Tuesday, 30 September 2008

The financial news still reeks, but my garden is fragrant

A glimpse of my garden in late September.

No matter what time of year, it can be chilly and wet in England. Because of this tendency to what I think of as the English "default" weather, the distinct outline of the different seasons tends to blur.

This year's wet summer has meant that even the trees which change with the autumn have clung to their leaves. We have conkers and blackberry bramble -- sure signs of fall -- but my garden is full of the blooms, and even the buds, more associated with summer. One season can bleed into the next and the only way to tell the difference is by what is coming out of the ground -- but even that method isn't foolproof.

"It's been a good year for fruit, but a bad year for grain," says my gardener. The tomatoes, which had showed early promise, never got enough heat to ripen and ended up rotting on the vine. But we've had a bumper crop of apples, and the roses have bloomed again and again.

After a dreary August, which kept gardeners inside and the butterflies away, we have had a good run of sunny days. It always seems to be this way. We get one more precious blast of glorious warmth before the dark door of October closes.

So as September slips away, I offer up a fond last look at summer.

"The Pilgrim"
I picked this rose because I am a sucker for a name, and I liked the American association. Too late, I learned that the "pilgrim" refers to Chaucer's pilgrims, and not the ones who took the Mayflower to the New World.
Never mind. It is a beautiful rose, and a really "good goer." I guess that pilgrims tend to be tenacious.
I can see this rose by looking out my kitchen window . . . and the colours echo my kitchen curtains, by design.
Except for some of the ramblers, which tend to flower only once, all of my roses repeat throughout their flowering season. The Pilgrim rose has been flowering since June, and it looks like it may keep going for a while. Another good repeater is Jubilee Celebration, the showy pink rose pictured below. The Jubilee Celebration is new to my garden this year -- and it is probably my favourite. The picture doesn't really do it justice, as the colour is actually quite complex -- a pink shot through with peachy gold. It glows in the sunlight.

It's a shame that this picture isn't a scratch-and-sniff.
The fragrance is described, by experts, as "strong and fruity,
with a hint of fresh lemon and raspberry."

This is the infamous rose hedge that I planted on a wet and windy Bank Holiday weekend.

There is a mix of pink Penelope shrub roses and pale yellow Malvern Hills climbers. Someday, if I'm lucky, the roses will cover the fence and hang in garlands from up above.

A lovely little willow tree, just out of the picture, casts its shadow.

At the foot of the garden, you can see the Chicken Pen -- home to Ralph and Lauren.

If you look carefully, you may just be able to glimpse Minstrel, our tabby cat.
He likes to lounge here, between the tall grasses and the Iceberg roses.
His days in the sun may be numbered. For this year, at any rate.


Alyson said...

You have such an amazing garden! It looks like you put a lot of hard work into it and I'm really impressed.

When do leaves usually start to change over there? I don't remember.

Anne said...

Bee, your garden is absolutely beautiful!! Those pictures made my day. You must be so proud of it!

I'm glad that your lovely roses are keeping your gardening spirits up. It's a pity about the tomatoes, but lucky you with a bumper crop of apples!

Brave Sir Robin said...

Ahh!!! I wanted to be the first to comment!

Rats, Alyson.

Bee - I love the Pilgrim. Maybe you were sub-consciously trying for the yellow rose of Texas, Eh?

Your garden (yard, around these parts) is exceeding lovely, and the work you put in really shows.

It pains me to say it, but I think you're going native on us. You spelled favorite and color in the English fashion.

That's OK. It thrills me to have a friend in England.

Back to the roses - The "Pilgrim" is beautiful, exactly what I'd expect an English Rose to be.

I'm so glad you posted the pictures. Your lawn is very lush. Is the grass soft? It looks as if it would be. As you know, our St. Augustine is very green, but not very soft to lie about on. Yours looks as if it's just begging for a blanket and a wicker basket full of bread, pickles and a big crock of rilletes. Oh, and of course, a nice bottle of wine to wash it all down. Or may a Pimm's Cup? Or is it too cool for that now?

Have a picnic for me, will you?

Brave Sir Robin said...

Ahh Anne slipped in while I was typing!!!

Anne said...

BSR, I think that regardless of chronological order, your post wins so far for the delicious picnic you suggested. :)

Just a Plane Ride Away said...

