What is an Expert?

Duke of Windsor Rose

Until four years ago I  never had to look after the garden! So when we downsized dramatically, Hubby and I agreed that perhaps the easiest thing to do was turn this tiny patch over to nothing but roses! Confident that I am NO Expert our mission was to seek advice!

We had rose beds full of Duke of Windsor roses in the seventies so decided to start with those. It took weeks to find them! Then we were told, by the experts,  not to touch them as they are no longer popular  and very difficult to grow! Perhaps our memories were deceiving us?! We knew Cobber, our gardener all those years ago, was superb. Perhaps he was a miracle worker?!  I ordered them!

Coral Island

Over this short time I have squeezed over fifty roses into the tiniest plot! To my utter surprise people are coming round to look at the display and ask for advice. Sadly I have to be honest and inform them I am no expert! The looks I get as they walk away! It is as though I am being economical with the truth!

This Spring everything was going well until a rain storm was followed by a -10 degrees frost. Disaster! As the buds started to open they were so small and basically shrivelled away! The internet was no help! So I called an expert horticulturist who said his roses were just fantastic “the best ever!”Just what I wanted to hear!”It sounds like a disease. Chop them all down and see if they recover next year.”

Cut these all down – No not me

Devastated, I picked myself up. Surely someone knows what to do? Next I went to a Garden Centre with a sample. Same advice from the expert.  “No no” I thought.  I drove to another Garden Centre well known for its prizes at Chelsea over the years.  Rose Expert comes over and is so polite but has never seen anything like this. “Are you sure?” I ask, as  I lead him to all the rose bushes they are trying to sell to us ignoramuses! There in front of him are a mass of buds like mine! Quickly he gets out his secateurs and takes all the damaged buds off!  Then I pluck up the courage to ask :- “Could it be the result of the frost two weeks ago?” “Yes yes that is exactly what it is” he replies. “Yes the frost!”  “So what should I do?” “Just do as I have done and the new buds will be fine.”  Exactly who was making sense?

Thankfully I did just that and all is good. In fact the best they have ever been!!


“But he who dares not grasp the thorn
Should never crave the rose.”

Anne Bronte