IT’S certainly a good year for the roses, as Elvis Costello would affirm and the blooms, thought of as quintessentially English, are fantastic attractions at this time.

Even though our climate continues to warm, it is still ideal for these beautiful riots of colour and a couple of stars, in very different locations are, in fact, imports from just across the Channel.

Two years ago I purchased a tiny stub of a French rose in a pound shop and it has literally blossomed into a beautiful specimen on the edge of the veg patch, under the Rosemary Russet apple tree.

Known as the Apothecary’s rose, this French import is also known as R. gallica maxima, the Old Red Damask and the Red Rose of Lancaster.

Isle of Wight County Press: Pink roses at Northcourt House, Shalfleet.Pink roses at Northcourt House, Shalfleet. (Image: Richard Wright.)

It was first cultivated in the 13th century and happily tolerates some shade and low fertility, which is just as well in its location.

A pole apart in terms of location, in the much grander setting of Northcourt House, Shorwell, is the old rose, Fantin Latour looking at its very best, planted 35 years ago but still going strong.

Latour was a famous Victorian French painter most known for painting roses, so it was named after him as a favourite.

Isle of Wight County Press: The old rose, Fantin Latour at Northcourt House, Shalfleet.The old rose, Fantin Latour at Northcourt House, Shalfleet. (Image: Richard Wright.)

There is an early opportunity to view it and 70 other species of rose at Northcourt, which doesn’t usually throw open its gates until later in the season, under the charity National Garden Scheme.

John Harrison and his wife Christine own the house.

John said: "After a cold spring and lots of rain, all the roses now look especially healthy and full of bud, after more than two weeks of solid sunshine.

"This could be the best ever year for roses!

"The sunken garden with its wilder planting will be at its best too, with rose Raubritter cascading over the walls, as it does at Mottisfont in Hampshire."

  • Northcourt’s garden is open on Sunday, from 11.30-5pm, where there will also be teas and plants for sale.

Isle of Wight County Press: A rose in Bill Moore's Gunville garden.A rose in Bill Moore's Gunville garden. (Image: Bill Moore.)

Inhabiting my more modest end of the gardening spectrum, Bill Moore, from Gunville, has sent me dazzling pics of his rose success, which he too attributes to the weather.

But he cautions: “How long until we get a hosepipe ban...”

Isle of Wight gardening top tips

  • Start to pick sweet peas as soon as they flower, to encourage more blooms.
  • Dead-head roses if they’re repeat-flowering types. Otherwise, leave the seed heads on for colourful border decoration.
  • Wait for bulb foliage to die down before cutting back.
  • Pinch out the tips of fuchsias to encourage a bushy habit and more flowers.
  • Plant out leeks from seedbeds or pots, ideally after rainfall.
  • Prune out overcrowded or dead stems of clematis once they have finished flowering to maintain a good shape.
  • Toward the end of the month if your hardy geraniums have finished flowering cut them back to encourage new growth and flowers.
  • Harvest flower heads from lavender plants to use in baking, crafting, a garnish to your meals or, better still, a sleep pillow. That’s where the aroma really belongs.