Well, as I write this, Bee, it is POURING outside. So thank you for the lovely tour through your garden. I am pleased to see your hedge roses are taking--must have been all that rain we had this summer. And I can't believe the roses continue to bloom! I thought I had my last flowers a month ago, but my three bushes continue their hard work. BTW, I have these large and beautiful rose hips... Are they good for anything?

PS Wonderful job with the photos!

Audrey said...

Your photos are gorgeous. Don't make me like it here!

Bee said...

Thank you! It's a work in progress, but we've done a lot in the last two years. My gardener and I started creating a new bed on Monday.
A few leaves have started to turn, but it is mostly still green. I think that they will start turning soon, though. It is quite nippy today!

I'm so glad that you liked the pictures. I'm such a novice with cameras and uploading . . . but I will try to do more of it.
I will be writing about apples soon!

Maybe I was thinking "yellow rose of Texas!" I generally avoid yellow in the garden -- except for daffodils in March, of course.

And yes, the grass is very fine and soft. Sigmund used to always scoff at Texas grass. He didn't think it even deserved the word! Picnics, hah! It is in the low 50s today, with a brisk wind. I still have some Pimm's in the refrigerator, though. Maybe I can sit inside and drink, whilst looking outside.

And about the color/colour thing. I switch back and forth!

I do know that rose hips are full of vitamin C. I think that people make syrup and tea out of them, but I've never tried it.

When I see you next week, I am going to pick your brain about blogging with pictures. I definitely need some tips -- but thanks for the kind words.

Yeah, I'm worried about making my garden so lovely that I won't want to move . . . and then I'll be stuck in Bershire forever!
I spent three hours at Penwood Nursery yesterday, getting absolutely soaked and chilled, and I was realizing what a "fair weather" gardener I truly am.

Sarah Laurence said...

Bee, wow, you found your camera and your garden is lovely! It sure doesn’t look chilly and wet, but those lush blooms are proof of the past weather.

I’m looking forward to seeing more photos as those roses grow. I had wondered what they were like after that post. It’s the image of you that sticks – planting roses in the rain. You are not a “fair-weather gardener.” Even when things are bleak, you bring some bright cheer into our lives.

It worked - the stock market rebounded more than a few points yesterday.

Elizabeth said...

Just got back to NY from London......
good to see your rose posts.
I was staying in Wiltshire where the roses were doing OK but not flourishing. But lots of gourgd green beans, mulberries and late raspberries.
No hope of planting turnips in Manhattan
We do live in depressing times......

walk2write said...

It's good that you have chickens in these trying times. I hope they are laying hens. As for the bank holidays, I wish some of the American banks would go on permanent holiday and stop ruining it for the productive ones. Glad your holiday was productive. Beautiful roses!

JaneyV said...

As I have a toxic thumb I am very much in awe of the horticulturally talented. Your garden is divine. And I love the blousy blooms of The Pilgrim and The Jubilee Celebration. Are they what are termed floribunda? I have often found that they smell incredible - you know, the way roses are meant to smell.

Thanks for sharing these lovely photos with us. Ralph and Lauren's run looks very comfy BTW.

Shauna said...

Oh, your garden is so beautiful! I miss my old garden and playing in the dirt. Ohh...and apples fresh off the tree! *faints*

Taffiny said...

I enjoyed your garden walk.

I like the element of time in the gardening, how it changes, how it is effected by seasons and years, and I like the dreaming into the future aspect of it, like your rose hedge.

I think I may have seen part of the kitty. It was as difficult as Where's Waldo?

slip into September is one of my chapter titles. :)
You though are slipping out of September.

Lucy said...

Always love your rosy posts! What a wonderful garden.

We watched 'The Horse Whisperer' for the first time the other night; I liked it that the horse was called Pilgrim.

I can't see the pusscat...

Bee said...

No, the camera still hasn't been found! I borrowed one from a friend. I may have to break down and buy another one, though, as you are all inspiring me to take pictures! The "cheer" is reciprocal, you know.

I hope to get some late raspberries before the dark days descend upon us. I'm not sure what the prices are like, but at least NYC dwellers can visit the fab NY farmer's markets.

I do have laying chickens, actually! I get two eggs a day -- which is too much for us unless I'm doing lots of baking. Thanks so much for visiting.

