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Rachel's Journal

Rachel's Journal

Last Post 23 days 23 hours ago


04 June 2009 18:45:06
rose garden facing west

rose garden facing west

It is said that in life the only real mistakes are ones we don't learn from. I am quite certain that this is also true of gardening.

The time has come for me to admit defeat regarding my rose garden. 

As you can see from the photo, which shows half the rose garden, I created quite a formal area and planted it pretty exclusively with hybrid tea roses. It took a lot of weeding so last year I put plastic membrane down to eliminate the constant weeding problem. However, blackspot and aphids were rife and an overzealous pruning one spring only served to exacerbate the situation. So, the time has come to throw in the towel on monoculture and to think of something else to plant in this area.

Next year I intend to make a brick edging to this area to more clearly define the line between it and grass but in the meantime I need to decide on a new planting. 

I would like to keep the plastic membrane but I will cover it in bark chip. Therefore I need a planting plan that will suit that. Ideally I would like more height in this area - maybe tall grasses, stipa gigantica or angels' fishing rods - something that is tall and billowy and may even form an informal arch over the paths.

Photos of the area from different angles can be found in my "rose garden make-over" album. 

I do hope some of you will help with suggestions - I got great ones last time I presented a problem area on this site. The problem is that often I get quite tunnel visioned with the plants I know but there are so many of you with your own gardening experiences that you could surely help with new ideas.

Many thanks.

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Johnplotman Johnplotman 04 June 2009 19:29:15

Both blackspot and aphids seem to have a resting place here to Rachel.I have tried some herbs but still to no avail yet [Rose clear used as a last resort].There has to be a way round them.

Jacinta D Jacinta D 04 June 2009 20:09:55

Yea Rachel, grasses sound great. You could also include maybe kniphofia and cortaderia. What do you think. The knophofia would give you some of your favourite colours too.

Jacinta D Jacinta D 04 June 2009 20:22:55

Just had a look at your rose garden makeover. I bought a beautiful climbing rose last year called 'Ray's Scarlet' which is doing great this year. I posted photo in my latest album.It would look stunning over your arch.

rita d rita d 04 June 2009 22:29:37

All I can see is space, space,space and view view view, lucky you. I have clutter clutter clutter,.... walls , builders hoarding with peeling paint. my moan, cant help with yours,.....

Alan S Alan S 04 June 2009 23:36:57

its all go isn't it but you seem to be well on top of it..don't be afraid of mistakes..some of them can be what makes a garden

HeadGardener HeadGardener 04 June 2009 23:58:17

Rachel, It really hard to be formal with grasses to be honest and you probably need to decide on the formal v informal and plant accordingly. Stone edging or dwarf hedge (i.e. with box) would look best for formal. Informal would be much softer edges. Bring a rough plan with you when your visiting me and we'll brainstorm, also I have several cheat books for reference.

Drumanagh Drumanagh 05 June 2009 13:33:22

Hi Rachel. not sure if you already have a herb garden but what about a formal herb garden? You could edge the beds with box. I have grown lots from cuttings and it will form a neat little hedge in a couple of years. You could also edge it with lavender or herbs.

Rachel Rachel 05 June 2009 19:59:08

Hi Rita, I want garden, garden - not space, space : ) Enough with the expanses of grass! I will probably take no action on this one this year, other than put down the bark mulch but I need to be thinking ahead. Thanks for the suggestions, Bill & Alison - looking for as many suggestions as I can get.

Rachel Rachel 06 June 2009 09:50:04

Yes, John, aphids seem to be unnaturally attracted to me.


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