A rosy glow


I’ve been laid rather low since the new year with some weary inducing virus, topped off by conjunctivitis, and as a result haven’t felt like tackling any outside jobs.  Instead I’ve spent many languid hours curled up with gardening blogs, magazines, books and seed catalogues, but sometimes you just have to (wo)man up  and get out there, and today was the day.

I wasn’t really feeling up to proper digging (I still have my new bed to dig) and so instead tackled my climbing roses which had got rather out of hand towards the back end of last year.  I have to say rose pruning was something I found rather scary when I first arrived here as I’d never grown roses before and had inherited quite a few (and now planted a lot more).  However I’ve quickly grown to love it and find myself drifting into a totally absorbed, Zen like meditative state!  It seems to me that roses (all plants really) inherently want to grow and therefore I don’t think there’s much I can do with my trusty secateurs to upset them (particularly when I’ve seen how the shrub roses in a National Trust cottage down the road bounce back, when their pruning appears to be achieved with a chain saw!)


This is the before picture.  The front two uprights have Rosa St Swithun (pictured top and below) and Clematis Freckles growing up them. 


These St Swithuns, and the two behind , Rosa Korizont, see below, are climbers, whereas the two on the outside pillars are ramblers.

Rosa KorizontIMG_2286

There is some confusion about what the ramblers are, and in fact I have just looked back in my records and realised I’ve been misleading myself and you too with my posts last year.  I thought I’d ordered Rambling Rector and received one Rambling Rector (on the outside left hand pillar) and one other, which I’d decided was Snow Goose.  However, having just checked back in my records, I realised I’d actually ordered Rosa Alberic Barbier, which must be the rose on the right, making the one on the left the mystery, as it clearly isn’t Rambling Rector.  

I’ve just had a look at the David Austin website and think it might be Kew Rambler, but what ever it is, it certainly isn’t another Alberic Barbier!

Mystery rambler:



Rosa Alberic Barbier (with Digitalis Suttons Apricot)


Whatever the roses are, they have all had a very good tidy and a rather brutal cut back.


The after picture is a little fuzzy as by the time I’d finished it was heading towards 5pm and there was very little light left so I’m afraid this is camera shake from the long exposure.


I still need to give them a feed and a good mulch of well rotted manure, but a very satisfying afternoon’s activity.  Worthy of a rosy glow?  Well maybe, but there’s something else.

Last week I was delighted to hear that Julie, at Gardening Jules, had nominated me for the Liebster award.

As Julie explained on her blog, “it’s an award from one blogger to another and a way of letting other folk know about blogs you enjoy to read”.  To accept I need to answer 11 questions from Julie, then select 5 blogs I’d like to share and then ask my nominees 11 questions. Choosing young blogs with less than 200 followers is good too.

My answers to Julie’s questions are:-

1. Do you encourage wildlife to your garden?

Yes, I try to.  There are certainly ‘wild’ areas, as well as food for the birds and a bug hotel, but we don’t currently have a pond, which would definitely help with wildlife.

2. Do you grow organically and use natural methods?

This is a tricky one.  I tend to, but have a husband who’s not as convinced.  For example, I used the wool pellets ‘Slug Gone’ to protect my hostas last year, and they were pretty successful. However, one time when I’d moaned about some slug nibbling, the OH was straight round with the little blue pellets.  I wasn’t happy….

3. Any tips for recycling plastic?

No easy answers here.  I think the key is to avoid/reuse as much as possible.

4. Any recommendations for flowers to arrange in your home?

Lots!  However I think one of my favourites has to be Cosmos.  I love daisy flowers anyway, there are many different Cosmos varieties to choose from and they are SOOOOO productive, you can pick armsful through the season

5. Have you tried edible flowers?

Yes, I like adding nastutium and calendula to salads, and have frozen borage fowers in ice cubes to put in Pimms!

6. A favourite fruit recipe?

This isn’t quite the right recipe as Deb Perelman, who writes the Smitten Kitchen blog has written a book and there is a different Lemon Bar recipe in that.  However I love this blog so I’m sure this one will be good too.


7. A favourite vegetable recipe?

I ‘m hoping I’m allowed to call tomatoes a vegetable, in which case I offer up Panzanella:


8. Do you like to create anything other than flower arrangements using natural materials?

I’d love to be able to weave with willow, but never have, so just flower arrangements for me.

9. How do you feel about growing natives or non natives?

I’m relaxed about both.  I think we have to be careful about what is introduced, but think it would be a terrible shame not enjoy non native plants.

