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Plan B

19 May 2017 22:44:51

As some of you may know, I have a rather wild garden - mainly perennials and lots of self seeders that I don't control enough so I planned to develop a formal part to contrast with all the madness. This has been in the pipeline for a number of years and I got the hard lanscaping done last year and the box hedge planted.

I wasn't sure for a long time what I would plant in the 4 squares inside the box but then I thought I might try shrub roses again.

This plan was further revised when I was at a talk by Dermot O' Neill recently where he featured a slide depicting a mass planting of Iceberg shrub roses. I queried Dermot about whether they were repeat flowering which I think is essential in this situation. 9I forgot to find out from him if they were scented.)

Suffice ' to say that he recommended this variety and I thought I made a decision that I would stick to white and go after the afermentioned Rosa 'Iceberg'. I calculated that I would need between 12 to 16 plants.

Well, to make a long story short, I quickly found out that it is not possible to buy that number of any one rose in most garden centres at this time of year as they have all ordered whatever roses they are getting in in Oct/Nov.

That is when I decided on "Plan B" - plant up the sections with white cosmos 'Purity' this year and order the roses in the Autumn. I set about buying and sowing the cosmos and they obligingly germinated straight away.

This evening I potted on 34 seedlings and only need another 2 which I have waiting. I think Plan B might just work out....

Fleurette Fleurette 19 May 2017 23:04:18

Brilliant, Moya.  You just have to laugh.  Just been watching Versailles.  And when I look at your picture, what do I think of?  Why Versailles of course,  You will have to call it the "Versailles bed"  

By coincidence, a guy who called here today, the retired hd gardener of Cawdor Castle, Inverness, was advising me to look for the following bedding rose: " Little White Pet" fragrant and repeat flowering.  One of its parents was Félicité Perpetué.  A David Austin rose apparently.  

If you change your mind and go for this one, I wonder if Inishowen Nursery would order for you? 

Moya Moya 19 May 2017 23:27:29

Hi Margot, R. 'Little White Pet' sounds great. I certainly would consider it. The David Austin roses are usually about €20 each which is a bit of a drawback when buying so many - also it needs to be tall enough to stand above the box hedging. I'll have a think about it. I would love to see it in full bloom.

'Winchester Cathedral' is another option and I'm also wondering if I should get 4 standards to give some height in each square.

There is the fact that if I get it wrong I probably won't be able to plant roses there again because of the rose sickness phenomenon and there is the concern that the soil might not be good enough....oh decisions, decisions....

Fleurette Fleurette 19 May 2017 23:33:48

I quite understand, Moya, especially as neither you (nor I) have the resources of "Le Roi Soleil". 

my afternoon visitor also mentioned R. Dublin Bay, a modern climber that would fit on a  tripod thingy.  Fragrant, repeat .  

Eilish Eilish 20 May 2017 00:36:00

Whay a great idea, those beds will look lovely planted up with white cosmos.

JoanG JoanG 20 May 2017 00:49:19

Sounds like a good plan Moya and will let you see how white roses might look in that space before you invest.  Whatever you choose, I'm sure they will be lovely.  I grow one solitary Rosa 'Iceberg' and find that it is lightly scented and usually flowers in June/July and again in late August/September. 

sallysarah sallysarah 20 May 2017 06:37:29

I love R. Iceberg - only light perfumed though!!!   I have R. Dublin Bay growing up against a shed and a trellis in my garden - could be toooooo wayward for your design, Moya!  As Joan G says, the white Cosmos is a good plan to start with.

Jackie Jackie 20 May 2017 08:20:35

Oh wow that'll look fantastic filled with whatever you choose. I agree with Joan too, once those white Cosmos go in you will get a good idea of what the roses might look like. Don't forget lots of photos so we can see it. 

Gracedieu Lass Gracedieu Lass 20 May 2017 21:33:42

The garden looks wonderful and the cosmos will be brilliant all through the summer. Looking forward to seeing photos of it in full flower.

Deckyoshea Deckyoshea 20 May 2017 21:42:59

Cosmos are brill and will look lovely in that setting . I've 4 trays of Cosmos seedlings so if you require more let me know ! 

