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Opening of the first one!

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This time of year, to me is very special. I love the starting of life that this time of year brings, whether it’s the bright fresh green foliage at is now covering the countryside, in all its different shades of green or the sound of young hatched birds squeaking in their nest. For me it is the real time of change, spring becomes early summer and there’s 3 things that to me, herald in the start of summer, the first is the swallows arriving back from Africa, with their chatter filling the gardens with joy, next is the ear drum bursting sound of screeching as the swifts appear once more over ahead. Their short term stay is far too short but to me is the true sound of summer.

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The last thing for me is the opening of the first rose in my own garden, yes I have seen a few early roses out in other peoples garden it the opening of the first rose in my own garden is always a special occasion and that final part of the summer jigsaw arrived for me yesterday with the opening of a very special rose!

cbefb2d9 9c32 4281 b017 ccba742a11fd 1855 0000005f6988bf09 file Opening of the first one!

We came back home yesterday after a day at the seaside, to be welcomed in by Climbing Lady Hillingdon flowering away in our back garden. She is always an early rose but it is a rose I have long loved and it has been a special rose in our family, for it was this rose that brought about my dads love of roses back in the 70’s and one that has been grown in every family garden since, including mine now in chandlers ford. For those who don’t know her, here’s a blog from last year Climbing lady Hillingdon that dwells on her history. She is one of the finest apricot roses you can grow and it was wonderful to have her lady ship welcome in the summer by adding the last piece of the jigsaw to my summer jigsaw. Now at last, the rose season will start up once more and the scented delights will fill our gardens with colour and scent once more.

20180226 202933 Opening of the first one!
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Six on Saturday- 19th of May 2018

img 2778 Six on Saturday  19th of May 2018

Well happy Saturday one and all and it’s great to be back writing the SoS for the first time in a couple of weeks. This excellent meme helps to focus your mind of 6 things that are happening in your garden, yes at times it can be hard to find them but other times you end up with 10 or so things you could include but have to whittle down to 6. This also allows you time to wander around the garden, relax and enjoy things that are happening in there at the time. I think anything that helps you enjoy the hard work you do in the garden and helps to share the successes and failures, is great in my book.

Anyway a lots happened in the last few weeks and the garden at home is really coming on, the roses are budding up and I managed to get to a great plant sale on bank holiday Monday and I do expect those plants brought will be making an appearance soon. My roses are a little late this year, full of bud with colour occurring, I feel they will be open soon, right mr Stone lets get on with the six!

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Geranium phaeum Connie Broe is one of those marmite plants, you either love it or hate it, I have a soft spot for her indeed and I love the marbling foliage on this plant and I look forward to seeing the foliage and flowers each year. As soon as she finishes flowering this year, I shall be lifting and dividing and replanting once more.

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One plant I think will feature heavily this week is Allium purple sensation and it is looking wonderful at the moment. It’s big selling point has to be the fact it gives a little bit of height and colour just after the tulips have finished

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About 18months ago, I went to a Niwaki training day held at Architectural Plants and led by the great Jake Hobson and this is the tree I cam back home with. I am still training it and have just given it its first trim up, quite pleased!

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Yes yes another geranium, this time it’s Himalayense Derek Cook, himalayense has a nasty habit of taking over the world, so far Derek has been well behaved, just hope he carries on like this!

img 2777 Six on Saturday  19th of May 2018

Not a rose flower but a close up of the new foliage and buds, just how lovely are the buds and new leaves of this moss rose called little gem, I love the softness and the scent from the mossy growth, soon the flowers will be out and the scent from those will be even better

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The lovely flowers of sea thrifts are slowly appearing and Pride of Düsseldorf is one of my favourites, such an easy to grow plant that loves a free draining site and makes a perfect addition to my Alpine pots.

