Friday, August 04, 2006

My Favorite Spot, August 4th

Last year, the steps to the front porch were framed by asters, which I promptly renamed ass-ters for their sprawling, flopping habit. After asking for readers’ suggestions on what to replace them with, I promptly ignored all advice and planted red mini roses. Thankfully, I had the sense to surround them with annuals because the roses, although blooming, have lost all of their leaves!

Even with the leafless roses (which are, by the way, recovering now) this is my favorite spot. I love the combination of red roses, purple heliotrope, and pink and green nicotiana.

Although I maligned nicotiana in an earlier post, I’ve come to really like this annual, even though most of my seeds yielded plants with lime-green, scentless flowers. The plants are bushy and upright, even without pinching. They produce an endless supply of colorful flowers.

Heliotrope is sold as a fragrant annual, but the really fragrant variety, white heliotrope, is hard to find. While my heliotrope’s cherry pie scent is faint, its intensely purple flower head and dark green leaves redeem the plant. I read somewhere that heliotrope is actually a sub-shrub in warmer climates. I may try to overwinter cuttings for next year.

The mini-roses are the ubiquitous Parade roses sold at discount and grocery stores throughout the US and Canada. I bought one in June 2005 (Big Lots) and the second in November 2005 (Bigg’s). They both overwintered in my sunroom (where they molded from the humidity). I planted them out in early spring, just before the hyacinth began to bloom. I’ve read that it is not unusual for mini roses to lose their leaves just after transplanting, but mine defoliated three months after their move. The leaf loss is probably due to some sort of pest, but I’m a lazy rose gardener. I feed them and water them, but that’s about it. If they don’t survive, I’ll find a more disease-resistant mini-rose.

You may notice that I’ve only shown you one side of the front stoop. I attempted to duplicate the planting on the right side, but it didn’t turn out as well. The nicotiana is ALL lime-green (no pink!), the heliotrope hasn’t bloomed yet, and the mini rose is about 1/3 the size of its brother. When I walk up to the front door, I just have to close my right eye, so all I see is my favorite spot out the left.

5 Comments:

Blogger Christine said...

I smiled at the 'right-eye closing' remark!

I've got a big friend coming over on Monday, he's going to dig up a daylily tuber~ I haven't forgotten!

9:34 AM  
Blogger Giddy said...

I think everyone has a favorite spot in their garden! Mine is a corner bed with goatsbeard, delphinium, hollyhock, dahlia and rudbeckia. It seems no matter what the season, something of beauty is in their blooming their hearts out.

9:37 AM  
Blogger Jenn said...

Roses are tempermental. I find that my minis will go through leaf drop in the heat of summer, and they have gone through several (lower) Michigan (no snow cover) winters without even mulching.

I did mulch last year, and the bushes are fuller this year (hey, maybe there is something to that, huh?)

But I overlook the sad and scraggly periods for the ones with roses. Last night I sat next to my roses in a light rain and actually caught a whiff of tea rose fragrance. Pure bonus!

11:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have never grown the mini roses that DIDNT drop their leaves. I would just cut them back though, and they would regrow. I thought maybe it was powdery mildew or just me. Ha!
They did however overwinter nicely in my zone 5 garden, and I was able to propagate them by doing the stem cutting-stick -itin the-ground-cover-with-a jar trick.

7:04 PM  
Blogger Blackswamp_Girl said...

Who need to look out of their right eye, anyway, when there's such a lovely view from the left?!?!

I love the heliotrope, by the way. There's something about those thick and embossed-looking leaves that I really dig.

12:43 PM  

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