Christmas is coming…

new buds on “once flowerer”la ville de bruxelles

…the buds are getting fat. Not the usual story for Christmas in my experience. More like the rose bushes are all looking tired and shagged out after a long squawk! ( Pardon the Monty Python ) Just when the hordes of family and friends descend en masse the garden is usually looking a little sad…but not this year. This seems to be the year of the weird. All sorts of strangeness occurring. Whilst the first flush was rather late this season, it appears maybe it was just a lead up and the second act is going to be even better. Of course the once flowerers are drawing to a close, but wait, even some of these don’t feel able to bow out. La Ville de Bruxelles, one of my absolutely favourite damasks, which put on an amazing show this season, is decked out in new buds all over!

Other weirdness going on is a fair bit of “sporting”. Sporting is when a rose produces an arm with different flowers to the rest. Sometimes just a different colour, sometimes a different form. ie a bush can often sport to a climbing form, or very occasionally a rambler can sport to a small bush (eg Felicite and Perpetue, the rampant sempervirens rambler, sported to Little White Pet, a cute little polyantha sized bush)

Mystery polyantha sporting crazily, within the bunch and even within the flower

We have a rose in the garden that is a bit of a mystery in itself as we don’t know where it came from…it is grown from a cutting we’ve taken at some stage on a road trip I think. It is a polyantha and resembles The Fairy somewhat, but more salmon, more petals and flatter and different leaves. So really nothing like The Fairy! Last year, planted down here it got some happiness going and made a new basal shoot with pink and white single flowers on it. This year it has gone crazy, quadrupled in size and is producing completely different sports, double frilly light red ones, and they’re all mixed up on the same branch as it’s usual ones!!!

So, things are looking good for Christmas and January visitors, roses galore again. We’ve had a modicum of rain, if this hideous wind would just stop the garden would be practically perfect! (as if)

the small polyantha cuttings are starting to fill up their bed