Moving established roses

I’m going to write this before I go out. My morning five kilometre loop takes a bit longer than my statistics reveal and then the day seems to slip away. There are three cherry trees on the forest path half way round my circuit.

And I just happen to have a plastic bag in my jogging trousers, so I halt my timer on my watch, stand and pick, cram my bag, cram my mouth, and work my way around the trees. Collecting a fabulous juicy haul.

It’s a very Ardèche spring event. Especially the wild abandoned trees in the forest. There is an elegant legend that people planted these beautiful trees along the routes of the Pilgrim Paths in the forest to nourish the Protestant worshipers as they secretly made their way to clearings on a Sunday, avoiding the Catholic solders on the roads who tried to police this secret sect.

But as one walks around the trails with a bag full of cherries, you know that the distribution process is a lot simpler. Scoff and spit. Scoff and spit.

And the Pine Martens and the birds are all doing the same thing. They germinate brilliantly if clothed in a nice pile of Pine Marten poo.

Sorry. A mouthful of cherries and ruminations on the mustelid family feeding habits.

I have been busy here in the garden. Each day brings a collection of photos for my Blog folder. But I don’t seem able to make time to sit and write the words. There was a glorious moment yesterday afternoon when we had a biblical rain storm which dumped a glorious half inch (12mm) of rain on the garden in the space of half an hour. And no hail!

I could have come inside just then and attacked a blog post. But instead I went up to my potting shed to keep working on My Project.

The wild cat and I have finally, finally sat together on the chaise longue. I didn’t take any photos as I had forgotten my phone. And she is so skittish that just shifting my position by an inch to take a shot would have her going off in a frenzy of activity. She is still wild. But she purred and kneaded my jeans, and I was able to pat and stroke her and was so delighted that we have reached this stage of animal taming.

It was all ruined half an hour later when I went back to the potting shed (forgotten secateurs) and she gave me that ‘argh, human!’ look and ran off and hid under the shed. She has either a goldfish brain, or I have a few months more work to do.

And naturally it is all predicated on me feeding her. Endlessly.

But roses. Roses. You came her for roses.

When I changed my potager this year I was contemplating leaving the huge Gertrude Jekyll rose bushes in situ. I was too fearful of moving these magnificent beasts.

I even measured up so that one of the huge bushes would stay inside one of the permaculture beds.

But reason won out – soft tissue damage from the thorns and endless accommodations in what needed to be a blank canvas to start anew. And I have finally found the perfect place to leave them.

Against the potager fence. Close by and able to spread. Because these incredible roses will give you plenty of lateral delight. More lateral, more roses.

It felt dreadful hauling them out. And not just because they were huge and had enormous root runs and tendrils that managed to capture not only the front of me but the back at the same time.

I prepared the site first to give them minimal root exposure to the winter air. And the whole process took very little time.

I pruned pretty hard. Not hard enough of course as I still believe you have to keep some of the structure of the roses. And watered like mad.

I don’t nurture them with extra food. But I think I did fling some compost about once I had sifted out the grubs, and mulched like mad.

They were much slower into growth than usual. And I was nervous.

But here they are. To top and the bottom roses are less happy with their new home. But I’ll work on those.

And meanwhile I get to have gorgeous wafty perfume as I toil.

And bouquets of roses for the house. The stems are super short for now. I’ll prune them better at the end of the season.

Right now I’m just so relieved they are alive.