I love this rose – but it seems to be on a mission to take over the world. The books state that its height and spread is about 1.2m x 1m, but I struggle to keep mine to 2m x 1.5m by hard pruning. It also throws up vicious suckers which are a demon to get rid of, and in wet weather it likes to support itself by leaning on whatever comes to hand: this one has a low wall all of its own, but it will still recline against anything planted near it – an encounter from which it will emerge refreshed, while its victim will do well to survive at all.
Why do I tolerate its appalling manners? Because all summer long it’s covered in these bright pink blooms, even in partial shade, and the scent is absolutely glorious. Its first flush of blooms went over about a week ago, but even before I’ve got round to dead-heading it more are emerging. I intend to tidy it up tomorrow – as well as taking off the shrivelled heads I’ll reduce some of the longer stems to try to bring it back to a neat shape – but I know from experience that it will scoff at my efforts, and within a couple of weeks it will look as though it’s never been pruned at all.
I’ve been using a new kind of rose food this year, called Empathy, which contains mycorrhizal fungi and nitrogen-fixing bacteria. All the roses that have been treated with it have benefited – they’re producing healthier foliage, and more and better blooms. I haven’t dared give any to Edric though, for fear that he might overrun the house, as well as taking over the garden. Poor, hungry Edric!