Elaeagnus x ebbingei, an evergreen shrub, is grown as a ‘standard’ in this garden. Last year I left it to grow a little bit wild over the summer so we could enjoy the fabulous scent it gives out when flowering in the autumn.
Autumn came and went and the (insignificant) flowers came as hoped, but the scent did not linger in the air as I had wished for. Our semi-formal rose garden looked quite shabby for the duration of summer so my hand was forced to keep them trim this year. Armed with secateurs it took 2 of us the best part of a day this week, to get them back in shape. We could have pruned them with shears, which is a quicker process, however this will cut the leaves, which then get a brown edge and spoil the overall appearance of the plant.
Having done that job, I returned to the garden for a second day this week to start pruning the box hedges around the roses. These can be started with a hedge trimmer and given a neat finish with shears. Again this is a very time consuming business. With 2 of us working, we still didn’t manage to get round all the hedges in a day. There is a lot of clearing up do afterwards. Our relatively strong backs were also not thanking us for a day of diligent pruning – at such a low level.
When that is done I see that the roses are beginning to go over and they require a lot of time dead-heading. A very worthwhile job to acheive a longer flowering period. Whilst doing this we are also weeding under the roses despite a good mulching at the beginning of the year. In a bad year for ‘black spot’ usually after a warm damp Spring (fortunately not this year), we are also sweeping up all the dead and yellowed diseased leaves from under the roses.
When we finally feel we can leave this area, we know that the Nepeta underplanting the roses needs cutting right back to get a second flush of flowers for later in the year..
Hang on a moment … before we know it, we have spent all season in this area and the rest of the garden is going to pot.
For these reasons, stunning as this garden is, I strongly recommend giving rose gardens lots of thought when planting.
In another garden I work in, the roses are dotted through the border.
This could be a better picture to demonstrate how well this can work, so you’ll have to just take my word for it, but it really does…