THE MODERN MINT BLOG
A client has asked us about some great roses we could plant in their garden. We have spoken about our portfolio of roses before – what we have discovered is the choice is huge, and seems to be expanding all the time.
So how do you find a great rose?
1) Scent – fragrance is so important, it really is. You only realise how much the nose craves it when you walk past a bed of a rose like ‘Gertrude Jekyll’ and get knocked over by the smell.
2) Disease resistance – we hate spraying roses, and anyone who has doused their blooms and drowned a bee at the same time will know that horrible feeling too of what you’ve just done. Try not to do it by growing your plants well – plenty of air circulation and in clay soil.
We also hate buying roses from nurseries that spray them (roses always suffer in pots at this time of year (late July/August) so it is best to buy yours either from a nursery that grows them in larger pots that give more space to the roots or get them bare-root later in the year.
3) Bloom – colour, size, how often it flowers. This is most likely the way people pick a rose. When you have such an iconic (and romantic) flower, this would be a good place to start.
In our portfolio, we have a special soft spot for the dark reds like Falstaff Rose. Sublime whites go into darker spots in the garden, to illuminate them with their brilliance. We don’t much care for the time spent on breeding a blue rose…
Munstead Wood, Crocus, Lady Salisbury, Glamis Castle, A Shropshire Lad, Generous Gardener, Jubilee Celebration all make it onto our list.
If you want roses for the cutting garden, Sarah Raven recommends Felicia, Tuscany and Paul’s Himalayan Musk.
Although great roses can be judged using the 3 ways above, you might find nostalgia has the biggest part to play in how you choose a rose – you may have a memory of your nan’s garden, or a place you stayed on holiday, where a particular rose seemed to encapsulate the mood of the time for you.
These are special occurrences and should not be dismissed as a guide to what you grow. They are, after all, the beginnings of your current relationship with plants.
Enjoy your roses, enjoy discovering what great roses are for you!
For more reading about roses, try these books too…
(And this one by Graham Stuart Thomas – an important book on your shelves if you want to know about great roses!)
If you have a subscription, you can check out an article about bespoke ideas for your garden in the Telegraph. There are some great crafts people there, so check it out. Click Here To See The Article About my Topiary Work In The Telegraph
Lockdown has given me a chance to look through old notebooks and begin, gently, to piece together some sort of narrative about Modern Mint and how it has grown over the last six years. And it has changed massively in that time! Modern Mint Now, June Lockdown 2020 I currently make and maintain topiary all over the UK for clients who love well-pruned hedges and sculptures. I love this job – it is a beautiful art. In the winter I prune wisteria, roses and fruit trees in orchards. Much colder, shorter work days… but equally satisfying work. I give talks …
During lockdown I went through a number of old notebooks. I found a note about Gilles Clement and The Garden In Motion – Le Jardin En Mouvement. Underneath my note I had written: “To be researched more! Something to definitely think over!” Now, five years later I have looked again… and am thrilled by this idea. The Garden In Motion is about taking a piece of unused land, and then as the gardener you make choices to do ‘as much as possible for the land and as little as possible against’ it. You are talking about limited input – watering, …