Being of an inherently lazy nature, I must admit I spend quite a lot of time sat here in the Snug staring out of the window, usually accompanied by Bobbi and Boo, who also like to stare.
The view from the window is of a pergola and it is currently covered with the rather large , once flowering, but exquisitely perfumed Albertine:
But it got me thinking…….what we mostly need in our generally smallish gardens aren’t dirty great big climbing roses that ,after a few years, lassoo you viciously across the cheek as you walk past, but something smaller and well behaved. Something not prone to disease where all the leaves get blackspot and fall off. Something that flowers all summer long. Do these roses even exist I ever hear you say? Well yes, they do……..
This is Gertrude Jekyll, the nation’s favourite rose, and I plant her to climb through shrubs, small trees, around obelisks , up pergola posts and along fences. Yes, she IS a shrub, but that’s mostly what you need in a small garden…….. NOT a climber, but a shrub.
This is the shrub Graham Thomas climbing up a pergola post.- lovely yellow isn’t he? And here’s Harlow Carr below, another shrub that doesn’t mind a bit of shade. I’ve got mine growing up through a crab apple- Malus ‘Gorgeous’- fantastic name! It took three years to get into the tree canopy ( very few flowers until then so i was disappointed and nearly gave up on it) but this year it’s showering down through the branches looking just perfect:
And here’s Felicia who I adore, climbing through a purple Acer- she has the most lovely scent and was one of a whole raft of Hybrid Musk roses bred by the Reverend J Pemberton in the 1920s who clearly spent more time caring for his roses than his flock……
So, in class today , I thought we’d look at what the Rose experts recommended as good, healthy, repeat flowering short climbers for small structures. All of the roses they chose flower low down and grow to between 10-13ft. Here’s what they recommend. First expert up is Michael Marriot, Chief Rosarian at David Austin Roses- he picked all peachy orangey ones which are good for us older folk as we like brighter colours as we get older apparently ( eyes getting dimmer and all that…..):-
Lady of Shalott ( Pat in our class grows and loves this one):
Crown Princess Margareta ( doesn’t mind a bit of shade):
The Pilgrim (fine even on a North facing wall):
The next expert up is Philip Scott from RHS Garden Rosemoor. His first choice is Rosa Open Arms ( I agree with this choice as it’s such a good short climber that I put it in almost every garden I plant):
And Warm Welcome- a little on the strident side maybe, but I grow it with a pale blue clematis Mrs Cholmondley and it tones her florid complexion down a bit:
And the final expert’s choice is from Kerry Austen from the Royal National Rose Society. Her first one is Alibaba, another orangey one which doesn’t mind a North wall:
And Jubilee Celebration, one of David Austin’s English shrub roses, with a delicious scent:
So now there should be no excuse for buying those enormous roses that wave their meagre flowers and disease-ridden foliage at you from 40 feet up in the air!
I’ll end on a reminder to say to watch out for yours truly on Alan Titchmarsh’s ‘Love Your Garden’ this Wednesday at 8pm on ITV. Don’t blink or you’ll miss me as I think we get 2 whole minutes of fame- heady stuff!