Everything’s Coming up Roses

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If anyone followed me around in the car this week they would think I had gone quite mad. I have been stopping, hopping out and taking photos even more than usual, and I don’t just raise my camera and shoot away – I cross the road to my chosen subject and smell. I breathe in the most heavenly perfumes, wonderful old fashioned scents, and if I draw a blank and there is no fragrance I am extremely disappointed.

You see, I have become a little obsessed with roses this month.

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It’s hard not to be, they grow like weeds here, the climate suits them perfectly and they scramble over walls and up the sides of houses.

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Red roses are the flowers of love, a symbol that started way back with the ancient Greeks where it was tied to Aphrodite, or Venus, the goddess of love. Throughout the centuries, the red rose has remained the ultimate symbol of passionate affection.

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A true compliment in England is to describe a girl as an ‘English rose’. It’s a description associated with English culture and given to a girl of traditionally fair complexion, with a natural radiant beauty.

In fiction the term ‘English rose’ is found in a comic opera, ‘Merrie England’ written by Basil Hood in 1902. He describes a garden where ‘women are the flowers’ and in which ‘the sweetest blossom’ or ‘fairest queen’ is ‘the perfect English rose’.

Perhaps as I wander around the garden this evening I shall find a flower that best describes each of our children so long as I don’t come across a particularly thorny rose – ‘a thorn in one’s side’ – an expression for someone or something that continually causes problems!

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Roses have a very illustrious history, peppered with facts and stories:-

  • As ornamental flowers they have been grown for millennia, with the earliest known cultivation known to date from at least 500 BC. They are known from ancient Babylon and paintings of roses have been discovered in the tombs of the Egyptian pyramids that date from the 14th century BC.
  • In the early 19th century the Empress Josephine of France championed the development of rose breeding at her gardens at Malmaison.
  • You may well have heard the term ‘heritage roses’ –  these are old garden roses, primarily pink, white or red and defined as any rose belonging to a class which existed before the introduction in 1867 of the first modern rose, ‘La France’, by the rosarian Jean-Baptiste André Guillot (1827–1893). This was considered to be the first modern rose.

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  • The rose is the national flower of England, a usage dating back to the English civil wars of the fifteenth century (later called Wars of the Roses), in which a red rose represented the House of Lancaster, and a white rose represented the House of York. It was the Tudors who united both the white and the red roses, thus creating the Tudor Rose.
  • The England national rugby team adopted the red rose as their symbol in 1871, and the rose has appeared on their shirts ever since.
  • In 1986, the rose was adopted as the national floral emblem of the United States and in varying species is the State flower of Iowa, North Dakota, Georgia and New York.

But above all else, roses can be found everywhere, in virtually any garden. Even in an overgrown garden alongside a neglected house, each spring the roses will come to life and bloom. In many places, they grow almost half ‘wild’, beside gates and along the road.

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For those who might be unfamiliar with the term on the postbox below, ‘No Pub‘ means no publicity, no advertising material, and in French Pas de publicité s.v.p can also be seen on many mailboxes, ‘No Pub‘ is just a shortened form.

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All over the Charente Maritime at this time of year, and in most other parts of France too, roses peek through wrought iron railings, refusing to be ignored, pushing their way forward out into the limelight.

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As I took the photo below, I stopped and chatted over the fence with the charming, very elderly, owner who was in the garden, I was sure they were peonies, but he insisted they were roses, I changed the subject and we had a long delightful conversation about gardens and he was happy for me to snap away…

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and meanwhile his dog looked on, half dozing in the sun and half keeping an eye on me, the stranger, in case I entered!

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It would have been rather rude to have taken a leaf and a petal to take home and examine, but I was still sure they were peonies, the bud above all else convinced me but I couldn’t argue, he was such a lovely old man and I so enjoyed chatting with him, so instead I took a close up! The verdict? I still think they are peonies, but I am not an expert whereas I am quite sure some of you are, so you tell me!

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Salmon pink is a common colour where we are

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and so is is the habit of planting roses under vines,  which I think makes a charming combination.P6400432

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Roses and old stone walls really are a match made in heaven.

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Add some shutters and you have perfection for those amongst us who like both roses and all things French!

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Training them over archways dates back centuries.

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I particularly love roses in a very casual setting such as a traditional cottage garden where they can found in a mixed planting, here with the delicate nigella which self-seeds prolifically and pops up every year.

IMG_0307But roses are not just for looking at. They are used as a base for many perfumes. Rose-hip tea is another well known product and rose essence is a delight when used in cooking; the petals are edible too, so long as you know that they are spray-free. They are a wonderfully colourful addition to salads,  and make beautiful decorations on other plates, they can turn a simple cake for afternoon goûter for the children into a really special treat.

P6400465Today at home the kitchen doors are flung open and the scent of our roses are perfuming the air. I have a vase overflowing with them, cut from the garden, on the table. Today is Ascension Day, a public holiday in France; the weather is incredible, the children are swimming and I get to write about roses – what a great start to any day! Oh and following on from my post of 11th May, this photo of a single rose was taken by Gigi, aged 10, as we strolled around the village after supper yesterday evening.

