i never promised you a rose garden
Seeing all these roses in one place is first overpowering then depressing. It’s a rose zoo. Crammed into the invisible cage of the planting, they want their space but at the same time seem to lean up against one another for comfort. And the names they give them. The most popular buy is a white rambler called A Shropshire Lad; his consort, Shropshire Lass, gets less trade. “Look, this one’s new for this year! Look, ‘Ancient Mariner’!” There’s more than one ancient in here this afternoon. “This is solid!” –patting a box hedge, admiring and patronising at the same time, congratulating a shrub for being grown by the same culture that grew him– “It’s been up a few years!” Nevertheless, dark clouds are gathering here at the David Austen home for old gardeners.