Dear David Austin Roses,

We can all make micro-reparations. If we don’t address our mistakes and if we don’t acknowledge that we have contributed to the problem – and ignoring it is contributing to the problem – we are staying stuck. Our collective shame and suffering will never end.

If I could only grow one rose…

You get beautiful blooms, from bud to maturity. You get scent. You get stunning foliage. You get a full, rounded growth habit. You get a rose which is easy to partner with other plants. You get health. You get joy, over and over and over again.

The best roses for foliage

The poppies and peonies will be here soon. For now, I will sit here drinking my coffee, appreciating the twinkling from the rose foliage.

Flow

Yoga, meditation, gardening. They fulfil the same function. Flow, connection with myself, connection with the universe. A free flow of giving and receiving. Being alive; feeling alive in every cell of my being, being alive to nature.

Tuscany Superb: The Most Romantic Rose of All

It is one of my favourite sensory pleasures to hold the impossibly soft and tender rose in one hand and snip its bristly stem with the other. The petals are softer than anything I know: peach fuzz, babies’ bottoms, duck down: they are nothing to this rose. The spent flower fits perfectly into my hand. Its petals may suddenly let out a silent ‘oh!‘, let go of their calyx all at once. They drop into my waiting bucket, with a flurry of petal confetti. and glorious rose perfume.

Tickled Pink

I don’t think of myself as a particularly girly girl, and throughout my life I have almost avoided pink. Yet when I look around my rose garden, I see pink everywhere. And yes, I am tickled pink.

Layers of Loveliness

I generally plant roses and herbaceous perennials in groups of three. This gives each variety a presence in the border: their flowers are in sufficient number to make an impact. I like the way they form clear hummocks, like hills, through the border. Their outlines remind me of a child’s drawing of overlapping hills.

Mouth-watering

This peony is mouth-watering. There is a lightness to intersectional peonies. Where herbaceous peonies are taffeta and tulle, intersectional peonies are a swishy silk skirt on bare legs.

Fit to Burst

The best buds of all are the oriental poppies. They wear thick woollen tights, but silk knickers beneath. This one is about to burst its breeches.

Miss Haversham’s Garden

I remember finding the image of Miss Haversham rather thrilling. Her abandon of social convention. Her total neglect of housework. Her cunning.