17th July 2016
Rosa 'Toby Tristram'
Hot weather has continued ready for the holidays. I topped up the water in the Sarracenia trays yesterday. It is the first time I have ever had to do it in July. Usually the rain has arrived by now
and done the job for me. Sunburn, traffic congestion and tropical temperatures look like the theme for the season. Last weekend I bought some African Violets from a nursery that had overstocked.
They look suitably exotic as bedding around the front door.
The back door is dominated by the growth on the hillside behind me. I have had several attempts to plant interesting things on it, but most have failed for one reason or another. Generally the reason is that
I keep building sheds on them. The back door is a really convenient place for a shed.
Rosa 'Toby Tristram' was planted in the shade of a Eucalyptus to grow along the side of my workshop. The Eucalyptus has gone, felled a couple of years ago when it looked as though it
was going to tumble onto the house. The workshop remains, though it is now unusable. The rose has taken posession. When I planted it, I knew it was vigorous, but I didn't know it was a seedling of
Rosa filipes, most monsterous of giants. It produces great arching stems through the summer forming layers, and each year the layers reach out further. A metre or so more and it will reach the house
and then I am really in trouble. The time has come to draw a line in the sand.
17th July 2016
Clematis 'Rouge Cardinal'
They say that variety is the spice of life. I'm not sure I agree. I don't think it is a condiment, I think it is the main course. Without variety, all that remains is order, predictabilty and tidiness.
I'm not very good with tidiness.
But I do try. When I laid out the herbaceous border, it was organised and regimented into a stark simplicity. I knew it wouldn't last, I had planted a lot of exuberant things but I had a feeling that if
the underlying structure was controlled I might stand a fighting chance. And then I planted half a dozen Clematis in it to confuse the issue. It wasn't deliberately wilfull, more of an accidental
convenience. I had a lot of homeless Clematis and a tidy new border. A marriage made from opportunism.
I didn't see much of them for a few years and I thought they had done the decent thing and died, but I was wrong. This year they are back, trailing wildly about the place and making it
impossible to get in there and tidy up. No matter, they are wonderful.
'Rouge Cardinal' was just the thing to team with a scarlet rose.
17th July 2016
Rosa SWEET WISHES
Beacause unfortunately at the same time I introduced the Clematis, I planted some roses. The local deer recognised the mistake and did their best to chew them to the ground. I am very grateful,
but it seems a few roses are tough enough to withstand repeated trimming.
I have no patience with black spot or any of the tedious diseases that roses foster. As far as I am concerned, if a rose suffers from a fungal problem it should be composted. I planted a series of modern roses
produced to resist disease and flower throughout the summer. Again, roses that don't repeat flower should have no place in the modern garden. Historical defects in roses are no more welcome than open sewers
SWEET WISHES is the trade name for a deep scarlet patio rose introduced in 2008 (the real name is 'Poulpah032' which sounds like a donkey farting). In a container it is dwarf and floriferous
with shiny, disease free foliage. I like everything except the name. In the ground it has made a low shrub about a metre tall with strong arching shoots that support the clematis on one side.
Sheltering beneath its arches on the other side is a bright orange daylily, a combination that might not suite all tastes.
Taste was not the driving force at the time. There was a space.
17th July 2016
The same herbaceous border is home to Aruncus dioicus. I am fond of it but it presented a problem in the border. When I first laid it out, the path ran along the north side. All the plants leant
out to the sunny south and the main view was like watching from behind as a ballet company took a bow. Something had to change. I cleared a path on the south and pushed the border back a few metres.
The Aruncus was left at the front of the border, spilling over the path. It was informal to the point of impracticality so it was dug, chopped into pieces and moved to the back. It has taken
a few years to recover - the rootstock has a woody core and is not designed for division.
At last it has recovered, the frothy white flowers making a good show in front of Persicaria 'Red Dragon', another vigorous plant for a carefully chosen place. Again it isn't a matter of taste but of convenience.
It is in an easy location to run over with the mower if it gets out of hand.