The June Garden

A rose by any other name

I always feel that the garden in June is just about as perfect as it gets – when blooms are abundant, leaves are still fresh and there are delicious strawberries ripening in the fruit garden; planting out tender vegetables and displaying summer bedding when the threat of frost has passed.

The lovely Rose is officially the nation’s favourite flower and it’s easy to see why; its beauty is unrivalled. Weeks of continuous flowering contribute colour and fragrance to the summer garden and with a little deadheading, many varieties repeating their show well into the autumn.

Not many of us have the space for the vast rose beds of olden days, and to be honest they aren’t the most attractive garden feature during the winter. But this is no hindrance to rose growing, indeed a much more natural effect is more desirable now.

The Rose’s versatility means they can fill a mixed border, cover a wall or fence, used as hedging like the old Rosa rugosa, or there are even some that are ideal for pot culture. There really is a rose for every situation.

Over recent years roses have come to the forefront of modern breeding, with breeders such as Chelsea exhibitors Harkness and David Austin Roses concentrating on introducing new selections with fragrance and disease resistance.

David Austin Roses has to be the most famous rose breeder of modern times. After 50 years of intense breeding his range of English roses combine the charming flower shapes and wonderful fragrance of the old roses with the wider colour range, repeat flowering and disease resistance of modern roses. They are renowned for the strength and complexity of their fragrance; some musky, others fruity, tea rose or ‘old rose’ scented.

Most roses tend to prefer a sunny open position in fertile, humus rich soil. Feed regularly with a good rose fertilizer and spray with a combined insecticide and fungicide through the season to keep pest such as aphids, and the dreaded blight and rust at bay.

We love the following varieties by David Austin so keep a look out for them:

Bring Me Sunshine: This upright variety (to 1.25m) bears large rosette flowers of a warm orange yellow.

Golden Celebration: Is very popular in the garden centre and one of the largest-flowered English Roses, bearing rich yellow blooms in the form of giant cups. They have a strong Tea fragrance, developing wonderfully combined notes of Sauternes wine and strawberry.

Gabriel Oak: Many David Austin roses are named after literary figures including this one from Thomas Hardy’s Far From the Madding Crowd. It’s a luscious deep pink and carries a superb fresh fruity fragrance on its many-petalled blooms.

Gertrude Jeykyll: Can be grown as a climber or as a shrub rose, this versatile rose is always one of the first English Roses to start flowering, its perfect scrolled buds open to large, rosette-shaped flowers of bright glowing pink. The strong, perfectly balanced Old Rose scent is often described as being the quintessential Old Rose fragrance.

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