The wacky end of the colour palette

When you are only in town for a week the lure of your third garden does seem to appear down the list. A bit like someone being obliged to spend time with their third concubine.

There is duty. Is there pleasure? Will you be pleasantly surprised?

On Wednesday I ventured to my allotment for the first time. I was curious to see just what might have appeared in the mystery rose and perennial department.

You may recall that I only took possession of the jungle in mid June last year, so all the emerging wonders would be new to me. There was that shrub rose I was curious to discover. And to see just what would emerge after the huge pruning of the roses on the back fence.

Would my shearing of all the brunnera weeds have done the trick.?

Coming through the security gate I looked hard left to see if anything jumped out. And I almost jumped back in shock.

What on earth is that orange glow?

Well, yes. Reader, it is an orange rose.

Orange fading to pink? And the size of the blooms… A small baby’s head. I stood there just gobsmacked and then started to laugh.

Well, the garden was in the possession of a venerable lady for about forty years and oh my, it looks like her taste in roses got stuck somewhere in the 1980s. Or 70s.

It’s like when you are rummaging in a second hand bookshop and your eyes drift to the cookery section. Anything published with LOUD photographs before about 1995 is going to have you shoving the tome back with haste.

So garish. So absurdly orange. And in the case of this shrub rose. You guessed it. Absolutely no scent at all. Of course not. How could all that breeding for vivid colour and size actually make room for scent as well. A David Austin English shrub rose it is not.

And of course the last laugh is on me for my sneering. I cut half a dozen of the strange objects and carried them down to Primrose Hill to meet Sally in the cafe. Was I stopped one? Nay, twice. ‘What amazing flowers!’

And they drew a crowd at Germano’s as well. Sally loved them. Admittedly they are almost but not quite tasteful in bud.

But actually I think in the case of this shrub rose I’m just going to have to accept that May is full on ironic mad orange rose season and get over it.

The climbing roses against the fence are almost calming in comparison.

Just not madly me.

Still. Duty called and I could see that I needed a whole day attacking the rest. The colour of the roses was the least of my problems.

I had a jungle of weeds to tame.

Here you go. Shearing off the flowers of this (is it brunnera?) last month did nothing to check the invading force. They have tap roots.

So a day with a fork and a creative place to put all the mess and I was back to my least favourite garden scene. Bare soil. I’ll need to make another permaculture bed in the autumn.

And no mulch.

[May I just please pause here and explain that this new version of WordPress is driving me nuts. It is over-designed and clever and I can’t edit my pictures and insert them into the post the right way up without a lot of faff. All this is pre coffee and it’s early and I’m cranky. Thank you.]

Still it’s one of those scenes where you look and say ‘getting there’.