The weather this spring in the UK (2021) has been quite extreme at times. April was a very dry month followed by a very wet and sometimes cold May. Now in June we are back to humid heat with little rain but there is still plenty of moisture in the ground. All this has resulted in a huge explosion of growth right across the garden.
We have grown Lupins for many years but I have been struck this year but the sheer size and exuberance of the plants we have around the garden. The top picture shows the brick red ‘My Castle’ in the foreground with the yellow ‘Chandelier’ and white ‘Noble Maiden’ behind. All of this is nicely framed by another member of the pea family, the Wisteria.
Many of the lupins we have around the garden are Russell Hybrids from the ‘Band of Nobles’ series. The species Lupinus polyphyllus is a native of western North America. It commonly grows wild along streams and creeks and prefers a moist habitat 1.
Lupinus polyphyllus was originally introduced into the United Kingdom by David Douglas in the 1820’s (2) . A century later George Russell started to develop the Russell hybrids with the aim of creating flower spikes that we denser, larger and more colourful than the original species. These were first displayed to the public at the RHS show in 1937 and have been a popular garden favourite ever since.
Over the last few years we have been developing our collection by growing from seed. It has proved to be a very successful way of growing a significant number of sturdy plants at little cost. In general we have sown the seeds in spring, potted up and grown on for about 12 months before planting out in the flower garden. The bigger the potted plant the quicker they seem to establish in the wilds of the flower garden where they have to compete with neighbouring plants and fend off the slugs. Most of the plants in these pictures are probably now three or four years old.
I particularly like lupins when they are planted in groups to make a strong vertical statement in a large bed. The range of colours is very wide and this allows you to mix and compliment these plants with a wide range of other border perennials.
This climbing English Rose was planted in the old rose garden about 15 years ago. What we call the old rose garden was originally built and developed to celebrate our silver wedding anniversary. As we approach our ruby wedding anniversary this year it is so lovely to see that most of the roses we planted back then have grown away strongly and are still producing beautiful displays year after year.
The Pilgrim produces quite large soft yellow rosettes of the form that typifies a David Austin English Rose. It is repeat flowering with a medium strength fragrance and blooms from June into early autumn.
David Austin describes this as a ‘repeat flowering english rambling rose’. It is supposed to grow to some 15 feet and we have planted it to scramble over a new seating area. We planted this rose about 2-3 years ago now and in reality it has been very slow to get going. This year we are seeing some strong fresh shoots so we hope that it will now grow away and cover the trellis with clusters of small delicate lighty-fragrant yellow blooms.
The flowers are quite small (see below) but if it flowers as abundantly as the catalogues suggest it should be an absolute picture on the edge of the orchard. Fingers-crossed that the new strong shoots allow the plant to really get going.
We planted a number of bare root Prince Jardinier roses in the new flower garden last year. For this garden we have deliberately chosen roses with a powerful scent that we can enjoy as we move around this area in the summer months. Prince Jardinier is certainly performing as expected and has a lovely perfume.
We have grouped these roses with three other varieties (A whiter shade of pale, White perfumella and Sweet parfum de Provence) to give a mix of deep pink through to white. Prince Jardinier has delicate pink outer petals with a transition to a more intense pink centre.
Today’s rose is the English shrub rose, Charlotte. This plant is probably in excess of 20 years old now and grows at the back of the house in full sun. The flower bed is quite dry during the main summer months and the plants have to compete for moisture with the neighbour’s leylandii hedge.
Flowering at the moment (early June) it has soft yellow blooms and repeat flowers for most of the summer. It has a delicate but not powerful fragrance. Although it does not seem to flower as prolifically as some other roses in the garden it comes back reliably year after year producing a steady flow of two or three blooms at a time.
One of the great advantages of having worked at the East Malling Research Station in Kent and also the experimental horticulture station at Efford in the New Forest is that you could buy up excess hardy nursery stock for the garden. This ‘Festival’ rose is one such acquisition. Now approaching 25 years old these plants still grow strongly every year.
Growing to about 3 feet in height, ‘Festival’ has medium sized red flowers with an interesting white fleck. The dark, glossy foliage seems to be very clean and contrasts well against the blooms. Not very scented but we have found it to be a very reliable garden plant.
The weather this year has certainly suited the roses. The lack of rain has meant that the flowers have lasted well. Roses are notorious for petal damage and mummification of unopened buds if there is too much rain.
I have been rather spoilt for choice in selecting this week’s Six on Saturday roses from the garden so have limited my choice to “Rambling” roses this week (There is a strong possibility that it might be the “climbers” next week!). I have to say that I am not always that clear on whether a rose is a”rambler” or a “climber” so have turned to the David Austin roses catalogue as reference.
According to David Austin Roses, climbers generally have larger blooms and are not as vigorous as ramblers. Whereas most climbers repeat flower most ramblers do not. However, as with everything there are exceptions to the rule!
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