest is a continued challenge at this time of year. I have a polytunnel that has sat in my shed (still boxed I’m embarrassed to say) and the lateness of spring has given me some real motivation to set that up to extend the season in at least one bed.
The negative side of this glorious sunshine is a sudden huge bloom of blanket weed in my pond. I have seen about 10 newts in there – so obviously the wildlife are happy – but aesthetically it’s very disappointing. I’ve just ordered ‘a miracle organic cure’ and hope it helps to clear what is there now – then must order another couple of waterlilies so the natural balance is reached.
A busy time in the garden, particularly as the countdown to the opening gets ever closer!