roses

There is a huge, spilling abundance of roses in the flower garden just now, perfect for picking for our six June brides to make romantic, richly scented bouquets and other arrangements. The David Austin rose 'Tranquility' has been planted for four years now and this year it has come into its own, its glossy-leaved branches heavy with fat creamy white many-petalled flowers which we have used for two weddings this week: softening the pinks and corals of Bethan's densely decadent bouquet, heavy with roses, and lifting the cool blues and mauve's of Becky's posy-style bouquet, with its frilly sea holly (eryngium alpinum, our favourite variety) and delicate bi-coloured larkspur.  All shrubs and shrubby things seem to be having a good year, and the roses generally are healthy and floriferous, with little or no blackspot.  The one exception is 'Variegata di Bologna', an exceptionally pretty bourbon rose with globular white flowers splashed and stippled with strong pink, and smelling delicious.  The flowers are produced generously in one long flush all the way through June, with sometimes a smattering of blooms in September too, but the plant is prone to disease and the leaves, even in this good year, are turning dark with blackspot.  Somehow the lovely flowers don't seem to be affected, but we are going to have to develop a program next year to take better care of this favourite rose.  We've planted several new roses this year, including lots of climbers and ramblers to make use of our excellent high brick walls.  Most of these won't flower much for another year or two, but the little dwarf polyantha rose 'Perle d'Or', of which we have planted five, is working very hard to make delightful, loose-petalled, frilly flowered blooms on its tiny 40cm frame.  Another rose which was planted maybe three years ago is 'Lavender Ice', a modern floribunda I think, very tough and stiff and upright, but also small and stocky.  We went easier on the pruning this year and have been rewarded with some good long healthy stems with densely petalled, pale lavender coloured flowers which seem to last indefinitely. Perfect for adding to Becky's bouquet.