Autumn Joy!

Autumn is shaping up to be a lot more acceptable than Summer…we have had a fair amount of Autumn rain but in acceptable quantities now. It’s quite funny reading last years diaries for Autumn, so excited to get 20 mils of rain at a time to water the parched ground. This year it’s more like “we’ve only had 56 mils of rain in the last week, bonus!”

It has certainly been an interesting 6 months. Watering times have been at a minimum, but the other end of the stick is weeding times… Never, in 40 years of gardening have I battled (and lost) the weed war to such an extent. As I crouched under a rose bush last week, hacking at buttercup roots, my mind was weighing up the pros and cons of country gardening. Country gardening is all I’ve ever done really. I’ve had 2 gardens in my life to date, both encompassed within a farm. There are so many advantages, like having the space to steal another cow/horse paddock when the mood takes you, and the availability of paddocks on the other side of the fence of every garden where weeds can be chucked for the stock to pick over at a later date… However the down side of being surrounded by paddocks is the paddocks encroaching on the gardens in all directions. Buttercup, dock, sheep sorrel and of course, grass are constantly spreading thru the fences and overtaking the gardens.

Alberic Barbier, one of the many generous Wichuriana Ramblers

I do have some experience in “town gardens”, from tending those of family and friends, and whilst any garden anywhere can be full of nasty weeds, I feel the typical paddock weeds can be a lot more over powering. Number one on my hate list this season has to be buttercup…it loves the damp and at this time of year is usually straggly and easy to pull out, if not indeed dead. This season it has taken on new proportions in it’s extreme happiness. Some of the plants are more than 2 feet tall with leaves the size of…something bigger than buttercup! It is also extremely strongly rooted in the ground and very hard on arthritic fingers to dig out.

Buttercup is just one among many that has thrived in this saturated season we have had. I see I ranted about the wet weather for pretty much my whole last blog, so I’ll change the subject to something more interesting…

Hmmm, guess it’s going to be about roses as this is supposedly a rose website. It’s the time of year to be getting heavily into making cuttings. I’ve actually already done quite a large amount in the late Summer and early Autumn as conditions somehow felt right and I was hoping for grand results. Cuttings growing is a great leveller and alas most of them have already died…they die a lot quicker at the growy time of year! However a few always grow and often some of the more recalcitrant numbers.

Speaking of which I’ll elaborate on the different families of roses and which I find easier to grow from cuttings.

5’s. (These are the most reliable rooters. Most will take almost any time of year with pretty high success rates)

Multiflora and crosses, Wichuriana crosses. This encompasses a large proportion of the rambling roses, plus some bushes which are multiflora X like de la Grifferie and The Active

Polyanthas are a very helpful family of roses

4’s (This group is pretty generous at the right time of year and can be successful at the wrong time of year)

Most of the Polyanthas and some of the Chinas

3’s (This group will reliably grow at least one or 2  from a bunch more often than not)

Other Chinas, a lot of the Teas, helpful Rugosas, Gallicas, some of the species’ most of the Hybrid Musks

2’s ( This group is highly unpredictable , no guarantees here)

These are the probably biggest group, including the Hybrid Perpetuals, Damasks, Portlands, recalcitrant Teas and all the Modern Hybrids. This last includes the David Austin hybrids.

Pimpinellifolias, really wild looking roses, but unwilling to ever grow from a cutting

1’s ( skip and dance if one of these takes)

Some roses like pimpinellifo;ias will almost never take from a cutting, even tho they sucker like mad things on their own roots. Albas, Mosses and Bourbons are also very stubborn. There are always exceptions to each group as most roses are multiple crosses. Noisettes are also often seemingly impossible, with a few exceptions which are rampant weeds…

Whilst there are many roses in my garden I have been trying to root for well over 20 years on a regular basis, I shan’t give any an 0, as I live in hope that one day it will happen!!

On that ever hopeful note I will leave you for now. It is currently raining hard and forecast to keep it up for the next 10 days. High temperatures too, so the buttercup will be even happier…