The anticipation of the first day of spring has a sense of urgency, and although the warmth of sun-filled days is a comfort, there is still a frenzy of activity and long lists of tasks to be worked on in the garden. I tell myself daily that gardening is for joy, and there is plenty of time to get everything done through the early days of September. But, the sight of the remaining unplanted roses sitting in buckets or heeled-in drives me hastily outdoors to continue planting. Spring is certainly on the way, with hints of foliage and encouraging growth on bare-root roses, but like a watched kettle that never boils, it is slow to start.
The blossoms that herald spring are out everywhere in the local town, and our Clematis has begun to bloom across the water tanks. Otherwise, spring has delivered some fresh and healthy green and red foliage on a few roses, so the big question is, when will the roses bloom after the hard prune?
They will flower when they are ready, as it all depends on the rose variety, location, water, climate, air quality and the nature of the soil and weather. I wonder whether the roses will bloom more or less after the hard prune; I am keen to see the difference.
‘Still life rose petals on water’ by 1969 by Antonio Sicurezza:
Speaking to a garden expert last weekend, I was told not to expect too many blooms. Pruning has multiple other benefits, such as allowing more light in and increasing air circulation, to support healthy growth, but it is the rose blooms we are after. This season, the garden will have new roses, older roses that were left tall and many having had a good cutback. There should be a range of different sizes and varied bloom activity. There is no way to predict the outcome. Time will tell, but colour should be out from late September and continue through to June with the variety of roses planted: floribundas, climbers, hybrid teas, polyanthas, shrubs, and old-fashioned roses.
After the winter work of restoring and rejuvenating, the garden is starting to take shape and look less like a work site and more like a garden, although still bare and with a great deal more to do. The planting should be completed in a few days. After that, it is time for mulching before the weeds grow again and to finish the new path before the hot days begin. Spring arrival brings a sense of achievement, though, having gotten this far single-handedly, and all the weeding, pruning, and lime sulphur spraying is out of the way. Many roses have been culled, others transplanted or repotted, and more than forty new roses planted.
Roses, by Danish artist Emile Vernon 1898
With so few flowers out, there are few photo opportunities today; hence, the reliance on garden artworks to complement the paintings are quotes from British horticultural journalist and writer Monty Don. Montagu Denis Wyatt Don OBE VMH is well-known worldwide for the television program Gardener’s World, set in Longmeadow, his Herefordshire garden in the UK. I love his down, calm, approachable manner.
The colours of the season in my garden are French blue pots of white roses adorning the verandah posts and opulent shades of dark purple, blackberry, magenta and merlot red highlighted from various roses. I look forward to new shades and splashes of colour in these roses: Ebb Tide, Blackberry Nip, Madame Meilland, Forget Me Knot, Twilight Zone, Cassanova, Adorable, Quicksilver, Blue Moon, Kardinal and As Good As It Gets. Around the back, I highlight yellows, ochre, and tangerine colours in Cassanova, Mango Tango, Bruce’s Dream, Golden Beauty, Mother and Child, and Paola roses with Adorable as a contrast.
It is a short post this week with so much to do outside, and the more work completed, the better the outcome for Spring and summer blooms.
Title quote by Algernon Charles Swinburne
The Header Image is from the website Chic and Antique.
Content Di Baker 2023
Images as cited and all quotes by Monty Don