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Gardens Blog

My favourite plant – October

I have a climbing rose, R. Compassion, which has patiently endured being moved around the garden like a chess piece until I have finally decided where I would like it to grow. It has put up with shade, damp, competition from a vigorous Clematis armandii and occasional neglect and now that I have moved it up to the house where it gets some sunshine as well as more moisture and nutrients, being in a more spacious and comfortable bed, it is throwing out buds and new stems with amazing vigour, which makes me wish I’d planted it here to start with.

The blooms are well formed Hybrid Tea rose in shape, an amber pink (to call it salmon would be unkind) with tints of apricot, with a sweet fragrance. The foliage is dark green and disease resistant. It has thorns but nothing like some of the others in the climbing rose family which can make cutting the roses for the house such a challenge. The flowers last well in a vase.

It requires little in the way of maintenance other than the usual removal of dead wood and crossing stems, trains obligingly and rewards deadheading with flushes of new buds. It grows up to 10ft/3 metres and should be tied in to wires to stop the new growth snapping in strong winds. A feed at the start of the season and then again half way through to keep its strength up is all that is needed. I usually top dress mine with 6X in spring.

Companions to such a colour are many: the Nepetas and Lavenders will work well, particularly a dark lavender such as Imperial Gem, but so would Campanula lactiflora ‘Pritchard’s Variety’ – provided you don’t plant it too close to the rose. Mine is partnered with a low Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’, which is far away not to compete and close enough to provoke interesting colour contrasts, and the Hydrangea flowers will provide interest once the rose has finally finished flowering for the year.

Compassion is not a rarity, and can be found in the rose section of many reputable retailers. It can also be ordered from the major growers including David Austin and Peter Beales.

Useful links for lavenders
[caption width="616" align="alignnone"] The semi-double flowers of Rosa ‘Compassion’ which appear from May until the frosts.[/caption]