I have ordered a tea rose Rosa Guinée that an excellent gardener neighbour introduced me to many years ago. Almost everything this friend recommended or showed me in her own exquisite small town garden has remained favourite. The combination of her plant knowledge and eye for design resulted in subtle and stunning combinations. She died two years ago and I often wonder about her garden and whether it remains as thrilling as it always was. So I shall plant Guinée in memory of my dear friend Janey. It’s a climbing hybrid tea with dark crimson, opulent petals and it has a great scent. It’s going next to the lilac to clamber through it. The clematis that I planted last year rocketed off up the stem and into the branches of the lilac in no time at all and then it suddenly wilted. The rose should be more robust.
A trip to the allotment for the first time in six weeks, it’s rained and we’ve been away, was partly depressing and partly thrilling. The very sodden earth looked miserable and there was no sign of the broad beans sown in the ground in October. I’m pretty certain they had germinated and were through the soil in November. The white plant labels with the dates on were blank so I’ve no record but I’ll start broad beans off here in about six weeks. And I’ve made a note to purchase a reliable waterproof marker pen.
However the 16 radicchio plants planted in October were surviving well and brightening up the plot. I have every hope they will fill out over the next two months as the soil warms up.
And a row of lovely broccoli was looking good planted from plugs in late summer. It’s Atlantis F1 which matures from August to January. I shall sow this again since the stems and flower heads are tender and sweet and it’s good to have a supply of broccoli before the purple sprouting in March. I was horrified to see that some overweight pigeons had sat on the netting protecting the purple sprouting weighing it down in order to peck off all the tips along the entire row. Hopefully it will sprout down the sides of each plant and next year I must construct taller supports to give it space to grow out of reach of the birds. The black kale Nero di Toscana was looking good as were the leeks and there was no sign of the leek moth damage from last year.
I bought a thornless blackberry ‘Oregon’ to go against a sunny stone wall in the garden here. The leaf is pretty enough to mingle with an ornamental purple vine growing there. Some serious editing of this border will be necessary, there’s a sprawling honeysuckle which has put down roots along the ground over about 3 metres. But I can see where the main stem emerges and will leave that alone and edit out the rest and buying the blackberry was the impetus needed to tackle this job.