some roses

June is the month of roses, in particular of the old roses, and these are becomming our grand passion at the Flower Garden.  One great dazzling burst of bloom lasting three or four weeks is the chief gift they give us, but most of these older roses also have a beautiful softly arching habit, and very various and interesting leaves, so that they create a lovely appealling backdrop in the garden even when they're not in flower.  We haven't yet mastered the pruning of them.  Last year we picked enormous long branches for some of our event florist customers to use in their creations, which stimulated the bushes into making even more lush and abundant growth, which in turn has arched over this year under the weight of the blooms, making it lovely but largely unpickable.  To make good material for cutting, the bushes seem to benefit from the 'pruning' we give them - to pick flowers - in June, as well as a thinning of some of their old, twiggy and congested wood in the winter when we can see what's going on.  The books give different guidance for the different old rose groups, but our approach seems to hold generally good for most. The very wild-looking pimpinellifolia kinds, which we grow for their hips, we leave pretty much alone apart from to harvest material.  The new but old-looking David Austin roses like a good thorough cut back and tidy up in the winter.  Here are some of our current favourites.