Magic Garden Roses, about 30 mins away from me, (there are some gorgeous photos of the nursery in summer on their website if you click on Gallery from the home page) & it was a gorgeous early winter day - cold, but sunny - so my friend, P, & I went for a drive. P is helping me with the preparation & planting. He's always grown roses & is full of advice - some of which I completely ignored!
I was armed with a list of about 25 David Austin varieties that I wanted. I've had a lovely time looking through books on old-fashioned roses from work. Choosing the roses was difficult. Should I choose the ones with literary or historical names like William Shakespeare, the Mayor of Casterbridge, Brother Cadfael or Sir Edward Elgar? I knew I wanted old-fashioned roses with heavenly scent in pinks & reds so I could eliminate the yellow, orange & white varieties straight away. In the end, I decided that the name wasn't as important as the colour, perfume & hardiness of the rose & also, more practically, what the nursery had in stock.
The garden bed is at the front of the house sheltered from wind but it gets lots of morning sun. I chose 5 standard roses for the back of the plot. Three Squires & two Pretty Jessicas. Then, I wanted some shrub roses in groups of three in front of the standards. So I chose three each of Noble Antony (there isn't a picture on the website but it's a lovely dark magenta pink), Sophy's Rose & Eglantyne. I also have another special rose. A dear friend at work bought me a Best Friend rose when Abby died. This is a rose sold by the RSPCA especially for someone who has lost a pet. I didn't know it existed & I was very touched to receive such a lovely gift. Best Friend will have a special spot on the corner of the garden.
I'll be posting photos as the garden progresses & hopefully in early summer, I'll be able to enjoy vases of lovely roses in the house & thriving rose bushes in Abby's garden.