Wilde about gardening

The romance of roses

No garden is complete without roses – and now is the perfect time to plant them.
One of my favourites is Rosa ‘Madame Grégoire Staechelin’ – a beautiful climbing variety with highly-scented, carmine pink flowers in late spring. I like to grow this with the climber Actinidia kolomikta, with its pink-tipped leaves.
Roses for hedges include Rose ‘Fru Dagmar Hastrup’. This shrubby upright reaches 1.8m, with fragrant, light pink blooms and fantastic coral-coloured hips in autumn. Also, Rosa ‘Jacqueline du Pre’ , with its blush-pink, semi-double, fragrant flowers, is an excellent repeat bloomer, growing to 1.2m.
Another favourite is Rosa ‘Rosemary Harkness’, which has a delicious blend of large orange, salmon and yellow fragrant blooms reaching to a height of 75cm.
I grow Rosa glauca primarily for its silvery-purple foliage and cut it down to ground level each spring to produce fresh, new, purple-coloured stems. Rosa moyesii ‘Geranium’ has vivid red flowers and highly decorative, flash-shaped hips in autumn.

Perfect partners

Underplant roses with geraniums species such as ‘Wargrave Pink’ or with the endlessly versatile foliage plant Alchemilla mollis.
Silver-grey leafed plants combine well with roses. Try Stachys Ianata and Cerastium tomentosum or check out Lavandula, Nepeta, and Viola cornuta. For an eye-catching effect try underplanting Rosa ‘Rosemary Harkness’ with Viola cornuta.

Jobs for November

There’s plenty to keep you occupied at this time of year, from raking up the leaves to planting tulip bulbs. I love the moody, wine-coloured tulip ‘Queen of Night’ planted in a bed of mostly silver foliage plants. It’s also time to plant broad beans, garlic and new fruit bushes.

How to plant

Bareroot roses should be planted out now. First trim any dead or damaged shoots and roots. Dig a hole large enough for the root spread and deep enough for the budding onion (swelling at the base of the stem), which should be 2.5cm below the soil surface.
Add well-rotted manure or compost and a sprinkling of bone meal when planting, then apply mulch, such as chipped bark or compost. Reduce stems after planting to 10-15cm, so shoots will emerge from the base of the bush, making a sturdy plant.