Thursday, July 14, 2011

Ring-around-the-rosey a Success!

A while ago, I went on at length about my plan to disguise the ugly stump of a Theves poplar in my lawn by ringing it with roses. Exactly two years ago I cleaned up the firespot (we'd tried to burn it out) and planted white and pink shrub roses between the roots, and a rose I've been calling "wild" in the middle, just against the stump. They did well last year, though there wasn't a lot of bloom.
Well, this is it, two years on. The shrub roses aren't getting big very fast (though to be fair, they started out as tiny little offshoots). However, the wild one is loving the position and the encouragement. It's not actually wild. I have been seeing it everywhere in municipal and private plantings, so it must be available commercially. I don't yet know its name, but I am scouring the rose books, looking for it. Up close, the individual flowers are single, with a heart-shaped petal, and they are pink in the bud, with a bit of a pink tinge even when open.  I think it might be "Pleine de Grace" The pink rose underneath is Pink Grootendorst, given to me by my friend Henry last year. It bloomed last year, and it's blooming again. Lovely.

I was in Summerside yesterday, and they have a lot of shrub roses in their municipal plantings, particularly along the seaside boardwalks. They seem to prune them quite successfully to keep them in shape (though their wild ones like mine are showing new growth above the pruning line, like mine above). I'm not sure whether it will bloom again on the old growth, so I am leaving it alone for this year. If it turns out NOT to bloom on old growth then I'll be able to keep it in line by pruning.

The bed beside the Ring-around-the-rosey is looking well at the moment. I put a sucker of the rosa Gallica Tuscan Superb in the middle last year, and this year it's shyly blooming. The liatris is looking likely to bloom soon, and the pink astilbe is blooming away quite happily. The ubiquitous feverfew is all over the place, of course. I thought for a while that I had three kinds, but now I think the daisy-like ones have centres which keep coming out so they get fluffy in the middle. There's a taller astilbe in the next part of the bed, not blooming yet because it's in shade, like the pink one should be!!

The red climbing rose Henry Kelsey on the Celtic trellis is doing quite well, although the Dublin Bay has yet to bloom this year (you can just see a tiny sprig in the bottom of the photo). The foliage is there but no blooms so far. In other rose news Celestial is out, although it has been damaged by bugs and weather, so no blooms which would look good in a photograph so far. The Royal Bonica has two huge buds, so I'm hoping that today's wind and/or tomorrow's rain don't damage them too much. I think I've decided that the mystery rose in the bed along the south is de Montarville. I saw a photo which looked a lot like it, and the name sounds familiar. It is just coming in to bloom now, as it had a bit of a breakage problem after the winter. It seems to cope with being broken down (or gnawed by mice!) so perhaps that's what I should plan to do to it, if ever it isn't devastated some spring.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Summertime tasks abound

persicaria affinis

Much progress has been made since last I wrote. The best thing has been the discovery of The Flower Patch - we've been back for more plants, including some yellow iris for Karen (she babysat the cats while we were in Halifax) and the rest were groundcovers - persicaria affinis "Superba",  saxifraga x arendsii "Purple Robe", a campanula "White Clips"and a couple more. They are in the bed around the south lawn for now - I'm developing the lasagne beds on the west side and they - or their progeny - will go in there later.

East-west bed, on the edge of the south lawn
In Halifax I bought a mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia "Heart of Fire") and a couple of perennials - groundcover again, a variegated bugleweed and another campanula, blue this time, I think. We bought them at the Lakeland Plant World in Dartmouth.What a place. Any plant you could want is there, I think.
Anne and I (mostly Anne) tidied up the beds around the south lawn and planted a lot of the groundcovers in there, after edging the beds and doing some mulching. Looks good. The snowballs and spirea have mostly gone over by now, but they were spectacular while they were on.
Roses are coming along, now that we have been having some sun on a regular basis. The 'wild' rose is starting, with one of the Pink Grootendorst underneath, and Samuel Holland is peeping out. The rugosas on the mound are doing well - Blanc de Coubert, Snow Pavement, Alba, Hansa, and Marie Bugnet. Celestial is looking healthier now - should be a good bloom season.