The community garden I vounteer with every Monday in the spring/summer season has been given a kind, yet unexpected, gift of a massive load of not very old horse manure with wood shavings. While this is not in fact what is needed for vegetabled beds (it’s too strong) it is prefect as a mulch for established flower beds. So yesterday I took a few bags (old dog food sacks are always useful for compost) of the manure with wood shavings home for my flower beds with roses. I have a good number of roses bushes what I saved from destruction when the local council were pulling out all the roses in the village rose beds out two years ago and replacing them. I knew they were good strong roses and so I lifted the roots of a few plants before the council took them away for composting. These roses have thrived in my flower beds which have been made over the last five years from added old horse manure every year untop of a heavy clay soil. The mulch layer keeps in the moisture in the hot sun of summer and prevents the roots getting water logged logged in the wettest periods. I will look forward to this new mulch layer protecting the roses again this year. Each year I make a lovely rose petal jelly out of my best rose bush – a David Austin rose named Tess of the D’Urbevilles, see photo for the fabulous colour of blooms it produces from early summer right through until November. The petals are also use for drying into the homemade potpourri is use in the hamper baskets. I garden my roses with a totally organic level of care, I pick off the green fly (and encourage the small garden birds to eat it) and in damp weather when Black Spot comes to the leaves I pick them off by hand and put them into the rubbish bin – not the composting where it will thrive and spread to next years leaves. The work of organically caring for roses is repaid many times over with the pleasure of being able to cook with the petals. Last years rose blooms were a real pleasure to pick and work with.