The International Steam Pages


The Best Garden in Mitcheldean? (mid June 2015)
Maintaining Standards

This page is part of a series of garden blogs from 2015. Click here for the index.

Back in 2012, I was dragged round a number of large gardens for Yuehong to get inspiration for her own cottage-garden-to-be. When she saw this row of standard roses at Highnam Court, I got the 'I want something like this' look. I just pointed out that this collection wouldn't leave much change from 500. At that stage she had just 13 David Austin English roses to add to the three which came with the house and a couple of bargain specimens. Over the years since, she has gradually lowered her sights, she now has (I am told) 74 roses in all and fortunately for our bank balance, the most recent ones have come relatively cheaply.

At the end of the growing season in 2014, we had time over after yet another debacle at Kingsholm and decided to kill some time at the local B&Q. At the back was a row of unloved standard roses at something like half price. As we were carrying our weekly shop, there was nothing that could be done. Next day I was sent down on the bus to get a couple which would go at the top of the steps. Once in position, they looked so tasty that I was sent back for more and then on the next day Yuehong came too, so the bus driver - the same each time - saw them all come back in the wheelchair space, fortunately it's a country bus and we had chosen an off peak service with no mums with prams. So we now have six in the front and two up top near the summer house. I have to say they look brilliant. Looking from the road they rise over the older roses and from inside the house looking out to the east they go some way towards covering the roof tops opposite. And this is just their first year with us.

In fact, they are actually the filling in the sandwich, the back row are now starting their second year.

What seemed like a 'good idea at the time' has produced a startling result. God knows what the neighbours all think.

Our original roses in the front have decided they like us, they are all four a mass of blooms...

Those in the back where the soil is not so good are biding their time. The Albertine is now well established against the house and is approaching its peak:

Here's a selection of blooms from roses old and new:

If you believe that good things come in pairs then here's some for you:

And if mass blooms are your penchant, we can manage them too:


Click here for the next installment.


Rob and Yuehong Dickinson

Email: webmaster@internationalsteam.co.uk