His unhappy life in the course of the season that followed has now become a family joke. He was eaten (both by voles and chafers) and he was strimmed (by my husband, unaware that roses lurked in the long grass). All the misfortune that rained down on his head could have been avoided if I'd properly read the label and focused on his potential for disaster. But he was on 'special offer', so I didn't take much care.
The hours that I spent pleading with the little sad stick that remained after he had (nearly) died are without count. In the end even I had to admit it was over. Cautiously, I ordered a replacement plant since he seemed such a favourite with the Antique Roses Forum.
I'm not disappointed. The border is now dug and the picture really is of my very own Jude - heh there Jude! One of the best in the garden ...
I opted for two Bourbon roses, 'Boule de Neige' (right) and 'Louise Odier'. The first Bourbon roses (it's believed) arose from natural hybridisation between China roses and autumn-flowering Damasks planted as hedges around plantations on the Ile de Bourbon. The hybrids were brought back to France and 'worked on', including Gallica and yet more Damask blood in the mix. They seem to do very well in this garden and (after hours pondering) I wonder if their repeat-flowering habit and love of heat could make them a perfect match for our conditions.
The third? I took a gamble on another Austin rose, although some of my first Austin plantings are not doing too well in the silty clay and heat of the Rose Walk. 'William Shakespeare' looks like he might be a near match for the top-performer there, 'Munstead Wood'. But it will be fun to observe the differences.
All three of the new containerised roses went into the ground today - we've had wonderful rain over the last 8 days or so, and I'm hopeful that containerised really will be easier to establish.
Do take a look at the Antique Rose Forum if, like me, you are addicted to old roses and enjoy luxuriating/agonising in your next choices.