<div style="display:inline;"> <img height="1" width="1" style="border-style:none;" alt="" src="//googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/viewthroughconversion/1028731116/?value=0&amp;guid=ON&amp;script=0">
13 ISSUES FOR £24 Subscribe to Cotswold Life today click here

Smelling of roses

PUBLISHED: 13:21 22 May 2015 | UPDATED: 13:18 06 October 2015

Huntington rose

Huntington rose


The colour and scent that June brings to us is impossible to envisage in the depths of winter. But here it is and let us revel in it because like all good things it is only transitory. You can’t have Christmas every day.

There is an art to growing any plant. When it comes to roses, surely the varieties with a strong scent are the ones to opt for. Then you need to visualise the sniffing procedure : there’s an art to a really good sniff. THE most important thing to remember is that the nostrils should, if possible, be at the same height as the flowers when you are sitting down.

This is where the arbor comes in handy. An arch over a bench means that you can entertain climbing roses like ‘Compassion’ (apricot and copper with yellow highlights), ‘Constance Spry’ (bright pink), or ‘Guinee’ (very dark crimson), or indeed ‘Souvenir de Docteur Jamain’ that prefers semi-shade to prevent its dark ruby-red flowers from becoming scorched by the sun. Roses can be planted out in the garden when in flower so long as the roots are disturbed as little as possible. The ground must have been well prepared beforehand, thoroughly enriched with manure. Judicious feeding and watering will also help them during their first summer. If you have never tried to grow strongly scented old-fashioned roses, try Roseraie de l’Hay (crimson purple), Belle Poitevine (magenta pink) and Blanc Double de Coubert (white). A sumptuous mixture indeed.

I well remember a chat I had with the well respected rose guru Peter Beale who has very sadly died in recent years. He first became fascinated by roses during his five mile walk to and back from school every day (irrespective of the weather) and studying the wild roses growing in the hedgerows. He was very keen on growing roses in pots, a subject that is music to the ears of people with very small gardens, balconies or roof gardens. Some of the roses he showed at Chelsea had been growing in the same pots for six years.

He said that so long as you gave them a good start in life you had a far better chance of success. He planted his containerised roses in John Innes Compost No.3, fed and watered them regularly and gave them a spring top-dressing. He never found pot-bound plants to be a problem, and Portland roses like ‘Jacques Cartier’ and ‘Comte de Chambord’, and climbing forms of Noisette ranked among his greatest successes. Apparently one major factor that puts people off from growing roses in pots is that they prove so prone to the fungal disease ‘black spot’.

Peter always felt that we should all learn to become more laid back about diseases and say to ourselves “What’s a few black spots amongst friends ?” He was a firm believer that if a rose succumbs to disease we should throw it away rather than spraying it with chemicals. He told me the most important thing you should do to to a newly planted rose is to cut it back hard when first planted in order to promote basal growth. It’s always good to talk to the gurus.


An evening walk at about nine o’clock clutching a cold glass in hand and with the sweet smell of freshly cut grass underfoot is a joy. Then a wood pigeon joined by a cuckoo, the latter always more distant, the heady lilac scent makes you stop and smell deeply. June brings with her such a plethora of floral treasures that there is more than enough to feast the eyes upon. I find lilac one of the best scents of all. I can never understand how anyone can walk past it without sinking their nostrils into those large, magnificent flowers.

Lilac will grow in the coldest of climates. I noticed it growing in practically every garden I saw in St Petersburg where winter temperatures fall to minus 20 degrees on a regular basis. This is not altogether surprising as this hardy genus hails from regions of S.E Europe to E. Asia. Introduced to Britain during the late 16th century, lilacs prove to be perfect trees for the smaller garden as they do not exceed 4 – 5m (13 – 16ft) in height. Yes, their flowering season is brief. It is, therefore, the perfect tree for training a rose up and over it to ‘give’ it flowers later on in the summer. Such marriages are made in heaven.


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Cotswold Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Cotswold Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Cotswold Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Homes & Gardens

Friday, May 19, 2017

We look through the keyhole of some of the Cotswolds’ most luxurious houses on the property market

Read more
Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Whether you’re after a romantic break for two, a getaway with friends or a base to explore the beauty of the region, these cosy Cotswold cottages, available to book via Airbnb are the perfect places to enjoy your stay

Read more
Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Wondering what to do with those dusty antiques sitting in the house? We speak to Frances Robinson at Chorley’s Auctioneers, near Cheltenham, on the benefits of selling goods at an auction house

Read more
Tuesday, May 2, 2017

There’s a feast of florals and firsts for RHS Malvern Spring Festival 2017 taking place Thursday, May 11 - Sunday, May 14

Read more
Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Bruce Clark from built environment consultancy Nash Partnership speaks to interior designer and fine decoration specialist Lucinda Rowan-Mayberry (Mayberry Fine Interiors) for her tips on what to consider before altering or extending your property

Read more
Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Local door and window specialists Clearway have expanded their business operations with the acquisition of Designex Cabinets Ltd.

Read more
Tuesday, February 28, 2017

If you’re a sucker for honey coloured cottages, colourful front doors and delightful gardens – there’s plenty to be found in the Cotswolds. Here are 16 picture-worthy doors from across the region, you’ll wish were yours.

Read more
Monday, February 27, 2017

After a bed, mattress, headboard or bedroom furniture? For the best deals look no further than BedSOS...

Read more
Monday, February 27, 2017

In a world of speed and convenience, bespoke, made-to-measure furniture from Daniel Keenan Interiors can bring a home to life.

Read more
Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Heritage expert Bruce Clark from built environment consultancy Nash Partnership highlights the problems DIY can cause for an old property and explains how to get the maximum value from a redecoration project

Read more
Friday, January 6, 2017

Heritage specialist Bruce Clark from built environment consultancy Nash Partnership tells us what to look for before buying or renovating an old property

Read more
Monday, December 5, 2016

Patsy Holdsworth believes she has found the perfect place to spend the festive season with friends and family

Read more
Friday, December 2, 2016

As the nights close in and the air begins to bite, people turn to their homes for comfort and warmth. Yet a home’s heating, thick curtains and draught excluders might count for nothing if the carpet is thin and worn, or if any hard floors are lacking in thick super soft or wool pile rugs.

Read more
Thursday, November 17, 2016

Wood burning stoves have soared in popularity over the last few years. It’s a sustainable, natural way to heat your home. Here are a few reasons why.

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory
A+ Education

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad
Cotswold Life Application Link

Local Business Directory

Cotswold's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area

Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search