Stop Sulking and Grow Up!

 She is beautiful!
Meg Rose in the Orchard

Words of warning for my roses growing in the orchard. Get on with life. You've got fresh air, lots of space, sunshine, and good soil - so stop sulking and get growing! Old roses survive, neglected, for decades in old cemeteries. Why not in my Hazelnut Orchard?

Friday 4th January

I'm never sure what to do with garden sulkers that I've paid good money for - particularly roses, which promise so much. And today I've promised to deal to the climbers in the Hazelnut Orchard. They (well, some of them) are in a sorry state. Madame Caroline Testout, I'm talking about you!

So Far, So Good...

So far, so good. I've dead-headed the repeat flowering roses and pulled out a few weeds, but it's too hot to continue in the mid-day sun. So I've put on the irrigation drippers, and retired to the cottage to do some writing. I've promised each and every rose (including you, Madame Caroline) that I'll finish the tidying up, before the end of the day. Ouch.

 This rose should be a brilliant climber!
Sir Edmund Hillary Rose


Don't we often make promises we wish we didn't have to keep? Oh yes. For me there's a slightly lazy feeling about midsummer gardening, thinking there's always tomorrow. But tomorrow is often hotter than today...


I worked hard on my hands and knees weeding out clover and avoiding thorns. More roses are sulking than I'd thought - three new climbers, properly planted last autumn (two Birthday Presents and Sir Edmund Hillary) are looking fairly unimpressed with their lot. But they are not dead - phew! Perhaps just waiting for inspiration? Or, in Sir Ed's case, acclimatising before the ascent to Camp Five, near the summit?

But the pale pink Awakening (a fluffy sport of New Dawn) has awakened and is starting to reach nicely upwards. What a beautiful rose this is - or, to be more precise, what a beautiful rose I hope this will grow into!

 A fluffirr version of New Dawn.
Climbing Rose Awakening

Anyway, everything is watered, and after swimming tomorrow I'm trimming more dead canes and tying in anything floppy. I might have to make some serious decisions, though. Madame Caroline Testout, for example, looks terrible, a stack of upright leafless sticks. Severely prune her? Or consign her to the bonfire? Aargh! Seems harsh...

 I think this is the correct name.
Celine Forestier Rose

Saturday 5th January

OK. As part of my 'Forget the Season - Do It When You Remember It' philosophy I've taken off several of Madame's oldest canes at the base. I don't care when I should have done this. Amateur rose growers (like me) shouldn't indulge in feelings of guilt, anyway. It's not healthy.

I've done more dead-heading, tied in more canes, trimmed off dead ones, all with my head in a pure Mathematics whirl. My latest intellectual craze is to read up on Topology, and I am getting rather downhearted.

Something as simple as the concept of open and closed sets should be simple, right? Well, it's not, in my muddly mind. I'm even struggling with the proof of an exercise on page two of Chapter One, and then I see this encouraging quote: 'Confusing for the beginner and trivial to the expert'. Hmm...

 She has flowered really well.
Crown Princess Margareta Rose

I should stick to unsuccessfully growing climbing roses? Instead of feeling sorry for myself I'm going outside to clean up all my orchard mess.


'Take heart! I am here!' purred Sir Fluff-Fluff, my largest cat (recently knighted in the Moosey New Years Honours list). I was well hidden in the middle of the orchard, fiddling around with Souvenir de la Malmaison and semi-sulking, but he'd still managed to find me.

+10He rubbed in my legs and his amber eyes stared into mine. And then he shared his cat-wisdom with me: no-one who is trying to learn new things can ever think of themselves as a failure. Ha! Instantly cheered up by my fluffy caramel cat. Thanks, Fluff-Fluff.