It is a beautiful Autumn day again this morning spent in the garden planting out a few Salvia leucantha, Mexican sage bushes. Before I knew it, I had taken the irreversible steps in removing the supposedly ‘weeping’ rose that has annoyed me for so long, with its belligerent attitude, and refusal to weep over the structure we made for it for five years ago. This weeping rose, at times, has been pretty, but most of the year is a trap for wasps and hornets nests and is, to be honest, pretty ugly because all one sees is the wheel the rose is meant to be growing over. and covering with foliage and roses.
The rustic wheel had the rose Wollerton Old Hall growing over it that was defoliated from time to time, leaving the bare wheel centre stage in the main garden. The image above shows the maximum the rose ever covered the wheel for only a few weeks each season. Enough is enough as far as I’m concerned.
Our garden is very rural, so this rusty piece created an imbalance in my view. Repurposing farm items as landscape sculptors and whimsical features bring character and a unique informal style, but this was one too many. I am relieved to see the space open, as the title quote states, “I can’t believe I waited this long”. I guess I thought each year would see the rose finally cover the structure and do the right thing- but no. Although it took some effort to remove it was worth it and now to decide which plant will fill the space.
One of my favourite plant and colour combinations is purple Salvia Leucantha with the glowing apricot chaliced-shaped blooms of the Lady of Shalott rose. Whenever I see this colour scheme;purple and apricot in the garden it catches my eye. Companion planting by colour is powerful and can evoke many varied emotional responses, so they are an excellent tool for landscaping.
Chosen not just for colour but longevity and to attract bees and butterflies, Salvia Leucantha or Mexican Sage is a low-maintenance fast-growing plant for full sun and moist, well-drained soils. The flowers are velvety and in white or purple sprays with downy hairs that add texture to the garden. It will flower from late Summer into Autumn and winter until the frosts start. It is worth cutting this style of Salvia to the ground in winter; the following Spring, the plants will provide fresh regrowth and look great all year. Salvia Leucantha was awarded an RHS Award of Merit in 1993 and will grow as tall as 120 cm. Salvia Leucantha can handle some dry days and a bit of shade, but is very easy to grow.
By using colour combinations, we can instil a sense of calm, peace, vitality, excitement, balance, openness and unity. The varied hues create moods and atmosphere, so they can change our perception of space, giving the illusion that the garden is larger or smaller than it is, highlighting certain aspects and hiding others. It is not just the plant colours but the surrounding splashes of colour that create the scheme like any visible walls, fences, other plants, pots, furniture and garden structures or sculptures.
The colours of soft Apricot/Orange with Purple and Green are an example of a triadic colour scheme comprising a set of three colours evenly spaced on the color wheel. So, the primary colours of red, blue, and yellow, and the secondary hues of orange, purple, and green are examples. This combination is perfect in a landscape and feels just right when the colours catch your eye.
In a striking pink and looking magnificent at the moment in the garden, is the Pinkie climbing rose. There is a late season abundance of soft pink blooms that together with the fresh bright green foliage creates a wonderful display. At a first glance of Pinkie today, you could be mistaken for thinking it was Spring. Pinkie is growing in a small square pot where I planted it some years ago, and now the long canes full of flowers drape across the water tank. Unfortunately, it blocks the entry to the another garden area, so today, it is being moved into a larger pot in pride of place on the front Gazebo.
The Pinkie climbing rose is a sport of the Polyantha Pinkie rose bred by Herbert C. Swim, in the USA in 1947 as part of the Earth Kind ™series. The climbing sport was discovered in 1952 by E P Derring and has been a very popular rose, mainly because it is an exceptional repeat flowerer: every seven weeks. Also of merit is that Pinkie has very few thorns, it is prolific in nature, disease resistant and vigorous. Plus, the Pinkie rose enjoys a hot, dry climate, has a mild to strong fragrance and will only grow to three metres.
Pinkie is a perfect rose for a Gazebo; charming, fragrant, almost thornless, with 40-50 small blooms in clusters in Spring that continue throughout the season. Apart from the unpredictable nature of the extreme weather of recent years, the main challenge in the garden has been choosing the best climbing plants for the structures we have in place. Several have been fantastic, and others significant disappointments; attacked by pests, could not survive the drought and flood or were simply the wrong choice for the site. But, the natural optimism of gardeners alike tells me I have done it this year and feel confident that our large archway will finally be resplendent with red roses in Spring.
Dublin Bay roses were chosen for my last attempt at the front archway and three were planted this week and ever since it has been raining so, they are off to a good start. The pretty soft pink Cecile Brunner roses were transplanted from this position to make way for Dublin Bay and to climb up a very tall old windmill stand. The stand sits next to the original electricity battery shed; a state of the art innovation for the 1920’s when the farmhouse was built. The shed housed glass containers of acid to perform as a large battery for 32 volt power of the day. Cecil Brunner was transplanted because it will engulf the front fence too much and requires more area to grow plus I fancied the front arch adorned with red roses.
Dublin Bay rose is meant to be a spectacular performer with blooms from the earliest Spring until well into the Winter according to Diana from Silkies Rose farm who says.
Dublin Bay Rose – MACdub, was bred in 1975 by the Irish rose breeder Sam McGredy who migrated to New Zealand. It was awarded the ‘Auckland Rose of the Year’ in the New Zealand Rose Trials in 1993. This rose features shiny healthy foliage, 10 cm wide blooms in vibrant red that holds its colour from the pointed ovoid buds to full bloom and until the petals fall. Dublin Bay rose is thorny but the particular archway is wide and deep so in this case should not be a problem especially as the front arch is not the main entrance.
In readiness for next Spring, I’ve planted two more Crepuscule roses this week. Crepuscule is charming, Tea-Noisette rose in a warm apricot colour that is trouble-free with soft light green, almost thornless foliage. The prolific blooms start from apricot to orange and become more yellow to cream as they fade. The colour is more intense in the flower’s centre, especially in sunny weather. The beautiful flowers are double with an old rose fragrance, and the shrub can be trained as a climber or left to billow as a large shrub. The young foliage has a tint on the edges, making an interesting contrast with the flowers. Crepuscule prefers warmth and a protected position and will delight with hundreds of blooms over a long flowering season. Crepuscule was bred by Francis Dubreuil in France in 1904 and is a Noisette, Old Garden Rose.
Crepuscule means “twilight” in French, as the colours resemble a sunset. Crépuscule rose has flexible long canes that are easy to train and give a stunning display in rich colouring all season. Crepuscule has grown up against the large water tank in two terracotta pots, but this year will be extended further along (now that Pinkie is moving) and be grown in the ground when I complete a new garden around the base of the tanks.
All Content and images Di Baker 2023 or as cited
Header Image Peach Profusion Rose April 2023
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