As well as there being fruit and vegetables on the allotment plot; we also have roses. Roses, gladiolus and sunflowers tend to make the floral triad on the plot. However, this year, we only have two out of three. The glads are starting to make an appearance, with thin green blades protruding through the soil. For now, the roses are well and truly kicking off.
If anyone tells you that having an allotment plot or gardening in general, isn’t romantic; then they really haven’t ever smelt the roses. Especially roses that are home grown, grown and not flown; roses that are grown in fairly English soil-I add that caveat as I know that the clay on the plot has been there since the second world war and probably a great deal before that too-and not clocked up air miles from lands afar. Regardless of the variety, these roses are English roses, and just happen to be tended to by a Bollywood Gardener. Both the roses and I, have roots and firmly here on this, this sceptre’d Isle. ( We have William Shakespeare 2000 and Falstaff the fruit tree on the plot, one day there might be Anne Boleyn and others).
I can also say, that should there ever be a partner and significant other turn up; I would rather they worried about diamonds-ethical ones, yes-rather than placating me with roses. I can grow my own, and I like them.
There was a worry that since we have had rain fall in sheets, that the plot was on a serious go slow. It is as far the tomatoes and squashes are, even the runner beans. The roses were still very bare; but then they started to bloom and burst. Plus there are aphids all over the shop, and I rather they weren’t.
In the space of ten days, I have gathered-it feels wrong to say harvested, do you harvest roses?-three bouquets. This for me, is the truest sign that summer has started, and that allotment change is coming. That there will be blossom, buds, and fruit. Two out of three bouquets have been sat in their place upon the sill in the kitchen, with the third being donated to a good home.
It is a shame, that the blog doesn’t have smello-vision, as I cannot write to describe the scent of these fresh blooms. Zingy lemons doesn’t cover it all. And they do smell, they do honk! Very often, you might buy a dozen roses from a posh florist, they don’t whiff. These do, and wonderfully so. I always laugh around St.Valentines day (No, the single cynicism has nothing to do with it) with the flush of roses, and how they look lovely, really pretty, pricey; but that’s it. Nothing else to them; and that for me, says a lot about romance and roses!
At some point, I did actually count how many roses bushes there are on the 200 metre square plot. I just can’t remember the exact figure, but it was around thirty. Ten, are hybrid tea roses; the posh sort; such as lover’s meeting, ruby wedding, the peace rose, Christian dior and silver jubilee to name some of them. There are a couple of poundland roses, pink sprawling bushes with thick stems, vicious thorns but lovely compact blooms that leave carpets of petals. These are a wonderful surprise. Started out as sticks that were no bigger than a foot; but then grew like triffids. Thorny, vicious triffids, that you want to be angry with but when you see them bloom, you stop seething. Last but not least, the bulk of the plot roses are lost label roses. Roses, that in transport and transfer from their place of birth to their retailer have lost their labels and ended up in a bargain bucket. With these, it is basically pot luck as to what they are and what they do. Some of them, are tall and sprawling-the yellow ones, largely-the others are pink and stay quite close to the ground. When these are in full bloom, the top half of the allotment, is an avenue of roses and just smells amazing. On a nice day-yes, I know, British summer day-with the right wind passing through, the fragrance of roses is out of this world.