Well that’s my six done from my garden this week, so many plants now are starting to wake up and start delighting us with their beauty. I hope you have a great weekend and check out the other six on Saturday over at the hosts site https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

Until next week, have fun in the garden or indeed just admiring plants

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Plant of the week-Doronicum ‘Miss Mason’

img 2674 Plant of the week Doronicum ‘Miss Mason’

There are so many plants around at the moment that is it very hard to choose one plant for plant of the week but this is one of my favourite spring flowering plants.

img 2672 Plant of the week Doronicum ‘Miss Mason’This tough little plant also known as leopards bane, delights us in the spring with it daisy like open bright yellow flowers that are about 50mm wide, so loved by bees and the early flying butterflies. Their opening is like the welcoming in of spring and on dreary sunless days, the fresh green heart shaped foliage and sun yellow flowers brighten up any day! It looks great in the garden but also they make great cut flowers for indoors

img 2673 Plant of the week Doronicum ‘Miss Mason’Doronicum ‘Miss Mason’ Is a small low growing plant, not getting much taller than 40cm tall here in the uk and the clumps don’t get much wider than that. It will grow in most soils and conditions, although it does prefer the soil to be slightly damp and moisture retentive, normally in full sun or semi shade . That said I have grown it on al types of soils from sandy, free draining to thin clay soils to clay soils. The only thing I have noticed is that the foliage tends to disappear quicker in the late summer if it drys out too much or indeed the weather gets too hot. That’s well worth remembering if you are planting it out in the borders.

img 2674 Plant of the week Doronicum ‘Miss Mason’Doronicum ‘Miss Mason’ is an old garden hybrid that’s been around for years, it is possibly a hybrid of D.austriacum or D.causcasicum but again no one is sure. It is easy to propagate both from seed and also by division. Division is best done in the early autumn months, so the plant has time to reestablish itself before flowering in the spring.

It is a great easy to grow early flowering perennial that is widely planted, grown and sold, if you haven’t got it in your garden, it maybe well worth adding a plant or two

20180226 202933 Plant of the week Doronicum ‘Miss Mason’
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Six on Saturday, 5th of May 2018

img 2721 Six on Saturday, 5th of May 2018

Well that was another funny week, the start of May saw in a couple of frosts, temperatures rising to low 20s and a morning of heavy rain followed by a sunny bright afternoon. It’s certainly been playing havoc with work and the poor plants, seen a few plants with singled tops, mainly clematis and Macleya. Let’s hope that was the last of the frosts for this summer, these late frosts do cause a lot of damage don’t they. It’s also been my birthday this week, some how I have reached 45, but I managed to break one of my all time rules of not working on my birthday, still it was a sunny day and I did do a little bit of planting! Hoping to make up for that in a few weeks time by enjoying a trip to a lovely garden!

Anyway onto this six, and for a change I managed to do a little bit of work in my own garden this week and so some of the six will cover this fun work

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I got these great pots last week when I went to provender Nurseries, just for my bay trees, this week I managed to get them planted up with John Innes no3 compost this week and will leave them for a few weeks before trimming up and shaping

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Ahh wanted to grow blueberries for ages, brought some this winter and now they are flowering, can’t wait for the fruit to form, won’t last long though sadly as I suspect the kids will strip them bare in a few hours,

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Had to add this pansy just because I find it in some way, very fierce looking! I am not sure what it is but it is certainly a scared plant, it could be the intense lines leading to a almost mouth like centre, they could be whiskers as well?

img 2720 Six on Saturday, 5th of May 2018

I did show you a few weeks ago my front garden with the spotted laurel being removed, well it’s all out now and had the planting mix added and now some roses I brought from Peter Beales and some Geraniums added, with a couple of spaces left to fill, good job there’s a Plant heritage plant sale at longstock nursery on Monday morning!

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And lastly a special plant is flowering once more in my garden, one I discovered a few years ago and named after my granddad, George Stone and now doing well in mine and my Dads garden, so lovely to have it back once more

Well that’s my six done from my garden this week, so many plants now are starting to wake up and start delighting us with their beauty. I hope you have a great weekend and check out the other six on Saturday over at the hosts site https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

Until next week, have fun in the garden or indeed just admiring plants

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Six on Saturday 14th of April 2018

img 2564 1 Six on Saturday 14th of April 2018

Well well well it’s ended up a dryish week, a few days rain at the start but nice and dry from then onwards. This dry spell will certainly make the Plants and weeds grow a bit more. It’s been a mixed week for me here in Hampshire, my middle girl managed to break her leg badly on Tuesday, so a few extra days off than planned happened. During the quiet times, it was good to get into the garden potting stuff up, expanding beds and generally planing a few things out. The garage is slowly beginning its 3 yearly tidy up. It’s only a tiny garden here in chandlers ford but it is one I love a lot.

So anyway on to the six this week and yes they all do come from my little patch, so I hope you enjoy them!

