While I’m putting the finishing touches to my Ark, a few roses to delight and some thoughts on fragrance …

Après nous, le deluge – part political statement, given the referendum today (and a potentially very glum statement too) and a reference to the storms, heavenly waterfalls and flashing light-shows last night.

To calm my shattered nerves, a gallery of roses, photographs taken yesterday at Petersham Nurseries, in a rare few hours of ‘dry’ (look it up!) – we’d primped and tidied, deadheaded and cleaned up all of the roses (and all of the herbaceous perennials the day before/no wonder I slept through the worst of the storm), and how fresh everything was looking.

Despite the rain, the temperatures have been warm and the fragrances on offer have still be good. What surprises so many people is the range of scents these roses have  – from the true Old Rose (Gertrude Jekyll, Harlow Carr, The Mayflower/Susan Williams Ellis), grapefruit zest (Jude the Obscure); fruity and tea scents (Boscobel, Golden Celebration), elegant rose, talcum powder and myrrh (Gentle Hermione), musk, spice and Old Rose (The Generous Gardener, Claire Austin, Desdemona), sweet peach, mango and citrus (Lady Emma Hamilton); Aniseed (Wollerton Old Hall, Scepter’d Isle); blackcurrant and plum (Munstead Wood) ….

The chemical composition of rose scents are incredibly complicated and worth reading more about – there is an article reproduced in my pages here which is very detailed – other links should usefully be explored too – after all, there’s more rain this evening and I for one shan’t be going out later –


further links –





A day off today (no chance of any gardening in the quagmires out there), so after this, a little paperwork, voting, shopping and a trip to the garden centre to pick up some compost – for tomorrow, there promises bright sunshine.

Sadly the late evening opening at RHS Wisley today has been cancelled (more rain expected) but tomorrow, I’m hopeful for day of sunshine and dry heat. Fingers crossed (wellies by the door just in case) …

Next week I’m off to revisit the David Austin at Albrighton HQ; to catch up with old friends and see the gardens, trial fields and business-end of the operation. I went last year and it re-fizzed my enthusiasm for their roses (as if this were needed), and I’m looking forward to seeing mature specimens of the 2016 roses, Roald Dahl, Imogen and Bathsheba, up close and personal. There will be photographs …

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