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165 thoughts on “Everything’s Coming up Roses

  • Roses are without a doubt my favourite flower, the old fashioned, single blooming, highly scented variety. They are the quintessential English flower for me and nothing can upstage them!

    • They are the quintessential English flower for me too, but since moving to France I have come to realise that they are everywhere here too and the locals in this area are passionate about them, and rightly so xx

  • Oh my! They are EVERYWHERE! 😍
    So beautiful. I don’t have any in my yard, but love seeing them elsewhere.
    Yes. Those ARE peonies. The look like a normal, herbaceous kind (Paeonia lactiflora), however maybe it is a peony tree (Paeonia suffruticosa) a type that gets a bit woody and the poor guy is a bit confused? I feel his pain 😉😉

    • I love seeing them, we are lucky to have lots in our garden as well and they all smell incredible! I too thought they were peonies, as I said, but how could I argue, he was so utterly delightful and it is so lovely to be able to chat to a complete stranger and he was so happy for me to stand and take photos, I had to include them, even though they aren’t roses, because I so enjoyed just talking with him! Thanks for the confirmation! Xx

  • Definitely peonies but I would have done just the same as you, he sounds as if he was lovely and happy for you to take photos, how could you argue, such a sweet story and so nice that this type of neighbourly conversation between strangers still exists. Beautiful post

    • I know, how could one argue, I always avoid confrontations at all times and on a warm sunny afternoon, talking with a charming elderly man about his garden who was happy for me to take photos, how could I disagree, I couldn’t and it really doesn’t matter anyway, I loved talking with him and they make a delightful photo! Xx

  • My neighbour in France wrote to me yesterday to tell me that she had ‘stolen’ a couple of roses from our garden and photographed them for me. Of course, it made me super happy to think that she was enjoying them. Your photos are so lovely, although some of the houses look like they need a bit of love. I know that if you had your way you would rescue them all. I would too.

    • There are so many houses around here that I would love to very gently restore! Not changing anything too dramatically but just giving them a helping hand to remain strong and standing for the next 100 years! Fantastic that someone gets to enjoy your roses whilst you are away, much better that way! xx

  • Oh…how I love roses! The look the color the smell! The rose plays only second to peonies!
    What a lovely post to enjoy with my morning coffee!🌹
    I had a similar situation arise with some flowers I sent to a friend. She, too, thought what I thought were peonies were roses. I hope we can solve the mystery because I really thought they were a well “harvested” peony.
    Enjoyed the history of the rose.
    Have a wonderful Thursday enjoying the beautiful smells and the lovely roses that are in abundance in your area!
    Thank you again for a beautiful read! Xx

    • Thanks so much Stephanie, I don’t really mind if they are peonies or roses, they are fabulous either way! Plus there was no way I was going to argue with such a charming man, I loved chatting with him and happy for him to take pride in his garden no matter what they were. Fabulous weather here, but very hot, 35C today and yesterday much the same, we sat outside with friends for dinner until 2am! It was a holiday here, the best way to live life! xx

      • I can only imagine sitting amongst friends on your lovely property talking and laughing into the wee hours of the night…sounds utterly wonderful…
        What is it about spring and the renewal of everything “beautiful” “enchanting” the “smells” the “birds” bringing their “songs” back to life?
        Gigi’s 🌹 photograph is so very special for a girl as young as she is…and each and everyone of yours is “lovelier” than the next.
        I am going to keep reliving the wonderful smell of the roses ALL DAY LONG.
        Happy Friday…Happy Weekend! ❤️

      • There is nothing better than an evening outside sitting under the stars, once it gets warm enough to do this, summer is really here! Hope you have a wonderful weekend. The heatwave continues here and we are making the most of it!!! Xxx

  • Absolutely peonies, one of my favorites. But you were certainly right in not correcting the old fellow. Let him enjoy his “roses”.

    • I totally agree, there was no way I was going to argue or disappoint him, he was so charming and so lovely and took so much pride in his flowers and garden and anyway it really doesn’t matter! They were fabulous no matter what! xx

  • Such beautiful photos, I didn’t realise roses were so common in France. & yes, they are definitely peonies! I have some in my little front garden, a long narrow one in front of a tenement, also some scented roses. I love it when people stop & smell them, even a few teenage boys stopped & had a sniff last year, much to my amusement & amazement. A few years ago a little girl, aged about 2, would pass my garden each day in a carrier on her Dad’s back, & she would have to stop & smell them too. It was so funny, as one day her Dad was obviously in a hurry & dashed past, I then heard an indignant cry from the little one, & he had to run back to let her smell the rose! So many people here have paved the garden over, which is such a shame.
    Enjoy the sunshine, it’s 25c here in Edinburgh too! x

    • How fabulous, I just love the story of the little girl, really made me smile. There is nothing quite like the scent of roses, I love them so much and hopefully I am teaching the children to do the same, they stop and smell too! Glad you are having such wonderful weather, enjoy every second of it and long may it continue! xx

  • My morning’s just been infused with magic!
    Roses and stone, indeed. Perfection
    Those peach roses!!! I caught my breath.
    The last photo……again, magical
    Yes, peonies…….but he must be so proud of growing a “rose” that beautiful!
    Thank you for the peaceful beauty! OH – and the Tudor rose – Fabulous historical trivia!!! Love that!!!
    Love it all, thanks again

