Monday, December 5, 2011

Side Garden Additions

The side garden in late April, 2011

I liked the side garden in the spring, but summer and fall was another story. The daylilies didn't bloom as much as the year before, because, being greedy, I divided them into tiny little pieces and heeled them in late in the year.

There were more daylily blooms in 2010

Monarda 'Raspberry Wine' formed a large brilliant patch of color, then burst out of the frame and fell over into the path. DH complained about the bees that ended up on his hands and sleeves when he brushed past it. (Neither DH or any bees were harmed as a result.)

The Bee Balm was better behaved in 2010 than this year,
with Buddleia 'Black Knight, since sadly deceased.

Once the Bee Balm was done blooming in September I cut back the fallen over stalks. This left a big raggedy hole, or more like a garden black hole. One's attention gets sucked into it even though there's nothing to see. Attempts to add late season interest looked like pitiful props. Even Mexican Petunia, a great fall show-off, refused to be coaxed into taking over the limelight.

I had a similar issue with the north side of the bed, next to where the cars are parked, except that was more of a void than a black hole in the sense that I kept looking for something instead of being sucked in.

late April 2011

See all of that space filled with violets? Now I love violets, but love has its limits. They choked out even some of the daylilies and then they look pitiful when it's hot and dry. It's a little too wet in winter there even for rugosas ~ there seems to be an invisible line across which they won't sucker.

Even summer-flowering perennials couldn't quite fill the void.

During the growing season this year I weeded and added a lot of Iris virginiana seedlings for next spring

spring 2011

and Spiderwort divisions all around the edges of the
garden where the water runs after a rain. More daylilies too.

I added Pink Pop Agastache and Azure Sage seedlings to the dry spots. But no matter how much I worked on the garden and added plants and moved things around, the garden just bugged me. Too many spiky plants, too much strappy foliage, not enough bones, and spaces that were empty for too long.

This fall a solution finally fell into place. Many of the roses were blooming again, and the soft colors and romantic swirls of petals against a backdrop of bright fall colors made it obvious what the garden needed more of: roses.



late April, 2011

After RRD made a brief appearance 1 1/2 years ago, I determined not to buy any more roses, not for a long time. 5 years seemed like a good interval. 1 1/2 years is almost 5 isn't it? I ordered 8 new roses from Antique Roses Emporium. 4 Marie Pavie, 2 Clotilde Soupert (I have those both of those already but wanted more of them, and didn't want to wait to start cuttings), 1 Basye's Blueberry, and 1 La Marne. All pretty much thornless and all repeat.

RRD may very well show up again, but I have let plants grow up next to the neighbor's fence line, and ruthlessly cut down any muliflora I find. (Roundup is next to useless for this purpose, the only purpose that I bought it for. It kills the plant but not the roots most of the time.) I have no idea if letting a plant barrier grow up really helps, but at least the garden looks less open to windborne mites that carry the virus.

The Bee Balm will stay ~ it'd be insanity to try to dig all of it out! and less feeding will keep it more in bounds ~ but I wanted to put a rose there too.

I thought about adding another 'Sir Thomas Lipton', or moving some suckers of 'Foxi Pavement' there. But Sir Thomas gets SO big, and although there's some rebloom he puts most of his energy into a big spring show.

'Foxi Pavement' won out because it does well no matter where I put it and it will have wet feet there during a rainy winter. So today I potted up some suckers to put back in the garden in a few weeks.

There's also a spot right of the Marie Pavie rose in the below picture that calls for another rose, either La Marne or another Marie Pavie.

The gap is even more obvious in this picture, especially since I went nuts with the clippers and ended up cutting the Japanese Beautyberries down to about 18". I didn't start out with that intention, it just happened. lol Anyway they rebounded to their former height in one year. I also want to add a couple of Marie Pavies to the right side of this bed.

Marie Pavie is a real charmer: old-fashioned, fragrant, disease-resistant, and a good repeater.

The place next to Marie Pavie really needed filling after Blush Noisette (right foreground) had to be moved.

A vision in full bloom, Blush Noisette was quickly becoming a monster, reaching out to ensnare anyone who came too close in her thorny grasp. Besides, it was only plopped there temporarily because I didn't have a better place to put it at the time.

For the sometimes wet place next to the parking with all of the violets, I put in
two Rosa palustris scandens started from cuttings this spring. I hemmed and
hawed about it, as they will get big (as seen below by the vegetable garden).

but that place really needs something woody and I love this rose. It has a rounded shape, it's graceful, very disease resistant, and has lovely willowy leaves.

