The Rose Garden at the start of June

I made my rose garden in the winter of 2016/17, and then extended it this last winter.

The rose garden doesn’t cover a huge area.  It is about 7m x 5m.  I made the Bright Border a couple of years before the rose garden, incorporpating all of the showstopper plants I love.  But now I think that if we ever need to move to a smaller garden, it will be the rose garden that I will want to recreate.  I love its softness and subtlety, and there is no nicer place to sit and drink a morning coffee.


Salvia nemorosa ‘Caradonna’

If we walk around anti-clockwise, as I do each morning, we encounter Rosa ‘Lady Emma Hamilton’ first.  The first bud is just about to pop open, but for now is making a very satisfying ball of peach.  I love the shadows between the layers of outer petals.


Rosa ‘Lady Emma Hamilton’ bud

‘Lady Emma Hamilton’ has the most handsome of all rose foliage, being dark green and burgundy, which sets off the peachy-pink blooms perfectly.


Rosa ‘Lady Emma Hamilton’ foliage

Here is that bloom again, later in the day.  I love the way a lot of the David Austin English roses have a hollowed out middle like this.  It gives a lovely depth of tone to the inner petals.  I also adore the combination of apricot in the centre and peachy-pink on the outer petals.  And her fragrance! Oh! [falls over backwards in a swoon of citrusy lemon].

‘Lady Em’ is probably my second-favourite rose for anyone who read my love-song to ‘Munstead Wood’ yesterday.


I have deadheaded the first flush of Lupin ‘Thunderclouds’, leaving the second wave of smaller, more delicate flower spikes.  The delicacy comes from wider gaps between the individual flowers.  I think I might prefer these to the first flush.


:Lupin ‘Thunderclouds’

Rosa ‘Boscobel’ is also about to burst.  This has lovely egg-shaped buds, and delicate veining on the petals.  My super-taster and super-sniffer daughter identified rhubarb in the bouquet of this rose.  Once she had named it, I could smell it too.  The David Austin description is “myrr, hawthorn, elderflower, pear and almond.”  I need to work on my rose nose.


Rosa ‘Boscobel’ in bud

It was a visit to Sissinghurst which led to me buying both ‘Boscobel’ and ‘Princess Alexandra of Kent’.  I didn’t see them in the garden, but in the plant shop.  There is nothing like seeing a flower in the flesh to help you fall in love.  In fact, it was this encounter that made me extend the rose garden this winter so that I could fit in more roses.  Here is that same bloom, still being shy, later in the day.


Rosa ‘Boscobel’ keeping us guessing.

The Gallica rose, ‘Tuscany Superb’ is known as ‘The Velvet Rose’ with good reason.  There is just something about an old rose.  It may only have one flush of flowers in June, and the blooms may be smaller than a modern rose, but it just has a romance, a plushness of texture, and a depth of colour that other roses can’t match.  And is incredibly healthy.  And the depth of the scent is intoxicating [falls over backwards again and crushes several penstemon stems].


Gallica rose ‘Tuscany Superb’

Let’s just pause and enjoy some other plants for a moment.  This is Salvia nemorosa ‘Caradonna’, my favourite salvia for mixing with roses.  I love the black stems, and the deep purple flowers complement any rose colour.


Salvia nemorosa ‘Caradonna’

I just want to show you Peony ‘Felix Crousse’.  It has produced two quite different flowers.  One huge and blowsy:


Peony ‘Felix Crousse’

And one lighter, semi-double, and revealing its anthers.  Peonies often provide a main flower and a couple of smaller flowers off the same stem.  This one has its own stem, but just decided to be different.  I love nature.


Peony ‘Felix Crousse’ with Geranium psilostemon

This next flower is Geranium ‘Sirak’.  I love the elegant shape to the petals, with their little notch in the centre.  The violet veining against the white centre and lilac petals is also rather lovely.  This geranium just flowers the once in June and July, but is generous with this flush.  It has an innocent quality I find endearing.


You may need sunglasses for the next one, Rosa ‘Lady of Megginch’.  There are two blooms out, and they are huge!  They are a gorgeous cerise-coral colour.  I think every rose garden should have its out-and-out “Mine’s bigger than yours” show-off.  Lady Meg is mine.


