This weekend I did a bit more of the Autumn clearing work. I’m pretty much finished, except that my hydrangeas still have their brown flowerhead on. I think Kim once said that the flowerhead help to protect the plant so I might leave them there until February.
The herb garden is looking a bit sparse but I hope that it will perk up once we get back into Spring. I need to put a load of wood chip down, which I’ll do next time.
I spent ages clearing out the weeds from the rose garden. It’s the sort of job that I always think is going to take about twenty minutes and then I ended up filling a builder’s sack (which is yet to go to the dump).
My roses seem to be doing rather well. They aren’t fully flowering yet (there are loads of rosebuds yet to blossom) but the flowers that are there are looking very pretty indeed. They’re also quite fragrant – the rain has done them good.
The lavender has lots of bracts but isn’t yet flowering. This is probably a good thing – it tends to be the last thing that flowers and once that is done, that is it (more or less) for the summer.
I got the roses from David Austen a couple of years ago – I planted them as bare root plants in February / March (it was drizzling at the time).
Yesterday, I had a morning pulling weeds out of the rose garden – my hands are scratched to buggery, even though I wore gloves most of the time.
Some of the weeds I kept – in particular there was a load of deadnettle that bees seem to like so I left that. However, all the grass, stinging nettles and some weed that I’ve only ever seen in the IoW but which gets everywhere came up. I filled a builder’s sack with it all.
Afterwards, I put wood chips down in the gaps. The lavender plants are, on the whole, doing very well (and all but one are enormous) but they will do better without a load of goosegrass and grass clinging to them. A couple already have (small) bracts coming up.
One thing that has done well is a thyme plant. As the rose garden is walled and sunny, I assume that it is a bit more sheltered than the rest of the garden. Usually thyme dies here but this is looking super.
The roses have buds but also, sadly, aphids. I hate using chemicals but I might have to. Unless we get a plague of ladybirds.
I love my rose garden right now. Yes, it is overgrown and weedy. But it is still super.
The roses I have are Anne Boleyn, Charlotte, Munster Wood, Gertrude Jekyll, William Shakespeare, Rosemoor, The Pilgrim and Claire Austin (can’t all be seen in the pictures). The Pilgrim (yellow) and Claire Austin (white) are both meant to be climbers but I haven’t seen much evidence of that so far. I got them all as bare root plants from David Austin.
Although I like having a wildish rose garden, I think I will try the bark chippings in there when I give it a proper cleanout over the winter. I think that the weeds may be suppressing the roses and lavender and, as that is the point of the rose garden, it does seem a pity.
So, you were right – my garden (on the whole) has not died over winter. Although I have had to replace a few things, lots have sprung back. In particular, I love this euphorbia.
There’s something really brilliant about a green flower. The plant immediately on the right is a globe thistle which flowers in the late summer (I think) so I hope that once the euphorbia is past its best, there will be something else to admire.
My roses have not flowered yet but a couple of the bushes have (small) rosebuds starting. I’ve done some weeding here.
Last year, I sowed poached egg and love-in-a-mist seeds in a flowerbed, which were glorious when flowering but looked rather terrible the rest of the time. This year, I sowed them in the bare patches in the rose garden in a (probably vain) attempt to discourage the weeds from taking hold. Plus honeybees absolutely loved the poached egg plants last year so I don’t want to deprive them.
We ended up buying a load of violas at B&Q, which planted along the box hedge (it looks as though a few poached egg plants are coming through too but not enough to be a problem). I’ve also planted a couple of smaller lavenders in the main part (from memory, “Arctic snow” and “Grosso”) along with a nepeta (doing surprisingly badly but perhaps it just needs a summer to get going) and a sea holly.
Now, I tend to be a bit snobby about violas (supermarket flowers!) but these are actually very nice – and I’ve noticed a few bees on them. Sometimes I wonder whether I should have only planted blue and purple violas but then this bed would be a sea of blue and I think there is a limit to how tasteful a garden should be. Plus the yellow ones are doing really well.