Absence makes the heart grow fonder

I have had two weeks’ holiday in France, quickly followed by a long weekend in Denmark. We are spending this weekend in Wiltshire.  These trips have been lovely, but by next weekend I will be ready to spend some time with my roses!

I snuck out early yesterday in order to enjoy the morning dew.

This is Rosa ‘Young Lycidas’, a new rose for me this year, and already promising to be a favourite.  The colour quite unique: a blueish, smoky rich pink.  The petal texture and shape, with its slightly rough edges, reminds me of hand-made, hand-cut paper.  And the leaves are dainty and sculptural; slightly crinkled, and an intriguing mix of dark and lighter greens.

Rosa ‘Young Lycidas’

The late-starter Geranium ‘Azure Rush’ is proving its worth now.  It is wonderful with the sun shining through its petals, showing up the overlaps between them, and the ultraviolet veining.  And now I see the chartreuse halo of light around the central pistil.

Geranium ‘Azure Rush’

Rosa ‘Young Lycidas’ and Geranium ‘Azure Rush’ also look ravishing with their near neighbour, Rosa ‘Lady Emma Hamilton’.  Yes, I know, I keep banging on about this rose.  I may well be intoxicated by her beauty.  You can lose yourself in her folds!  It is like being hypnotised.

Rosa ‘Lady Emma Hamilton’

Penstemon ‘Raven’ is twinkling!  I love these delicate bells.  They remind me of a seventies’ dress.  They make me want to dance, in the rain, with flowers in my hair.

Penstemon ‘Raven’

The penstemons have a backdrop of the Gallica rose ‘Tuscany Superb’. This rose flowers just once throughout June, but then provides lush green foliage to sparkle and shimmer all through summer.

Penstemon ‘Raven’

Phlox paniculata ‘Purple Flame’ may finally be reaching the end.  This has provided a bank of solid colour for a good six weeks (I know, because here it is, in Phloxy Lady).

Phlox paniculata ‘Purple Flame’

Salvia x jamensis ‘Nachtvlinder’ has been going for even longer!  It featured in The Rose Garden at the end of June.  It has been supping the elixir of eternal youth.

Salvia x jamensis ‘Nachtvlinder’

I’ve grown Agastache ‘Blue Boa’ for the first time this year.  It has delighted me.  Its first flush of flowers became enormous and shaggy, and bent over from the rain.  Now there’s a new flush.  They are smaller, though I expect they will swell like feather boas, just as the first flush did.  I love the agastache with Penstemon ‘Sour Grapes’.

Agastache ‘Blue Boa’ and Penstemon ‘Sour Grapes’

I love the vibrant violet of the agastache, with the icy blue of the penstemon.

Agastache ‘Blue Boa’ and Penstemon ‘Sour Grapes’

We had drought for a good eight weeks in June and July, and then, I am told, lots of rain at the end of August.  This has refreshed the roses.  They are producing lovely new trusses of flower.  This is Rosa ‘Jubilee Celebration’.  I think of it as a meditation rose.  It is perfectly serene.  I could sit cross-legged and gaze upon it for an hour.

Rosa ‘Jubilee Celebration’

There are such lovely tones of apricot and peach between the pink petals.  The light, bright leaves bring a lightness of touch.

Rosa ‘Jubilee Celebration’

I cut Geranium ‘Orion’ to the ground a few weeks ago.  It was swamping the roses nearby, and showing a touch of rust.  Now it has sprung back, at about knee-height.  There are no flowers as yet (you can see it at its peak in The Rose Garden at the start of June), but the foliage is looking lovely.

Geranium ‘Orion’ foliage

Rosa ‘Roald Dahl’ has not stopped for breath all summer.  The flowers might be a touch smaller than the first flush, but that is the only sign of a slight fatigue.  It is a marathon-runner rose.

Rosa ‘Roald Dahl’
Rosa ‘Roald Dahl’

Whilst I am right in the middle of the bed, deadheading Roald, I notice that the peony foliage is looking a little worse for wear now.  It looks as though there have been a few nights on the razzle.  But this one is going out with a bang.

Peony foliage

Whilst I am bending over to take this photo, I just get a noseful of heady old rose scent from the Rugosa rose, ‘Hansa’.  I am starting to feel that this is the most powerfully scented rose of all.  I don’t need to put my head near its blooms to get the perfume: there is a cloud all around it.

