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Climbing Roses to Face North

March 28, 2013

There are a surprising number of climbing, rambling and scrambling roses that do well in a north facing aspect and these will reach heights from 3m up to 6.5m and beyond if supports are appropriate.  Some important differences between the three types need to be understood:

A climbing rose is best for walls and pergolas and these flower on shoots that are produced in the same season. Many of the modern ones repeat flower which is a huge bonus. Below is Iceberg a vigorous and virtually thornless climber which grows to 5.5m x 3m. iceberg climber A Rambler is good for arches and trellis and less good for a wall because rambler roses tend to produce vertical growth rather than horizontal. However this can be overcome by regularly tying in the new shoots to horizontal supports.  Below is The Garland which has masses of small creamy-white tinged with pink, fragrant flowers and grows to 4.5m x 3m.rthegarland (1) A Scrambler rose will cover a huge area reaching into large trees or over garden sheds and garages and is perfect for hiding eyesores.  Below is the very fragrant Rambling (scrambling) Rector which grows 7.5m x 4.5m. rosa_rambling_rector_I23691P97245  There are many roses from all three categories to choose from in a large range of colours and it will help to study a catalogue from a trusted rose grower such as Peter Beale or Or wait until summer and visit rose gardens to see and smell the blooms. Roses take a few years to establish and they will need plenty of feeding and watering in the first few years.


Two weeks ago I sowed seeds of cavola nero in small trays in the heated propagator.  A few days later a dozen seeds had germinated and then collapsed and were lying horizontal under a cloud of mould. I lifted them out with a teaspoon and considered discarding the entire tray but instead I decided to experiment. I put the tray back in and left the heat on but I took the lid off and within a few days all the seeds finally germinated. As soon as they were through I turned the heat off and relied on a few hours of sunshine streaming through a window to bring them further on. It’s now very cold so I am covering them with the propagator lid at night but with no bottom heat.


This lovely book came my way last week and the moment I opened it I had a strong urge to cook. It’s a  seasonal journal or kitchen diary based around hen keeping and how to make the best use of four eggs delivered daily. Many of the recipes work on basic store cupboard ingredients or produce from the garden all using fresh eggs. In fact there was no need to leave the house to make the aptly named

 Sublime Onion Tart.


130g plain flour, sea salt, 65g butter, a few tablespoons of iced water. I made the pastry in my food processor and baked it blind in a 25cm loose- bottom tin at 180c for  25mins.


50g butter, 900g white onions, 2 sprigs of rosemary, splash of olive oil, 200ml double cream, 150ml milk, 4 eggs.

In a heavy pan heat the butter and olive oil before adding the finely sliced onions and rosemary. Cook on a low heat for one hour stirring occasionally and cool. Mix eggs, cream and milk S & P and combine with the cooled onions. Pour into the pastry case and lower the heat to 160c and cook for 35-40 minutes.


Genevieve Taylor says: ‘This is a frugal dish albeit one of the best kinds. It takes a very cheap ingredient, onions in bulk, and adds a little luxury in the form of double cream’. 

The book is not offering advice on hen keeping instead it is a celebration of simple produce cooked with imagination and style. And photographer Jason Ingram has beautifully conveyed the mouth-watering quality of Genevieve Taylor’s  gorgeous food.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. March 31, 2013 8:36 pm

    Thank you for the rose information., We have a new, bare, north facing fence in desperate need of cover and it sounds as if a climbing rose would do the trick perfectly.

    • April 1, 2013 8:04 am

      Have a look at Zephrine Drouhin -it’s a thornless climber and the very fragrant cerise flowers repeat twice.

  2. April 3, 2013 8:24 am

    I’m using a heated propagator for the first time this year and it is surprising how quickly the compost dries out with the heat from the base. it has made a huge difference though to germinate times for me. I sowed some Zinnias on Sunday and they have germinated already. It’s incredible how much moisture builds up under the plastic lids as well. I’ve heard a lot about Genevieve’s book and know Jason, so can’t wait to see it.

    • April 3, 2013 8:37 am

      Prompted- I will now sow my zinnias today. Yes seedlings do dry out quite fast in the heated propagator and I find a water spray isn’t enough. I use a jug and give then a good drink every other day.

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