Skip to content

Corona Diaries: lockdown discovery number 73 – roses have personalities

May 23, 2020

One consequence of spending a large amount of time in the house and, thanks to the warm weather, in my garden, is that I’m paying attention to different species like never before.

I have learned, for example, that my roses have personalities

Towards the end of last summer, I got the idea that the patio needed brightening up. We has a couple of potted rhodadendrons that flowered once – around now actually – and then contributed nothing to the garden thereafter apart from requiring regular watering from our slop bucket.

I’ve always loved roses. We have one or two rather bedraggled plants that are either coming to the end of their lifespans or are the victims of atrocious husbandry. Probably the latter, because as a gardener I don’t even deserve the distinction of being called amateur.

My wife is a cut above me, but she’s more interested in summer bedding plants – geraniums that last until late autumn cascading from hanging baskets and pots around the patio. Generally though, you could say that we’re both fair-weather gardeners. The subtleties of horticulture tend to escape us, though we appreciate the results.

Anyway, last summer I bought five medium-sized patio rose plants, along with some big ceramic pots and plenty of compost. This was around August, so we got a decent amount of flowers to brighten up our autumn.

Now that the this year’s growing season’s in full swing, the roses are busy flowering. Yet the odd thing is that each of them, despite being planted in the same compost and getting much the same amount of sun every day, is behaving differently. They’re separate varieties, but I didn’t expect them to produce such divergent results.

From which I can assume that they have personalities. The first in the row is a bully. Its branches are invading its neighbour’s space with glorious abandon. I reckon there are at least twenty blooms either out or on the way. I call this one Boris. He’s so all over the place that we had to inset a bamboo cane to give him a bit of backbone. I’ll say this though: his flowers are seriously, well, florid.

Boris’s next-door neighbour, on the other hand, whom I’ve named Theresa, is a bit of a wimp. She seems to be intimidated by the bullies on both sides. She’s produced way less buds. The ones that have flowered have lasted far less than those of the alpha male next door. An epitome of underachievement.

Then there’s Dominic, the wimp’s other neighbour. He’s second only to Boris in terms of the beauty of his blooms. They’re big, assertive and lean to the right. Like those of Boris, his flowers also cut across those of his neighbours in rather a chaotic manner. But I get the feeling that he doesn’t care.

Moving down the line we have Matt, who hasn’t actually managed to produce a single bloom, though some of his buds show promise. Will he deliver what he promises, or will he be all mouth and no trousers? Or possibly all buds and no buddies? I fear that with him it might be a case of too little, too late.

And finally we have Keir, who is another late developer. But he’s actually starting to deliver, in the form of a single, gorgeous dark red bloom, with many more to come, you would think. I expect great things of him later this summer

Yes, I know it’s a bit silly to name my little beauties after British politicians. But each of them does seem to have a distinct personality, and I find myself worrying about them, because the branches are quite spindly and blow about in the wind, which isn’t good for the flowers.

I should have pruned them a couple of months ago.

Next week, if I get the time, I’ll tell you about Donald the Giant Hogweed, who poisons everything he touches, Xi the prickly Pyrocanthus and Vladimir the creeping Convolvulus, whose speciality is slow strangulation.

Only one of the three is resident in my garden. I’ll leave you to guess which one.

From → Politics, UK

  1. Andrew Robinson permalink

    Keir is still dyslexic, I see… and well done leaving out the predictive text at the start of paragraph 5! Lockdown affects everyone differently….

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: