It’s that time of year. Nearly every day when I go to the post box there’s either a plant catalogue or publicité from Jardiland or Villa Verde or one of the local pepineries with the most enticing pictures imaginable in it. They promise that with just a few more rose bushes or a barrow load of pansies the field that currently passes for a lawn will be magically transformed.
Do I fall for it? You bet I do. I’d love to have a spectacular garden in exactly the same way I’d love to have a tidy house.
And I have about the same amount of expectation that I’ll achieve my objective too. The people I know with wonderful gardens either have gardeners or spend a massive amount of time weeding and tidying, and rise at sparrow’s f in the summer to do garden work before it gets too hot. Frankly, I’ve got better things to do at six o clock on a June morning than grub around pulling up weeds.
Being idle doesn’t stop me from slavering over the catalogues. Jaques Briant which has handy little drawings showing you which plants you need for a scented hedge or a border with colour, Williamsen with pages of fruit trees – we’ve really got to get around to planting an orchard, the local pepinerie with the pictures of tomato plants laden so heavily with fruit they’re bending over, even if the dog didn’t pick tomatoes on a regular basis my ones wouldn’t be like that.
But the granddaddy of plant porn, the one that should come with a warning sticker on it is the David Austin Rose’s catalogue. It’s a hundred pages of roses, climbers, old fashioned English, ramblers, hybrids, rea roses, miniatures, luscious, seductive, desirable… the scent almost comes of the pages as you turn them. At the end of this top shelf, hard core, Rose Porn are the bouquets, the coup de grace that send you spiralling into a quivering need for a rose fix.
Oh to live in England and be rich, then I could order myself one of those bouquets every week.
There’s something about roses. They’re comparatively easy to grow, especially in the soil around here, which suits lazy gardeners like myself, they smell wonderful and they have names. No matter how lovely it is the peony stays the peony, the lavender the lavender. But we have Madame Alfred Carriere, white and vigorous, growing up the back of the lean-to, Ena Harkness is round the corner from Alister Stella Grey, the Comte de Champagne next to the back fence and Paul Bocuse in a menage a trois with Gene Tierney and the exquisite Eliane Gillet. We also have Elvis next to the table where we eat outside. Who could resist a rose called Elvis?
There’s the Smee rose, named after my sister in law who rescued a sad specimen that had been planted still in its pot by the previous owner and Jezzie’s rose, planted in memory of our dog who had her last happy summer nosing around the vines here. It was the closest we could get to spots.
But the wisteria we planted in memory of our cat who died around the same time is just ‘the wisteria’.
And yes, I succumbed to the catalogues. We now have Lili Marlene, low growing, deep sultry red, is going to spread herself on the slope by the pool, Heritage, pink with wonderful bowl-shaped blooms which is, fittingly, next to Jubilee Celebration named for the Queen’s last jubilee, and Pierre de Ronsard, pink, fragrant and very beautiful, has taken up residence on the edge of where we park the cars.
The plant fairs start next week. My husband keeps telling me we don’t have any more room for climbing roses. We’ll see.