OK, I did promise you a rose garden

OK, I did promise you a rose garden

By Jez Hall

The other day my wife decided that we needed to go and visit a very well known rose nursery 100 miles away, in order to offload some troublesome cash in exchange for some fast growing garden delights. The range of roses on offer was massive and it seemed like every semi-famous man and his dog had a rose named after them. After much deliberation over the varieties of climbing, rambling, fragrant, potted or shrub roses, we made our choices and filled the car up with prickly purchases.

I had already prepared the ground with an electric cultivator which had evened and levelled out the soil nicely. Next we added some granular rose fertilizer to give them a good start. On top of that, my new favourite garden accessory was applied: weed suppressant. The garden has been dogged by weeds in the past, and I think that cultivating the soil seems to actually make the weeds grow faster, so this super-wide black material is just the job to put a stop to them.

We unrolled and stretched the material out, pegging at regular intervals. It looked great and so "under control", and I thought of all the time that would be saved in the future by having no weeds.

Then the fun started. Trying to arrange the pots in the best way to take into account potential height and width of the roses and other plants was quite hard. The gardens we had seen at the nursery seemed to effortlessly blend the different plants into coherent patterns, but in real life it was much more difficult to make an arrangement work. After a bit of trial and error, and quite a lot of arguing, we got there in the end.

Time for some tea and cake, and then we got the spade out. The weed suppressant material had to be cut neatly with scissors so that I could dig the small square holes for planting. After a bit of huffing and puffing, and quite a few thorny scratches, we got the roses "planted" - in fact they are going to stay in their pots until November, as per the nursery's instructions - along with some other perennial plants. It was quite satisfying to stand back and looking at the progress, and I'm already thinks how good it will look come the spring.

Later we will add some bark mulch to cover the black material for the finishing touch. All in all this area of the garden is transformed and we look forward to years of lovely roses.
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