When we first moved to Mallorca we brought with us a beautiful rose called ‘Celebration’ – a gift to us from a friend called Judy, with whom I’d worked at the BBC. It had happily been living in a pot in the UK and when we arrived here we located it carefully on the terrace, so that it wouldn’t be subjected to the fiercest heat of the day. Sadly, Judy passed away too early (a victim of cancer) and the lovely rose she’d given us took on a new significance. So we were very sorry to lose her rose as well.
Not knowing a lot about gardening – and roses in particular – I assumed that the climate wasn’t right for roses. But our Swiss neighbours have recently landscaped their finca‘s garden and planted a lot of David Austin roses. Perhaps if I bought roses direct from this renowned rose grower – whose roses are exported around the world – they would survive?
Best of British
It had to be worth a try. I ordered two bare-root climbing roses from the efficient export department of David Austin, on the Shropshire border in the UK. When the roses arrived, through the post, the challenge began. I knew where I wanted them to go: one was to climb an almond tree near the house (where its fragrance would surely drift towards the guest room window); the other would climb the wall on our dining terrace and scent our summer evenings. There was just a small problem. The earth at the bottom of the wall was more rock than soil – and the soil was pretty solid too.
This was another consequence job: as a consequence of buying the rose – the delightfully named ‘Lady Hillingdon’ – The Boss had to create some means of planting it. He duly set about building a raised bed for the ‘lady-in-waiting’, into which we could put some decent soil and compost. And I must say that he did a pretty fantastic job of it. Her Ladyship obviously approved as she’s growing rapidly – and we (or rather The Boss) will have to erect a trellis pretty soon.
Something’s been snacking . . .
The other rose – ‘Golden Gate’ – was duly planted (without too much difficulty) at the base of an almond tree. It got off to a great start until I checked it a day or two ago and found that every leaf has been eaten, leaving just a few bare stems. Will it recover? I’m afraid I haven’t a clue!