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These have to be on the most stunning tulips I have ever grown, they look so beautiful as they start forming their buds and when they open just wow! Tulip ‘Exotic Emperor’ is their name

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A few of you may remember from a few weeks ago, this spotted laurel was on my list for removal and it’s now gone! Got some more roses and hardy geraniums to replace in its spot.

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Potted up a small fruit tree I am going to train into a odd shape, idea what yet but that comes in time. The dwarf Buddleja is another that’s on my list to repot and is now done!

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Sometimes a fellow blogger posts some beautiful plants on their six and it reminds you how much you love those plants and how much you miss having them in the garden, that happened a few weeks ago with Jim Stephens and the primulas he ordered from Barnhaven primroses and I started having a look! Always wanted a hose in hose primula, that’s when there’s a flower inside a flower like above, I have also got a soft spot for gold laced forms so couldn’t resist this one

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Another primula from my little order, this one is called Camaieu and was introduced by Barnhaven back in 2003. I just loved the double forms as well and I think pink is a very easy colour to add to the garden. I can’t wait to see these grow and flower so much more over the next few years

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I have a soft spot for bulbs, I find their use in borders and containers can increase interest and add something different for the short term into those areas. This fritillary called fox grape fritillary or its botanical name Fritillaria uva vulpis, is one of my favourites from this genus, although I have a feeling a few more maybe heading my way this autumn

Well that’s my six done from my garden this week, so many plants now are starting to wake up and start delighting us with their beauty. I hope you have a great weekend and check out the other six on Saturday over at the hosts site https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

Until next week, have fun in the garden or indeed just admiring plants

global blogging Six on Saturday 14th of April 2018
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Six on Saturday, 31st of March 2018

img 2427 Six on Saturday, 31st of March 2018

Well I haven’t featured any water plants yet and I think if this rain carries on much longer, I shall be ripping up all my plants and replacing them with Canadian pond weed and water lilies. It’s just be a horrendous week hasn’t, been rained off twice and still not got my paper work done, keep getting distracted trying to stop the kids kill each other and waiting on them. But that’s life in the fast lane or what couples as the fast lane at my time in life.

This weather has really effected the garden, the soil hasn’t really warmed up yet and nothing is growing as mad as it was last year. I was reading though my old blogs from a year ago, finding ones like rose watch, with rose buds a good size all ready, this year they haven’t even got any new leaves on yet this year! But that’s the fun thing about gardening isn’t, every day, week, month and year is different and so unpredictable.

Talking about unpredictability here’s my six on Saturday all from my own garden!

img 2443 Six on Saturday, 31st of March 2018

A lovely Hyacinth, can’t remember the name and I know it’s in a box in the garage but it’s raining and that would mean going outside and getting wet, still is a great colour and looks great in my containers in my front garden

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A slight negative now, I was so looking forward to seeing my tulip polychroma in full flower, looking stunning in the sun, it’s one of my favourite specie tulip, um then we had the snow and it well killed off the flowers and they have failed to open, gutted but there’s always next year!

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One of the few plants I have left from when we moved in, actually it was one of the few plants in the garden at the time, looks great this time of year, but is under a window and it covers the window in a few weeks during the summer. I want to take it out but the sparrows love it for some reason and I cant bring myself to remove it

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My tulips are appearing! Just love the buds full stop, so full of promise and a hint of the pleasure they will bring. Have planted a few forms in the garden this year, can’t wait to see them appearing this year

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Geranium wlassovianum ‘Lakwijk Star’ just love the new leaves on this plant! The shades of red on the leaf is amazing and the usefulness of the plant is again brilliant, it has something going for it all summer.

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Wel I think she has nearly made it, my Geranium traversii elgans, looking a little more battle scared after the last cold spell, but never less still looks alive. Phew! Can’t wait for it to get flowering again!

I hope you enjoyed my 6 on Saturday from my garden, If you did please checkout other people’s 6 on the memes founder website https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/ I love seeing other people’s plants and what’s happening in their gardens. Why not give it ago yourself next week and give me a shout so I can take a look

Until next week, have fun in the garden

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Underplanting roses- part 2, a few idea

img 3948 Underplanting roses  part 2, a few idea

In last weeks post, (just here in case you missed it I spent a bit of time going though the ideas behind underplanting roses and it’s advantages, this week I shall be be looking at a range of under planting that will suit a wide range of roses and of course their different colour flowers. This list isn’t meant to be a bible but just a mere stepping stone into the future path of plant discovery. Now this blog could cover a few hundred plants but I shall keep it short at around 12 Plants just to give you a few ideas to get things started

