Nearly 20 years ago when I acquired my first garden, I had a vision of rampant green, pink and white scented chaos. I became obsessed by rose catalogues (in a pre-mass-website era) and lost myself amidst evocative descriptions of fragrance and colour. The result was manic planting of a mass of roses everywhere without thought for continuing seasonal interest. I planted climbers over tree stumps and pergolas, and ramblers over shrubs.
Over the years, the roses became well established and the subject of countless paintings, drawings and photographs.
This year they have been as magnificent as ever… at least until yesterday’s torrential downpour. Whilst other parts of the UK suffer an impending drought, we in Yorkshire have no such problem. The bloom of the roses has been lost for the moment, but there are still plenty of buds so I am hopeful that they will make it into official summertime. I am reminded forcefully that English summer is always about fragmentary moments of perfection.
My greatest happiness this year though has been to see one of my daughters with her nose buried in a creamy mass of petals declaring that roses are her favourite flower, and how could it have taken her so long to realise this?
Better now than never, I feel.
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