Rose rambles

And suddenly my notes run out. I am sitting on the Game Boy express (sorry the 0853 to Lille and Euro Disney with a carriage of excited children all chirping and beeping on their machines) and trying to assemble the notes from what seems aeons ago. That will teach me for prevaricating. All I have left is Saturday. Flower Day. Strimming.A bit blank when it comes to details as you can see. But now it comes back. As a reward for all the gardening work we had done around the vegetable beds, not to mention the massive clean-up of the barn and the hauling of furniture in the guest house. We went off to visit a garden for the day. Now that’s a surprise.

It was the Roseraie de Berty; a rose garden in the southern ardeche which I had read about in French garden books. Books about gardens can be deceptive. Both Jan and I were a little disappointed by the Beth Chatto gardens in Essex last year. It wasn’t the gardens that were a let down. Far from it; and her garden writing is stimulating and inspiring. But when you have forked out a fortune for a train fare, trekked across to Essex, found a taxi, paid your garden fee and stepped inside… well you want to be able to do more than go around one lap in less than twenty minutes.

I had read that the rose garden was only about a hectare in size, so was expecting a similar let down. But it wasn’t. Smallish for a two hour drive down to Argentiere, but what a great treat. Almost every plant in the valley was a rose. And so artfully grown and lush and relaxed. It gave one ideas about how natural roses can actually be. And the scale was impressive. And the scent. I don’t think I would ever embark on a garden that could only be sublime for one month of a year. But was delighted to see someone else had made it her life’s labour.

And now lovely to know that the New Dawn roses I planted against the artichoke wall will be such impressive beasts when they grow up. If they aren’t mauled about before then. Every time I pass it seems I have to pull out yet more vile elderberry leaves from the old stump which was cut down to make way for the roses and the herbs. It rates as my least favourite garden smell. Up there with nettle leaf sludge. And crushed aphids.