Planting roses at dusk

gardening

A while ago, we removed one of the many laurel bushes that were gradually taking over our garden. I don't mind laurel (the leaves are shiny, and it's evergreen), but it is intent on garden domination unless you ruthlessly prune it. Anyway, there was just too much of it for our taste. That left a gaping hole in one of the beds, which we filled in the summer with annual plants like sweet peas and climbing nasturtiums, but we wanted something a bit more permanent. Our garden is a rather uniform green for much of the year, so we were after something with nice flowers, but that would also be a good resource for wildlife.

After seeing an offer in the Guardian newspaper, we decided to go for Rosa rugosa rubra. It's apparently pretty tough (always useful with our less-than-expert gardening skills), has lovely, scented, wine-red flowers for much of the summer (perfect for the bees), then deep orange-red hips in the autumn (great for the birds).

They were delivered on Saturday morning (at an absurdly early hour for the weekend, waking Mr. Bsag and I, and my visiting parents). We were busy entertaining my parents for most of the weekend, so the first chance we got to put them in their new home was late on Sunday afternoon. Luckily, the torrential rain that had persisted for most of the weekend had stopped, but it was still very damp and cold, and starting to get dark.

Despite the weather, it felt great to be outside, digging the ground over and clearing some of the neighbouring plants to make room for the roses. Our bamboo plant has been mounting a stealth expansion campaign, throwing shoots up among the trunks of our Euonymus. Now that the last leaves have fallen from the Euonymus, the bamboo's dastardly plot is revealed, so I took the opportunity to get in there and hack back the bamboo shoots. Again. I suspect that it's a lifetime of work.

After a lot of digging, we got the bare-rooted rose plants in place. At the moment, they just look like rather sad brown sticks poking up above the earth, but they hold the promise of voluptuous scent and sumptuous colour in Summers to come. I keep looking out of the kitchen window at the roses-to-be, imagining the fresh, green shoots waiting for the Spring to come.

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