We planted a new rose in the garden today. Well, that's not strictly true - my husband isn't well enough to plant it himself, and I wouldn't know how to.
I wish I was keen on gardening, but I'm not, and because I'm not keen on it I'm no good at it. I can dehead roses and trim things back, sort of, but that's about all. And I'm not keen on it because just about everything outside makes me itch - not just insect bites, which leave me scratching for days, but prickles, leaves, some kinds of flowers, even soil. So it's no wonder I've never developed the taste for it.
So we didn't plant the rose, our gardener did. This immensely knowledgeable and skilled and very nice man mows the lawns and does anything else we ask him to. He thoroughly approved of the new rose, a vigorous (we hope) deep red climber called Dublin Bay.
Friends gave it to us last weekend. Sixteen years ago they gave us a rose for our last house, a French-bred pink rambler with the charming name of Francois Juranville, which appeared in the rose world around the same time as our last house was built, in the early 1900s.
It took a while to get going, but once it did (thanks to my husband's tender care) it produced masses of "muddled" roses (with the petals going every which way in the middle) starting in September, followed by a second flush in January. The higher up they were, and the more sun they got, the deeper the pink.
So when we moved here, our friends said they'd like to keep up the tradition, and we knew exactly what we wanted. We inherited a number of roses, but they're all fairly pale ones. We brought with us our treasured Remember Me, a deep russet-fading-to-salmon rose given by my sister and her husband when my son Patrick died twenty-one years ago.
But we wanted a red one too, and I wanted something that will in time (I hope) swarm all over the fence. Climbers don't go as mad as ramblers, but it should work - there's a Dublin Bay next door behind the fence down the drive, and it seems perfectly happy.
It went in on an auspicious date, too, marking the first day we woke up in our new place a year ago.