Geranium pratense ‘Mrs Kendall Clark’

img 4974 Underplanting roses  part 2, a few idea

Now I could go on about the history of this Hardy Geranium and how it’s not the real form but let’s leave that to another blog, Geranium pratense ‘Mrs Kendall Clark’ tends to flower just the once mainly but it can repeat a couple of times during the summer months. It’s light blue stripped flowers do tend to suit single coloured roses, either in pastel colours or it can just about get away with the darker reds too

Eryngium giganteum

img 6694 1 Underplanting roses  part 2, a few idea

is much better known as Miss Willmott’s ghost. This biannual appeared the year after Miss Ellen Willmott visited a garden as she had a habit of spreading the seed in a garden during her visits. This is one of the most useful silver plants to have in the garden, it just works with any colour and almost any Rose! It is very good at self seeding itself all around the garden but it is easily removed if it’s in the wrong place. As it is a biannual, it will just form a rosette of leaves in the first year and then flower and die in the next.

Digitalis purpurea f.albiflora

img 5112 Underplanting roses  part 2, a few idea

Another biannual is the beautiful Digitalis purpurea f.albiflora or the pure white foxglove. This plant gives you so much height within the border and is important mixed in with the shrub roses and their range of pinks and reds. These towers of white help to give the border some height and purity to the border. One word of warning, if you want just the pure white forms be certain to remove any with any hint of purple!

Sisyrinchium striatum

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This is a odd looking plant with iris like leaves and dainty light yellow flowers followed by black seedheads. It’s colour and strap like leaves makes it a good plant to mix in with roses of a wide range of colours,from white to dark red. As well as working with a wide colour range, it works well with a wide range of heights, again with roses ranging in height from 45cm to 2m. It does selfseed a little but is easily replanted into the correct place

Campanula latiloba

img 6699 Underplanting roses  part 2, a few idea

This delightful campanula comes in a few different colours, Hidcote Amethyst is a amethyst colour, the main form is blue and the white form called alba is also a very good plant to use and it will cover a wide range of roses. It will also flower for May weeks from May into August depending on the year and weather

Anchusa azurea

bed09ab2005 Underplanting roses  part 2, a few idea

The Italian bugloss as it is more commonly called is a bright blue perennial that will repeat flower during the year. This blue colour works again with so many colour forms of roses. It has hairy leaves that may cause a rash on some people ie me! It grows to 50cm in height and can be cut down after flowering to encourage more to come through.

Dianthus old garden hybrids

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These small plants add more to the roses than just their beautiful range of pink flowers that fill the air with a clove like scent. They also bring a great shade of grey needle like foliage to the party. Their small size makes them ideal for planting around the edges of the roses and through smaller roses. They also do a great job at the front of the borders by helping to hide the bottoms of the shrub roses, which can be a little unsightly but don’t tell them please

Geranium psilostemon

img 5058 Underplanting roses  part 2, a few idea

Geranium psilostemon needs a little more careful partnering although used correctly it can really uplift the surrounding roses. It’s difficulty comes from the colour and the height, it surprisingly works well with a range of pinks and white flowers just the sheer brightness can at times over power the surrounding plants. The other thing to watch out for is the height, it can grow to 1.2m which can over power a lot of roses, so again it needs bearing in mind when using

Penstemon ‘Pensham Wedding Day’

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Penstemons are great plants to have in the garden anyway but they make great additions to the Rose beds. As they repeat flower throughout the summer, they make great companions to repeat flowering roses and this white form suites pink and red flowering roses.

Penstemon ‘Hidcote Purple’

penostemon hidcote purple Underplanting roses  part 2, a few idea

While the purple form of Penstemon Hidcote Purple works so well with white and pale coloured roses, again it’s repeat flowering helps to bring colour to the borders even after the roses have finished flowering

Tanacetum parthenium ‘Flore Pleno’

img 3948 Underplanting roses  part 2, a few idea

The double flowered version of feverfew is one of the most underrated plants we grow in the garden, this double version just flowers all summer long with attractive lime greenish foliage again really helps to set off the darker greens of the roses and other plants. The flowers are like tiny buttons and are quite delightful. It does self seed a little but that’s what friends and plant sales are for. It does have one advantage of attracting aphids to them and away from the roses. Works with a wide range of rose colours, indeed not many colour flowers it doesn’t work with

Cotinus coggygria

img 1106 Underplanting roses  part 2, a few idea

We all need a little bit of purple foliage in the garden don’t we and Cotinus is the best at this. It is indeed a large shrub that is ideally suited for the bigger garden but it can be kept coppiced back each year to form these larger purple leaves and I have found a light prune in July keeps them down a little in size and helps to bulk up the size of the plant. Works well with a wide range of rose flowers.

