On our morning patrol through my small rose garden accompanied by my beloved husband and treasured puppy dog, Lucy. I noticed to my joy that the little buds on my Tuscan rose were slowly peeling back their outer coat uncovering the delicate petals crimped and creased like aged tissue paper, the colour of deepest royal purple. They clustered together creating a circle of ruffles enclosing a ring of golden stamens within. I sighed with pleasure to see such a delight and started to reflect. I have waited several years to see this beautiful creation and smell the intoxicating scent.
I first set eyes on this beauty in an old mill garden, set deep in the Staffordshire countryside. It was open for charity one Sunday afternoon, the owner had looked on with immense surprise when we arrived bumping along the very dusty uneven driveway in my husband’s treasured porsche. However as he guided me through his billowing ,colourful garden his surprise soon gave way to pure pleasure as he realised he had a fellow enthusiast. As I sauntered along the grassy paths edging the overfull borders I suddenly caught a heavy musky perfume hanging in the air.I turned and spied this shrubby rose with the darkest purple flowers dotting the light green foliage. “It is the Tuscan Rose” the owner said proudly, what a beauty what a scent !!!! and how apt as our dream of moving to Italy was becoming ever closer but at least for now I could buy this little love and plant it in my garden.
So began the search, on our way home we visited Davis Austin’s rose nursery and strolled around his gardens which in mid June where in full flower. Oh what a paradise especially for Ian, he loves roses and was like a child in a sweetie shop he wanted every jewel. They flowered like colurful dolly mixtures,tumbling, creeping covering they were fountains, waterfalls , hedges and tunnels. Oh the choice was endless but for me only one rose was the trophy The Tuscan Rose . Home it came a strong well potted shrub with its roots looking for the open soil so it could draw nourishment and perform to its waiting audience . But oh no this poor little shrub had is roots pressed into the cold dank soil of our welsh hillside with the sun glimmering at its leaves through gaps in the tall trees from the forest behind.
My little rose sat there leaves hanging low in sadness never a flower to be seen. I do believe it was depressed, I can’t blame it I also found it an effort to work and survive in that garden. I gazed sadly at it “Stick with me little rose I promise to make things better”
So now many years later I have my house in Italy maybe not in romantic Toscana but in lovely Piemonte at the foothills of the craggy Alps, where the hills roll carpeted by vineyards and crowned with colourful villages in umber ,terracotta rust and yellows.
The valleys open out with lush green foliage of the fruit trees and harvest crops and roses billow from every corner.
My Tuscan rose came too and when it sank its feeble roots into the warm rich soil I could feel its delight. The winter snow bathed its roots and the spring sunshine strengthened its stems and each day the buds formed ready for today’s spectacle .
Just like me it became stronger loving its surroundings settling into its new home,. feeling the culture and the passion for growing and now it thanks me just as I thank all my new friends for their help and encouragement in my new home.