1 July 2008 - 1:00am


Like many gardeners, we no longer have a bed set aside just for roses. They can look rather boring and ungainly for quite a long time when not in flower, so we have now incorporated them into a mixed border. It's not terribly easy as roses can be a bit unruly, but I try to get round that by planting plants such as foxgloves, euphorbia and penstemons close by.

One truly gorgeous rose which flowers late June and into July is Tuscany Superb. It is a deep crimson-purple Gallica rose with golden stamens and a lovely scent. It only flowers once, but it is worth waiting for. I have a deep red Penstemon ' Blackbird' nearby which complements it well. Another rose which has been flowering since the end of May is a climber called 'Laura Ford'. It is a modern rose with small, rich yellow flowers. It doesn't climb too high and so is easy to keep in check. It repeat flowers.

Mme Alfred Carriere is an excellent climber for an exposed wall, it seems to put up with quite exposed as well as shady conditions. It is a Noisette with creamy white flowers. At the front we have planted a screen of natural looking tress and shrubs including the Rugosa roses which have the best scent of all. They are also very robust and thorny, so make excellent burglar deterring hedges.

Clematis make good partners for climbing roses, I have a deep purple one scrambling through the rich red climber Ena Harkness. We also have a small flowered rambler climbing through an old apple tree which no longer fruits reliably and so makes a good host.

This is a good month for garden visiting. One we can recommend is 125 Shelford Road in Radcliffe on Trent. We visited last year and it was one of the best local gardens I've seen . There is a bog garden, a jungle style area and even a turf dragon. Overall it's half an acre of really well designed planting and has featured on Gardeners World. Evidently Monty Don liked it, and there is wine, so what more can I say? The garden is open in the evening on 16 July, 6-9pm and again on the afternoon of 14 September.

Don't forget to keep your containers well fed and watered over the summer. I still think Phostrogen is the best all round liquid feed, I give it to all my plants in and out of doors in pots, usually once a week in the growing season. I am currently having a go at using home made feed made from Comfrey leaves stuffed into water. Smells absolutely disgusting, but the plants seems to like it. I'll keep you posted on the results.

Happy gardening!