Trick and treat...

 In the orchard.
Souvenir de la Malmaison

Yesterday I waited all afternoon for the sun to go behind a cloud, so I could get some good photographs of the magical rose Alchymist, who tricks and treats with different coloured blooms on the same stem. And did the sun oblige? Not a jot. It continued to beam down - hot, hot, hot.

Tuesday 7th November

But today - yessss! It's overcast, perfect for rose photography. The dogs and I have spent an hour wandering around the orchard taking pictures of the archway roses. Well, the dogs have been been munching and crunching hazelnuts while I've been pointing and clicking at rose blooms. We are a loose-knit team.

Anyway, back to the orchard roses. Some of them are looking amazingly healthy this year. Souvenir de la Malmaison is one such - she is relaxing on her rose arch, beautifully fragrant, and not one bloom has curled up into a rotting ball. I looooove her! In the past I have been so rude about her, incurring the web-site wrath of French rose-lovers. I take it all back! It must have been my local weather, or soil conditions, or lack of care and nurture, or atmosphere, or...

Another good-looker this year is Celine Forestier, an old-fashioned rose with the softest lemon blooms. Again I've been rather dismissive of this rose, finding the growth very weak, and the flower display poor. Again an old-fashioned rose, not necessarily bred for health and vigour.

But a couple of the oldies are not being goodies. The Mother of all Hybrid Teas has (as usual) a huge problem with rust, and I've left it too late (I think) to spray her. Etoile de Holland is spindly and rather leafless - not the best look. This rose has always been a little underwhelming. Teasing Georgia doesn't look as if she could tease anything, and her roses are rather pale. Bantry Bay (a bit of a rust bucket rose) is definitely sulking. This rose is living on shaky ground. Oops - I don't mean to tempt another earthquake.

 A straightforward red, with no noticeable scent.
Parkdirektor Riggers Roses

Not suitable...

Parkdirektor Riggers lives on, a tenacious stiff-stemmed chap, spreading his long canes out at ridiculous angles into the the neighbouring Hazelnut trees. OK, OK. He is not suitable for an archway. I know that NOW. But back in the day I thought a gardener could get a rose to do what they wanted. And best not to talk about the rambler Chevy Chase, who dismissed his rose arch as completely superfluous to requirements.

But some ground breaking news regarding the two Non-Climbing Uetersens on each side of Archway Eleven. They just might have turned the corner - upwards! Several rather long canes have been produced for the first time this year, which look like they have climbing potential. Wow! So the Uetersens seem to have sprung into life. The flowers are still two obviously different shades of pink, though. Different root stock?

So each year different roses shine, while others pack a sad and do poorly. It's impossible to work out why. Though the unhealthy ones could and should have been sprayed weeks ago. Oops.

The most consistent rose in the orchard are : Crown Princess Marguerita (a tall David Austin who loves being in my garden), and Ghislaine de Feligonde. She has clean, healthy foliage and beautifully formed flowers, ranging from orange-apricot (the new buds) to creamy white (the older blooms). I like her chubby shape.

And finally, regarding chubby shapes...

As a responsible, mature adult, I go to the doctor for a 'wellness check' every year. Oops. Came back from my latest visit, grabbed the jar of peanut butter and threw it in the rubbish bin. Rewarding self for good gardening with spoonfuls of peanut butter is now a thing of the past. Banned, along with chocolate hazelnut spread. I've also bought three pairs of 'new' skinny blue jeans from the Charity shop. I love 'new' blue jeans. My legs seem to look longer, sleeker and more interesting in new jeans (only when I peep down at them - I don't spend any time posing in front of mirrors). Hopefully the - ahem - tummy-tightness will ease in time for Christmas.

 A beautiful rose.
Ghislaine de Feligonde

As a special treat the orchard roses can have their irrigation drippers on tomorrow - all day. Well done, most of you! Shape up or ship out, you stragglers. Sombreuil, I'm talking about YOU! My rubbish bonfire is nearer than you think...