    • Thanks so much, he was so proud of his roses, how could I possibly argue, I couldn’t and anyway, it really doesn’t matter at all, he was proud and happy and utterly charming and I loved to talking to him and loved them whatever they were! xx

    • @ Ceew; your lovely comment just reminded me when some Canadian friends visited us in Switzerland in the late seventies, we picked them up at the train station and we nearly took half a day to get home as the friends took photos of every window which, at that time, all had wooden shutters. She totally flipped when she saw that I had red geraniums on every window sill, so that we couldn’t close the shutters any more but they made a heavenly contrast to the green shutters…. 🙂

      • We have geraniums on window sills of the gite that means the shutters won’t close and now the roses have taken over there as well, so I have put thick curtains in the bedroom instead! xx

  • Yes, they are peonies! But resemble the Rose. Just Thought, “arose without thorns ”
    Thomas gave me a single rose 50 years ago to express his Love and I carried. Single Rose in our Wedding. Each year since he gives me a single Rose on our Anniversary. The fragrance is so heavenly. Our 50 th Anniversery is this August 26th.

  • We lived in a county in Pennsylvania called York and the white rose was our flower. Across the river was the county of Lancaster and yes their flower was the red rose. The pictures were lovely. I don’t seem to have any luck growing roses, though.

    • How fascinating, I had no idea that it was taken so literally in the US, thank you so much for telling me this. I think roses are easy if you have the right climate, otherwise I think they are a huge struggle, obviously here they just love the climate! Have a great end to the week xx

  • How wonderful to have roses blooming everywhere and I would stop to smell them all too. I have tried and tried to grow roses here, but our climate is full of fungus and bugs that defeat the roses.

    • I think if the climate is right then roses seem to flourish freely and if it is wrong they are a constant struggle. Ours do get covered in aphids, I pinch them off from time to time but I don’t spray them and they all seem to bloom happily as they do everywhere. xx

  • Definitely peonies and lovely all the same. I think it’s impossible to have too many roses, don’t you. My fav is Gertrude Jekyll, which has the most wonderful scent. Some lovely varieties here

    • I definitely think it is impossible to have too many, I just love them. I have planted a big climber here last year and watched it really start to take hold this spring, now of course I am planning a couple more! But I do have to have the scented ones because I just love the smell, there is nothing quite like it. Hope you are enjoying this gorgeous weather xx

  • I do not have a green finger at all, quite the contrary, so my poor roses do not look anything like that. I always seem to stab myself when I try and cut them so they are not my favourite flower.

    • I have so many scratches and sore fingers from rose thorns! Especially when it is time to tie them back or do anything with them, but they are worth it! Keep persevering, or just let them do their own thing, they seem to be quite resilient around here! xx

  • What an absolute joy! France, with all its stone walls, shutters, and roses is incredibly photogenic. How much fun you must have capturing France in all her glory! Tell Gigi I love the photo she took. It is gorgeous!

    • Gigi says a huge thank you with a big grin on her face! We had such a fun evening stroll, she had Roddy’s camera and we snapped away together! Hope you get to come here and see them yourself, soon! But our weather is rather like Florida today, nearly 100C! xx

  • Definitely peonies!
    I’m not a rose person…although I’m coming ’round with blogs and images like this and on Instagram! I have that one lovely pink rose given to me by a dear friend: it’s doing well…so maybe I’ll invest in a few bushes. Love the climbers especially!

    • I love roses, they remind me of my childhood and England but I really do love the scented ones most because they don’t just look good but smell fantastic too. If you do invest in some, make sure they have a wonderful perfume! xx

  • Utter bliss….you are so right, roses and old stone walls. Yes and shutters also. In My next life I will live in France.
    Ali xxx

    • I do agree with you and it seems so does everyone else, but I still couldn’t argue with the man, he was so genuinely lovely and so proud of his flowers and quite rightly so and anyway, at the end of the day it really doesn’t matter! The most important thing is he was happy and enjoying his garden. xx

  • SO beautiful! Thank you for teaching us about how prolific roses are in France. I didn’t know! Quite happy to learn that there are still loads of scented ones in your area. On the rare occasions when I receive roses as a gift (they are not my favorite cut flower), they typically have no scent. As you say, so disappointing. The photos are marvelous! The variegated blossom that Gigi captured is especially lovely. xo

    • If they weren’t scented they wouldn’t be a cut flower of choice for me either. I far prefer the more casual cottage garden blooms but when they smell fantastic then I love them because they literally perfume the entire room and everyone stops and smells them, they are hard to resist. Hopefully you will see lots whilst you are here, they should still be blooming, especially a little further north. xx

  • You have just made my day so much better, you have lifted my spirits and filled my morning with beauty. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, I wonder if you realize how much you do for so many. We all love you xoxo

    • Thanks so much Shari, you know I always try to focus on everything that is happy and positive, because there is far too much negativity already wherever we look or turn, whenever we turn on the radio or tv, so this is my little place to feel good about life! xx

  • A beautiful holiday in France today and for once the weather is perfect, enjoy your day with the family

    • Thank you, another stunning day today as well, I love it when the weather is perfect for long holiday weekends, it makes me so happy for all the tourists who have come here. Hope you have a wonderful weekend too and enjoy the sunshine xx

  • How glorious to see so many beautiful roses! Yes, I think you are correct on the peonies, though I understand there are peonies roses sold in Australia. Shrub roses do better in my garden and are just beginning to bud. The peonies are also just beginning and I find myself watching them from a window and then going out to inhale their intoxicating scent. I can see why you stopped and photographed all those incredible blooms. I can practically smell the perfumed air!

