More roses and a Brit weather

Rival de Paestum

Rival de Paestum

OK so it’s official: I won’t complain about drought anymore. This spring is going to be the wettest and coldest ever: we are towards the end of May and yet i’m sleeping with a thick cover, I’ve got a terrible cold with running nose and I can’t smell the roses. Or at least what rain left of the roses.

Anyway the garden has never been so luxuriant and healthy, weeds in particular are growing like never before and snails left a thanksgiving card under my rug. Slugs haven’t sent me anything yet although I bet a basket full of fruit must be on its way…

artichokes and rosa banksiae 'purezza'

artichokes and rosa banksiae ‘purezza’

Since we came home from Malta we stopped hearing the usual chirping from the finches nest box and also the frantic coming and going of mummy and daddy finch stopped. We had some hard winds and rains lately and I thought the worst had happened to the finch family but I didn’t want to know, so I didn’t check the nest closely. As soon as the rain stops, though, a choir of birds populate the garden and around the compost leap I spotted a baby finch spying on me from a willow branch. Bold and proud it looked at me, sure to be far enough to feel safe. Will it ever knows I built its birth-house? I only care about it staying around and looking at me warily from time to time.

But hey there are artichokes to take care of now… When I spotted the first 2-3 popping up from the plants I thought I shall let them flower, they look so beautiful and at the end of the day whom hunger am I supposed to appease with 3 little artichokes? But after Malta, and all that rain and wind and chilly days I finally stepped out in the garden and found a lot more than 3 little artichokes standing near rosa Purezza. So I’m now thinking how to cook them. I’ll let you know.

Clockwise from top left: Single Cherry, Rote Hannover, Unknown, Jacques Cartier, Admiration (Zwerg), rosa sancta

Clockwise from top left: Single Cherry, Rote Hannover, Unknown, Jacques Cartier, Admiration (Zwerg), rosa sancta

But this post’s title promised you more roses, didn’t it? So here we go with a gust of roses, I’m so sorry I can’t tell you about how scented they are because my running nose doesn’t allow me to smell but they are a real joy for the ayes anyway. So glad they are such tough plants and not everything’s been ruined by the bad weather.


The Rose garden is finally starting to perform as I intended it, I’m glad of the combinations I have long thought of during cold days in winter, like the one pictured before, two roses of the same colour, flowering together with very different shape and size. The big one  is Celestial and the small one is supposedly a china rose labelled as ‘Angel’s Wings’ but I found out that a rose with that name is totally different. It’s a little beauty though and it sets billions of tiny little red hips.

Ombrèe Parfaite

Ombrèe Parfaite

I am even more pleased with some random combination that I made with some seedlings of a totally unknown salvia received as a gift, a pennisetum volunteer and this dark coloured gallica rose named ‘Obrèe Parfaite’. I love that salvia and I’ll talk again of it later, maybe some of you could recognize it.



Some roses don’t need company though, they know they are the queens. Chloris is planted on the crabapple bed, between the grass garden and the proper rose garden. here there are a bunch of roses planted together that mingle nicely with each other. There are also Omar Kahyyám, a damask rose with a nice story about the origin of its name, please see for reference. I like the long and curled tepals of this rose, resembling some kind of old-fashioned handwriting.

Omar Khayyám

Omar Khayyám

I am also trying a new kind of white stuff to mulch my roses… I’ll let you know how it works…

minellaI can see youuuuuu, Mina??! Come on, the mulch thing was only a joke!



You might have noticed I have a few old-fashioned power poles in my garden but I’m glad I’ve been able to turn a bad feature of the garden to my advantage. The power poles are now ‘trellies’ for big roses like Purezza and Zéphirine Drouhin and we liked it so much that we trained Plaisanterie the same way, adding some small timber poles. This rose was bred by Lens crossing ‘trier’ (the rose mother of all the hybrids musk) with rosa chinensis mutabilis. Apparently he obtained three commercially valuable seedlings, one is Plaisanterie, with all the main features of a hybrid musk but with the unstable colour of r.c. mutabilis, blooming creamy yellow in the morning to fade deep pink. Flowers only last for one glorious day but are produced in drifts. I’ve recently bought another of those seedlings, called ‘Souvenir de Louis Lens’ which looks thinner and paler than Plaisanterie, I’ll let you know.



