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A couple of garden notes

Melissa Northern Italy zone 8
4 months ago
last modified: 4 months ago

'De la Maitre-Ecole' is a shrubby Gallica getting up to four feet or so then flopping about. Very fine rose. My specimen suckers out, passes under the pavers of the narrow walk behind it, then shows up among the shrubs in the back row. Interesting was finding it emerging from a shrub about seven feet up, flaunting its blooms. Clearly it can scramble a ways if it has to.

'Rose-Marie Viaud', a chlorosis-prone Multiflora rambler, is looking good. A year or two ago I took it, my last plant remaining of several I had obtained from cuttings, and planted it under a large conifer, an ex-Christmas tree, digging a scratch hole in the rocks etc. and cutting out some of the branches of the conifer to ensure that the rose got a little sun at least. This was a last-chance effort to give the rose the acid conditions it evidently requires, and which simply are not to be found on our property. I thought the conifer's fallen needles would acidify the soil; I've also continued to mulch generously with pulled weeds and grass, and with used pine shavings from the cat litter box after I removed the poop. The rose showed chlorotic leaves a couple of times last year: I treated it with an acidifying fertilizer, one of the rare occasions I use fertilizer. This spring the rose has nice green leaves and has set buds. I planted it between 'Maiden's Blush' and--dang, I can never remember the name--a big rambler with pink-white blooms: I wanted a contrast with all that paleness, which 'Rose-Marie Viaud's cool-pink-to-lavender flowers would supply. I'm waiting to see whether it will bloom together with the rambler, which I now recall is 'Brenda Colvin', at least, or arrive too late in the season to give the desired contrast.

Roses with a good deal of Multiflora in their ancestry tend not to do well for me, but there are exceptions. 'Blush Rambler', growing in truly disheartening soil, is pretty happy as long as its canes are protected from the depredations of the deer. I hope to see it get bigger as conditions improve, but it's a happy sight. 'Goldfinch' is tolerably prosperous in a fat site down in the shade garden. A Multiflora rambler that I think may be 'Tausendschoen' grows out of the middle of an eleagnus and into a Leyland cypress. In spite of this unfavorable situation it throve until cut back, I think, by our prolonged drought, but it's still alive and I hope will get back to its thriving self. And one of a number of plants of 'Russelliana', after a decade or so growing as a shrub, this year built up enough strength to throw out a longer, climbing-type cane. Hurray. I hope one day to see it turn into a huge mound of purple and green.

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