    • It’s funny because as I read all of these comments and reply, the scent of roses wafts my way from the vase on the table, it’s as if I can actually smell the roes I wrote about! Peonies, roses, I simply adore both of them and it doesn’t matter which they are, the old man loved them too and took such pride in them. Enjoy your garden, so happy things are coming to life and hope the weather is warming up xx

  • Susan; IT’S just too bad I can’t LIKE this post at least a 100 times….. I totally agree with every word you wrote. Now to the important bits:
    YES, it’s def a peony, even the ones I have myself…. Just a quick look at the leaves tell you this. Only mine were in full and utter beauty in March already and for 10 days the 100+ blooms enjoyed our hearts and eyes without any rain and misshap for once! So, you win!!!!
    2nd: What did I do every free minute of our choral weekend last Sat/Sun? Taking photos and smelling them, running across streets and lanes to hold them close to my face, taking in their perfume, trying to take decent photos for ‘close-up’ viewing later on my computer and dreaming about their wonderful smell. I ‘took in’ also walls lining forgotten villages only 30′ from us (in other words, hardly outside of Paris) and the village we stayed in was a mere 35′ from our living abode but felt like a holiday village from a picture book. People saying good morning to you, the bar owner looking at us who came for our survival espresso (Lavazzo, no less….) like ‘what has the neighbour’s cat brought in now’ and then, when we praised her for the delicious brown drink, softening up ever so slightly…., talks with dog owners not minding telling us their life’s story and the story of their pets AND their house (when we should have been back for rehearsal), roses everywhere, but everywhere – it was roses’ delight! A Monet’s Jardin bis 🙂
    I so love this post, I could kiss it 🙂
    Have a fantabulous ‘long’ weekend; we spent far too much time on the motorway this morning, driving to Orléans and back, but now we relax, drink fresh cold mineral with ‘citron bio’ and shall quite soon watch another episode of either Downton Abbey, 6 or 8 (?), nigh the end or maybe finish off Mr Selfridge (4th series)… We are always far behind as we buy them from UK once the English are done with – and have them sent to us to France, cheaper and we can wait! It’s still good enough for us NOW….
    Gros bisous
    Kiki
    AND I have taken the liberty of having Evie adorning the screen of Hero Husband’s iPad – she is the queen on the beautiful dreamy stone bench and looks at me with a twinkle in her eyes 🙂

    • It sounds like it was the most wonderful weekend, I love stopping and chatting to strangers. I remember when I was growing up in England, we used to ride our ponies everyday and as we trotted through a village we would always say good morning, or good afternoon to every person we saw, it was just the way it was, and I love that here we do the same, we gladly talk to strangers, we all share the love of the countryside and our gardens, it’s how it should be and it’s so good in today’s world. Hope you enjoyed your tv, great programme choices, and next you must watch the one on Queen Elizabeth, absolutely fabulous as well. I too spent much of yesterday sitting in the car, but in traffic jams, taking G to tennis we got stuck on the way for 1 hour 40 minutes and then on the way home for 1 hour 20 minutes, it seems the world was heading to the coast!!! But then we spent the evening at a bbq with friends, sitting outside under the stars until gone midnight, no need for a jacket or even a cardigan, such a great feeling, a couple of glasses of champagne, great company, great food, what could be better! So glad Evie is famous!!! Enjoy this stunning weather xxxx

      • Oh, we haven’t got TV, we only watch DVDs on my computer, for its screen too as I see so little….
        And we have had our wait on the motorways too, driving into Orléans took far over 1h30 instead of roughly one hour on Thursday, it seemed that God, the World and his uncle were all driving to the Bretagne, Bordeaux …. and we thought we should be fine as literally EVERYBODY we know around here was heading for the South!!! ;( Wrong idea…. But anyway, we made it there and back and it was a beautiful day.
        We now have to eat on the terrasse as our veranda gets too hot after mid-day – with both doors open and two large sunshades open day and night, I still had 36° there, I can’t stand that – one of the reasons I couldn’t ever live in the south… Devon was really quite ideal for me, hardly ever over 23°, hardly ever under 2-3°….. the sea nearby, very clean air, no pollution, kind people around us —– I shall be glad to visit again later.

      • It seems everyone has headed to the Charente Maritime coast! It is like the height of summer here, never seen so many people, so happy for them. Very hot here, not quite as hot as with you as we have a good sea breeze, but still plenty hot enough. Nice to be able to eat outdoors and sit outside and not need a jacket. Hope you have a wonderful Mother’s Day tomorrow. Xxx

  • It’s taken me many years to come to appreciate roses. Too many English parks used to have a formal rose garden that was just a bunch of dry stems for many months of the year. Now I love them in mixed plantings, or where they can scramble up the walls of old houses. And yes, of course it’s their scent that wins the day.

