Our spring order of roses has just gone in the ground.
In addition to planting Guy’s medlar tree yesterday, we managed to get the roses in.
It’s two years since I planted roses, and I’ve missed it. It was just too expensive last year, what with the recession and all. This year I opted for mainly yellowy-buff colour roses: Gloire de Dijon, Goldfinch, Desprez a fleur jaune and Alberic Barbier – the last one supplied free by David Austin, as they supplied Auguste Gervais in error for this rose a few years ago.
All of these roses are notable for their scent, and they’re all strong growers, going to at least 15 feet as climbers, and perhaps up to twice that, but they’re all been planted as shrubs, mixed in with coloured-leaved elders and cornus wands, purple berberis and philadelphus, so it remains to be seen how big they’ll get. This latest planting means there are now 44 varieties of roses in the garden, most of them species and ramblers.
Guy’s tree, meanwhile, is tree number 5 in the new ‘orchard’ that we’re planting out the back of the house. Two trees – an oak and a walnut – self-seeded here, and this year we’ve added an apple and a greengage. By the year’s end, I hope there will be nine trees, mostly small, and mostly floral so that we can look down on them from our bedroom window, which is three stories up.
Medlars, in case you’re not familiar with them, are an old orchard fruit not much grown nowadays. One reason they fell from popularity is that you can’t eat them till they’re rotten – you have to leave them to ‘blet’, like persimmons. When the skin goes translucent and the flesh goes pulpy, they’re ready, and it’s best to dig the flesh out with a spoon, and eat it with cream.
I’ve wanted a medlar tree since I was a little girl when I used to play in my uncle’s orchard, and it’s a fine ornamental tree too, with a shrubby, olde-worlde shape, beautiful flowers and leaves that turn yellow in autumn. The fruit itself resembles a large green rosehip, and goes under the more colloquial name of ‘open arseholes’ – an accurate description, it has to be admitted…
It was a close-run thing between the medlar and a nashi pear, which is another fruit I’ve always wanted in the garden. More commonly known as an Asian Pear, a nashi is round like an apple but tastes like a pear, and the specimen I saw also had attractive bronzed foliage and masses of white blossom, so would make a good garden tree. Ah well, maybe next month…