interior architecture + design


Be Careful What you Wish For...or how the Standard White Iceberg Roses turned pink...

iceberg rose turned pink in cold weather

As much as I adore our new house, being an Art Nouveau villa built in 1914, and full of fabulous Arts & Crafts architectural details, my love for it does not include an admiration for the rows of Standard White Iceberg Roses which the previous owner planted in the front garden. In fact, the other day, when I was having afternoon tea with Penny from Paisley Summer (she who more than knows her way around a brilliant garden design, and happily has been granted not one but more like 10 Green Thumbs), I was bemoaning my despair of these ubiquitous plants as I was showing her around the new house and garden. "Why don't you like them", she asked..."Is it because they are used everywhere? Or is it because there are so many other wonderfully coloured and scented roses which could have been used instead?"

rows of standard white icebergs

standard white iceberg rose

The answer, I suppose, lays somewhere between those two questions. Yes, they are used everywhere...although being "common" doesn't preclude something from being beautiful in my book...thinking of many "weeds" which are actually very lovely...Perhaps it is because these Standard roses are planted willy-nilly, and often without regard for the context of the building behind them, in garden after garden in many therefore I just scrumple my nose without seeing them as beautiful in their own right...which is silly as the Iceberg rose itself is quite a fabulous plant, flowering in shaded conditions when all other roses will simply sulk...and a massed bunch of them (as is sitting on my desk right now, as I type) is rather lovely, albeit sans scent...

Or maybe it is just that sense of lost opportunity, when there could have been scent and there could have been colour...

But then, while I was busily being rude about the little Icebergs, they must have listened, because as the nights grew colder last week...the most magical thing happened...

white iceberg with pink edges

iceberg rosebud gone pink in wet cold weather

pink iceberg rose

They changed from pristine, icy white to the most deliciously delicate blush pink...some with pink spots and some with a rosy glow...but all with a faint scent...and while this phenomenon is apparently entirely due to the cold nights and raindrops...I rather prefer the thought that the little roses are begging for mercy...they don't want to be unceremoniously pulled I am just going to have to learn to live with them, as ubiquitous as they are, to learn to welcome them into the garden....because even if it is only for a few months a year that they produce some colour, it shows that they do have a personality after all....and maybe, just maybe, those standard stems would be useful for climbing beans???