The unknown rose (though likely 'Golden Showers') at the gable end has been blooming magnificently. Each Winter I dig in good amounts of manure together with compost and this constant soil improvement pays dividends. It's likely that the Catmint, Nepeta 'Six hills giant' is less floriferous than if it had been grown 'hard', a bit like Lavender, but the rose is a greedy feeder so something has to give.

I'ts been damp and muggy in recent days, perfect weather for aphids and blackfly and goodness knows there are millions of them at the moment.

In an effort to thwart the little buggers I've had considerable success using the soap and oil mixture pictured above.

Savon Noir is an organic product. A combination of soap, olive, linseed and lavender oil, it seems to do the trick. Diluted to about 2 percent, or 100 ml to 5 litres and applied with a pump spray on a dry day, et voila, problem resolved.

Of course there are hundreds of natural recipes to be found on the net, some work, some don't but always worth a try. To be frank, I'd shift rather than be drenched in soap and linseed oil


  1. wow - that picture of your roses and mint are just beautiful!!

    I love seeing pictures of your grounds - they are gorgeous....and so inspiring

  2. Rob, you should be proud of this picture! Not a picture, but an IMAGE. Instant excitement, Wow, Ahh!!! - this was my first reaction. Composition and colors are excellent. Yellows and brown are incredible, they radiate warmth. And I can feel sunshine! The rose is magnificent, plus the piece of the blue sky, the building, the terracota pot and THE HEAD - all together they create such a powerful, beautiful image. Bravo!

  3. Aphids: with all the unceasing rain we have had this month, already I am seeing aphids on the leaves of the beech trees. Crazy.

    On the 'brighter' side, that rose is as golden as the sun-reflected stone. Gorgeous!

  4. My garden rooms have only just begun to fill-in, as this is the first full year that we've been here. I have taken pleasure in the inspiration that you have so graciously provided, and can only hope that my small corner of the world will soon explode into a wonderland as yours has. Thank you for sharing your passion.

  5. What a great picture Rob. I just wish aphids and slugs could learn to eat each other!

  6. What a wonderful rose, it is stunning. I even have aphids on my cherry tree this year which I have never seen before. I have just been blasting them off with a strong spray but not sure this is a lot of help long term. Diane

  7. Lovely colour of the rose for your old stonehouse:-)
    Do you also get a second bloom if you trim down the catmint (half of it has to go) when it starts to look a little over? Sometimes when we have very hot and dry summers, this trick seems to be not as useful as ordinary Swedish (halfwarm/halfcold) summers.

  8. That does look like the golden showers rose. I had one a long time ago, but I think I lost it in the move 5 years ago. It couldn't handle being in a pot as well as the others. If you look at my blog you'll see the "monster" pearl d'ore still growing in the pot!
    I always anxiously await to see what you will post next as there is so much inspiration and beauty in your photos. This one is just as wonderful! I'd never thought of growing the catmint, but it looks beautiful blooming!
    Can't wait to see what you show us next!!

  9. The rose looks beautiful with the warm color of the limestone and the violet blue of the Catmint. The entire picture has a golden patina.

  10. Beautiful picture!

    I was trying to fight the aphids with combination of garlic and cayenne pepper – it is not working.

  11. The rose and nepeta against the wall--totally stunning!

    Aphids are a pain. They really like milkweed, but so far, I've not seen any on the plants. I have seen lady bugs and they eat aphids.

  12. Everything is looking lovely.

    Do we pronounce the word Aphids, with a bit of French flair to make them seem oh, just a little bit more exotic to us non french gardeners?

    Hate them, no matter how I pronounce their names.


  13. I was amazed to find one of my magnolias covered in aphids... this was a seedling that I allowed to develop into a seven foot tree.... it really didn't belong where it was so I decided rather than spraying it, I cut it to the ground... the area looks better without it and the aphid horde was quickly dispensed! admittedly, not the solution for every case scenario... Larry

  14. Visitors must gasp with delight when that vision confronts them, Rob, I gasped just at the photo, which is stupendous by the way. I am glad you have found a way to annoy the aphids to death. The most organic or insect controls. Thanks for the tip about the extra soil improvement each year, roses are heavy feeders and we are not so good at feeding anything but can improve our ways, and our soil in certain spots. :-)

  15. Your pictures are beautiful! I hate aphids. I would love to know what works without fail. Carla

  16. Very Pretty!

    I had sprayed my roses with a soap/water combination, but I think there was too much soap because even though it did in the aphids, the rose didn't react very well either.

    Lately I've been thunking the tips of the roses where the aphids gather, and that seems to send them flying off pretty well. Thunking is where you apply pressure from your middle finger to the tip of your thumb until your thumb can't hold it anymore and releases it with quick force. My dad used to thunk me in the head when I was being um, obstreperous...it didn't hurt too much but it sure got my attention. Works pretty well on aphids too.

  17. Wow that rose is gorgeous!! I wish I could send some ladybugs your way, they've really been cleaning up the aphids for me. The soap you use seems like it would smell really good, hope it works!

  18. Stunner, that rose and catnip combination. Beautiful photo.

    Also explains why my own catnip has been less floriferous. I have been feeding it. Stupid me.

    I find Americans this side of the pond to be very reluctant about manure. Maybe it's just a city thing. You say manure and they break out in a sweat and get all giggly.

  19. Never mind the aphids ... garden looks glorious!!

  20. Rob, Your Rose . . . aphids and all is absolutely gorgeous! What a picture perfect setting you have created! The colors and textures with the element of a pensive thinker all so poetic! When is your book coming out? I will buy it! ;>)

  21. Rob, dahling, I can smell you from here!

    In my tiny garden aphids are smashed with fingers. Their dead carcasses left to repel new aphids.

    Works everytime.

    Fingers remain stained with aphid guts for days. A satisfying feeling during those days.

    Fabulous pic.

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

  22. Waw what a rose Rob, who cares about the aphids with a show like that.

  23. Your blooming Golden Showers by the gable are indeed magnificent, Rob ... a stunning photo! Good luck with the aphids ... that are not so magnificent :)

  24. Good grief that is jaw dropping beautiful. I use insecticidal soup for aphids and it does the job- it sounds like what you describe.

  25. hello rob,
    when i moved to this old place, there were many remnants of old
    landscaping..big 'golden showers'
    rose @ corner of grey heart-pine
    shed. very well placed, as is
    yours with wall behind.
    -good colors-
    i am fairly sure your rose is
    'golden showers' as they were quite popular when introduced.
    they have gorgeous buds!!
    my loose open blooms look the
    same as yours.
    vty j-lea

  26. What a lovely rose, have just enjoyed reading through some of your posts, lovely blog, thankyou

  27. That photo of your rose took my breath away!

  28. What an amazing yellow flush :) My own yellow rose (Tivoli rose) was attacked by aphids recent and I managed to get rid of them complete using only soap+water mixture :)


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