    • YESSSSS – the perfume of those ‘old’ roses – never too strong for ‘delicate noses’ like mine but just so that you want to bury your head in them for their loveliness! And I’m not a ‘roses’ person but I love them to death…. I say I’m not because I abhor the ‘formal’ roses and I hate that I will have to buy some 80 for Mothering Sun day in France when I would much rather buy two huge metal buckets with a ton of wild flowers and every woman could take their pick…. And I live in a house called Les Roses and have my trouble with all the ‘wild beasts’ and stuff doing all kind of carnage to my roses (because I don’t do poison, none at all) – but this year it’s really rose heaven – even in my poor garden, they are all over the place in an abudance and generosity like never before!
      Sorry Susan for taking over…. I go now!

      • I totally agree with you, I have the bought roses that droop after a couple of days and have no scent at all. A bucket of wild flowers is so much nicer! Our roses have come to terms with the aphids and the black spot etc., I pick off the odd leaf, I squish the aphids when I feel like it, but for the most part they thrive all together, much better this way than with a load of poisons all over them. xx

    • I totally agree with you, I remember rose beds from my childhood, a huge bed with a mass of roses planted in straight lines and just bare earth in between, stark and rigid and I too could never understand why people talked about how beautiful they were. To me it was almost ugly. But roses tumbling over walls and in a cottage garden setting are absolutely delightful and I have learnt to love them, so long as they smell fantastic too! xx

    • I totally agree with you, it doesn’t matter a jot which they are, the elderly gentleman was happy and charming and so proud of his ‘roses’, who cares what they are, they are perfect xx

  • Such beauty, so many beautiful roses (and peonies). How marvelous to have roses that smell like roses — these days it seems that anything from a florist has no scent, just good looks.
    The combination of soft roses and the texture of the stone walls is magical.

    • @ Emm; you’re so right…. That’s the best thing about garden roses, they are not perfect, they have ‘love bites’ from insects and bugs, they have blemishes AND they have wonderful sents 🙂

      • ok! 🙂
        you won’t believe how many ‘guest posts’ I have been ´invited’ to do….. for never being heard of later! not that I mind, if I can create some joy with my comments, I am happy. Not having my own blog permits me lengthier comments on friends’ blogs! Happy weekend…. we are living through scorchers again, they are good for the soul but not my body! 😉

      • With wonderful little phrases like that I am not surprised! Scorching here too, thank goodness we have the pool and the beach not too far away, beautiful beautiful though, love this weather and so happy it has been lovely for the long weekend. Xx

    • I am not a lover of shop bought roses at all, Roddy knows never to buy them for me, they always droop after a couple of days and they have no scent at all. But give me a vase full of old fashioned ones from the garden that perfume the entire room and I adore them! Off to do some research for you in the neighbouring village today, I’ll email over the weekend xx

  • Yes, roses are the best! This makes me want to plant some more for the variety. “Mr. Lincoln” is a favorite.

  • They are definitely peonies, the leaf poking through the railings gives them away.
    What glorious roses, I have been trying to identify varieties, I think I may have seen Albertine and had an eye out for Mme Alfred Carrière which I grew in my previous property. I haven’t a clue who she was and if I didn’t have that massive pile of ironing and washing up I’d google her.

    • I have to do some research as to what our roses are here, we have so many, they are mostly ancient, apart from one climbing rose I planted last year, but the rest have been here for decades I am sure, it would be lovely to know what they are, you have inspired me to look them up and see if I can work it out! xx

  • The Gigi Rose is perfect…the variations of white and pink are stunning. What a lovely post. The fragrance almost wafted off the scrren.

  • Susan,today’s post is absolute heaven! Oh!Your photos just take us away to a land of bliss.
    The pleasure of having vases all over filled fresh,fragrant roses(and peonies! I unfortunately did not have as much success growing those) is beyond words. I,too,had Mme Alfred Carriere in our previous garden,as well as (my favorite)Lagerfeld(which I still have),and Mr Lincoln.Though the drought destroyed half of my garden,I still had about 70 blooming varieities.A glorious time of life,then,and well worth all the work!
    Happy 50th Anniversary,grannierains!Congratulations and many more!
    Our wedding dates are so close! We will be 52 years on September 9th. I also carried roses(from my mom’s garden) in my bridal bouquet!

    • Thanks so much Natalia, this has really inspired me to try and find out what roses we have in the garden here. Most have been here for decades, but I would love to know their names, when I have a moment I shall try and do some research. 52 years in September, congratulations in advance, please remind me in September so I can say a big congratulations again, truly lovely xx

  • Hi Susan, your instinct was right, definitely a peony plant, just lovely.
    This post reminds me of summer, alas we are entering into Winter here in Australia but my roses are still blooming.
    Suzana xxx

    • I thought it was but I certainly wasn’t going to argue, he was so lovely and so proud of his flowers, that it really doesn’t matter what it was! Glad you still have roses blooming and I am sure you are looking forward to some cooler winter weather, if nothing else it makes us enjoy summer all the more! xx

  • Gigi understands light! And perhaps your elderly gardener didn’t understand peonies, which have their own special scent. I am always sticking my nose in roses. This time of year is so heavenly because of them.

