Casual Gardening: The Rampant Rose

Paul's Himalayan Musk in full bloom
I've decided to try to write a weekly post about gardening, as well as everything else, since every time I put something about our cottage garden on Facebook and Instagram, people seem to be interested. And gardening is another subject that often finds its way into my fiction.

To tell the truth, I'm a fairly casual gardener, albeit an enthusiastic one so that's what these posts will be labelled as: Casual Gardening. Almost everything grows for me. That may be because we have a sheltered, south facing cottage garden that is some 200 years old, which means that it's incredibly fertile. Or it just may be because I talk to my plants ...

The picture above is of a rambling rose - boy does it love to climb - called Paul's Himalayan Musk, bought about twenty plus years ago from David Austin Roses. I first saw this rose at a place called Holker Hall in the Lake District where the gardens are fabulous. The roses there are spectacularly beautiful and I immediately wanted a rose clambering through a tree in our own cottage garden. Which is what you can see in the picture. It has a flowering period of a few weeks, although it doesn't repeat flower. But it's worth the wait and the flowers last quite a long time. It's a robust but incredibly elegant rose that grows very quickly. The scent is just wonderful. I'm looking at it now through the window of my office and thinking how beautiful it is with the evening light turning the flowers a deep pink - much deeper than in the photograph.The pink colour also deepens as the flowers mature.

Back then, I just planted it and let it go. Which it did, climbing through the tree at a rate of knots. Periodically, we get somebody to chop it back a bit, which is - it has to be admitted - a prickly job. But that's all the care it seems to need - and it doesn't even need to be done every year.

It seems to like rain and sunshine - we have lots of both. We have fairly mild winters here in the West of Scotland, but we still get hard frosts from time to time, and it doesn't mind those either. I suppose the clue is in the name 'Himalayan.' These are old, tough varieties, and they seem to like the climate in Scotland and the North of England as well as anywhere.

Rampant, robust and extremely rewarding.