In early spring I trained the back half of the bush along one of those horrid garden fences you see in every big garden centre: wooden panels in glowing orange, held in place by concrete posts. The fence was here before us and thankfully has weathered to an unobtrusive if somewhat dull grey, but still... Now the rose does its utmost best to cover and disguise it. That's the beauty with roses: if you train the main shoots horizontally, you'll increase the number of blooms immensely. Because, if before you could expect a number of flowers at the tip of the shoot come June, if you tie it horizontally to say a framework of wires, every node (that is the slightly knobbly bit where leaves are attached) will burst a new, short shoot with buds at the end. Brilliant, really!
Anyway, Gertrude Jekyll does not just look like straight from an illustration for Sleeping Beauty, it also has the most amazing perfume: real olde-English-rose perfume, straight from the bottle, so to speak. But despite the air being still and the plant having a sunny and very sheltered inner-London spot, you have to come within a metre or two of the blooms to smell it - something I'm a teeny bit disappointed about as I had hoped it would perfume the entire garden or even the bedroom above on a balmy summer's night. Never mind.
I thought I'd write about that other great fragrance in my garden right now, too. But I think I'll leave the pinks for another post.