Rebecca Smith - Garden design & consultancy

Everything's Coming Up Roses

January seems to be a good time to have a clear out - clear the office, clear my head, get a move on and get rid of the cobwebs, both literal and figural, which are hanging over my head.

I am trying to juggle several different jobs at the moment across Hampshire but what has got me really excited is that we have finished our building project so I can actually start to make plans about my owwn garden. The piles of scaffolding, bricks, rubble have slowly left. The soil is enjoying not being constantly parked on.

And I have time to look at what I really want here. As the house emerged from the scaffolding, it became apparent that is has a different feel to it. Gone is the whiff of the Arts and Crafts era with the removal of the oak and lead windows. With the reinstatement of Georgian sliding sash windows, the house has been returned to its Georgian roots and it needs a more formal setting within the immediate walled garden setting. 

But, not surprisingly, what we want as a family for the garden is not that different from what many of my clients want: a garden that looks good all year, is low maintenence (HAHAHHA), have several seating areas for different members of my family, for sun or shade, and a good eating area outside the kitchen door.

West side

We are blessed with an entirely empty bit of lawn on the west facing side of the house, shown above. With the reinstatement of the doors out from the house and some rather lovely gentle steps down into the garden, this side will take precedence as THE place for drinks on summer evenings. I have cleared a bit of a border away from the wall when we first moved in but it lacks a clear theme and I am not happy with it. It will all be torn out and replanted. I had originally thought I would like perennial borders here but I am finding thatI do not like looking from the windows on this side of the house out at bare earth all winter. It is rather depressing. The plants themselves, which are on the north side of the low wall, are not happy with the lack of direct sun on their feet. 

I am thinking hydrangeas will be better here, a bank of them; their roots will relish the moisture and the cool soil better than any of the hollyhocks I planted did. I am thinking pink, mopheads and paniculatas, dusky velvet pink to candy pink to creamy white flecked with pink. I'm in. 

And roses... The uprights are planted with multiflowering scented climbing roses combined with clematis and jasmine. I want a scented evening bower for my g&t's come June and July. And all underplanted with billowing clumps of nepeta and alchemilla. 

Gentle Hermione



This is Gentle Hermione. She's a winner. Glossy leaves, roses that look like roses, petals that fall like confetti across the paths...

For there will be paths. I haven't told Mr Smith yet but here the lawn is going. The north side of this oddly shaped space will be divided off from the front garden with a yew hedge with a gate, perhaps with an arch, but definately PRIVATE, and no lawn. Large beds planted with large groupings of flowering shrubs and rolled gravel. Crunch crunch crunch. A bench or two. An urn in the centre. A table for four, probably white painted iron; an old fashioned table and chairs which need cushions. But not new ones. These I will seek out from the man who does house clearances in town or find by chance at one of the many antiques markets nearby.


 Shropshire Lad

I spent yesterday going through my work and study photos stored on my computer. I have many many years of garden photos stored on various memory sticks, memory cards and also on my laptop and the time was right to finally sort through them and back them all up onto two different separate hard drives. What I didn't realise is that in many of the gardens I visited last year, I zeroed in on their roses. There was clearly an idea taking place subconsciously!

So here is a brief look at the many roses I homed in on in 2014, in parks, garden shows, gardens...

A Shropshire Lad

Gertrude Jekyll

Gertrude Jekyll, above, has a knock-out scent and the most fabulous deep pink colour. 

unknown cream rose

I do not know the name of the rose above, Crocus have a similar creamy yellow rose called Rosa 'Crocus'. 

Ginger Syllabub

Ginger Syllabub, above, photographed in a clients garden, is a climber and has a lovely scent. My clients have it trained against a brick and flint wall and the warm colours are great together. 

Brother Cadfael

Brother Cadfael is from David Austin Roses and is a medium shrub rose.

A similar shaped rose but in a lighter pink is Wedgwood.  I am training a Wedgwood rose up the oak support posts of our covered porch, the scent is fabulous and the blossom a lovely pale pink. It was named after the Wedgwood pottery for it's 250th anniversary. I chose it because in my previous job in the Decorative Arts department at a London auction house, we used to have Wedgwood auctions regularly. 

Bardsey House, Haslemere

The front parterre at Bardsey House in Haslemere is filled with this glorious pink shrub rose. It is open in the summer for the Surrey NGS. 

Malvern Hills

Malvern Hills is a short rambler repeat flowering rose with a light frangrace. 

But I really love about growing roses at home though is cutting them and bringing that lush scented beauty into the house. 

Wyck Farmhouse roses

I will make plans, get quotes, plant plants this spring so that this summer I can enjoy the garden here at Wyck Farmhouse properly for the first time. 



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