Monday, July 13, 2009

Stick a tail on it and call it a Weasel

On Saturday I had a Cunning Plan! And I started to execute it at once.

We have a big eyesore on the lawn - a stump of an enormous Theves poplar tree which we had professionally removed two years ago. It's not very high - less than 30 centimetres - but it has five or six enormous roots which run out into the grass and, because they stick up, are hard to mow around. I tried to make it rot by piling sods on it, but all this did was to prevent the stump from burning when we twice (once last fall for Guy Fawkes, and once again this June) tried to burn it out by piling on slash and stuff and having a bonfire. So, I was cleaning up after the most recent fire (there were slices of poplar which didn't burn completely) and as I worked, I wondered what I could do to shield this eyesore from view. I'm still looking for the perfect spot for a new philidelphus (this will make the third time I've tried to grow one which blooms and does not die) and first I thought I'd stick IT in.

Then I thought it would be better to use roses, several of them - and try to ring the problem. I considered buying the three Roseraie de l'Hay I saw at VanK's. And then, thinking further, I realized that using roses I already HAVE in plenty (Rosa rugosa and some others) I could surround it and have it hidden quite quickly, and really cheaply.

I made holes where I could get the shovel in between the roots, and ended up with six holes. Then, I hied me to the Secret Garden and dug three suckers (they are going to take OVER the Secret Garden if we don't mow them or otherwise take them out) of Rosa rugosa and popped them in, in alternate holes. I had pulled up a couple of those "wild" roses from The Back Road and had been keeping them in a water bucket - as usual with roses, they have almost NO roots, and the wonder is that they live at all. Anyway, I dug out a very rich spot closer to the stump, and put the biggest bit in there. IF IT LIVES it will throw up those 3 metre canes and be a great background for the rugosas and others. I've covered the three rugosas with pots to keep them from drying out in the wind, and I've been watering generously several times a day.

I don't usually have much luck with moving them after they have leafed out, so if these don't survive I can do it all again in the spring. However, I have been recently heartened to have successfully moved one - from the new peony bed to a pot, and thence to the edge of the property below the vegetable garden, where it thrives.

I'll wait to see how the rugosas do before I attempt to dig three white suckers out of the rose mound to place in the alternating positions. They won't be all the same - I have one or two Blanc de Coubert, and maybe one Rosa rugosa Alba and a Snow Pavement. I think it will be glorious - if all survive - in a couple of years. And bye, bye, eyesore. I tell you, it's a weasel*.

*Thanks to Sir Edmund.

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