The rose garden is now in full bloom but more rain and a drop of temperatures are forecast from tomorrow… Will I ever be able of pulling some weeds? The basil refuses to grow and I couldn’t manage to plant some zuchini yet, which is crazy.

Rosa gallica Violacea

Rosa gallica Violacea


31 thoughts on “More roses and a Brit weather

  1. You are drowning in your fabulous roses, such a shame you have a cold and can’t appreciate their perfume, hope you feel 100% very soon. Your garden must be a wonderful place to be at the moment with so many wonderful blooms. I think your R. banksiae purezza is absolutely wonderful, no wonder your finches liked the nest box adorned with so many beautiful flowers! We too are having it very cold, showery and cold winds once more from the North Pole, the temperature didn’t get above 11C yesterday.

    • Hi Pauline! I’m having a Brit weather here, indeed you might be having a North Pole weather in Great Britain!!! I’m all settled for dry and hot conditions in my garden and it’s cold and wet, this is causing more damages than frost! I wish I could send you come Purezza cuttings next fall, if you like.

  2. Hi Alberto, if you think it is cold in Italy, you should feel what it is like in England. It is like mid winter. Your roses are superb! I especially like the mutability cross, I will have to look out for it. Lets hope the weather warms a little soon, btw I picked the first three zucchini last Sunday, so my weather must be warmer in Lazio than it is for you the Veneto. Christina

    • I have rooted cuttings, it’s so easy to propagate that rose, don’t bother looking for it! We have 11^C in the morning and its getting even colder from tomorrow they said

  3. The weeds here are going crazy, too! I guess they don’t care what kind of weather they get. I love, love, love the form and color of ombree parfaite. What a gorgeous, deep, rich color. I really like how you’ve trained your roses up the posts. I have dreams of doing that one day. As for artichokes, I don’t care to eat them, but I absolutely love their blooms. Looks like you have enough to do both.

    • You are right, while I bother the first few artichokes have hardened and they’re ready to bloom I guess. I’m going to eat the rest tomorrow. I had Ombrée Parfaite on my mum’s garden, planted ages ago, and I didn’t like it, it was in a crowded bed with other bigger roses. That particular rose was thin and very prone to any kind of disease a rose may suffer (mildew, black spot,…) and it used to flower very little. Indeed this other one is in full sun and with the right space around and it’s very healthy, free flowering (only once in the season though), and the plant is developing in a little umbrella shape which is very elegant and kind of rare in roses. The colour is even deeper in this plant (but it may depend on a different soil too).

  4. First too much ash and now you are mulching with Mina which I must say seems like another faulty plan. What will you do when she just gets up and walks away? But your roses are so beautiful and don’t show the effects of the cool wet weather at all. You remind me that I want to get another Rosa gallica which I used to have but killed even without ash. Using roses on power poles is brilliant. My zuchini and basil are both started in the greenhouse. (See?)

    That little spying finch works for me.

    • You didn’t start selling greenhouses, did you? In 33 years I’ve been populating this World I’ve never, ever, ever, (did I say ever?) seen a spring so cold and wet. I’m sure if I got a greenhouse this could turn in the hottest summer of the last 200 years. But I have to agree with you (exceptionally for this time) about basil and zucchini waiting for some warm weather to start their growth. At this rate I’m going to eat zucchini by september though.
      What was the rosa gallica you’ve lost?
      As for using Mina as mulch (but I tried with Rudy and Tigre as well) that wasn’t a faulty plan, the ash plan was a faulty plan. Mina was just a temporary patch…

  5. Hi Alberto,

    Sorry to hear you’re unwell; I hope you feel better soon!

    Beautiful roses; oh how I’d love to have my own rose garden… Never thought of myself as a roseaholic but I obviously am otherwise I wouldn’t have 11 and wish I had more…

    Plaisanterie is gorgeous, and I too have the combination of Rose and Salvia together 🙂

    • Hi Liz, I think you are a roseaholic, definitely. I have more or less 130 roses and yet I want more and more… Get a new house with a big big garden, ok?

