Rosa Chapeau de Napoleon – a talking point for your garden

This quirky rose is also known as the Crested Moss or rosa centifolia cristata; it was apparently discovered in the 1820s growing against a convent wall in Fribourg, Switzerland.cdn 1

The fringed, mossy sepals give the buds a shape similar to Napoleon’s hat, hence the name, and people are always intrigued the first time they see them. It is hardy in Zones 5 to 7 and should be fine in Zone 4 with a little protection.

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The scent is exquisite but the foliage up the long arching canes is a little sparse; in my garden I peg some of them down into the soil amongst neighbouring plants and new laterals form along their length so you end up with rose flowers over a large area.

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I sat by the pond to do some editing but the damselflies flew in!

This afternoon the sun came out and  the humid oppressiveness of the past few days lifted; the air was warm and scented by roses, with just a soft breeze blowing, so I decided to sit by the pond to continue editing Ellie’s story.  Ten minutes later the damselflies arrived in large numbers; I had seen the odd one or two about over the last couple of weeks but today’s visitors were a photographic opportunity I could not let slip by.

2 common blue and 1 large red

9 common blue flying too fast for the mode I was using!

9 common blue flying too fast for the mode I was using!

1 common blue; worth clicking on for a clearer view

I failed to capture a decent shot of the frog in the reeds but I’m sure I heard him saying “eddit, eddit, eddit.”

Promotional stickers on book covers

I am still tweaking my novel but the time has come when I can no longer put off the tricky matter of choosing a cover design. I had not understood the importance of the cover on ebooks when I started writing the story so I’m more anxious about this aspect of digital self-publishing than I had anticipated.

One regular piece of advice is to visit booksellers and see which covers from your genre catch your attention as you walk towards the stands. Earlier this week I went into a well-known High Street shop that sells books, magazines, stationery etc. with the intention of choosing two or three of their top-one-hundred-selling paperbacks  based entirely on my reaction to their front cover design. I have never bought a book without reading the synopsis; this was an experiment to see if the stories fulfilled my expectations created by their covers alone.  My plan was short-lived, however, as every book’s cover was partially obscured by a large red sticker showing the special deal if you bought two books at the same time.  If your book is amongst the top five in the bestsellers list I suspect that this would not bother you, but what if you are a new author whose book has crept into the top one hundred for the first time, someone relying on readers being drawn to their book first because the cover is striking.  I came away without buying any books but will try my experiment again in a proper bookshop where there will, hopefully, be shelves full of naked books for me to admire.

I would like to know how you feel about covers being defaced by large stickers after so much effort has been put into their design so please leave a comment. 

The first rose of summer

One of the roses is flowering and half a dozen of the others have burgeoning buds that will soon open and release their exquisite fragrance; sadly, if this strong north-easterly wind does not stop blowing, nobody will be able to smell it although the residents of the neighbouring village might just catch a whiff as it hurtles past.

Many people who are avid readers of whodunits but not particularly keen gardeners will still know about the thornless climbing rose “Zephirine Drouhin” which appears in Agatha Christie’s story “Sad Cypress.” The photograph I took today shows a sport of that variety, also thornless, called “Kathleen Harrop” but this one is much less well known. It grows against a wall of our house and I have used it in my manuscript as a clue for Ellie.

Kathleen Harrop

Kathleen Harrop