First year sleep, second year creep, third year leap!

Roses must be my favourite plants. Today we have our second autumnal type storm in June, sandwiching a heatwave. It’s down from 28C to 13C with a strong northeasterly and lots of rain. However this early summer period has produced a fantastic show of roses although some are looking a little beat up right now. So a chance to reflect on some of the varieties and give a crude score. We’ll start with the only two roses present when we moved in.

Alberic Barbier An old fashioned rambler nearly 30 feet wide in our garden. Lots of yellow flowers rapidly fading to white. The scent is light but with so many flowers it accumulates. Big flush now and then throws up small numbers of blooms through the summer. This rose is near evergreen here and is moderately thorny. 4/5

Golden Showers A slightly stiff upright climber, first introduced in 1956 by Lammerts, USA.. Big blowsy intensely yellow flowers with a very good tea scent. The blooms stand up very well to the weather. It flowers in two big flushes so deadhead thoroughly after the first flush. Good hips in the autumn. I have planted another at the front of the house. 4.5/5

I have since crammed in some twenty varieties, most now in their third season and after an intermittent start many have now leapt as in the old adage above.

Climbing Iceberg Said to be better than the shrub and so it has proved. Vigorous and covered in masses of long lasting pure white blooms which seem quite resistant to the weather. Quite flexible and easy to train. Light scent. Although reputed to be a bit prone to blackspot there is very little (my roses are sprayed). I expect a major deadheading session in a week or two and hopefully a big second flush. 5/5

Gertrude Jekyll Apple green foliage and very strong fruity scent. 4.5/5

The Generous Gardener Now quite vigorous with a moderate to strong scent which does carry. Proving a bit tricky to train as a bit stiff and young shoots tend to break off if not careful. 4/5

Little Rambler Tiny leaves and clusters of many tiny pink flowers with a moderate scent. Quite bushy with moderate growth. 4/5

A Shropshire Lad I have two of these on a pair of obelisks. A bit disappointing compared to its reputation. Scent is quite light and flowerheads prone to snapping off. 3/5

Night Owl Really good floribunda with large clusters of open deep purple flowers and a strong scent. 4/5

Keith Maughan Lowish climber with lots of small sharp thorns. Clusters of lovely single apricot flowers with a good scent. Spotted this in a local garden centre and one of my favourites. Introduced at Chelsea in 2008 by Peter Beales in memory of Keith who sounds like a good guy. 4.5/5

Scented Carpet Ground cover rose which is unexpectedly climbing up a wall pretty well. Clusters of single pink-lilac flowers with a very clean scent. 4/5