Replanting a rose garden

There now. I had to wait until I had chipped branches and mulched.

I didn’t want to show you bare earth and random bits of weed control plastic.

I have had a few days of doing a major redesign of a problem garden area.

The path that leads to the north of the barn up past two walnut trees and onto the road and the top potager.

It’s a problematic space.

This bad.

I have been throwing things at the problem for years.

Bulbs, euphorbia, ferns, stachys Byzantine, grasses, alchemical mollis…

iris, mint…

And the mountain has been gleefully adding in brambles and nettles to complete the set.

A real dog’s breakfast.

But it was only when I realised just how many roses I had purchased did I know what to do.

Take everything out and start again. And plant a rose bed. North facing and almost but not quite moist soil.

It was the only way I was going to have a chance of removing most of the brambles that grow out of the walls

I transplanted the iris in the dry garden, shoved the crososmia bulbs into the bank above the spring. And took barrow loads of weeds down to the new big compost heaps on the first terrace below the road.

I still can’t bring myself to call it the autumn garden area.

Dare I admit it was marvellous fun? All dirt and levering out brambles and getting a face full of lovely sage (which is staying). And deciding I didn’t need to blind myself with euphorbia sap and leaving that one too.

There was a brief pause for Christmas and a walk that showed us our mountain top from a new perspective.

We are the farm on the right.

And then it was rake and do a final weed and get planting.

Here’s what I have put in:

Line Renaud

Charles de Mills

Ancient Mariner


Claire Austin


Roald Dahl

Graham Thomas

I’ve never planted a hybrid tea rose before, but the Line Renaud was a gift from Agnes because I have so admired it in her garden. So let’s see how it fares with the more English roses.

I’m just going to be thrilled if they all thrive. This is a hare run and the deer have been known to amble down this path en route to the forest. But surely rose thorns will not prove tasty.

I did think of planting an edge of nepeta six hills giant all along the path. But that does rather defeat the purpose of having a scented rose garden.

I have had to lay a plastic barrier right beside the old stone wall as the brambles and some stubborn ferns refused to budge when I was wielding the fork. (And braining myself on the tiles above me.)

So lots of small stones and random rocks, a thick layer of mulch and hopefully we are good to go.