    • I am sure he didn’t, but it really doesn’t matter, he was so proud and so charming and so enjoying pottering in his beautiful garden, it was just a pleasure to talk to him. xx

  • Your post arrived late last night on the point of my going to bed and I was simply too worn out to comment. But I went to sleep with my mind awash with all the glorious pink and red and saw the pictures in my mind’s eye the moment I came awake this morning. Thank you for all the incredible beauty 🙂 ! And, in your inimitable way, for the Roses 101, no, more like 201 ‘lecture’ somehow cleverly inserted in between and betwixt! I have always been so proud of the standard apricot ‘Crepuscule’ I planted in front of my bedroom window a quarter century ago . . . . hmmm: somehow it does not quite compare to some of the early summer glories you found . . ..

    • Don’t worry, we had a bbq with friends last night, it was 34C all day and remained much the same all evening, we sat outside until well past midnight with no need for a cardigan or jacket, the perfect evening. For the first time ever, I didn’t reply to any comments, I was too tired, I thought I will do them today instead! After 25 years I can imagine your Crepuscule is fabulous, I planted a climbing rose beside the summer kitchen last year, it is already looking better this year and I hope in a few years time it will look fabulous, but I have to be patient! The roses here are incredible and the scent, well it’s utterly intoxicating! xx

    • I am sure there will still be some in bloom, the varieties that flower again and again. Just looking at these makes me want to walk around the village smelling! But it is so hot today, 35C, that it will have to wait until this evening! xx

  • The rose, the sunlight on the rose…..PERFECTION!!! Please tell Gigi she is a marvelous photographer!!!
    I so enjoyed all the pics you posted that your children took. From the photos, I believe you have the makings of life-long photographers. They are so fortunate to begin taking pictures at such a young age. Never stop! The pictures were wonderful!!!

    • Gigi says a huge thank you! I love that they all take photos, what more could we ask for, it is fabulous that they take the time to enjoy so many of the simple pleasures in life. xx

  • Your roses must love the climate there. We lived a little further in towards Paris and the roses were quite puney in our garden. Also everything we tried to grow the snails would eat! I didn’t have the heart to control them because our girls loved watching the snails munching everything in sight. We had a little hedgehog who loved to munch on the snails while making his nightly rounds. So I guess it was a little ecosystem that worked together somehow. I was stuck with houseplants which we gave to the neighbors went we moved back to the States-my thumb has never been green anyways.

    • The roses do thrive here, that’s for sure. We too have a vast number of snails, I go around picking them up and taking them all down to the vast compost area of the garden where they can thrive quite happily and where the chickens also enjoy munching on them! I never use poisons though, I just put up with them! Do you think you will come back to France? Hopefully for a holiday at least. Have a lovely end to the week xx

  • What a wonderful tour of your piece of paradise, Susan. Amy remarked that she hopes something will still be smelling nice when we come past later this summer. Stunning to think almost all of those roses seem to be ‘just there’, perhaps a little unloved and un-appreciated by their owners, but still real enough to captivate the soul of those who wander past, like yourself. Nature doing what nature does……

    • That’s just what I loved most about nearly all of these roses, they just were a part of the scenery, nothing special required, they had just existed for decades and continue to bloom each year. There will certainly still be plenty around at the end of the summer, don’t worry! xx

  • What beautiful roses, you have there in France, Ms. Susan. I do love roses, but not as a bouquet but in their natural habitat, or I mean still attached to the vine/plant, flourishing like those in your pictures. Roses here are very expensive especially during Valentine or other holidays. A dozen can cost up to P 700.00 or € 13. And there, they grow like weeds? Wow! If I was walking along those path, I will also stop and admire them, or like you, take a pic.

    • I am in total agreement with you. I don’t care much for the shop bought roses either, they wilt after a couple of days and have no scent at all, but I do love them growing naturally, when their perfume fills the air. Hope you have a wonderful, happy and peaceful weekend xx

  • What a lovely post – thank-you! I love all your photos but, I have to say, Gigi’s is a stunner – well done. Up here in the north of Brittany our roses have been more bountiful than ever this year. I think we benefit from being near the coast; in fact, we still had the odd bloom throughout the Winter. Did you know that you can buy David Austin Roses over here? We bought a beautiful, scented apricot climber a couple of years ago at a Fête des Jardins and it is sooooo lovely; perfect for on the terrace. Bon week-end à tous. x

    • The weather has just been fabulous hasn’t it and I know you have been having the same in Brittany, perfect for a holiday weekend. I shall look out for David Austin roses now I know that you have bought one over here, I am looking for another climber for the summer kitchen so I shall start looking far more diligently now! Hope you have a lovely weekend. Xx

    • Hi Nancy, thanks so much, I too am in love with roses but I am no expert at all. I googled climbing roses that bloom all summer long for you and there is certainly plenty of choice. ‘New Dawn’ is a very vigorous climber that will bloom non stop until the first frost. Hopefully you will find something perfect for your garden. Have a great weekend xx

