Tag Archives: David Austin Roses

Rocking Dog Loved Her Time At Chelsea

Mexican Heat,Rocking Dog

Mexican Heat

Rocking Dog made a welcome return to the Chelsea Flower Show last week. Alas last year she had to give the show a miss as it  somewhat inconveniently clashed with the boys wedding! Can it really be a year ago that I cooked three courses for 120 guests, sewed table runners, cutlery pockets, and ran up a tent? Happy 1st wedding anniversary Alex & Kylie.

An early start saw me hurtling across London last Thursday to try and beat the crowds. London was bathed in glorious sunshine and I was soon enjoying planty loveliness. There were many fewer show gardens this year, and I can only imagine that the cost and time required to pull off one of these botanical and architectural masterpieces is colossal.

The show garden which won best in show was a somewhat controversial choice and I witnessed many mutterings of show goers feeling that Chris Beardshaw had been robbed! Inspired by an abandoned Maltese quarry the winning garden was dramatic. The massive stones in its makeup had been quarried, cut and transported from Malta. The planting was wild, scrubby and Mediterranean. I was intrigued by the garden and was glad that I revisited it in the heat of the midday sun. The smell of the wild fennel and other sun parched herbs was intoxicating.

The highlight of my day was introducing myself to garden designer Sarah Raven in the Radio 2 Feel Good Garden (Anneka Rice Colour Cutting Garden). Daughter Sorrel had previously worked for Sarah at Perch Hill and on events at Sissinghurst. How lovely to be invited to drink a cup of refreshing Lapsang Souchong in Sarah’s corrugated tin roofed bothy. A few photographs taken within the exquisite bee buzzing garden and then it was time to move on. Thank you Sarah it was SO lovely to finally meet you and I so wanted your delicious garden beamed up and plopped down in the Kennels’ weedy outback!

Some of my favourite gardens weren’t the big budget show gardens but the more intimate artisan and fresh gardens. “City Living” with its massive orange Anglepoise lamps and “Beneath a Mexican Sky” enjoyed being showcased in brilliant sunshine. Not a great admirer of Acers or Maples I however loved Japanese Gosho No Niwa’s “No Wall, No War” artisan garden. It contained the most exquisite naturalistic waterfall and verdigris metal framed glass house. The house had been transported from Japan and apparently it had been nerve-wracking for the designer. There was no back up plan if the large glass panes had been broken in transit.

In the Pavilion there were iris’s, cacti, orchids, daffodils, ferns, plants for sun and plants for shade. I really loved the way the humble spud was exhibited by Morrice & Ann Innes Potatoes. More colourful and definitely more scented was the David Austin Rose stand. It was a truly beautiful spectacle and how lovely to spot Cerys Matthews under the blooming bowers.

The trends I perceived at this years Chelsea – Lupins are back in fashion, the colour purple, foxgloves, grasses, copper, caring for wildlife within the garden. Many of the gardens sported quite shaggy (should I say weedy) borders. Again I was aware of mutterings about planting not being neat. When I came home I rather loved my herbaceous borders infilled with ground elder, couch grass, bellvine and the like. I am SO totally on trend! I can down tools this summer and sit back in a deck chair with a long G&T and a good book !

Much love and hope you have had a lovely bank holiday weekend.

Love Rocking Dog x

There is a Rocking Dog Creative Huddle this Wednesday 31st May 7-9pm. All welcome. Homemade cake, drinks, chat and maybe the odd bit of sewing/knitting! Donations into the teapot with proportion heading to Fine Cell Work, teaching & supporting prison inmates to sew and embroider.

