Saturday, 4 July 2015

Taking Time to Smell the Roses

As work on the garden at La Petite Maison continues, and I swelter in the hot humid weather, I realised that engrossed as I am with all the digging, laying of cobbles to edge the winding path, planning seating areas and helping Mr Long Suffering install the heavy and cumbersome old railway sleepers to create new steps, I am in danger of missing experiencing my favourite time of the year.

So on a sultry muggy evening, after an unpleasant and sticky commute,

(view from car window as I sat - hot and fretting and not going anywhere quickly in the motorway traffic)

instead of racing home to don my gardening clothes, I deviated from my route by a mere fifteen minutes and took a stroll around the local Rose Gardens. The vast gardens with their sweeping grassy slopes and ancient trees are a world away from the stifling city where they reside, even though the motorway, which during rush hour masquerades as a car park, runs along part of the wooded perimeter of the park.

The trees stood stately and majestic, motionless in the sultry air; 

below them at their feet a patchwork of roses. 

The fragrance of roses, freshly cut grass and trees wafted around me, as I took a deep breath, drank in the scent and felt as though I had been holding my breath for months.

I wandered around the rose beds, the familiar roses greeted me like old friends as they flourished in the hot sunshine, 

Comte de Chambord


Louise Odier,

though many were in need of deadheading and a few of the beds were badly neglected. 

William Lobb Moss Rose

The tall William Lobb moss roses were in a terrible state, tangled together, as unsupported they have fallen over, battered by strong winds and heavy showers that preceded this unexpected heatwave.

Some of the roses were stunning;

the bourbon rose Madame Isaac Perier

was superb,  

 heavily perfumed,

 huge rich blooms

softening the colour of the masses of deep crimson flowers

produced by the floriferous rose Albert Colomb.

The gorgeous soft, velvety blooms frame the beautiful old house that once belonged to Lady Dixon, but now regretfully is being allowed to fall into disrepair.

The paler blush pink of Centifolia Rosa Fantin-Latour was more delicate, the scent as exquisite as the beautiful furled petals of the roses.

Constance Spry was outstanding

 - huge blooms like pink waterlilies held upright on strong growth.

This rose is growing outside the front door of La Petite Maison, but although it is healthy and undoubtedly beautiful, it flowers only once in June and so I am tempted to replace it with a smaller flowered climbing rose, that flowers repeatedly.

A long-flowering clematis grow through it to combat this problem, but with so many other gorgeous roses to choose from, I am undecided as to whether the brief monthly beauty of Constance Spry is just a luxurious waste that doesn't compensate for the eleven remaining months without flowering.

David Austin's rose Mortimer Sackler caught my eye. The almost thornless dark stems and foliage is as graceful and attractive as the soft pink roses.  

Crimson / purple Gallica Rose Charles de Mills is a must have on my list of plants for the garden. 

Reine des Violettes is also on my list, but today although the roses were pretty, they were sparse and I was briefly tempted to take it off the list and replace it with Madame Isaac Perier.

But then again, maybe I shall just get both! 

I was not alone - a little bunny appeared from below the bushes, nibbling at the grass in front of me.  

A movement distracted him and he turned and hopped unhurriedly back towards the shelter of the bushes, his little white tail bobbing up and down behind him.

My walk amongst the roses and the statuesque trees did me good, grounding me and reconnecting me again with nature. 

Looking at the roses as part of the landscape was revitalising, and made me realise that with the pressure of taking on so much all the time and trying to get everything "exactly right", I have become weighed down; my mind stuck, fixated on small things, meaning that I have been incapable of standing back and feeling relaxed and free enough to refocus in order to see the big picture!


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