Monday, 18 June 2018

July 2018 -- Carnelia roses


It is not unusual for members of the Anglican clergy to achieve excellence in other fields. We have some old shrub roses at home developed by an Essex vicar, the rose-breeding Revd. Joseph H. Pemberton during the early part of the 20th century. His involvement with the rose world was great for he exhibited his blooms at the popular rose shows held throughout the country, being assisted in this by his two gardeners. While thus exposed to a wide range of these beautiful flowers, he conceived the idea of introducing easy to grow shrub roses to be characterised by great fragrance and a free-flowering habit. The method which Joseph Pemberton employed was not recorded but his work of hybridisation resulted in a small selection of varieties still valued today. The best of them have the names ‘Penelope’, ‘Felicia’, and ‘Cornelia’ and, while hundreds of rose varieties have vanished in the intervening years, these are still grown, a remarkable achievement for an amateur. Cornelia — here wet but fragrant.
      The other day I took a short walk at Stalybridge Country Park, ascending an uphill track between some cottages. Warblers sang in a wooded area and passing through this I was soon at a higher point from where I could look down onto part of a reservoir. The air was wonderfully fresh, having a different quality to that of, say, central Oldham, and a falcon circled overhead. From the valley below bursts of birdsong and the sound of rushing water floated upwards bringing a great sense of peace and tranquillity. I thought how restorative such places are to the careworn spirit and how essential it is that everyone should have access to natural beauty somehow. The vegetation there was not varied, mainly bracken and heather with birch and oak trees stilted by thin soil and exposure. On the walk down I passed a gardener planting a new border at the front of a cottage. He knew his plants and was
enthusiastic about them and I thought of the importance of gardens in bringing natural beauty into our ever-accelerating world.
      The small corner garden next to the Parish Hall is flourishing, being the idea of John, one of our Church Wardens, who carried out all the hard graft needed to prepare the site for planting. Others were enthused by this, Charlie for example bringing the Alchemilla mollis and pink Geranium which have grown to suppress incoming weeds. A former patch of weedy turf now makes an attractive statement.

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