Gardeners are likely to find their wisdom in many places – their successes, their failures and their also-rans. So am I going to plant out my recent order from Claire Austin directly in the borders? No, because I have learned to my cost that planting into an already stuffed border is likely to result in plants that do not thrive and often just fade away, disappearing eventually to the cramped plant world in the big blue yonder, leaving just plant labels to taunt me.
I was going to pot them on but, having planted out that late sowing of sweet peas last week, I looked at the latter today and faced with increasing evidence of the gradual onset of autumn decided that there was no chance of them ever reaching ing anywhere near flowering stage – so out they came, and the new plants were planted out into the vacated beds instead, to stretch their legs for a month or two, or perhaps until spring. Learning outcome – don’t bother with a late sweet pea sowing!
Whilst planting them out, most very rootbound and desperately needing space to breathe, I cast a number of glances at the pots in the ‘nursery’ and spent a little time emptying out those whose contents have gone for a burton, mostly failed cuttings or ones that hadn’t been watered enough. With not opening the garden in June, there is a surplus of plants that were grown for sale; most will survive till next year and just be more mature, so nothing really lost there. Less easy to deal with are the plants taken out of the revamped borders – is there anywhere else for them to go? Are they duplicates generated just to fill a space – and are they garden-worthy anyway? I have learned greater discernment through revamping borders and, although the number of these pots is gradually diminishing as decisions are made, I could of course consign them to the plant sales stand for next year – and certainly don’t need to squeeze them back into a border.
As well as my order from Claire Austin I have also placed an order with her father, David Austin, for more roses. Over the years, I have learned that roses are not just about colour, and that fragrance and length of flowering are important considerations too, as is eventual height. I have no qualms, therefore, about remedying poor rose choice decisions, made as a result of my previous relative ignorance, and taking roses out. Thus, two ‘Snow Goose’ are due to be removed from the blue & white border, where they climbed above and beyond the wall behind them, and will go to a friend; they will not be replaced and instead the Trachelospermum, already happy in its location, will be given free and undisputed reign of the wall.
The picture below shows the wall after the roses were cut back to a manageable size, ready for removal, instantly improving the area and making it look more self-contained. The second picture shows the adjacent rose garden where four ‘Blush Noisette’ roses, planted against the fence, have been similarly cut back for the same reason, ready for removal and replacement with roses that grow no taller than the fence itself.
It was back in 2012 that this version of the rose garden took shape, and a year later when the wall bordering the blue & white border was built, so these ill-advised rose choices date back 7 or 8 years and I have certainly learned a lot about roses since then – and indeed have bought a lot of roses since then too, but I shan’t bore you with numbers…!
The wise owl in today’s opening picture just looks and says nothing, keeping his wisdom to himself. He was a recent acquisition from Etsy, a good source of quirky items for the garden, bought to add interest to the path less travelled, and was accompanied by a woodpecker and a squirrel.
Lumping some pictures together as one theme, that comes to about Six on Saturday; please visit our host Jon the Propagator for more sixes this Saturday.