All of my roses are independent except for mulching and pruning of deadwood, so RRD is really my only concern. If the roses don't work out I have rooted cuttings of Southern Black Blueberries going all of the time. I take them in March and they are ready to go into the ground the following fall. More St. John's Wort, Sweetshrub (Calycanthus floridus) and Alabama Snow-wreath (Neviusia alabamamensis, kindly given to me by Phillip) are also possibilities. And I have always wanted to try Fothergilla as it's a beautiful four season plant.


  1. I love your beds. You have so many plants tucked in that there are always blooms there. The roses are so gorgeous.All your Spider Wort plant look so lovely in these shots. You sure have a bunch of them.
    Have a wonderful week.

  2. Wow, new roses. beautiful roses !!! For me your garden is perfect. Soooo many plants I love ...
    Have a nice week, Sweetbay !

  3. Your garden has such an English look to it. I hope you take that as a compliment, as I meant it to be. So open and floriferous. I once had Marie Pave in a pot. It was such a delightful plant. It might have fared better if it had been in the ground when the watering system failed in my absence. It came from the ARE so maybe I should try for it again. Blush noisette is also a beauty despite its size, it seems you have lots of room for it.

  4. What a great post, perfect for this rainy Monday. I've had a few bouts with RRD and lost two or three roses. Nothing devastating, knock wood. I'm always on the lookout and nip it in the bud if possible. I love the combinations of purples, blues and violets and the monarda is beautiful.

  5. I like to read about design thought process, and you really rewarded us with this post. I enjoy following the dilemmas and the solutions of real gardeners, even the plans that were considered but discarded. Love the monarda!

    I am not big on roses, but your careful evaluations and beautiful photos enchanted me and made me want to come back and see it all next year.

  6. Sweetbay, Thank you for sharing your process with us. Your roses are enchanting and I think your solution is perfect~I would have more if I could. Especially a few of the fragrant ones you grow, gail

  7. Sweetbay,

    Those roses are real beauties, you have selected wisely. My fav would be Blush Noisette. I can't recall do you have camellias?

  8. Thank you everyone for your comments, they make my day!

    Lancashire Rose, I will take that as a compliment ~ I love English gardens! :)

    I am so glad to hear that people liked reading about the thought processes regarding the garden ~ when I was writing it I was afraid I'd be the only one interested in it. lol

    Randy I only have one Camellia, even though I really do like them. A seedling from the species sasanqua that's about 5' tall now and hasn't yet bloomed.

  9. Some swear by mycorhizal fungi added at planting as a way to overcome replant disease. I've seen it sold as Rootgrow in the UK.

    The Monarda looks perfect with Buddleja black knight, shame about it's sad demise.

  10. I have never once looked at your garden and thought it was anything other than incredible! I never saw black holes. :o) Have you thought about growing an abelia? They would fit in well with your roses and perennials and attract pollinators.

  11. As I look out my window at a frozen scene of browns and grays, it is such a treat to see all these scenes of your garden in full bloom, Sweetbay! Funny, I never noticed any "holes" before:) But a garden is always a work in progress, and we can always find something to improve on in our own gardens. All your roses make lovely additions to your garden.

  12. Thanks for the tip Rob, it helps to give new plants every chance!

    Casa Mariposa and Rose, somehow I didn't get around to taking pictures of the black hole and other things this summer. LOL

  13. Your gardens are gorgeous!
    I lost many roses in 2005 and have not replanted....after seeing yours I think in the spring I will try roses again. They are beautiful...Thanks for the inspiration!

  14. I think your gardens all look beautiful. The new roses should be a great addition to the side garden. The black hole will be filled!

  15. I understand what you mean by too many spikey plants, had the same issue in my front garden in Virginia. I felt like the Spiderwort got to have too much foliage and not enough color....and it spread. Love that Blush Noisette...what a sweet rose!!

  16. Gode billeder.
    Hvor har du en smuk have og mange smukke blomster.
    Tak for rundvisningen.

  17. Thank you for the rose fix, such amazing, healthy and beautiful roses! I am glad you have bought more, and hope they grow well for you. I have read that another thing to do if you have had instances of RRD is not to plant a rose into the spot where a diseased rose used to be because that could be where the winds deposit mites easily. I hope your plant barrier works out too.


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