Thursday, March 24, 2011

Got a narrow situation? No room?

Going up where there's no room to go out is a way to find some planting space that you didn't think your garden had. Fences, trellises (large or larger), pillars, tripods, arbors, pergolas, trees, wires anchored to the side of your house are all ways to grow vertically. Here you can see the arbor I planned for 'Crepuscule', the apricot Noisette, who promptly refused to grow up onto the arbor, choosing instead to hang a hard left horizontally.  Behind Crep is the top of a rebar arbor bearing 'Duchesse d'Auerstadt', a climbing Tea. The 4x4 wrapped in coated wire fencing is a pillar for 'Princesse de Nassau' who will be wound around the post, getting more bang for my real estate buck. And the tree supports 'R. Fortuneana'.
Thankfully, the lamp post was there, and I was able to drape Crepuscule on it in the direction she wanted to go. I assume she'll eventually go upwards as well, but she's kind of pretty on the lamp post.

  'Rosa fortuneana' is a species cross between 'Rosa laevigata' and 'Rosa banksiae', discovered around 1840 in China by Robert Fortune, the famous British plant hunter. It is a great rootstock in warmer climates like Florida, but I'm growing it up into my oak trees. In a few years this now 3-year-old once-blooming almost thornless climber which can cover 40' in one direction (that's 80' from side to side if you're math-challenged) will fill the canopy of these 12 oaks, covering it with white fully double, violet-scented flowers. It will be a truly amazing sight. The hard part was getting the canes up into the previously limbed-up trees. Standing near the tippity top of a ladder reaching with a grab-it tool was kinda hairy. I see another of these balancing acts in my future.
'Full Moon Rising', a modern Large Flowered Climber, is temporarily leaning on this metal trellis. In an effort to deny the squirrels easy access to her big fat flower buds before they can even open I moved the trellis away from the tree. I'm not optimistic about this working, but I had to do something. The spot is on the south side of the trunk and is fine during winter months, but this oak tree has a fairly wide canopy  and will be shading the rose until late in the afternoon. This might be sufficient sun but might not, so I'm hoping that the rose will climb into the tree canopy, seeking the sun. We'll see. This rose has been described as very disease resistant, and so far I'm pleased with it. Are you wondering why I bought a modern rose? It was $3 on sale and yellow. Sold!
Here she is a few days ago, growing up and then out. Of course, she is tied to the trellis, but her canes are 12-ft long and longer. Then those canes send out many side-shoots that grow equally as long, so she tends to pile her canes on top of each other in a horizontal fashion, getting taller all the time. That's more than 20 running feet of rose bush.
A scant 8 feet is all I have for sideyards. Up was the only way to go. Since Cheap is my middle name, DIY was also the only way to go, and I built this 8' tall x 12' wide wooden trellis for 'Maman Cochet, Climbing', a large and fast-growing Tea rose.  When she reached past the trellis in her first four months, I thought the arbor was a prudent addition to her support structure. The AC unit is right next to her, so I have had to train her very tightly to the trellis. (MC is a very well armed rose.) However, I have learned that her canes do not like to be bent hard, as in turning a perpendicular growing cane parallel to the trellis. The canes always die. So now I simply remove a new cane that is growing the wrong way.
Here you can clearly see Maman Cochet's width. Had I not lopped her a few months ago she would be on the roof - mine and maybe my neighbor's. She hasn't seemed to mind the trimming at all, so I will trim her if need be but I will also throw all the canes I can up on top. It worked well this time. The voluminous, buff-colored rose behind Maman Cochet and in the photo below is 'Reve d'Or', a large Noisette. She is quite a bit easier to deal with because of her lax canes. They're nice and flexible and don't really need to be bent but merely moved around and tied in place. Since she had a very positive response to an earlier trim, I am much more comfortable with trimming them. I need to trim on the neighbor's side of the fence. I figure if I keep the roses trimmed up higher than 6', then they can be walked under and won't bother anyone.

Here is 'Sally Holmes' growing on an arbor that I'm afraid will soon be too small and weak for her and the climber that's just starting to grow on the other side. Alas, I see more carpentry in my future. One of the drawbacks of being new at gardening is the seemingly constant need to back up and regroup. These two roses are the second to be situated on this arbor. 'Don Juan' just didn't work in my no-spray garden. Both of the replacements will become sizable climbers, so new accommodations will have to be made. To throw another twist into the mix, 'Sally Holmes' may not be in love with this southern full-sun position, so I may have some time to play with here. In other words it will be moving time again.