This is just a small drop in the ocean of what you could do, the only thing that should stop is time and cost. Don’t be afraid of trying things that may sound silly like using Dahlias and other half Hardy Plants, they can and do work, it’s just getting the right combination. So please give it a go and enjoy growing roses in a way that enhances all the plants in your garden.

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Plant of the week- Sophora ‘Sun King’

sophera sunking 4 Plant of the week  Sophora ‘Sun King’

sophera sunking 2 Plant of the week  Sophora ‘Sun King’This weeks plant of the week is one that just seems to flower for months and months although I feel it’s March and into April when they really are their best. It is certainly one of my favourite plants since i moment I saw it growing in Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, down near the pond, indeed it was the original plant that was introduced by Hillier Nurseries.

This original plant of Sophora ‘Sun King’ came from some seed Nothofagus seed sent to Sir Harold Hillier Gardens from Chile. When the Nothofagus germinated it was found to have an interloper amongst them, this grew into a very beautiful shrub indeed, flowering some years later. It was thought to be a form of S.microphylla although it is now thought to of been a hybrid. It was introduced by Hilliers in the late 1990’s after it had done so well at the gardens surviving many cold winters and it is indeed still growing away strong to this day, my photos are of that particular plant!

sophera sunking Plant of the week  Sophora ‘Sun King’There is a lot of rubbish spoken about Sophora ‘Sun King’ about its height and soil dislikes. It does only get to a maximum size of about 3m in height and width as a few standing shrub, trained as a wall shrub it is able to get a little taller, up to 4m in height but no where near the 8m I have seen written down. Soil wise, Sophora ‘Sun King’ will take most soils from shallow chalk to clay, (yes even read it dislikes clay, the original plant is on solid london clay!) as long as it isn’t waterlogged. Again it will take most aspects although if the garden is particularly cold, a slightly more sheltered spot is better. It flowers much better if it is in a sheltered spot. Sophora ‘Sun King’ starts producing its yellow pea like flowers after its around 8yrs old and these start appearing in January and will continue flowering well into May some years. In Chile, the flowers of Sophora sp are mainly propagated by hummingbirds but here in the uk, it’s the bees that help the process. These flowers are offset by the stunning dark green foliage with up to 40 leaflets are used to form each leaf. It is evergreen but in a very hard winter, it will drop its leaves. The Name Sophora comes from Arabic meaning a small tree with pea like flowers. Sun King is partly in homage to its Chilean roots as well as the colour of the flowers.

sophera sunking 4 Plant of the week  Sophora ‘Sun King’Sophora ‘Sun King’ has very few pests and diseases that attack it apart from the usual slugs and snails when young. Like all plants, it would benefit from a feed of Vitax Q4 in the spring as well as a compost mulch to help increase the health of the surrounding soil. Sophora ‘Sun King’ is propagated by grafting on to a rootstock of Sophora microphylla in the late winter early spring. It is very difficult to propagate from cuttings although I have heard of people succeeding using Air layering methods.

Sophora ‘Sun King’ is now widely available from most nurseries and is seen in most big gardens like RHS Wisley but it’s Sir Harold Hillier Gardens where the original plant is still growing strong

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Under planting roses part 1, the reasoning behind its

2015k Under planting roses part 1, the reasoning behind its

2015k Under planting roses part 1, the reasoning behind its

There’s so many titles I could use instead of underplanting roses, mutual enhancing planting could be one or companion planting could be another but that said it could also be just mixed border planting with roses as the main shrubs. This style isn’t new, it was started but the great Irish gardener William Robinson, who loved the English Cottage garden style, picked up by the great Gertrude Jekyll but it was the Graham Stuart Thomas that really brought this style to modern British gardens, Graham was influenced by Gertrude and William and used the walled gardens at Mottisfont to produce his finest works helped as all great artists are, by a talented young (at the time) head gardener called David Stone. These gardens do show what can be achieved by careful planing over time. Now I will get one thing straight, this blog is about how to achieve the effect, the benefits of it and how to manage the feeding of the soil. I could spend ages listing plants that go well with certain roses but that may not be your tastes and not work well in your garden.

