This week has been spring-bank, the half-term holidays. This is the week the roses are glorious.
It has an extra sweetness this year. I cannot visit my favourite rose garden at Sissinghurst, so I am making the most of my own garden.
I view it from every angle, from every window, upstairs and down. Brushing my teeth, waiting for the kettle to boil, I find myself drifting over to the open window just to take it all in.
I planted these roses four winters ago, extending the bed the year after. The roses have matured and stretched out, making great hummocks of foliage and flower.
Lockdown has brought an intimacy with my immediate surroundings like I have never known. As a family we have never spent more time together. We have never taken so many walks close to home. . I have always known this garden intimately, but last summer I was starting a new job, and the summer whizzed by without me spending as much time as usual drifting amongst the flowers.
That has been remedied this year. Never have I dipped in and out of the flowerbeds so much.
Flowerbed-hopping is a sport. There are certain roses I have planted in the middle of the bed, like the Bourbon rose ‘Mme Isaac Pereire’.
This is a rose which requires inhaling several times a day.
Which means contortions and acrobatics to get myself from the edge of the bed to the middle, taking in obstacles of prickly rose, delicate penstemon, and fixed obelisk. There is a reason I practise yoga.
Once there, in the middle of the bed, I appreciate other delights. Like the herbaceous peony, ‘Nellie Shaylor’.
I am a sucker for bicoloured peonies. You might have seen my favourite, ‘White Cap’, on my instagram feed this week. ‘Nellie Shaylor’ is a very close second. The white and pink flecked pet
It is confectionary in flower form. The combination of ‘Nellie Shaylor’ peony and Roald Dahl’ rose reminds me of a rhubarb-and-custard boiled sweet. It makes my mouth water.
I feel like everything has an extra sweetness this year.
It is like the roses have realised, aThe gallica rose ‘Sissinghurst Castle’ found itself very close to being rooted out last year. Its blooms are lovely, but last year they crisped and browned within a couple of weeks. This year, it has made sure that its soft velvet blooms are canoodling delightfully. As they warm in the sun, they open their petals and release their perfume.
Next to ‘Sissinghurst Castle’ is the English rose, ‘Boscobel’. I make many visits to this rose through the day. I press my face into the soft bloom and inhale the scent of sweet dessert wine.
Life is precious, and we can’t take anything for granted.
I am consciously sitting outside to eat breakfast in the sun. I am gathering the family together so that we can all drink our morning coffee together (we have christened our seating area ‘Cafe Near-o‘). We are spending more time playing the with the dogs, lazing on the sunloungers, even filling up the paddling pool.
All outside in the sun, drinking in the sweetness.
The roses agree. Life is short and must be enjoyed.
They are putting their all into flowering, soaking up the sun, pumping out their heady perfume.
I hope you are able to soak up the sweetness this week.
Treat yourself to breakfast outside, sniffing a rose, listening to birdsong, closing your eyes and feeling the sun on your face, slurping on an ice lolly or on the ripest of fruit…
Whatever you choose, I hope that you consciously enjoy it; this moment is here for your pleasure.
The whole heady mixture.
If you would like to find out more about the rose varieties mentioned in this post, you can search for their name in the ‘search’ window below. I am always adding to my collection of posts where I review specific varieties.
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