Rosa ‘Lady of Megginch’

Being a little shy is Rosa ‘Jubilee Celebration’.  This has a lovely creamy, silky opacity.  The shape of the centre of the bloom is known as ‘quartered’, as the petals swirl from four quarters.  Though I must say this one looks like a star shape.  It reminds me of a kaleidoscope, with the same image of petals reproduced many times over, turning at different angles.  This is a very polite rose.  If I were serving tea to the Queen, I would grace the table with this rose.


Rosa ‘Jubilee Celebration’

We’ll just swoop over the middle of the bed.


Peony ‘Nellie Shaylor’, Gladiolus communis, Geranium psilostemon and Lupin ‘Thunderclouds’.

To find the delectable peach, Rosa ‘Roald Dahl’.  If I weren’t so devoted to Lady Em, my head might be turned.  I hardly dare to lower my nose…


Rosa ‘Roald Dahl’

Geranium ‘Orion’ is looking lovely.  Soon it will be intermingling with ‘Roald Dahl’ in a beautiful airy tangle.


Rosa ‘Roald Dahl’ (foreground), Geranium ‘Orion’, Rosa ‘England’s Rose’ and ‘Munstead Wood’ (background).

We’ll just look through this Aquilegia ‘Hensol’s Harebell’ starting to set seed.


Aquilegia ‘Hensol’s Harebell’

Another glowing beauty is ‘England’s Rose’.  This has quite small flowers, about 5cm across, but produces them in abundance all summer long, through the autumn, and into December.  It is a rufty-tufty little rose.  When each flower first opens, it seems to luminesce.


Rosa ‘England’s Rose’

Less glowy, but more soft and creamy is ‘Princess Alexandra of Kent’.  The texture is of very plush silk.  She looks rather lovely cavorting with Erodium manescavii.


Rosa ‘Princess Alexandra of Kent’

Eromdium manescavii deserves a picture to itself.  Look at the filigree markings on the petals.  The white leaf-shape at the base of each petal reminds me of stained glass.  This is an astonishing flowerer.  It produces sprays of flowers on each stem, and was still in flower in December last year.  It also seems to self-seed liberally, and is coming up delightfully in the gravel of the seating area.


Erodium manescavii

And finally, let us not forget the quiet, gentle ones.  Next to the Erodium is the diminutive Geranium versicolour.  Whilst its flowers may not be so showy, this is an equally prolific self-seeder, and is also spreading itself through the gravel.


Geranium versicolour

Shall I leave you with a couple of long-views across the rose garden?

My aim on this site is to share the sense of wonder I get from gardening and being outdoors. 

If you would like to join the joy, click on the ‘Follow’ button at the end of this post. You will receive an email each time I post a little pop of wonder. 

55 Comments Add yours

  1. My Emma Hamilton is just about to open and I can’t wait to see it. Your roses are beautiful!

    1. Ali says:

      Thank you Phillip. You won’t be disappointed! Is it newly planted?

  2. Susan Beard. says:

    Thanks for this information on roses..I’m learning loads. ✨👍🌾👏✨

  3. pommepal says:

    Do you ever consider having an open garden Ali?. Your garden has so much to offer and if you lead people around as well it would be a sell out.

    1. Ali says:

      Yes, I would like to do this, and need to find out about the National Garden Scheme. I’m not sure if they would be overloaded with gardens in Kent who want to open in June though!

      1. pommepal says:

        We used to have a really good open garden scheme operating in Australia but sadly it closed down. I miss it, not many private gardens to look round now

      2. Ali says:

        That’s a shame. It is a lovely way to see ‘normal’ gardens.

      3. pommepal says:

        And get lots of new ideas

  4. Wonderful selection of plants; they blend together beautifully!

    1. Ali says:

      Thank you! I am really pleased with how it is looking. The plants that are in their second year are so much taller now and have meshed together so that there are no gaps. I am wondering how I am going to deadhead next year when there are no gaps at all! Things you only realise after you have made a garden!!

  5. Tish Farrell says:

    What a blissful gardenful 🙂

    1. Ali says:

      Thank you Tish. x

  6. cavershamjj says:

    All looking tip top. I am growing caradonna from seed this year, a few small plants. Probably won’t do anything next year so they just have to survive the winter! Hope they come reasonably true to type.

    1. Ali says:

      I am very impressed. I guess that’s why they call you The Propagator!