  • Having been so negative on shop bought roses, yesterday I bought 100 (one hundred!!!) beautiful, long-stemmed roses @ Auchan (25 for €10.-) for our church – for tomorrow’s French Mothers’ Day…. Interestingly enough, today, they still look brilliant but of course don’t smell – I still have to prepare every single one so that the children who will distribute them to all women (past their confirmation) don’t get any thorns to their tender hands. Decided that wrapping each rose in a bit of strong alu foil will do – but can’t do that now or they’ll definitely will be dead tomorrow, so it will be an early start!!!! Plus the decoration of altar and sacristy…. Oh some are made to be ‘Maries’ when all I ever wanted to be was a ‘Maria’! 🙂

    • Wow, you are good, and what a lovely idea for all the Mothers in the church, I am sure it will be a fabulous service and will be worth your early start, good for you. Have a lovely day xxx

  • Zut alors, …. some are made to be Marthas not Marias of course….. one shouldn’t be citing the bible when ‘thinking and writing with their glass of rosé in the hand’ 😉

    • Bonjour Kiki ! Vous testiez le vin de messe pour demain certainement…LOL !!! Ce sera votre excuse. Allez en paix vous êtes pardonnées ! Amen. Bonne fêtes des Mères/ Happy Mother’ s day.

      • @ Philippe; 🙂 🙂
        Il faut ce qu’il faut…. Toutes les roses sont maintenant ‘clean’ et belles, Marthe va au lit (le rosé est terminé!) et Marie va faire ses prières….

  • This was just so lovely to read and the photos enchanting . I always thought roses were hard to thrive near the sea but clearly I am wrong. You have inspired me to rethink the garden of our little holiday house near the sea.

    • They seem to thrive here and we are very close as the crow flies and our air is certainly salt laden! So do give it a try, the climbing roses which bloom all summer long are absolutely stunning. Xx

  • Another wonderfully evocative post. It is amazing to see how much more advanced plants are compared to here in Scotland. Very few of our roses are in bud yet, far less in flower.

    Around here a lot of gardeners refer to paeonies as paeony roses, so perhaps your elderly gentleman wasn’t too far out! The blooms are certainly very similar to look at. Temperatures here reached the mid-twenties this week, which I found just about bearable, so the idea of it being in the thirties is a bit discomforting! My wife wonders how I would cope with summers in Charentes, but I think it would be a case of working in the garden in the mornings and evenings, and finding somewhere cool to hide in the afternoons. A big refrigerated container might be just the thing!

    David Austin roses are excellent. Many of them are highly perfumed, and because of his breeding programme, they flower continually throughout the season, whereas a lot of the beautiful old roses tend to have one big flush of flowers, followed by rather more spasmodic and intermittent blooms. He has adopted the name English Rose for his introductions, so perhaps a little diplomacy might be called for… I think the company produce a French version of their catalogue, but whether in French or English, I am sure that you would find it inspirational. (You could look on-line, of course, but nothing beats turning a page, as far as I am concerned. Old fashioned or what?)

    On a completely different subject, you mention that Roddy likes fishing. What does he fish for? I enjoy fly fishing for trout, but have no idea about the fishing in Charentes.

    Thanks for your continuing inspirational posts that keep fuelling our dreams of making the move someday in the not to distant future.

    Best wishes,

    Ian

    P.S. I would definitely class you as a classic English rose!

    • Thanks so much Ian, you quite made my day! I am certainly going to find a David Austin catalogue for French roses, I agree being able to flick through something is so much more fulfilling. I would love to find something new that has scent and flowers all summer long, I need to find a climber to scramble over the summer kitchen. There are many summer days here that are in the mid 20’s, we just get these intermittent heatwaves when it leaps into the 30’s. These past five days have been scorching, but you are right, mornings and evenings are gorgeous and the midday sun is best avoided, but it rarely gets humid and so it is very pleasant in the shade! Roddy fishes for bass and any local inshore fish here in local waters. Hope the move happens sooner rather than later! Xx

  • Susan,
    Happy Happy Mother’s Day in France! I can’t think of a Mother more befitting to wish this to than you!
    What a Wonderful Role Model and Mentor you have been not only to your children but to me as well. Whether it be as a cheerleader, cook, counselor, decorator, entertainer, friend, gardener, or listener…the gifts you have taught your children are plentiful. Most importantly you have blessed each one of them with your Beauty and Grace each and everyday.
    You are one “awe inspiring” mother to your five children and I am so appreciative that you have allowed us, your readers, to tag along on this adventure of yours. Enjoy your day and I hope you are being showered with love and affection you so richly deserve..! 🌸❤️🌸❤️

    • @stuffie6us:
      may I wholeheartedly join in? I thought of Susan too this morning!!!!!! a true role model. Thank you 4 putting it so eloquently in words!