Best In Show,Rocking Dog

Best In Show

Feel Good Garden-Colour, Rocking Dog

Feel Good Garden-Colour

Tin Shed Tea,Rocking Dog

Tin Shed Tea

Breaking Ground Garden,Rocking Dog

Breaking Ground Garden

Japanese Magic,Rocking Dog

Japanese Magic

5 Star Bug Hotel, Rocking Dog

5 Star Bug Hotel

The Humble Spud,Rocking Dog

The Humble Spud

City Living,Rocking Dog

City Living

Cerys & Blooms,Rocking Dog

Cerys & Blooms

Copper Loveliness,Rocking Dog

Copper Loveliness

Copper Planting,Rocking Dog

Copper Planting

Copper Couch,Rocking Dog

Copper Couch

Coming Out From The Cold

The Warmth & The Rain,Rocking Dog

The Warmth & The Rain

I realise I have been quiet. Words have not come easily and reading words has not come easily. The brain fug is beginning to clear and cheer, I need to get back into the saddle!

I have not been idle. There was a little baby in the house for a little while. My role as Biddy (as in old) was enjoyable and even keeping Sorrel company in the depth of the night was a privilege. That’s not to say I don’t now feel as if I have been run over by a steam train! He really is such a sweet little fellow and we are going to have such great fun in coming years.

More parenting is currently going on in the Victorian gas lamp in our back garden. The blue tits have returned, having built a nest in the lamp post. Every twenty or thirty seconds mum and dad bring back grubs and caterpillars for their hungry brood. They remove waste from the nest and diligently look out for predators. Frankly it is exhausting watching them. Until the chicks fledge I cannot get on and garden … drat, oh it’s such a good excuse!

The warmth and the rain have made the rambling roses simply explode. I can say that the dark sinister conifers that they replaced have been missed not one little bit. Honeysuckle, forget-me nots, penstemons, ¬†iris’s, comfrey, borage….. everything is burgeoning. With the garden in full summer throttle it was wonderful to awake to a doorstep gift, a David Austin “Vanessa Bell” Rose. Full of buds, it promises wonderfully creamy voluptuous scented blooms. Thank you lovely Robsons!

The meadow behind the house is ablaze with buttercups, clover, moon daisies, bluebells, vetch, cow parsley, dandelions, may blossom and grasses. I never tire of the meadows beauty and look forward to seeing the swallows dart & swoop over the expanse of verdant vegetation. Soon the mad cows will be put out to pasture and sadly the meadow will be off limits until the autumnal nights start drawing in.

Still on a plant theme I trot off to the Chelsea Flower Show next week which i’m wildly looking forward to. Maybe this year will be the year I finally set my mind and body to creating a garden with less weeds and more order!

There has been sewing, and cooking, baking, spring cleaning, volunteering and decluttering. There has been Real Live Rocking Dog to walk, travels to London, and wedding plotting & planning. There have been forays into Bath and down to the harbour, an afternoon tea and lots of hugs to give.

Thank you to all those of you who have said they have missed my blog, I hope i’ll slowly and carefully start writing again.

Special birthday wishes today for Sorrel, I hope you manage a glass of bubbly in between the demands of a hungry little nestling! To all, have a wonderful weekend whatever joys it brings.

Love from Rocking Dog x

PS. Date for the Huddlers diary -Wednesday 31st May (7-9pm) for the next Rocking Dog Creative Huddle. New Huddlers welcome. Donations into the teapot with a generous proportion going to Fine Cell Work, supporting prison inmates to skilfully sew and embroider.

Parenthood,Rocking Dog

Parenthood

Wildflower Meadow,Rocking Dog

Wildflower Meadow

Walk With Mr Dog,Rocking Dog

Walk With Mr Dog

Asparagus Season,Rocking Dog

Asparagus Season

Rhubarb Season,Rocking Dog

Rhubarb Season

Always Cake Season!,Rocking Dog

Always Cake Season!

Heading To Chelsea,Rocking Dog

Heading To Chelsea

Good Year For The Roses,Rocking Dog

Good Year For The Roses

Spring Cleaning, Rocking Dog

Spring Cleaning

It’s Another Good Year For The Roses!

