As Good as a Rest

change.restOver the last couple of years having more time to give attention to the garden has brought certain underperforming plants to my notice, plants that have barely managed to switch themselves on, let alone shine brightly. Two climbing roses in large pots are examples of things, chosen with the intention of climbing over the sheds but which were largely forgotten due to their total refusal to do anything other than just keep their heads above water. Creative thinking last year saw both of them moved to more amenable positions, (still by the shed) and the bottoms cut off their pots, allowing for greater movement of roots; both roses gave a thumbs up to their changed  circumstances by providing a token flower or two later that year for the first time.

Other later evidence that a change can be even better than a rest are the above very promising buds On the left are the very chunky buds of climbing rose ‘Souvenir de la Malmaison’, planted against the picture gallery fence by the main herbaceous borders in 2007. For the first few years the ground at the base of the fence was covered in slate chippings with large pots, all of which were removed and a new border created at a later date. Neither the rose nor the plants added to the new border really thrived so last year I took everything out and added large quantities of compost and manure which certainly seems to have paid overall dividends and has given ‘Souvenir de la Malmaison’ a new lease of life.

On the right there are equally chunky buds, this time of Clematis ‘Josephine’, which had been planted at the base of the wisteria a few years ago and had an odd flower or two for the first years but nothing since then. I untangled it last autumn and replanted it in the clematis colonnade but not having replaced the label I forgot which post it had been planted against so was thrilled to note the appearance of three chunky buds which I recognised as ‘Josephine’, clearly also more than happy with the change.

Some things may not be as fortunate, and change for them means OUT – like the ‘red’ wallflowers, which were enjoyed to a degree once they started flowering but were too tall for their position, and anything else which is not of sufficiently endearing quality as the garden is rapidly filling up!

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21 Responses to As Good as a Rest

  1. Chloris says:

    Josephine is gorgeous, I’m glad she is enjoying her new spot. I love Souvenir de la Malmaison but I find it doen’ t do well in wet summers, the flower buds go soggy and don’ t open. Does this happen with the climbing one too?

    • Cathy says:

      I shall tell you after our next wet summer Chloris, as it hasn’t ever flowered properly before! 😉 There must be about a dozen buds so far so hopefully they will open this year!

  2. Geraldine says:

    They will be beautiful, very soon!

  3. Geraldine says:

    They will be beautiful, very soon!

  4. Liz says:

    Hi Cathy,

    Whenever I move things I always seem to kill them, so am very impressed that you’ve successful moved plants for the better! I’m sure I’ve plenty of plants that would love to be elsewhere; but it’s either struggle or die here. I’m guessing I upset the roots too much I don’t give enough after care.

    • Cathy says:

      Oh Liz, sorry you are so pessimistic about your plant moving skills, particularly as you are potting up plants for temporary residence at your parents’… Hopefully you are not such a failure as you suggest you are 😉

  5. Oh that is exciting Cathy, lots of big fat happy buds on both. I need to dig up a section of border in my front garden and improve the soil if I am to have happy astrantia “Shaggy” plants. I also need to wage war on the Spanish bluebells, which are altogether too happy. Such is gardening!

  6. AnnetteM says:

    I agree with you that plants that don’t earn their keep have to go. Sometimes, if they are lucky they get a reprieve and moved to another spot just to fill in the space temporarily. I have one poor azalea with greenish flowers that has been moved twice and is now in a very dry shady spot. It still flowered its socks off so I am feeling rather guilty not liking it!

  7. Christina says:

    Moving something because it doesn’t like its position is sensible but just moving things around because they don’t give us pleasure is useless; I intend being tougher, there’s only space for the plants I really want – Those irises from last week are heading for the compost heap.

    • Cathy says:

      It’s getting over the reluctance to throw things out, isn’t it? One of the two hydrangeas I mentioned to Annette will probably go the same way as your irises as it will be too dominant in the border it is now in – and I don’t really like it anyway 😉 The other is in the woodland edge where is a bit more space available so it may stay a little longer…

  8. Anna says:

    It looks as if both rose and clematis like their new homes – the move and lashings of food must have been to their liking Cathy and they are now saying thank you.

  9. Pauline says:

    Good for you, biting the bullet and moving your plants, time is too short to have plants that aren’t performing. I can usually get rid of unwanted plants at local plant fairs so they don’t go to waste, other people like what I don’t!

  10. bittster says:

    Sounds like you’re much better at drawing the line for slacker plants…. I always waffle along and keep saying one more year, and then wonder why I have so much in dated in a plant that just doesn’t thrill me 🙂

  11. I find it hard to give up on a plant, and it takes me a while to really accept that it’s days are over! You do give me a little better idea of how a garden might flourish. Get real. 🙂

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