    • Thanks so very much Stephanie, you are too too kind! It was a wonderful day, I was treated to breakfast in bed with home made banana pancakes accompanied by fresh roses from the garden, a perfect start. It has been really hot here for the past few days, never dipping below 30C, so the pool has been in constant use, which means endless giggles and fun and as it has coincided with a four day holiday it couldn’t be better! Hope you have a wonderful week ahead xx

      • Susan, your Mother’s Day sounds wonderful. Banana pancakes…Delicious!
        Have a wonderful week ahead…time goes way too fast for me. I am definitely going to take some time to smell the 🌹s…this coming week!
        Thank you again for another “heartfelt”
        Post filled with a little history lesson and lovely pictures! ❤️

      • Time does indeed to way too fast, but it is not just us who think this way, our children say the same too, so I am thinking it is just the pace at which we all live, so much to cram in and so little time. However, by contrast, we just had a four day weekend and bizarrely we all agreed it felt as if the children had been on holiday for two weeks not four days, we managed to do so much and have such fun, so I guess that is a good thing! Have a lovely week xx

  • Such a beautiful post featuring one of my favourite flowers…and most informative. My Mother always grew beautiful roses and so I grew up surrounded by them . Thank you so much…At last we have had some really warm summer like weather and the roses at Hampton Court, just down the road are looking quite beautiful. Enjoy your weekend…janet 🙂 xx

    • I simply adore roses when they grow naturally and smell fantastic, I am not such a fan of the shop bought ones though. I heard that you have had the most gorgeous weather, hopefully it will last for a while. It has been incredible here, perfect for a long four day weekend we have all just had, the coast was packed, it was like the height of summer, I am very pleased for all the tourist related businesses. Hope you have had a lovely weekend xx

    • I am not sure which smells the best at the moment, the roses or the honeysuckle. We have a hedge covered in honeysuckle right at the top of the drive and it is fantastic, the smell in incredible! Hope you have had a lovely weekend xx

      • I absolutely love the smell of lilacs, sadly they are long since gone now here but it is always something I look forward to immensely every spring. If you manage to find a way to keep them fresh indoors in vases for more than just a couple of days do let me know! xx

  • Here I am late as usual!! The sunny weather of the last week has drawn me away from my computer into the garden, which can only be a good thing! Roses – I have never grown them before. Never had the type of garden, but now we have our cottage and have re-designed the garden, I have planted some! And joy of joys, they are beginning to bloom! (I have this tendency to think that nothing I plant will flower!). I have Shropshire Lad beginning his climb to the top of the arbour, such a gentle beautiful peachy pinky white that opens from a darker pink bud. then Gertrude Jekyll is busily making her way up the arch between the flower garden part and the vegetable garden as well as starting to hug the porch over our front door. Such glorious perfume as we walk in! Then there’s the 4 bush roses I planted in our front border last autumn – Charlotte, Boscobel, Thomas a Beckett and The Lady Gardener. And finally, not forgetting Lord Byron (known as Polka in France I believe) that I bought following reading a post on Sharon Santoni’s blog – a delicious Apricot rose to climb up the other side of the arch. So, I’m so excited to see how they perform and if for the first time in my more than 60 years I can cut roses from my garden! And I would recommend to any of your readers who will be in England in the third week of June, to consider visiting David Austin Roses – the gardens are sublime! A feast for the senses and with each rose labelled so you can note your favourites (which turn out to be all of them I fear!!). Happy gardening.

    • Oh my goodness, they all sound so perfect and what fun, to be cutting your first roses, how I hope they go totally wold for you and you have endless blooms. Imagine in another year or two when it is totally covering your porch, it will be so delightful I am rather envious in a way as I have no idea what any of our roses are, they have all been here for decades but they smell fantastic. However, I am going to buy two climbers and I have been noting everyone’s suggestions. I shall make a note of yours and then see what I can find here, might be easier said than done! But it will be fun looking and seeing what is available. I want a really rampant climber that will bloom all summer long and cope with our very hot weather. Hope you have a lovely week xx

  • From the amount of roses I saw on our trip, I imagine that you don’t get very far if you are driving and stopping to take pictures. They are everywhere and gorgeous. We went through one town that was preparing for a rose festival. It seemed that every house had roses galore. I was driving, so I pulled over and had my husband hop out to take pictures. None of the pictures he captured showed the abundance that I’d hoped. Oh, well. Maybe I’ll share them eventually.
    Our trip to France was a reconnaissance trip. We plan to move after he retires in December. I’ll be blogging about our decisions soon.
    Thanks for playing along with Dreaming of France. Here’s my Dreaming of France meme

    • Thanks for explaining, I shall look forward to reading about your decisions and where you have decided to base yourselves. Glad you had such a wonderful trip and got to enjoy so many roses, they have been quite spectacular this year. Very very hot here, 35C for the past few days, it was like summer already! Xx

  • What a pretty post! I was amazed by the variety and the amount of roses in bloom – those photos just kept coming! It reminded me of California this year, because the roses are just astounding after the amount of rain we had after a 4-year drought. Roses do love water, don’t they! You know, I’ll send this post to my English dad, who is 90 years old now, had a landscaping business in his younger days, and adores roses. Thank you!

    • I absolutely adore the scent of lilacs, sadly they finished here back at the end of March, but there is always something new to look forward to at this time of year! Have a great week xx

  • Beautiful pics! The only roses I know of that look like peonies are Alynwick roses, though I’m sure there may be others.

    • I am quite sure they were peonies, but I would never wish to upset him and besides it doesn’t matter at all anyway, he was so proud of his garden and so lovely and so happy just to chat, that’s what matters, not whether they are roses or peonies, don’t you think? Have a lovely week xx

    • Thanks, I wish I was better at identifying the different roses and their names, not something I have ever tried to do, perhaps this is the next stage in gardening for me! Xx

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