Grandmother Emily's Tea Set, Rocking Dog

Grandmother Emily’s Tea Set

With a mixture of delicious sunshine and refreshing rain it’s another good year for the roses. A few years ago I was given a little bit of money, I spent it taking out some life sapping and towering conifers which came with the house. How I hated them. In due course the mammoth culling process was completed, and the trees were replaced with rustic posts and wires in preparation for roses. Days were spent deliberating just which roses to choose and finally the order was made. December came, and with it a box of David Austin bare root rambling roses. Certainly they were unimpressive, little more than twigs. With the precious delivery the snow also came. Planting was postponed and the roses assigned to the cold but frost free cellar. Christmas over, and with the snow having melted, the ground remained so frost bitten. The roses could not stay in the cellar indefinitely, so warmly wrapped I headed out to dig seven massive holes! Rooting powder, mushroom compost, roses, together with determination and energy the plants were in! I remember not having high hopes for them. Last year there were beautiful blooms and the beginning of some privacy for the garden. This year the roses are rambling on, and with SO many showy scented blooms. I wish the conifers had gone long ago!

There is fossil evidence that suggests that roses have been around for 35 million years. The production of rosewater, scented oils and perfumes from wild roses can be traced back in Iraq to 2000BC. Meanwhile in Greek Mythology legend has it that Aphrodite the Goddess of Love created the rose from her tears and the blood from her lover Adonis. In Egypt, Cleopatra covered the floors of her palace to the depth of half a metre with fresh rose petals. Meanwhile the sails of her sailing ships were drenched with rosewater. Indeed rosehip wreaths have been discovered in Egyption tombs. In Rome, emperors filled swimming pools and fountains with rosewater. Such was the demand for roses by the wealthy, that Roman peasants were forced to grow roses instead of food. At one lavish feast hosted by Emperor Nero, a guest was smothered to death by rose petals which cascaded down from an open ceiling. Cultivation of roses was well underway by 500BC in China.

I love my Grandmother Emily’s tea service by Spode. It is decorated with pink roses and I loved it as a child, and still do. It tends to sit on open shelving in the kitchen and i’m rather too afraid to use it. I really don’t like tea anyway!

The paper rose was made and given to me by a friend very recently… I feel a bit of Marie coming on!

The Edwardian Rose is attributed to the Edwardian photo album. A “not in my tree” collection. The photo’s show the lives of an upper middle class family at the turn of the 20th century. Many photo’s are of their beautiful house and garden near Tunbridge Wells. There are photo’s of the gardener, very elderly distinguished lady, a wedding, interiors and with the onset of WW1, members of the family in uniform and a munitions unit. Fascinating.

Other rosy “bits” collected from around the kennel include a vintage fabric bucket bag made by The Dog, and cushions bought, not made by me. The tiara is one bought for the youngest and includes pink paper roses and pearls. She wore it for a fairy party which was filmed at the house for a local TV station about 15 years ago. I demonstrated making a cone shaped cake which I covered with homemade baby meringues and sugar frosted rosebuds. Lastly my Meissen “pot”, lots of lovely flowers including roses. and painted insects. It’s suffered during its lifetime but I simply love it.

There’s another rose to be planted, Olivia Rose (thank you Sorrel and Liv’) and thankfully this time no frost to contend with.

Rambling Roses, Rocking Dog

Rambling Roses

Beautiful Bloom, Rocking Dog

Beautiful Bloom

Paper Roses, Rocking Dog

Paper Roses

Rosy Loveliness, Rocking Dog

Rosy Loveliness

Edwardian Rose, Rocking Dog

Edwardian Rose

Roses To Sit On, Rocking Dog

Roses To Sit On

Fairy Rose Tiara, Rocking Dog

Fairy Rose Tiara

Meissen Roses, Rocking Dog

Meissen Roses

Rocking Dog Roses, Rocking Dog

Rocking Dog Roses