TheH (Hazel) TheH (Hazel) 20 May 2017 23:18:12

Definitely the Cosmos! How about getting four of your chosen rose (whichever you decide upon) and taking lots of cuttings? I'm no expert at cuttings but I find that roses really seem to be quite easy! You could fill in the gaps with Cosmos until your cuttings got to flowering size - usually their second year!

Moya Moya 21 May 2017 00:44:03

Thanks Hazel. That's not a bad idea. I was looking up the price of standard R. 'Winchester Cathedral' and it is €40!!

Thank you Decky - that's very generous of you.

Thanks Mary and Jacky - I will certainly post photos of it when in bloom.

Thanks Eilish for the encouragement.

Joan and Sallysarah - it's great to hear of your experience with 'Iceberg' - it helps in the deciding process.

Keego Keego 22 May 2017 14:00:53

That sounds lovely Moya - I remember seening something similiar done in the Bay garden in Wexford they had planted just white Cosmos along with Diascia Personata in between Box hedging ( I think) it looked wonderful. I know this is mixing another plant in but just entering it into the mix!!

It's amazing....

03 May 2017 22:00:46

......what you can get done in 2 hours at times. Tonight I headed out to the garden from 7.30 to 9.30 and I managed to get the following done -

Sowed some Virginian Stock seeds in the trough with the sweetpeas

Sowed some pots of White Lady runner beans 

Watered some plants in the greenhouse

Put fleece over some pots of Dahlias

Watered some shrubs which have been moved recently

Sowed Autumn King carrot seeds and planted parsley and marigolds nearby

Pruned a large Hydrangea aspera Villosa and a Hydrangea macrophylla

Planted a Veroncastrum

Took a few photos at dusk

I am a genius at pottering and have often not got that much done in a whole day. It must be the good weather and the glorious sunset!

JoanG JoanG 03 May 2017 22:37:37

Wow, that's a lot accomplished in two hours Moya; you must have been racing around like a mad thing!  Seriously, well done, it would have taken me most of the day. 

Jacinta D Jacinta D 04 May 2017 07:31:18

That was a brilliant couple of hours. And it's great to see some daffs still on the go. My N. 'Green Eye' are the only ones left in flower at this stage, and they've now turned almost white.

Jackie Jackie 04 May 2017 07:40:27

Moya your last paragraph sums me up too. I could be there all day and still not have done what I really should have! But you certainly were on a mission and it's been great  to be able to get out there too. Bet you were very happy too ;) 

TerriShoos TerriShoos 04 May 2017 10:38:36

Good work. Sometimes it just clicks like that. Bet you went to bed happy!

Gracedieu Lass Gracedieu Lass 04 May 2017 13:19:45

A woman on a mission, well done.

fraoch fraoch 04 May 2017 18:40:38

Fantastic, Moya, well done!

Moya Moya 04 May 2017 22:59:31

Thank you kind friends. I skipped my Salsa class and so had to justify the time! My usual modus operandi is slower and less focused.

New Addition to the Garden

02 May 2017 21:41:23

I bought this arch in Aldi but had no idea how big it was. (I'm sure it was written on the pack but hopeless at visualising the size.) I had in mind that I would use it to support sweet peas but it couldn't go into the ground in the spot that I had planned for it as it needed to be sunk 30cms.

What followed was hubby and I trying it out in different places in the garden. We finally decided on this spot at the start of the path and today I put the sweetpeas into troughs on either side. 

I finised off with some night scented stock so the smells should be divine when they all bloom.

What do you think?

Jacinta D Jacinta D 02 May 2017 21:47:28

That looks lovely, Moya. The two scents together will be gorgeous.

Fleurette Fleurette 02 May 2017 22:47:19

That is a great size, Moya.  It looks terrific, and I can imagine it with sweet pea growing up right to the top!  

Fleurette Fleurette 02 May 2017 22:47:20

That is a great size, Moya.  It looks terrific, and I can imagine it with sweet pea growing up right to the top!  