      1. cavershamjj says:

        You can be impressed if they grow and survive to flowering next year. Till then, all talk!

  7. I love your roses. Your photos are just beautiful. I have roses, but they either don’t like my yard or my climate and never do very well. So . . . I’ll just have to be content to enjoy yours. If only I could smell them.

    1. Ali says:

      You are most welcome to enjoy them. I know – I wish I could bottle all the scents.

  8. Wendy says:

    Just a glorious walk through your beautiful garden, only needed the perfume and I would have been transported… love the variety and glorious colours in the low light, we are 4 days into winter in Australia and have some lovely ones having a last hoorah!

    1. Ali says:

      I’m always amazed at how far into winter roses will flower, and how long the growing season is in Australia! It was lovely to have you along.

  9. Cathy says:

    What a stunning rose garden you have created, with a little bit of everything – variety, colour, scent… I just imagine a walk around it first thing while the dew is still on the flowers. Heavenly!

    1. Ali says:

      Thank you Cathy! That is my favourite time. No wait. In the evening sun. All the time, right now.

  10. rusty duck says:

    Boscobel is possibly my favourite rose, maybe tying with the shrub R. mutabilis. Mine is smothered in buds but hasn’t opened any of them yet. We have less sun than you!

    1. Ali says:

      R. mutabilis fascinates me! There is one I see on my commute to work and I want to stop and spend some time with it!

  11. bcparkison says:

    Show off! And with good reason…this is just beautiful.

    1. Ali says:

      I am glad you liked it. I am feeling more than a little greedy right now.

      1. bcparkison says:

        Don’t…..the beauty should be shared.

      2. Ali says:

        This is a lovely place to share it.

  12. Your garden is amazing, so full of beauty and, I think, love. 🙂

    1. Ali says:

      Thank you. ❤

  13. Heyjude says:

    What a beautiful rose garden you have created Ali. I’d love to walk around with you in the morning, sniffing as I go. ‘Princess Alexandra of Kent’ is a beautiful shape. I don’t have room for roses (I have a couple that I brought with me and a couple I have inherited) so I shall have to share yours. [Hope you don’t mind].

    1. Ali says:

      I don’t mind at all. It enhances the garden. x

  14. Island Time says:

    Beautiful gardens altogether! I have rose envy. You are an inspiration.

  15. M.B. Henry says:

    You have a lovely garden and take lovely photos of it. Thanks for sharing it with us!

    1. Ali says:

      Thank you. It’s a pleasure.

  16. Jill Kuhn says:

    Oh, how I wish I could set up an easel in your beautiful gardens, Ali! 🌹 My problem would be what flower to paint first however as they are ALL so lovely… and I’d love to linger and smell each one. You offer such wonderful descriptions that I feel like I am there with you. Thank you! 💐 I’d still like to try painting some of your beauties but I’m not sure I could do them justice. 💕🎨🌈💕

    1. Ali says:

      No perfectionism here, Jill! I love that you show your processes and that it is very clear how much fun you have had.

  17. Eliza Waters says:

    My hat is off to you, Ali. I am thoroughly bowled over by the beauty in your garden, the exquisite choices you have made and the skill with which you have grown them. I’m ready to get on the next plane – the UK certainly has the best gardens!

    1. Ali says:

      That is a very kind and generous comment, Eliza. I would love to welcome you here!

  18. Your roses are spectacular! I can almost smell them! Your garden inspires me with every post. 💐

    1. Ali says:

      Thank you for your lovely comment.

  19. Chloris says:

    A lovely post. Roses are my favourites, absolutely intoxicating. I love Lady ‘Em’ too. But then they are all so beautiful.

  20. SCLMRose says:

    Your garden is so beautiful. I love the way you incorporate other plants with your roses. I think it is the best way to grow roses. The garden looks so full and magnificent. English soil must be so good for roses. I envy you. Where I am now, the soil is awful. I have a tough time with my roses. I miss my old place.

    1. Ali says:

      Thank you so much. Yes, the roses love our clay soil, and we get just about enough rain for them (though they would probably prefer a little more).

  21. Louise Bono says:

    Love your blog and photos so much that I signed up my brother also. He’s in England and I’m in US.

    1. Ali says:

      Thanks so much Louise! Lovely having you here!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s