  6. You’re garden looks fantastic , both your roses and your artichokes are making my mouth water (fresh artichokes do not exist here). Purezza and Plaisenteree are just gorgeous.

    • No, I think I didn’t get it right: fresh artichokes don’t exist there? How’s that possible? I though we had almost the same climate, haven’t we?
      Thanks for your compliments but I need to know this artichoke thing…

    • We have snow over 1.000 meters today, so I can actually see snowy mountains from Venice. It is crazy such a thing in May. As soon as the weather straighten up I’m going to feel better, I know.

  7. I totally understand the crazy weather, Alberto! We had a few scorching weeks a while back, and I was afraid the rains had already stopped for the year…but not it has been raining for the last week straight…and the garden is battered! LOVE that Salvia/OMBRÈE PARFAITE combo…absolutely stunning!

    • I love it too. Salvia and roses is nothing new really but this particular salvia with this very dark rose makes it at least unexpected to me. I want to try this salvia with an orange rose too, some Austin’s rose.
      Hope your garden will recover soon but I’m sure it will!

  8. Hey Alb! Bè ti dico solo che sono appena tornato dal Chelsea Flower Show e oggi pioveva tutto il giorno con temperatura massima di 8C….belle le tue rose, non hai nessun ceanothus? Tra 2 settimane torno in Italia, chissà che finalmente non ci vediamo?!….ciao

    • Ciao Giacomo! Fai un fischio quando torni ok? Visto cose belle a Chelsea? Fa veramente molto freddo anche qui, non oso immaginare più a nord cosa faccia! Comunque soffrirei un po’ di freddo pur di andare a Chelsea…

  9. Hello Alberto, I was happily looking at your roses – then I find you have 130 of them. That’s excessive – ridiculous – completely out of proportion. How do you manage to look after tham all? I only have about five, and that’s about three too many of the fussy, demanding creatures. I know exactly what will happen…you will abandon the grasses which were your first love, rip them out and replace them with yet more roses. You are in danger of becoming addicted. Roses do this to some people….

    • Hi mr. K, actually I think roses aren’t fussy nor demanding at all, they love sun, air and a rich heavy soil. If you give them their right conditions they grow and make you very happy. You have to know that roses are my first garden love as I started gardening with roses when I was only 11. Grasses and perennials are more of a mature love, arrived towards my 30s. I think grasses could be an interesting companion planting for roses and I’m trying something like that lately…

  10. Welcome to the real world, Alberto – weather wise that is. I was worried that you were going to mention your running nose a third time – thanks for not doing so. The colour of that last rose is gorgeous. Dave

    • There are only few roses with such deep colours and the most of them are Gallicas.
      As for my terrible running nose that’s probably because my DNA hasn’t been crossed with a Yeti’s one like yours, dear snow walker. Anyway my body was too busy producing melanin to bother about flu…

  11. Brit weather is good for the plants – I haven’t watered the majority of my garden for almost two years. (Maybe that’s why I haven’t got lovely roses like you.)

    • I seldom water mine b-a-g! I guess roses like sun and air more than rain and clouds, that’s all. Anyway I have to admit I don’t recall a blooming season as long as this year’s, apparently chilly temps makes roses last longer.

  12. We must be having the same weather pattern. This weekend is the unofficial start of summer, and it’s cold and rainy like November. I must say, though, your roses are beautiful! I’m glad they didn’t drown. Stay warm and feel better!

    • They forecast rain till next 10th june, then summer will finally start and we’ll go from a Brit weather to African heat i a matter of days, and I will complain for the too hot weather… I’m never happy, am I? 😉

      • And I thought all that complaining was an American thing! 🙂 In my part of the world, it was summer today. Spring arrives next week.

  13. What a show of Roses…just beautiful. Here in Ireland is crazy. One minute sunshine, next rain and sleet. Hopefully things improve as farmers and their animals are in a bad way here. Grass isn’t growing as it’s too cold.

    • I don’t know about farmers but I’m sure they have plenty of grass here, the problem is I’m not sure they could dry their hay with all this rain and there are a lot of fields that still haven’t been plowed nor obviously sown. Corn plants look as though it was the beginning of April…

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