After the rain, snow and ice, a dry weekend, not to mention a still and sunny Sunday was in relative terms, heaven on Earth. Although growing fruit and vegetables is my main activity in the kitchen garden, the cultivation of roses is very rewarding. For anyone concerned about ‘carbon footprints’, the sad reality about roses is that ALL roses sold in local shops are imported as far as I can see. So if you want an Irish rose for yourself or for some other special person, you will just have to grow it yourself!

Ingrid Bergman rose. Pic. courtesy

I confess I had a bed of five Alec’s Red rose bushes but they were neglected over the years. I had wanted red roses but strangely, that variety is more crimson than red. However they had a lovely perfume

and in their hey-day, they served me well. I had even harvested the petals one year and made the most delicious and aromatic rose petal jam. Mind you it took the petals from five bushes to get one pound of jam but what a treat!

To replace rose bushes, it is recommended to not plant new bushes in the same soil. Therfore, my first job was to remove the soil and replenish the bed with compost and humus rich soil, well mixed. The old soil is perfectly good for vegetables however, so nothing is going to waste except the old rose bushes which I have dug up and stacked with the firewood to dry.

I have no shortage of well rotted compost at present which is covered by old carpet so that rain does not leach thegoodness out of it. A couple of barrow loads of fresh soil and compost refilled the new rose bed easily enough. The five new hybrid tea rose bushes are called ‘Ingrid Bergman‘. I am assured this variety is truly a red rose and has a very strong perfume. With the rose bed freshly prepared with loose friable soil, the planting of the five bushes was almost effortless with the help of a trowel.

Having welcomed Richard Corrigan and Duncan Stewart to graze their way through my little garden, it was a pleasure to now welcome such a classy guest as Ingrid Bergman!


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