This is the trellis next to my garage at the front sidewalk, possibly a very impractical location for a rose, but 16 square feet of ground is 16 square feet of ground, and my motto is "I'll make it fit." This is also the second rose for this spot. Previously, 'Madame Caroline Testout, Climbing' lived here. Her beautiful flowers did not make up for her ugly blackspot, nakedness and lethal prickles - right at my front door. She and Mr. Shovel had an amicable meeting. The new occupant of this tiny prime spot is 'Climbing Pinkie', a climbing polyantha and the bushiest climber I have ever seen. He's only been in the ground since last September, and he has really grown. He's also almost thornless and reputed to be healthy and always covered with blooms, but I may have to add brackets over the driveway (and maybe the sidewalk) to accommodate his size.

I have five other vertically growing roses which just shows that your property is yours all the way to the edges, so why not make full use of it?


  1. These are great examples of using all your space. I love your motto "I'll make it fit." :)
    The trellises and arbors are beautiful in themselves. I can't believe how huge some of your roses are. You must be one strong woman.

  2. Goodness Lady ~ You are quite the Rosarian. I am so in awe of all of your beautiful roses.

    Love your rose covered trellises and arbors.


  3. You are making me aah and ooh when reading your post! All your roses are growing so well, I will be satified when my rose have two or three blooms opening the same time :) Always admire the scene that roses covering the rellises or arbors full of blooming, and here you have this scene all over your garden!

  4. Wow, Sherry I didn't realize that you have that many climbing roses growing on arbors, trellises, fences, and trees! It looks wonderful and your garden reminds me of the fairytale Sleeping Beauty! I really admire your energy to plant all these roses, prune, and train them. Even though the result is fabulous and I greatly admire it in your garden, I avoid the training of climbing roses to structures in my yard completely up to now. Instead I grow a few climbers as tall, free-standing, fountain shape, self-supporting shrubs, because I think for me the training and tying of the rose canes to their support structures is just too much work.

  5. Hi Sherry...I had to chuckle at the comment that you made about "one of the drawbacks of being new at gardening is the seemingly constant need to back up and regroup." I've been gardening for a very long time and I still have to "back up and regroup" fairly regularly. It's a good thing plants don't mind being relocated.

    Just wanted to let you know there's a "caladium giveaway" going on at my other blog: http://centralfloridagardener.blogspot. If you'd like a chance to win one of the two $55 gift certificates for some caladium bulbs from Happiness Farms, please head over there and leave a comment. Have a great weekend.

  6. Great photos as always Sherry. Hope you can
    visit us at Kanapaha!

  7. Beautiful climbers, I may have to nab some of these ideas for roses on my pergolas. I can't have them bare for too long! The Rev d'Or and Maman Cochet are splendid, and the Climbing Pinkie is so nice and foliated! Any other great climbers your can recommend?

  8. Hello, Sherry. Do you grow your OGRs on their own rootstock? Do they suffer from nematodes? I'm in Miami and most of my OGRs are in large pots since I worry they'll succumb to these pests.

  9. Terra Mirabilis, ninety-four are on their own roots. Only one left on fort. I see no signs of them suffering from nematodes. My garden beds are greatly amended – by perhaps 50% - with organics. I have read that nematodes don’t like organics due to the chemicals given off by the decomposition of the organic materials, so this is the route I have taken rather than Fortuneana rootstock.

  10. Great stuff Sherry! Two years ago I planted 3 single climbers on the east side of my house. Last year I strung wire along the side of the house and this spring I was finally able to string the canes of the climbers on the wire. I did a few 'arches' out of canes that didn't want to go horizontal. I hope this works. I was also finally able to get my three Austin climbers (CPM, Golden Celebration and GT) on the oblisiks I bought for them 2 years ago. I had them in my living room the whole time :) Hope they look as good as some of yours do.

    FYI, in case you didn't know, this is Buford from GW, or Bet!

  11. You have some impressive roses, Sherry! I would love to see your Fortuniana in a few years. Your Maman Cochet is gorgeous, and so is Crepuscule. It is hard to believe how big your Cl. Pinkie is and how bushy. It looks wonderfully healthy. I like your trellises too, they are beautiful. Your garden is really lovely, I wish I could visit in person.

  12. Thank you for all these ideas and beautiful photos. You inspire me!

  13. Good!!! Everyone should be inspired about their roses. It helps us fight the good fight. And thank you for the lovely compliments. The plan is for beauty to inspire more beauty in other people’s gardens. Take care, Anne.

    And many thanks for everyone's kind comments. I believe these roses will speak for themselves if given the platform to be heard. That is the purpose of this blog.