gardening at home with sarah | the rose garden in june

Join Sarah for a walk around the rose garden in June, as she shares her favourite varieties and why you should underplant your roses with salvias.

This is the first rose I planted at Perch Hill, it’s called ‘Felicia’, and, I fell in love with it in my, one of my very favourite gardens, which is Chilcombe near Bridport in Dorset, and I loved it there just on the edge of the lawn. It’s quite a messy rose but I love it being so floriferous, it starts flowering in May and carries on flowering right the way through the summer and it’s just to me a sort of quintessential garden rose, flowery, smelly, delicious, it’s just lovely and not too neat, I like that.

One of the things that we’ve experimented with our roses a lot here is trying to protect them against blackspot and mildew without using chemicals, and we’ve had huge success with underplanting our roses with salvias, particularly the microphylla, the small-leaved varieties, and as I stand here I can, I’ve crushed a leaf or something because I can smell a sort of slightly, not acrid but really quite a pungent smell that is definitely slightly sulphurous, and of course sulphur is a fungicide, and my belief is that these salvias have sulphur in their scent profile, and when they get hot they warm up and they release that and they just give this whole rose garden sort of puffs of natural, home-grown fungicide, and keep our roses pretty pristine, so I just thoroughly recommend it, this is a variety called ‘Nachtvlinder’ which I think means ‘night light’. I’m going to show you lots of others of my favourite roses.

The great thing about all these salvias is that they flower for ages, this one comes into flower in May, and honestly flowers until November, and if you squash it, you get that really pungent smell, which I like actually, it’s sort of like pineapples, aromatic pineapples. The flowers are edible, so you can scatter them over puddings or salad, and I don’t know if you can hear the bees, but it is completely teeming with pollinators, particularly honeybees and bumblebees as soon as the sun comes out, so it’s one of my favourite plants, totally regardless of the fact that it’s so brilliant in companion planting with roses. This is another really bright scarlet one which we grow lots of here too called ‘Jezebel’, and then this is another lovely one called ‘Cerro Potosí’.

This (‘Belle Epoque’) is one of my favourites for picking because it’s got incredible scent and this beautiful bicolour, so the back of the petal is sort of rosy pink and then it’s got this incredible kind of ambery centre, and a really lovely fragrance.

And then there’s another real favourite down in here which is Rosa ‘Glauca’ or Rosa rubrifolia, and I love it because it’s so natural looking and it forms great hips which is why it’s not dead headed, and actually I am pretty sure Constance Spry used that in her arrangements.

This is ‘Julia’s Rose’, which I think’s really unusual, and honestly if you’d told me five years ago I wanted a rose the colour of milky coffee I’d have laughed at you, but I adore it now, and it’s a really good picking rose.

So if ‘Felicia’ was my first rose love, I would say this is my most recent so, not my last because there’ll be lots more, but the one that I’ve added to my heart most recently, and it’s called ‘The Simple Life’ and it’s quite a good name actually because it looks like a simple rose, but it has an incredibly long life, and what I mean by that is it flowers from May until November, or even December, so we’re often pruning it when it’s still flowering, and it just looks like a lovely simple dog rose, but with these bigger flower and SO many of them.

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