I may have been enthusing over the cutting beds and July blooms generally in recent weeks, but not everything in the garden is lovely. In particular, the roses in the troughs on the paved area just aren’t working and look (to me!) a mess, as shown by the lanky stems of ‘Harlow Carr’ and ‘Little White Pet’ (below), and the arid pot of ‘Sweet Dreams’ below that:
In its metal tub, the latter in particular will have suffered from the hot summer – and knowing how well other roses did when moved to the shrub border from other containers I am not sure why I then put these roses into containers in the first place! After our second group visit this week these roses will therefore be on the move, the first two to the shrub border and to an as yet undetermined location for Sweet Dreams. There are currently trailing fuschias in the largest tub with Harlow Carr but I will need to find summer occupants for the others and plan accordingly for next summer.
You live and learn – as I have also learned about Nasturtium ‘Cherry Rose’ which sadly is not really PINK, defeating the intended outcome of pinkness weaving through the pastel blooms of the main borders. Orange does not quite ‘cut the mustard’ so to speak, and that idea will not be repeated. Ironically, it does look almost pink in my photographs, as presumably it must also have done in the seed catalogues!
Also not working is the concept of multiple seed plugs, like the Trixi ‘Crazy Cocktail’ plugs I trialled in the conical baskets hanging above the bold borders. Described as ‘Deep purple Calibrachoa is perfectly contrasted with zingy yellow Bidens, combined with bright rose-red clusters of Verbena for a psychedelic effect’: brilliant in theory, but in practice the bidens dominated the baskets, largely to the exclusion of the verbena and calibrachoa, and I shall create my own combinations next year instead.
Nearly forget to mention (so this is added later) the grasses added to the rose garden – around the edges Uncinia rubra from my own divided plants is not yest established and in the two central beds the 10 small Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’ plants added are still, well small, or smaller than small – the one shown here is bigger than most! Hopefully the others are still alive and will establish better once the weather is cooler and damper. Also unsuccessful was using rainbow chard in the borders as the straggly plants made no significant impact and won’t be used ornamentally next year.
I have worked hard to fill gaps in the borders this year but struggled particularly with appropriate front of border plants – and realise that the more satisfactory borders are those that haven’t relied on lower growing plants next to the paths. In visiting other gardens recently I have seen several examples of successful borders filled just with medium and tall plants and this is what I shall work towards in the future. Also, as plants fill out and mature I can already see that the borders will still work well with fewer plants, fewer but bigger, so being more selective looks set to become an aim for the future too.
Living and learning, that’s what it’s all about, especially as far as gardens are concerned!