When I arrived at ‘Clear Springs’ in classic spring drizzle, the colours of the seasonal blossom and flower glowed brightly in the mute light, against the grey sky. It was Thursday and ahead of me lay four days in the garden, before I had to go back to the city and to work. And in front of me, on a grassy path, lay Mme Alfred Carriere. She lay sadly beside the verandah post she was supposed to be attached to. She looked like a badly broken limb: at the wrong angle and disconcerting.
An instant sense of guilt came. I had meant to prune all the roses on my previous visit, but had only managed to trim a few of the bush roses, daunted no doubt by the mammoth task of thinking out and tidying up the vigorous old lady of the climbing rose world. My failure to act meant that she was too top heavy and the wires that supported her buckled in the heavy winds.
My initial dread subsided somewhat when I discovered that she had slumped rather than snapped. I figured I could reattach her.
It didn’t take long.
Once righted, she stood proudly again and I picked a few of the exquisite buds that were beginning to open and enjoyed the rosy fragrance from the cream flowers, so palely stained with pink, the margin of the outer petals a wrinkled, cerise edge. These colours usually bleach away in the bright sun, but this grey day had kept the precious colours vivid.