According to my David Austin Rose book, Jubilee Celebration is part of the "Leander" group (old English mixed with modern) and The Pilgrim is an English Musk rose. I only get roses which smell . . . but truly, the JC has an incredibly beautiful scent. You should buy one; it seems to be very hardy!

The apples were a real bonus this year. Last year they were small, green and sour.

We have never been long-term planners; we've never lived in a house longer than a couple of years. It is a bit strange, then, to dream up gardening schemes which will take years to unfold.

After a glorious weekend, September exited quite dramatically, with hours of pouring rain!

Do you mean rosy by subject matter or general outlook? :)
If you look in the bottomish left-hand corner of the picture you can actually make out the top of Minstrel's head -- including a bit of his eye. His body is actually sprawled across the middle of the picture, believe it or not!

Anne said...

JAPRA - Rose hips make lovely jelly (or jam, but I usually see jelly rather than jam). Do you know what variety your rose is? Rugosa roses produce very tasty hips. And as Bee said, they're full of vitamin C.

Just a Plane Ride Away said...

Anne, I am not sure. I posted a couple of photos on my blog today. I am interested enough to try to find out more about rose hips, however! Thanks for the jelly idea.

Bee, I look forward to our outing. We'll have fun talking food and photos as well as saying "y'all" without getting weird looks ;-)

Bee said...

JAPRA and Anne,
See Lucy's blog, Box Elder, for some information on rose hips. It is a recent post . . . that I only saw after answering your question about the hips.

Cindy said...

Bee, you have a beautiful garden and I wish computers were equipped with smell transmission - at least so that I could smell those roses. I love yellow roses and "The Pilgrim" is gorgeous. It's so nice to see pictures, now I can picture where you are better :)

chris said...

You're killing me! It's gorgeous. I have no luck in my yard as I get too much sun.

Put up a debate summary for you, although you may have already seen it! No big surprises.

Dave King said...

"The financial news still reeks, but my garden is fragrant"! I love that, the perfect attitude to maintain one's sanity!
Lovely pictures!

Dick said...

Glorious. Being as geographically general as you like, whereabouts are you? It looks Kentish to me, for some reason.

Bee said...

I've just seen the debate summary! Thank you! Sorry that I am late to the party, but I didn't get on the computer all weekend.

BTW, surely there are some good sun-loving plants?

Dave King,
Many thanks!

West Berkshire, actually. Maybe you thought Kent because the sun was shining? I'm convinced that the sun shines more in Kent. (Or maybe it was just my garden's resemblance to Sissinghurst? Ha Ha)

Bee said...

sorry I missed you out! I wish that I could send you some garden smells, too. I wonder if some computer genius is working on that one?

Bitty said...

Hello, Bee,

I've been busy and am still busy, and I don't have time to comment on all the posts I've read, so I'll just say hello on this one.

Even before I got to the words, I suspected from the photos that these were real roses, roses with fragrance. They look like the roses of my childhood, rather than the roses that are grown for the purpose of retail bouquets. This is not to say that those roses aren't lovely, but real roses, roses with fragrance...

You didn't need scratch & sniff. I could smell them.

You are so right about what klutzes most of us are about growing food. My great-grandparents were farmers. My grandmother grew up on the farm, so she knew a thing or two, but didn't much use that knowledge. And no one since the greats has grown food that I know of.

I have an orange tree, and around Christmas, I'll be harvesting about three dozen oranges. The rest of the year, I guess I'm going to starve, although a number of my friends and neighbors grow citrus, and their trees get more sun than mine, thus more fruit. Growing oranges is pretty easy, like your apples. Plant and wait. Maybe I should plant another this year. :)

(I actually am squirreling away some favorite canned foods, but then I usually do have some on hand, living in the hurricane zone as I do.)

I've also been hoarding books for years. I joke, but not really, that when the bad times come and we don't have electricity any more, I'll have something entertaining to do in the daytime.

And I've been thinking this way for more than a year.

I hope we'll all be ok. I just don't know. But at least you'll have roses.

Bee said...

I'm so glad to hear from you! I've just been thinking about you today.

It does makes me sad that all of the gardening/canning/preserving lore is being lost. I envied Kingsolver because she comes from a family that has never lost touch with those roots.

About that bunker mentality: between the hurricanes and the financial news, it does make one want to squirrel things away!