Another substantial gallery (the last from my Italian adventure) featuring the remarkable rose garden and nursery in Assisi, Umbria – Quando fioriranno le Rose – owned and managed by Paola and Fabio Bianchi – and where I attended a recent pruning course run by Richard Stubbs from David Austin roses.
There are more than two thousand roses planted (five years ago in a once weed-choked field) in the Vale of Spoleto, almost directly beneath the Basilica of St. Francis. The colour and fragrance of these gardens in May must be outstanding. I gather it is rather too hot in mid-summer for a grand display but the show in Autumn is not to be missed either.
I’ve just bought a guidebook to Umbria with a view to planning a return visit – and to take in some of the surrounding treasures in Perugia, Gubbio, Spello and Spoleto – but the timing will hinge around the best show of roses in this garden outside Assisi.
Richard took us expertly through the pruning regime for summer-flowering (once-flowering) Old Roses, repeat-flowering shrub roses (classic Old Roses and David Austin shrubs), climbers and ramblers, standards, as well as showing us how best to plant bare root and container grown roses. Grounding this in explanations as to how these different groups actually grow gives you an understanding as to why you might prune, when and how much. We ended the day with a hands-on practical session, everyone having an opportunity to pick up the secateurs and trim back their own potted rose – very brave of Paola and Fabio!
In recent posts I’ve included many pruning notes which will help you tackle the roses in your garden and now is the last perfect moment to look at taking action to ensure the best possible show come summer – please do have a gander and give your roses some tough love!