Thursday 28 February 2013

Three roses and a viburnum

Thursday 14th
Weather: 8°C. Rainy to begin with, much milder than it has been for a while. The sun finally came out.

Rosa × odorata 'Mutabilis' in the middle of the bed

I was on a pruning mission today. Fergus is properly getting me to prune different plants & namely roses all by myself - to 'read' the plant and prune intuitively to what I think the plant needs. It's a regenerative type of pruning really, which is great because it means not having to fumble around with textbooks trying to remember what the information said, but being able to understand what to do through looking at it. The main aims are to allow maximum sunshine into each stem, for them to be well spaced. Where it has flowered helps give an indication of what year wood flowers come on.

I have been choosing monthly articles/ excerpts for Dixter's website from the archive of Christopher Lloyd's Countrylife transcripts since the 1950s, here are a few interesting things he has to say about pruning - Christopher Lloyd article.

Viburnum opulus compactum

Hard lessons were still being learnt and Fergus would come after each one to give me helpful critique, advice/ guidance. I was given a variety of plants that gave me different things to consider. These are the plants that were part of my trials & tribulations:

Rosa chinensis 'Mutabilis' now known as Rosa × odorata 'Mutabilis' in the Barn Garden. From this one I learnt not to cut middle stems too short even if means cutting off a flowered head to next best flowering stem means doing so, because then they don't risk being crowded out by the others and not being able to grow as well. In this scenario it is best to cut it down to the next best bud.

Viburnum compactum opulus, Rosa moyesii (a shrub rose with big red flowers and bulbous hips), Rosa setipoda & Rosa glauca (bluey green leaves & flowers with 5 pink petals), all in the Long Border. Situated here, the back of these plants can be easily shaded out by the growth at the front. So the best approach was to think about the plant in the shape of a set of steps. Taller at the back and gradually shorter towards the front. Always mindful that everything stays tall enough for the light to hit it.

Rosa glauca - the tall thin red branches in the middle nearly camouflaged. 

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