A bed of roses

They arrived late yesterday afternoon. The postman delivered them in a paper sack, rather like half a hundredweight of King Edwards. Except this weighed no more than a few pounds and contained roses. Bare rooted ones at that. It was already dark so we did what any sensible gardener would do, we left them in the orangery. Or was it a rosary?

I was slightly worried about planting them today as the forecast was for heavy rain. I didn’t weigh it but it seemed to me more like medium light rain. By way of preparation I opened the sack. So far so good. At the bottom were the instructions. Leave your roses to soak for a few hours or overnight, they said. Not too difficult whatever the weight of the rain. Mrs. Ha found a bucket and I filled it with water. Half from the tap, half from the water butt. The Gardeners’ World magazine advice for November included the tip “clean your butt for the winter”. I think it is advisable to do this rather more frequently but who am I to argue with Monty Don.

The instructions also seemed to suggest it was not a good idea to plant the roses into waterlogged soil. I trudged over to the bed and put a spade into it. It reminded me of the Colts XV rugby pitches we used to play on. Not much sign of dry ground (or indeed grass). So as I write this the roses are still in the bucket, hoping that there is no frost overnight. I am slightly confused why I am told the roots must not dry out but I can’t put them into wet soil. But that’s why I am not on Gardeners’ World. Tomorrow the forecast is for cloudy but dry, like my sense of humour perhaps. If I am lucky I shall be able to plant the roses.

Thank you all for the kind ‘welcome back’ comments. Truly appreciated. Online communities are valuable for all sorts of reasons. Not least they remind me of the fundamental decency of mankind when events such as those in Paris shake our foundations. It has been a sad day but in due course the roses will bloom and whatever man does to man the garden will bring me comfort and joy. Here is a shot of some of the early November colour that did just that.Magic garden

I found one excellent quote that is fitting today:

The last time I saw Paris, her heart was warm and gay, I heard the laughter of her heart in every street café. – Oscar Hammerstein II

May such sentiments return toute de suite.


24 thoughts on “A bed of roses

  1. We’re on an opposite planting schedule here, Andrew. Our ordered rose plants will arrive in six months, but we have a warning–don’t plant until after Mother’s Day in Colorado–so the roses will wait in buckets of warm water until the end of the month.
    Paris has been heavy on my heart and mind.

  2. Ah rugger and footer in England on winter. The mud clinging to my boots made me teo onches taller, but a lot slower.

    Good luck with the roses!

    I pray for an end to hatred, the hunger for power and control and the brainwashing of individuals so they commit atrocities.

    Good to go downhill twice in one week

  3. I don’t understand that either about the roses, Andrew. Everything I have read about planting says to dig a hole, fill it with water, wait for it to soak in, then plant, followed again with a good soaking. But we don’t grow roses so what do we know. Maybe the wet soil encourages a fungus or something before they are established?

    It must be a quite unnerving to be a stone’s throw from the tragedy that occurred. It certainly is saddening no matter where one is. The most troubling aspect of the perpetrators is the fact that there is no option for negotiation. They apparently wish to bring on the end of days feeling that they and only they will be rewarded for their brutality. Collateral damage is intentional to speed up the process.

    I think I’ll bring home some roses today.

  4. Late to the party, but I’ve got an answer as to why you shouldn’t plant in muddy weather. .
    It has to do with the need for capillaries in the soil for water, air and other things to move through. If you plant in wet soil and compact the soil, you are virtually planting the roots in a brick. If water, air and nutrients can’t get to the roots, welp… Don’t need to explain what will happen, do I? The problem may not show up until later in the plants life, when it tries to expand its roots to match is growth topside and when it can’t, it will stress and most likely, fail.
    It’s a bit more complex than that, but that’s a quick answer.
    This is a wonderful excuse to not work outside on rainy days!

    • Oh well, I planted them anyway. The soil is heavy clay and that isn’t going to change. There are gazillions of worms so I think it is good soil. I added some vermiculite and mulched well. Delicious. Damned capillaries. Let them eat cake.

      • In Britain it doesn’t matter. It’s always warm and wet except when it’s cold and wet. I dug in LOTS of manure so the soil should be nice and rich. 😊

      • Yes. Your directions are sound, but you shouldn’t be heavy handed with the packing of the soil around the roots.
        Just like most things. Everyone is capable of doing most things, however if everything was so easy, there would not be professionals out there. 😉

  5. I am sure the roses will take. Sometimes advice is given in order to protect against litigation. You would be surprised how some go to the length of legal action. There are huge hoardings above high-ways now. “No win – no fee”.
    Of course, Britain invented roses and the whole world sits at her feet when roses are contemplated.

  6. Roses seem to grow everywhere in photos that I’ve seen of GB, so you are hopefully safe in the way you planted the roses. They just happen to like good drainage because the roots need air to breathe and to spread out and thus to live. On the other hand roses love water and plenty of it but it rains so much where you live, I don’t think that will be a problem.

    You can always redo the rose bed if these don’t grow as expected. I’m wishing you good luck.

  7. I put some roses in myself last week and made sure my butt was ready for whatever the season throws at it. The autumn colours are superb. Lovely, as ever, to read your post.

  8. “Clean your butt daily…” mmmm Good advice !

    (I’m actually in the transit lounge of CDG-Paris airport right now….)

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