Sunday, March 20, 2011

The beginning of a new era....or....How I spent my spring break.

Some people spend their spring breaks in Cancun, or some other sandy locale, imbibing mass quantities of anything and everything. But they aren't 30. Being older and happily domesticated, one tends to spend more time on the homefront whenever free time arises. So my spring break was spent killing myself and DH in the back garden. But what a difference a week can make! Refer back a couple of posts for pictures of the "before".

From the back steps of the gate. to the left and right of the gravel path are beds of azalea and daylily, and beyond that are new vegetable and herb beds. The fence and pergola will be clothed in climbing roses and clematis. I am thinking "The Generous Gardener" and SDLM CL mixed with Etoile Violette clematis on the pergola. I am up to suggestions on what goes on the fence. I was also contemplating a pillared rose on either side as well. 

A shot looking across the potager, parallel to the deck. One bed left to build (lower left)

Looking through the pergola, across the rose lawn to the unfinished pergola where "The Lovers Bench" will go. I saw this done in an old plantation garden, and loved the idea of a wisteria or rose (maybe both? is that even possible?) covered pergola with a small bench for two. I have yet to find the right bench, so two chairs will do for now. The entire circle will be surrounded by roses, with the 4 pergolas (yes, 4) anchoring the symmetry. Perennials will fill the gaps and hopefully give a more lush full appearance. Believe it or not, there are actually roses already planted out there. They are just teensy at the moment. 

From behind the HT rose bed. Most of the HT's will be shovel pruned this year for replacement with OGRs that will be bigger, better and not so horribly fickle. A couple might stay because they are the varieties I grew up with and that started my initial love of roses. But even those will be moved to a bed where their odd growing habits won't offend. The rose in the center of the shot is Anna Olivier, which I am most pleased with, except for the ugly way she finishes. 

Looking from the opposite corner, standing in the potager.

The rose that started the OGR frenzy for me. Mrs. B.R. Cant. She got so big so fast I ended up making her a climber. I haven't ever had a problem with her, she gives me great blooms throughout the year, and has taken to her supported role beautifully. planted just in front of her in this shot is Vincent Godsiff, which has given me alot of joy so far this year. It grows literally straight up, and has happy, blousy flowers in abundance, and helps to hide the lower bare canes of B.R. Cant.

Turning to the right a bit to look out over the rose circle. The roses in this picture are all about 2-2.5 years old, and the best performers I have so far. To the left is Vincent Godsiff again, the center is Leveson Gower, which I adore, and the buds to the right are from the spectacular (in my garden at least) Abraham Darby. It reached 6.5'-7' tall last summer, and was an arching mess, but the flowers were worth it. During the murderous pruning spree I went on in December/January, I cut it down to 2.5'. It is now back to 5' but with a much better vase-like shape. Apparently I did the right thing with the pruners for once. 

Babies! I just hope they grow up nicely.

Leveson Gower and Vincent Godsiff playing nicely together. 

Mrs. B. R. Cant

Leveson Gower

So now the next step is to clean, dig, amend and set up the final phase of the garden, an area currently used as the trash pile, once the vegetable garden, and one day soon the second phase of the rose garden. 
We will save that for summer break!



  1. Absolutely magnificently fantastic!!! Hmmm, I wonder why I like it. LOL You two did a perfectly wonderful job. I love the FOUR arbors, excellent idea! You outdid me with TWO circles. Love the potager garden and the picket fences and the white stockade fence. Your "climbing" MBRC is amazing. Keep me posted on her growth habit and size. How old is she?

    Do you have Bahia grass in your large circle? I hope so. I had St Augustine, and it became a nightmare for me to keep it inside the bricks, neatly trimmed. Weekly was not enough. When our gas edger died, I was out there with hand clippers. When the chinch bugs got into it, I replaced it with gravel, but I wish I had my green jewel of a circle. Keep it watered and fed. It is as precious as the roses.

    Ken, I have this strong impulse to call you 'son'. LOL I am thrilled by your garden. If it looks this great now, wow! it's going to be gorgeous when it matures. You must be so proud of yourself and your garden.


    P.S. Your video lasted 3 seconds.

  2. Ken, I came over from Sherry's blog and am I ever glad I did. You have done a lot of work and it is looking great. I love the circle of grass. This a truly well designed garden. Can't wait to follow it along as it grows.

  3. Glad to know all my work has paid off!

    Sherry, I sent you an email..let me know if you get it (my email get weird). The climbing Mrs. BR Cant is really something, she just never stops. The grass is St. Augustine, but I do have an awesome edger, and I am hoping to keep it in bounds. If not, it may get ripped out and replaces with a less invasive grass. I wish they had a year-round rye.

    Welcome, and thanks for the kind words! This is garden plan number 1,600,447 for me. I finally feel like I got it right. I am sure as it matures, things will move and change, as they do in most places, but I am finally happy with the overall scheme.

  4. Ken, this garden of yours is a work of art!! I love the circle, and the symmetry, and the imaginative use of your roses. I'm especially loving the photos of Leveson Gower, since this rose is new to me this year. I hope mine grows up to please me as much as yours pleases you.

    Two chairs under a rose arbor, looking at this garden of yours ... perfect!

  5. It looks really nice! We did a big garden "makeover" during our kids midwinter break. All of our friends were off on fun trips to somewhere warm while we worked in the cold. Aren't you glad it's done now so you can enjoy it all summer?