It was June and the world smelled of roses.
In the garden, over the arch under the Laburnum tree, flouncing her petals and wafting a delicious fragrance, whilst strands of honeysuckle entwine around her stems, is one of my all-time favourite roses -
Madame Gregoire Staechelin.
Beside the huge Arum Lily,
sweetly scenting the air around the table and chairs,
pink and pretty is the rose "Gertrude Jekyll",
while to the forefront is "The Dark Lady" behind the delicate pink flowers of a peony,
and at the opposite end of the garden the soft pale pink Rose "New Dawn" lights up a dull fence.
I could not resist bringing the garden indoors and gathered a posy of roses, peonies and alchemilla mollus.
Meanwhile in the fledgling garden at La Petite Maison, new roses have begun to bloom;
David Austin's Tam O'Shanter,
(an impulse buy on a day when all around was grey and the splash of pink lifted my spirits, but now makes me wonder if it may not be a little too bright?)
Then there is "Brother Cadfael"
with beautiful huge peony like blooms
plentiful upon strong upright stems;
Rose "Darcey Bussell" blooms profusely
and the soft velvety crimson flowers of
"Munstead Wood" are heavy upon the young growth of this newly planted rose,
and are a larger version of
yet another David Austin Rose "William Shakespeare".
(Somehow the colours all appear the same in the above photos of the darker roses, and don't really do the true colours justice).
There are roses too down at the Allotment -
Rosa Rugosa with papery cerise petals,
and only 10 minutes from the allotment is the Park where Rose Week takes place amongst aged trees, sweeping sloping lawns, rolling meadows, a small walled garden and a bandstand.
We sat at the top of the steep slope below the rose bushes and picnicked in the sunshine, as young children who could have been our former younger selves, rolled down the grassy hill opposite, laughing, carefree and happy.
Rose "Geoff Hamilton"
However in my dream garden - a walled garden of a castle, hidden deep in the Glens,
is a profusion of roses and a riot of colour against the tranquil backdrop of green.
Honeysuckle, clematis and roses clamber over the old stone walls
surrounding the borders.
Peonies, delphiniums and roses mingle with espaliered plums and apples.
The floral feast delighted and inspired me.
I could barely contain myself as I drank in the scent of the roses.
I wanted to paint it,
and most of all to capture the planting schemes to bring back to recreate in the garden of La Petite Maison.
Today the rain has returned, soaking into the parched earth. Rose petals fall like confetti to the ground. But the rain won't last forever and there are rose buds that are yet to open. The rosy memories of the past few days are treasured, with the knowledge that the roses will continue to bloom and a special relationship that for twenty years seemed lost has blossomed again.