Rosa ‘Hansa’

‘England’s Rose’ has been a bit measly in her blooms this year.  I’m not sure why she is sulking with me.  I am not pandering to her.  She can tell me what’s wrong, or stay in a funk; it’s up to her.  Actually she might be coming round…

Rosa ‘England’s Rose’

This is Erodium manescavii, which featured in my post, Stained Glass.  I love that it is a much cooler, bluer pink than ‘England’s Rose’.  It has perfect poise.  Here it is, just stretching out a limb.

Erodium manescavii

Rosa ‘Princess Alexandra of Kent’ has a regal, if not haughty, demeanour.  She doesn’t lift a finger.  She is always perfectly coifed and manicured.  I can’t help admiring her air of self-assurance.

Rosa ‘Princess Alexandra of Kent’

Now that the morning sun is really sparkling, can I show you Penstemon ‘Raven’ again?  I love the blue sky and the dark leaves above.

Penstemon ‘Raven’

And one more.  This time with a backdrop of phlox.

Penstemon ‘Raven’ with Phlox paniculata ‘Purple Flame’

Rosa ‘Munstead Wood’ is back on form after giving me a little scare.  I forgot to water her mid-drought (she is currently residing in a pot).  She is a forgiving creature.  For more ‘Munstead Wood’ velvety plushness, see Portrait of a rose.


I will leave you with my favourite view of the rose garden, from the apple tree.  The colours are all soft and gentle.  I love the greens and the pinks of the rose garden in the foreground, and the orange and coral red in the bright border beyond.


I have missed this garden, and will be spending as much time as possible in it, before the cold weather comes.

Do you spend time away from home at the weekends or travel with work?  Do you have to reacquaint yourself with the garden when you get back?  What are you enjoying now in the garden, at the start of autumn?

I aim to share the little pops of wonder I find in the garden with readers of this blog.  If you would like to share in this too, then click on the big ‘Follow’ button at the bottom of this page.

The garden is a treasure trove of delights, which are there to be shared.  I like to focus on what is good in this world, to help us through times that are challenging.  If you know anyone who might enjoy this blog, feel free to share it by using the buttons below.

22 Comments Add yours

  1. Jane Lurie says:

    Beautiful series, Ali. Love Rosa with her little visitor.

    1. Ali says:

      Thank you Jane. Yes, I often only notice the little visitors when I am taking a photo!

  2. cavershamjj says:

    Lovely roses. I aspire to such roses. Mine have been a bit rubbish this year, top hot and dry I think. There’s always next year. I bought a geranium Orion yesterday, I’ve split it so hope to get several good plants from it. Lovely post.

    1. Ali says:

      ‘Orion’ is wonderful. One of my absolute favourites.

  3. photosociology says:

    I love your enthusiasm and joy in relation to flowers and especially roses. The Rosa young lycidas is beautiful. The colour is so rich.

    1. Ali says:

      Yes, it has unusual depth of colour.

  4. Heyjude says:

    I would find it difficult to tear myself away from this garden! Love all your roses whether sulking or not and don’t Penstemons look fabulous with the sunlight through them? Almost creating a stained-glass effect. I bought the ‘Sour Grapes’ and ‘Raven’ after seeing yours. I hope they do well next summer.

    1. Ali says:

      They really are gorgeous with the sun shining through; exactly the feeling I get from standing in front of stained glass with light coming in at a slant.

  5. I too like to get away and when I do I’m always on the lookout for a garden or two. I love visiting the gardens in the UK open for NGS and the National Trust. A dream vacation (well one of my dream vacas) for me, would be to spend a year in the UK just going from garden to garden!

    1. Ali says:

      We are blessed with lots of gardens that are open to the public, and and private Open Gardens.

  6. That picture of the spider in the rose is amazing! Also, I have decided that I am going to get a flower/plant book to help me identify all the flowers and plants on my walks–you have inspired me.

    1. Ali says:

      I am really pleased, Shelly. Happy wandering and wondering!

  7. I love the photo of Lady Emma Hamilton. It is so moody and romantic looking.

    1. Ali says:

      She has a lot of personality! I think the most compelling rose in the garden. I can’t leave her alone.

  8. September colors, I call these. They become deeper, richer, almost fierce, as though determine to squeeze the last bit of oils from the tubes before the painter retires for winter.

    1. Ali says:

      That is a wonderful comparison! And we are more able to stop and appreciate those colours because we know they are on their way out.

  9. Lovely photos as always. I think Azure Rush might be my favourite Geranium, mine hasn’t stopped flowering all summer. The Rosa Young Lycidas is gorgeous, another one for my wishlist. ☺

    1. Ali says:

      Azure Rush is fab, isn’t it? I love the depth of colour.

  10. Wow, you have a plethora of flowers in your garden! No wonder you love spending time there!

    1. Ali says:

      It has grown and grown!!

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