011 Under planting roses part 1, the reasoning behind its

So why firstly go to the trouble of mixing it all up, why not just have rose beds? Very good question just need to try and answer it. Personally I am not a fan of monoculture or growing one thing in a large bed on its own, I feel it doesn’t look right for me personally but there’s other more detailed reasons other than my personal options. Mixing up the planting helps to bring in different foliage and flower shapes that help to break up the roundness of the rose flowers and shapes. These can add spikes, bells, indeed any form and shape to the pattern of the Rose and help to enhance both. Even larger flowered plants like peonies can be used with great effect with the roses. The key to whatever flower you are using is to differ from the rose in some way whether it’s size, shape or colour. Going back to the peonies for a minute, a large single Peonia works well with a semi double or a double roses as the simple ness of the peonia makes up for the complexity of the Rose and vice verse. Same with colour, matching the colours is the most important side, img 6694 Under planting roses part 1, the reasoning behind itsusing sliver foliage thoughout the bed helps to enhance most Rose flower colours but using darker coloured foliage doesn’t enhance as wide a colour spectrum. It takes time to learn what colours work well together with the roses and other underplanting and the best way is to workout what works with you in your settings, personal taste and soil type. Same again with the heights, a lot of the roses tend to grow to certain heights, Bush roses are around 2-3ft in height and shrub roses are around 3-5ft in height so it’s being careful not to have plants that are too powerful growers to take over the roses and of course vice versa.

img 1104 Under planting roses part 1, the reasoning behind itsI have seen it done with Nepeta ‘Six Hills Giant’ used as a mass underplanting of Rosa Rugosa ‘Hansa’. The ideal was beautiful, a massive of slivery blue under the darkish red of the rose but it failed as the Nepeta form was just too strong and powerful for the roses. A much smaller form like N.fassinni would of worked well. And also with Geranium macrophyllum used as an underplanting on Bush roses, once established, there was about 10cm difference in height between the two and it looked wrong, changed it to Geranium x cantbridgense hybrids and it worked well, with this form much more smaller growing. It is a tricky job to match them up but the results can be well worth it and once you start to get your eye in, you can start evaluating most of other plants on how they will work well with roses. They can then be planted up and trailed, it works well that’s good, if not well, starting again can be the fun part. It’s also working out what will work well with your soil and local conditions as well.

bed d 05b Under planting roses part 1, the reasoning behind itsOf course it’s not just getting both the underplanting and roses flowering at the same time, underplanting can be used to extend to seasons of interest from much before the roses open and to well after they have finished, using plants like spring bulbs like tulips, alliums, asters (in the various new names of course) clematis and of course topiary! Adding plants like dahlias and late flowering salvias can be done as a more modern twist in the borders. Plants like Helleborus argufoloius, flower early in the year but the foliage adds something to the borders during the summer months too. Again it’s just a case of playing with plants and see if it works. I have found the helleborus x hybridus forms difficult to add to roses, until I tried them with Rosa rugosa hybrids and found they worked well with the different foliage of the rugosa.

img 5123 Under planting roses part 1, the reasoning behind itsunderplanting roses can also do so much more than just enhancing the roses, it can also help the health of the roses. How? Well in various different ways, take Blackspot for an example, the spores from the fungus are transported from the infected rose by water droplets. These hit the rose, pickup the fugal spores, splash down onto the ground and then up onto the next rose, infecting that one as well. Underplanting slows down the droplet speed once it’s hit the rose and cushions the fall of the water onto the ground, reducing the splash effect and other plants then also stop this splash from hitting the next rose. Powdery mildew is spread by wind, catching hold of the spores and spreading it to the next rose, underplanting between the roses, adds another small barrier to help reduce this spread.

img 0975 Under planting roses part 1, the reasoning behind itsThen there’s the insect pests like aphids, just as in organic growing, a sacrificial plant can be grown to attract them to it and then this plant will attract in aphid eating machines like ladybird larvae to feast on them. Growing a wide range of flowers will also attract in a wide range of beneficial insects like hover-flies that again will feed on the any pests around, the seedpods left late until the season attract in birds to feed on them, these birds normally come in large mixed flocks and they will also look for insects hidden on the roses.

