Long before I had ever heard of Vita Sackville-West and her white garden at Sissinghurst, I had discovered how wonderful white flowers can be in the garden.
One day, purely by accident I stumbled across the magic they bring at dusk.
I was in my garden on a balmy summer's evening when it started to get dark. I didn't feel like going in at all, so I stayed outside. It got darker and darker and I noticed that the white flowers looked as if they were glowing. Soon, the only thing you could see in the garden were the white flowers, all the other colours had simply disappeared. It was a revelation. From that evening on, I've dreamt about a white garden.
About 5 years ago, we moved to a new house with a rather big garden and this was my chance of making my white garden dream come true. It's the front garden that we've changed from a very boring garden with grass, a narrow row of terminally ill roses and a few humongous shrubs so close to the house that they were obscuring the light, into the garden we have today. We got rid of the grass, the shrubs and the roses and slowly turned it into this garden you see now. It took us about 2 1/2 years to get this result and we are hoping that the garden will slowly get better and better year after year.
I've used lots of white roses, with good effect and even though they are only 1 1/2 years old they are already performing wonderfully don't you think? They are flowering their little hearts out with gay abandon and fill the garden with their lovely scent.
I've chosen only scented roses as I feel that a rose without a scent is not half as good as one with scent. All the roses in my front garden are white (or whitish) and I bought them all at the De Wilde rose nursery near Zutphen where they sell good quality roses and clematis. They also have a lovely big rose garden where you can spent hours and hours gazing at all those lovely roses and drinking in their scent. Bliss!
The scented white roses that I have chosen are either climbers or semi-climbers: Guirlande d'Amour and Madame Alfred Carriere are smothering the pergola. And on the 6 rose obelisks 2 Blanc Double de Coubert, 1 Sombreuil, 2 Guirlandes d'Amour and 1 Moonlight are slowly trying to cover the obelisks with their blossom.
The rose Guirlande d'Amour is a rose that I can fully recommend to anyone who's looking for a long flowering white rose, with a lovely scent and that's healthy too and doesn't need too much pampering. Madame Alfred Carriere is also a firm favorite of mine. Vita Sackville-West grew it too against the front wall of the south cottage and it's still here today, looking as spectacular as ever.
And I wove the thing to a random rhyme,
For the Rose is Beauty, the Gardener, Time.