Gracedieu Lass Gracedieu Lass 02 May 2017 22:54:07

Arches are so much better the bigger they are. Looks great.

Dick Dick 02 May 2017 23:02:14

Very impressed by this arch, Moya. It should be great whenthe sweet pea grows up.

Jackie Jackie 03 May 2017 07:34:44

It looks fantastic there Moya. It frames that pathway so well and as Mary said, the bigger the better. It'll be bursting with colour and scent in no time ;) 

LindaB LindaB 03 May 2017 09:57:35

Love it!

Mary B Mary B 03 May 2017 21:43:20

I love it Moya, I think arches look best when you can see some of the structure so the generous size is for the best.

JoanG JoanG 03 May 2017 21:47:39

Love it too!  It makes a lovely entrance to that area, so perfectly placed, and will be gorgeous with the sweet peas and stocks.

Moya Moya 03 May 2017 22:08:56

Thank you so much everyone. I am getting used to seeing it in that spot now and I hope the sweet pea will cover it as you say.

Help! All Advice Welcome

13 April 2017 00:41:09

A good friend is getting married on the 5th May and is giving her house a face lift as she will be hosting some relatives beforehand. She has a number of containers - window boxes, a hanging basket and some pots and has asked me to help her to plant them up with plants that will be in flower on that date.


This is quite challenging, I think, because I know it is the hungry gap so I am looking for help. What plants would you recommend? What will be in flower? 

Bear in mind that we are a few weeks behind here in Donegal when compared to the south of the country.


Elizabeth7 Elizabeth7 13 April 2017 01:16:27

That is a tought one dear Niece as we never seem to know what will be flowering at certain times year to year. I would tend to hit a good garden centre and see what is in flower or bud. I am sure there will be Pansies and the Petunias ,bedding, are in the shops now also Pelargoniums. If you plant up some containers but keep them under cover if possible until a week before the date they should settle in.  Maybe some Ivy for the hanging basket?

Jackie Jackie 13 April 2017 07:31:02

I agree with Elizabeth.........at the moment our local garden centre has Petunia, Pansies,  Viola, Bacopa, Bidens, Pelergoniums, etc. These could be bought now and made up but kept in the greenhouse/tunnel for the moment to give them time to grow in case the frost hits them. Also trailing Fuchsia, trailing lobelia are great too  

What about some tall plants in the containers, like Cordyline, Aquilegia, Solomon's seal could also be in flower by then and add wallflowers with their beautiful scent. Primula also would look great. I'm sure whatever you decide will be a huge success Moya. Good luck. 

Gracedieu Lass Gracedieu Lass 13 April 2017 11:02:00

Decide on what containers you are using and then group the same colour pots together. Box or Bay trees would add structure to the arrangement and I would keep colour limited, maybe there is a colour theme for the wedding. Pots either side of an enterance looks great. Photographers hate too much colour when taking photography. Best of luck with all the work. We were in a similar boat last June and totally enjoyed it. 

Jemo Jemo 13 April 2017 16:49:00

Moya dont forget natures bounty, the whitethorn is in flower then, it has a really dainty flower in white or red or pink...busy lizzies also...eremurus for height...enjoy the wedding!


Deckyoshea Deckyoshea 13 April 2017 19:17:40

Garden center 3/4 days before hand for the best flowers . Pot up and hey presto !  Cheating slightly but no pressure 

Moya Moya 13 April 2017 20:51:23

Thanks a million all. Great advice.

I think I will contact a good local garden centre and ask them to work with us - i.e. keep the containers in until needed, as you suggested. I was only asked yesterday - the bride isn't a gardener - would have been great to have more notice - panicking a small bit.


07 April 2017 22:04:56

Some tulips looking good at the moment.

Dick Dick 07 April 2017 22:52:42

Lovely tulips Moya. I had very few this year.

TheH (Hazel) TheH (Hazel) 08 April 2017 00:16:20


TerriShoos TerriShoos 08 April 2017 06:01:10

They're lovely. So elegant. 

sallysarah sallysarah 09 April 2017 07:36:16

They are lovely, Moya.


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