THE MODERN MINT BLOG

Jul23

Great Roses

Darcy Bussell

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!)

Jun10

Brought By Bike – Topiary Making

Brought By Bike is an excellent website I found last month, where businesses offer their services by (of course) bicycle. Modern Mint and my topiary work is now live on the site offering my topiary services, via bike, to the following two postcodes – CM1 CM2 Now I can imagine I will need to borrow a ladder should anyone have a larger shrub, but most town gardens in the Chelmsford area have a need not just for privacy but to let light into the house… so a balance must be struck when shaping hedges and shrubs to cover both needs. …

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May10

Transforming Topiary

topiary transforming

Transforming Topiary – a video made for the European Boxwood And Topiary Society by Charlotte Molesworth and I, in her garden. We take a dog topiary and work out how to update it, turning it into a bird. Worth a watch I think, and hopefully useful to you! You can see more of my clipping on the topiary page. Or read my Spring 2021 Topiary Provocation here.

Apr28

Phillyrea From 1682

Worlidge Phillyrea

Phillyrea is one of my favourite plants for topiary. I have been using it for quite a few years as a specimen shrub, mostly due to the fact it clips well and has a tough habit – all good characteristics for a topiary plant. It also has a  reputation for being an excellent nectar source for bees… Read more about Phillyrea here. Mentioning this to Malcolm Thicke, a market garden historian and writer, he sent me a some photos of topiary and phillyrea mentioned by John Worlidge in Systema Horticulturae from 1682…. incredible! He also mentioned to me that in …

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