2006c Under planting roses part 1, the reasoning behind itshow to feed the roses is one of the big questions I am normally asked in concern with underplanting roses. The answer is a little more complex, I don’t believe in feeding just for one plant, I believe we should be feeding the soil and producing a heathy soil, one that can support a wide range of plants easily. Once the soil is healthy, the plants growing will be stronger and more able to fight diseases and pests. So I tend to add a fairly organic fertiliser to the soil in early spring, covering the whole area not just around the plants and then mulch with a garden compost or composted green waste. This I find is enough to keep both the roses and underplanting happy.

img 1091 Under planting roses part 1, the reasoning behind itsIn all mixing up the planting with roses is indeed hard work but it is a way of growing them that is both pleasing to the eye and one that does have good health benefits for the roses too.

In the next part, I shall have a closer look at some of the underplanting that can be the most overall use for underplanting through roses, it won’t be a complete list but just some of the ideas of combinations to try

global blogging feature Under planting roses part 1, the reasoning behind its
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Plant of the week- Camellia x williamsii ‘J C Williams’

camellia x williamsii j c williams 2 Plant of the week  Camellia x williamsii ‘J C Williams’

camellia x williamsii j c williams Plant of the week  Camellia x williamsii ‘J C Williams’One of the sure signs of spring to me has to be the camellias opening up. I know that their are forms like C. sansanqua types, like the one I featured late last year. But those just start the Camellia season and it’s not until the main flowering groups like C.japonica, C.retectulata and of course the C.x williamsii hybrids start flowering in their droves I feel that winter is on its way out.

Camellia x williamsii are a cross between Camellia japonica and Camellia saluenensis. This hybridisation was done on purpose by the great plantsmen J C Williams and Col. Stephenson Clarke at Borde Hill Gardens. It was John Charles Williams who made the first cross in 1923 down in his great garden in Cornwall called Caerhays. The Williams family supported many plant hunting trips by some of our greatest plant hunters and some of the wonders grow quite happy in this real plantsperson garden. The magnolias are of particular note, with some of the very best cambellii trees in the uk. It was indeed at the walls of Caerhays, Camellia saluenensis flowered for the first time in the uk and was crossed soon after by J C Williams to form the Camellia x williamsii hybrids. Indeed from the first batch of seedlings, Camellia x williamsii ‘J C Williams’ was selected and named.

camellia x williamsii j c williams 3 Plant of the week  Camellia x williamsii ‘J C Williams’

Camellia x williamsii ‘J C Williams’ starts the odd flower from the end of November and it can flower right up to the end of March but I feel in February it is at its best. It’s single flowers range from light pink to a dark pink, are highlighted by the dark green foliage. Camellia x williamsii ‘J C Williams’ is also one of the best hybrids to grow on a wall, preferably one that does get a little shade. Over time Camellia x williamsii ‘J C Williams’ can make a shrub up to 5m high and 3m across but if you don’t have the space, they can be lightly pruned after flowering. If it does get too big, camellias can be reduced down to stumps if required.

Camellia x williamsii ‘J C Williams’ is like all other Camellias in the the fact it does grow best in lime free soil, ideally one that hold moisture well but is also free draining. It is effected by few pests, scale insects are the worse, they live under the leaves and drop their honeydew poo onto the leaves below, Black sooty mould then grows on this, making the plant look unsightly. It is also pretty resistant to Honey Fungus so maybe worth adding to a spot where the existing plant has been killed off by the disease.

camellia x williamsii j c williams 2 Plant of the week  Camellia x williamsii ‘J C Williams’Camellia x williamsii ‘J C Williams’ is also pretty easy to grow, a yearly feed of Vitax Q4 and a mulch of well rotted compost just after it has finished flowering would be ideal. As would watering if we get a dry spell in mid-late summer as this is when the flowering buds are formed. Camellia x williamsii ‘J C Williams’ can be easy propagated by heal cuttings in late summer. These are short lengths of newish growth, ideally a couple of years old, pulled gently off a cut branch so some of the existing branch is still there and gives it a heal. These cuttings are best given a little bit of heat in a propagator and should start to grow away before the winter months.

Camellia x williamsii ‘J C Williams’ can be seen in most large gardens that have a good Camellia collection like RHS Wisley and is quite widely sold. Burncoose of Southdown, in Cornwall are still owed by a branch of the Williams family and it’s well worth ordering one from there

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