Hello! Welcome back to the blog! It is the middle of June now and the weather has been a mixed bag for the past couple of weeks. We’ve had endless days of rain, quick bursts of sun and a few windy ones. The garden is still looking pretty good, even if the weeds are threatening to take over in some spots! Today’s post is all about the area we decided to make a rose garden at the front of the house. This spot is east facing, sheltered from the wind, and receives sun most of the morning and then again later in the afternoon. There were already 4 roses here when we moved in. I did manage to kill one, after thinking it was a good idea to move it in July. Yeah, not something I would recommend going forward.
So this was the garden in mid July last year. I wanted to leave it to do its thing through spring and early summer so I could get a good visual of what was already in the space, before we started making changes. It literally turned into a jungle.
As well as roses, my aim was to add in some cottage style plants with things like salvias, delphiniums, veronicas and penstemon. Other than the roses and the spirea bush in the centre of the two beds, everything else was not in keeping with the planned style and so had to go. Also the beds were absolutely stuffed full with plants blocking out a ton of light and air. I transplanted a few of the plants to beds in the back garden, including a hosta and some himalayan blue poppies.
Clearing out this spot took Andrew and I over a week last July. There were layers upon layers of plants, bulbs and weeds. Once done, I started researching companion planting for roses and found that lavender was a great option for discouraging pests. Alliums are also good for preventing black fly. There are a whole host of other plants that work well with roses, you can read more about them here. I love lavender so it was my first choice for a border for the area.
If you are creating a lavender border/ hedge and need a lot of plants, I found the best time to buy is July. This is usually the last month these will be available at the garden centre or nursery, and for that reason are likely to be heavily discounted in price.
Once planted up, I kept them well watered until established and then left them to it. They didn’t put on much growth between July and October, but I knew come the following spring they would be well rooted in and would take off quite quickly. Just remember they need free draining soil and don’t actually like a lot water once established. Also a predominantly full sun position works best for lavender.
I hadn’t planned on adding any potted roses straight away, choosing to wait until October to order bare-root roses, as they are a lot cheaper. But then I was on the David Austin website, everything was so gorgeous, there was a rose with my daughters name, there was a sale, annnnnd the rest was history. Isn’t she a beauty.
Around August time I was back on the David Austin site to order the roses that would create the second layer of height behind the lavender. I went for David Austin Boscobel shrub roses primarily because of the upturned flowers, and secondly for the gorgeous colour. They arrived in November and we planted them up after soaking the roots for 30 minutes. Some of our homemade compost was mixed in to the planting hole to give them a good start. I also mulched the around the roses with a special rose growers mix from Garden Solutions.
Between September and just before the roses arrived, I had also planted a lot of spring bulbs in the beds. I did write a separate blog post about this, which you can find here.
Early spring 2019 with tete-a-tete and Calgary daffodils starting to bloom.
Alliums growing over spring 2019.
Not much structure yet, but the ideas were evolving and plants were growing…
Bluebells and a mix of yellow and orange poppy flowers missed last year started to pop through, making an unexpected but very welcome appearance.
I’ve been slowly filling up the border with cottage style plants, and very recently added a standard rose called ‘Gardeners Sunset,’ which you can quite clearly see in the above pic, as I bought it while in bloom. None of the other roses are flowering yet. Although, there are tons of buds on everything so I’m excited for the display to come. I also added a boxwood topiary (originally in a pot at the front door) to provide some evergreen interest later on in the year. You will spot it just behind the first few Alliums in the above pic.
And here we are, June 2019.
I have focused more on the left of the garden than the right, as I am still looking for larger shrubs and evergreens to anchor the right side, including a conical shaped evergreen for the far corner. I also have my eye on two more standard roses from David Austin which won’t be available until the early winter months.
The lavender hedge has almost completely filled in. Andrew placed a couple of flat stones throughout the bed so I could easily tend to the plants in the middle and towards the back. The Spirea bush has just finished blooming, I will be pruning it shortly so that it’s tidy for the rest of the summer months. This external wall needs a lick of paint. Actually the whole house does, so if we are forecast a dry week at some point over the summer, Andrew and I plan to hire a cherry picker and do it ourselves. Yes its a huge job and we are likely mad, but why not!
Once the rest of the roses start to flower, I will do an updated post likely in the form of a video, until then I leave you with a shot from last summer of the roses that climb along the white picket fence in full bloom.