The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space


Every year I fall in love with Rosa banksiae ‘Lutea’ again

Posted in Plants and Bulbs | 6 comments

Every year I fall in love with Rosa banksiae ‘Lutea’ again

We only grow old roses in our garden. As we have loads of space we can afford to do this rather than plant repeat flowering roses. Some of the old ones do repeat their flowers throughout the summer but even with these the first flush is always the best. The newer varieties of roses are bred to flower on and off all summer. If you have a small garden these can be a joy but they rarely bowl you over or are stunning at any point in the year. They are bred for repeat floweng and that’s what you get. The old roses that flower just once a year...

read more

Tea and roses

Posted in Discoveries, General care | 17 comments

Tea and roses

I realised that if I bought leaf tea rather than tea bags I could save a bit of cash and also use the sweet little tea spoon that I inherited from my grandmother. It meant a week of drinking some rather elderly mango infused tea to finish the caddy. I stuck it for a couple of days and put the rest in the compost bin – it is supposed to be a fertiliser after all. We discovered that the loose tea leaves were packed with far more flavour than the same type and brand of teabags. But dealing with the tea leaves was going to be a bit of a...

read more

Old Roses: Rosa Complicata

Posted in Flowers | 6 comments

Old Roses: Rosa Complicata

Many years ago I worked in a London Day Centre for mentally ill adults. One day a pretty Maltese lady looked troubled. When I asked her what was wrong she replied, “I am feeling,” she jutted her chin as she searched for the right word, “. . complex.” Sometimes I too feel complex and Rosa Complicata is the perfect antidote. This is one of my favourite roses in the garden. I love the name and the simplicity of the flowers. It’s like a child with large clear eyes. One of my duties at the Day Centre was to organise...

read more

Old roses: Rosa Rambling Rector. (1910, unknown breeder(s))

Posted in Flowers | 8 comments

Old roses: Rosa Rambling Rector.  (1910, unknown breeder(s))

This gorgeous frothy rose makes the biggest impact of all the roses in our garden. We open the back door to find it spilling over the first half of the herbaceous border. It has climbed into the plum trees in the garden next door and splashes over the shrubs below like a floral Niagara. It flowers throughout June. For a whole month we savour it from the first buds to the last few handfuls of flowers. “We ought to have our summer party in June.” Danny declares each year. But we never do. The cottage is small, so big parties take...

read more

Old roses: Rosa banksiae ‘Lutea’

Posted in Featured, Flowers | 19 comments

Old roses: Rosa banksiae ‘Lutea’

I planted this beautiful rose beside the front door fifteen years ago, following the advice of Saggers nursery in Newport, Essex. Saggers give really good advice. In fact most of the best plants and stunning shrubs in our garden come from them. Being privately owned they are a good bet compared to the more commercial local nursery gardens. This is Rosa Banksiae ‘Lutea’, a rambling rose that does not drop its leaves in winter in this part of the world. It’s also virtually thornless and the clusters of small double petalled...

read more


Copyright © 2006-2012 Cottage Smallholder      Our Privacy Policy      Advertise on Cottage Smallholder


FD