Gardening: A rose by any other name...

Flowers in Deborah Catchpole's garden

Flowers in Deborah Catchpole's garden - Credit: Archant

Sitting in the garden, it’s hard to believe that I’ve only been here for a year. So much has changed in the garden since I moved in, and yet the aspects of the garden that I fell in love with when I moved in are still integral.

In the evening sunshine, I sat and drank in the scent of the garden. I wondered whether someone next door was growing strawberries - as the fresh, sweet smell that surrounded me was so strong, I couldn’t imagine what else it could be.

Getting up from my seat, I walked across the lawn, and soon found where the smell was coming from - the roses. A mixture of the old English roses that I have planted in the garden, had combined to produce the most heady aroma, mingling with the smell of the warm sunshine on the lawn; it really was the most perfect perfume - completely impossible to recreate.

Whenever I smell English roses, I am always fascinated by just how incredible they can smell.

The difference between these, and the roses that you can buy in supermarkets, which have been treated to extend their life, and been flown thousands of miles to reach the shops, is just incomparable.

Eating dinner in the garden is one of the real pleasures of having a garden. When you have worked hard to mould a new garden, or when you are sitting in a well-established garden that has years of hard work reflected in the variety of plants, there are few things more satisfying than sitting back at the end of a long day, with a gin and tonic, or a glass of wine, and eating al fresco.

Sitting here this evening, with buttered new potatoes (sadly not my own), flavoured with mint (yes - that was mine), in the last few rays of the day’s sunshine, it is a real treat, and one of the most relaxing places to be.

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As I look around me now, I can see so many different stages of the garden in front of me.

There are alliums - literally about to burst - this is the first year I will have had them here, and I can’t wait to see how they look - after planting so many bulbs last year, I can’t remember what kind they are - but from the look of them, they’re going to be big ones!

Behind them, is a beautiful rose which is going over - it has been stunning - the smell of it is divine - and now that it is going over, I almost love it more - the crinkling of the petals as they dry out, and the scent becomes even stronger.

I can’t stop myself from pulling a flower head off into my hand - inhaling the scent, it is like ambrosia to me - a fading beauty - like an old lady in her dotage - the beauty of her youth still showing through the wrinkles on her face.

The colour of the rose is a pale pink - but around the edges of the petals, they are now tea-stained - fragile, and broken - but perfect in their fragility.

Looking at the different stages of life around me, it makes me realise just how wonderful the circle of life in a garden is - there is no end to it.

When one plant is coming to the end of its life, another is just about to come into its best phase - coming to its performance. They take their turn, and pass the baton on to the next.

Some gardeners are obsessive about removing each of the plants as they die - immediately tidying around, and clearing them out of sight - but for me, it’s all part of the beauty - all part of the theatre of the garden.