10. Any recommendations for an unusual fruit or vegetable that is good to eat?

This is another trick one.  I do try to try new things but have often been disappointed.  a recent case in point was my Cucamelons.  Revolting!  Likewise Electric Daisies.

Something I do like to grow are the small Padron Peppers which have a bit of heat and can be cooked up with olive oil and sea salt and used as a starter.  And also the Pumpkin Munchkin, which are a single serving size and can be grown up bamboo and so don’t take up too much ground space.

11. Do you have a good view from your home?

Yes.  We pretty much bought the house for the view.  From one side you can see south across Bembridge Harbour towards Bembridge and from the other, east towards the Solent.  The views are actally better in the winter when the trees are bare.

 So those were my answers, here are my questions
1.  Why did you start to blog?
2.  What’s your favourite post you’ve posted?
3.  And why?
4.  What’s the favourite/most interesting thing you’ve learnt from reading others’ blogs?
5.  What’s your favourite book?
6.  What’s your favourite film?
7.  Who would play you in a film about your life?
8.  What’s your view on GM crops?
9.  Do you play a musical instrument?
10. Do you prefer dogs or cats?
11. Sausage roll or chocolate eclair?

And the blogs I’d like to nominate are

Sussex Prairies

 Dig with Dorris

Edinburgh Garden Diary

Railway Parade House and Garden

Brookend Cottage Garden


15 thoughts on “A rosy glow

  1. Julie

    Hi Jen, I am sorry you’ve had a virus, I’ve had a similar thing here and having to have a sit down is irritating. Alberic Barbier is a large rambler but yours is flowering well low down and the colour goes so well with the foxgloves. I was given one last year and did not have a suitable wall, so she is planted on a heath robinson structure in our garden, I shall be very pleased if she flowers like yours. I can’t help with your mystery rambler but she looks very pretty. I’ve checked out the lemon cake, that looks delicious and wool slug pellets are new to me, I shall look into that too. Every time I looked at your view I kept feeling it was familiar, my husband has reminded me we had a happy holiday in Bembridge when the children were young, many years ago. You do live in a beautiful part of the country. Hope you are fighting fit again soon.

  2. mattb325

    Thankyou so much or the nomination, I am very chuffed and humbled. But I think I’ll have to decline – I accepted the Liebster award less than two weeks ago, and I’m sure it would be just plain greedy to take another one so soon ;-).
    I hate being holed up with any sort of illness, so it’s always good to get a major job out of the way as part of that recuperation process. It looks great, and I hope you are feeling better

  3. Chloris

    Well done on the Liebster award and for getting out there and getting your roses pruned. I love Alberic Barbier, it has lovely flowers and such glossy green foliage which always looks healthy. It looks lovely with the fogloves.

  4. AnnetteM

    Good for you – I haven’t been doing any work in the garden for weeks and I have no excuse either. In fact the only reason I have been in the garden at all is to feed the birds and break the ice on the bird bath. I love the photograph of the white rose with the apricot digitalis. What a lovely combination. Congratulations on your well deserved award by the way.

  5. Joanna @edinburghgardendiary

    Thank you ever so much Jen for nominating Edinburgh Garden Diary for the Liebster Award, I really am so gratified and pleased. However, I’m afraid I will have to decline as I’m not sure I could find the time to do proper justice to your questions. I do hope you find a name for your mystery rose, and well done on getting outside while feeling poorly; I know how that feels!

  6. Cathy

    Hi Jen – hope you have picked up a little now. Well done on your rose pruning which I agree is daunting at first but I think I am OK now, certainly with climbers, but I had to consult my books to check for other types. I haven’t mulched mine since their recent pruning so reading your post has prompted me to get that sorted, as yours look so healthy! Hope you identify your rambler – my ‘Veilchenblau’ looks similar (although nowhere near as floriferous yet!) but that was from Peter Beales. I have branched out and ordered some yellow roses this year – very daring for me as I am not a yellow fan!

  7. jenhumm116 Post author

    Cathy you are funny! Why would you buy yellow roses when you’re not a yellow fan?
    As you know I’m hoping to create a new rose focussed bed (not looking imminent!) and have to say I haven’t considered yellow roses at all for that. I seem to be leaning towards corally type colours, goodness knows why as there isn’t any of that in the garden but I think I need to branch away from all the pink, and that seems to be at least a step in the right direction!


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