The summer garden – there is perfume everywhere

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Here are some of my treasures.  Mostly roses with some lilies thrown in for good measure.  The garden does look rather good in selected spots.  As you walk down the path you have to avert your eyes a little over the ‘works in progress’ but it is certainly coming along as it matures and there are more areas which lure you in to grab a drink, sit down and enjoy a quiet moment in the sun or in the shade depending where you are.

White lilac, it’s white – and it’s lilac

Lilac (which looks weird when you type it) is lovely.  This is a double white one which was given to me.  They sucker madly all over the show so it is fairly easy to snaffle one from someone else.  Last year this one did not have a single solitary flower, this year however it is currently smothered in fluffy scented whiteness.  This is in stark contrast to the lilac lilac which is performing much as this one performed last year.  Maybe they are taking turns about?

I have strategically placed this one (in other words a happy accident) next to rosa Blackberry Nip which  is the most beautiful shade of purpley plummy goodness and smells fab too.  Their flowering times are just slightly off but I am hoping that the  buds on Blackberry Nip will burst forth while the lilac is still in its full flush of whiteness.

Compassion struggles on despite the odds

My poor neglected garden – buried under a coat of leaves collected from school.  The kindly groundsman delivered me two brim full to the top of the cage, trailer loads of already partly decomposing leaves.  They have been spread on to the garden beds, I’m hoping they will do the job of peastraw.  They must be breaking down as the lovely Raisin cat is making beds in them all over the place seeking warmth, as indeed here in Dunedin everyone is this weekend.  I haven’t quite gotten to the autumn clean up yet but I’m hoping the leaves will suppress some of the weeds until I get to getting it sorted.

In the meantime Compassion and a couple of other lovelies continue to bloom on despite the miserable weather.  this old rose is about the same age as my house.  She was probably planted when the house was built as her stems are old and gnarly.  Last year I was complaining to a professional gardener about her lack of good fresh growing stems and he suggested I take to her with a wire brush.  Well, it is amazing.  She has sprouted all new growth from her base and although the season for roses was terrible last summer she has started to look really healthy.  I don’t expect many more blooms on her but she is always surprising.  Her scent is just delicious.

Rosa Penelope

This is Penelope.  She is a gorgeous thing and not just a pretty face.  She smells  delicious, and she grows in exactly the appropriate way for the spot she is growing in.  Penelope is a Hybrid Musk rose and is dated 1924 and therefore officially ‘Old’ which is great, seeing as these are the ones I love the most, the old ones, though casting a eye around the garden this morning, it seems I like pretty much anything as long as it smells good and is a rose!

She is pale porcelain pink, a sprawly creature.  I’m trying to teach her to grow up the fence so that her slightly droopy flowers can be gazed up into (Barbara Lea Taylor would be proud).  The flowers just keep coming and coming and although these last autumn ones aren’t her best, and tend to go a bit pink around the edges, she still looks lovely and I am pleased that I put her near the front door.  When I’m coming and going I can see her still blooming on, even though the weather is becoming colder and there isn’t much else in the garden that isn’t all overblown and had it.  Garden clean-up imminent!

I took delivery of a trailer full of leaves from school.  The caretaker there  had them collected in a trailer, and they have been sitting for about two weeks just getting all manky and perfect for mulch, the ones at the bottom were even really hot, which means they were on their way to compost.  They were distributed yesterday by the beloveds, who don’t understand my fixation with these leaves that everyone else ‘in their right minds’ is raking up and dumping.  Hey people, dump them here, they turn horrible clay into great soil eventually.

The summer garden

Archway with compassion and regal lily

Yellow asiatics and delphiniums

My garden peaks during mid January.  This year I was swanning around the North Island in mid January, having myself a gorgeous time with my partner and visiting friends all over the place, and going to places I had never been before.  I know, it is a tragedy, I’ve traveled the world, lived overseas in exotic locations for years and never seen the North Island (well north of Paraparaumu and that was when I was 8!) apart from Auckland and Wellington when I go to meetings and conferences or leave the country.  Anyway, I was away for 12 days, and Megan (the middle baby) was chief executive in charge of feeding Raisin and deadheading roses and watering the veges.  She did well!

When I arrived home it was all a bit overblown but still there were treasures to be found.  One of the best things was that my Xmas lilies were so slow to flower that I got home in time to enjoy them.  It was very cool and quite damp here this summer so things became very long and leggy and have been a bit slow to flower.  My bergamot is as tall as the fence which is ridiculous!

Claude Monet and pink daisy

Also in flower was this gorgeous rose, Claude Monet.  It is a lemon yellow with a pink stripe.  I’ve a bit of a thing about stripey roses and am quietly collecting them.  I have Claude, Ferdinand Pichard and Scentisima so far, I’d love Rosa Mundi but missed the rose sale this year.  My garden is getting rather full now with only one major area at the front left to plant and it is currently full of potatoes which are about ready to harvest.  If only my capsicum was doing as well as the spuds – never mind.

Things have changed considerably since these photos were taken. Claude is having a rest before working on an autumn flush, William Lobb a gorgeous thing is pretty much done for the summer and Tess, which I didn’t think would survive has produced some gorgeous blooms.  Now is the time of the dahlias though and you can look forward to seeing some pics of them soon, I’m a bit delighted with how they are doing this year.

Ispahan – my new rose

Lisa has given me a rose for my birthday.  She is so beautiful, and Lisa is quite nice too!  And in case anybody is wondering it is not actually my birthday, this is last years present, so a bonus present.  Lisa is my gardening buddy so she knows about my obsession with old roses, so this is perfect.  Now to get her planted.

Ispahan’, also known as ‘Pompon des Princes’, is a clear pink, half-open kind of Damask rose (an early type, introduced from the Middle east in European breeding during the crusading XIIIth century).

David Austin still recommends it highly as free flowering, among the first Old Roses to start blooming and the last to continue, and for its fine Damask fragrance. The name Ispahan is from the name of city of Isfahan in Iran.  (This information is from Wikipedia)