First Miss Gertrude Jekyll in her pink beauty splashing colour all over the dense green bushes, then the opulent scent of Mme Isaac Pereire, smoking through the gardens; now Charles de Mills is about to explode in crimson on its leggy prickly stalks and further down the soft blush of Liliana promises soft colours and sweet scented evenings.
Still there are orders over which we agonise, praying the right colours will be there at the right time, walking through our own gardens looking for a flash of colour here and there and on the warm walls of the house the roses come out faster than anywhere.
Several happy weddings have been and gone and Mme Alfred Carriere and Mythos have managed to cover their white rose needs as Susan has not come on yet, and did not fare well in the last two freezing winters. I am finding it difficult to find providers of this really fantastic white rose, one of my favourite of all, like a cool ivory camellia.
This weekend we had to scrap Open Day but there were enough Gertrude mixed with alchemilla to cheer up our friendly picnic guests to give them bouquets as they sheltered from thunderstorms in the Glass House. In fact it turned into a riotous afternoon with children playing tennis in the rain, a house hunt for ping pong balls and some good conversation.
We had our writer friends from the Guardian and Weekend Mail – and the Mail on Sunday (a long-time colleague and now near neighbour Sarah Oliver). Tennis playing Val who had met another guest at Hurlingham where both go not just for tennis but to work out – she is painter Sarah Butterfield, wife of David Two Brians Willet, now Minister for something in Cameron’s cabinet. Sarah has painted the roses with relish as she paints so exquisitely almost everything she sees – and brought with her a friend from Radio Three, so all in all quite a media-oriented picnic now I come to think of it!
The work this week centres on several London orders, others for weddings across the country – one at the wonderful Alnwick Castle where Thomas von Straubenzee is about to marry his bride, the daughter of the house; then there is Robin Birley’s club in Hertford Street where Georgie Bailey adds roses to the fabulous flower arrangements – and local florists coming to collect from the barns.
The quandary lies in assessing whether we are ready to start the regular orders for
and other places. I reckon we’ll go for the end of next week. London