Ramble On…

He kept them sitting for hours over the dinner table, he who was usually so impatient to move away; he kept them entertained by anecdote after anecdote, reminiscence after reminiscence, observation after observation…

-V. Sackville-West
Easter Parade: A Novel
Copyright: 1953

 

Allow me, if you will, to ramble a bit?  Ramble like a climbing, rambling vine?  One that reaches and twists until its head is in the sun or in this case the truth?

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The Clematis, if planted with good support, such as a twiggy bush – like a rose or lilac, will grow well and fast.  If the support is not there, it will falter and stagnate.  I have also heard that it will produce more blooms if grown horizontally.  Take for example, my neighbors clematis which grows on our side of the fence, much to my delight.  It grows horizontally through the fence and rambles about itself, see the abundance of blooms as a result?

However, for my three varieties of clematis I have chosen other plants to support them.  I have two growing throughout my lilac bush, and I recently discovered a third I assumed was dead. See my post, The Living Dead, for a good lesson on this.  Perhaps I should have read my own post.  Anyway, I thought about transplanting it to the lilacs as well, but instead I simply left it alone and planted a yellow rose bush beside it.  This purple Clematis growing through my yellow Floribunda Julia Child rose will make a striking combination when they begin to flourish.

SONY DSCThe clematis found its way to the rose without any assistance from me.  It shot up from the ground erect and happy, strong enough to support itself, but as it grew too long, it slumped over and slithered across the garden like a snake in search of a branch to coil and climb upon.

 

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The honeysuckle (featured in yesterday’s post Honeysuckle Fireworks ) has done well for me, I am surprised actually because the first year is usually hard on my perennials.  I watch the newly planted with nail biting anxiety, and at the slightest inconsistency or yellowed leaf, I worry and fret.

It seems this year more so than others, I have subconsciously made bright decisions about troubled plants.  I will attribute this to all I’ve read in books for the past two years.  In the past, information that had enlightened me was soon forgotten.  This year however, my focus has been more acute and I’m able to recall garden truths on a whim as if someone besides me has thought of it.

One such example of a bright decision was the transplanting of our Holly bushes.  They were originally planted in complete shade and continually had spots on their leaves and weren’t growing.  So I dug them up and planted them on the west end of the house where the morning sun would touch them.

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I gave them a drop of fertilizer and destroyed all their yellowing leaves as some looked to have the dreaded black spot fungus.  Again, evidence to me that they just needed more sun.  Since bacteria and fungus is usually killed by UV rays I would think more sunlight would lessen the chances of the black spot coming back.  But I am no botanist, this is only my educated guess.  Either way, they are doing quite well. They are now producing beautiful, perfect growth rapidly.

Thank you for reading!

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A Rose That Spoke

They may roughly be described as roses which should be grown as shrubs; that is, allowed to ramp away into big bushes, and allowed also to travel about underground if they are on their own roots and come up in fine carelessness some yards from the parent plant.

-Vita Sackville-West
May 28th, 1950
In Your Garden

 

 

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Perhaps not exactly what she had in mind was this Oso Shrub Rose called Lemon-Zest.  Yes, other “classic” shrub roses are far prettier, I’m quite sure.  However, I saw this one on sale and I was instantly struck by how healthy it looked.  Compared to the other ‘fancy’ roses surrounding me, its leaves were brighter; every one of them so perfectly intact, and the buds!  The buds were plentiful with a promise of abundant color.

I slipped my hand under the leaves and checked the stems for any sign of grafting.  I do this because if the Michigan winds blow in a hard winter like that of 2013; with snow aplenty and temperatures continually below zero, your rose bush may not live to see another Spring.   Instead, it will die back, and up will pop a different rose; foreign and strange.  It is the rose which yours was grafted upon.  An unwelcomed guest indeed, and you never know what you might get.  So for this reason I prefer un-grafted roses.

This rose, I learned, will flower continuously until Fall and the flowers will not fade to white.  Because I’m such a lover of yellow lately, I thought it would make a nice picture set beside our side door which I intend to paint red or perhaps colonial blue.  I have yet to decide.

In future posts I will speak more of the roses Vita recommends.  I doubt this shrub rose would have been her first choice, in fact, I’m almost positive she would have been displeased as there are more attractive choices for shrub roses.  As she has stated, “I am no blind believer in the ‘improved’ modern flower: I don’t like delphiniums with stalks like tree-trunks; I don’t like roses with no scent and a miserable constitution…” But she has also mentioned that she doesn’t understand the snobbery that some gardeners possess.  However, to me this Lemon-Zest spoke, so its cultivar makes no difference in the world.

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Waging a Cold War…On Bunnies

The French Idea of gardening…
I have recently returned from a wondering holiday in southwestern France.  The villagers produce an altogether charming effect, comparable with our own cottage gardens at home.  The village street is lined with pots, standing grouped around the doorways or rising step by step up the outside staircase when there is one pots filled with pink geraniums, zinnias, begonias, nasturtiums, carnations marigolds, all mixed and gaudy.

-Vita Sackville-West
The Joy of Gardening, 1958

 

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I’ve been in a 1950’s mood lately (I wonder why), so I decided I was going to plant marigolds this year in some of our pots around the yard.  For some reason these little annuals of orange and yellow remind me of the by-gone era of cold war and rockin’ music.  Don’t ask.  Upon telling people this they would relay to me fantastical stories about the benefits of marigolds.  “They deter bunnies, and deer and bad insects. Oh my!”

I’ve since looked this information up and there seems to be mixed opinion on this.  Some even complained that marigolds brought spider mites into their gardens to reek havoc on everything in sight.  Other sites however, say that marigolds attract good insects like lady bugs (a gardener’s best friend), and that they’ll deter moles, and sometimes deer and bunnies.

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Well, I have a bunny problem.  They sneak in at night and eat all of my coneflower, and black-eyed susans, and they ate all of my pussy toes those -“beep-beep-beep!”

So, I’m waging WAR!  A sun-shiny yellow, friendly war, but a war none the less!   I’m going to take my chances on the spider mites and plant these 1950 lovelies as a border like sentries flying their colors of yellow and orange.  They’ll create a picket line around my garden and hopefully keep the enemy out.  Those bunnies will be sooooo sorry when they get a load of what I’ve got in store for them.

Readers out there; have you ever planted marigolds to deter pests?  If so please let me know how it worked out for you! Thank you!