Wednesday, February 19, 2014
A Do-Over For An Arbor
I remember when we first looked at this property I was already mentally choosing what I would plant on this arbor before we even decided to buy the house. I love arbors and use them all the time in my gardens to add interest and height to an otherwise flat area. This one is tall and very sturdy, however, I don't think it has ever lived up to its potential and a week ago I looked at it in dismay and told my garden helper to just strip everything that was growing on it off and we would start over. (By-the-way, this is a garden technique that I find much under appreciated, ripping everything out and starting over!) We will relocate the plants that were growing there to a bare spot on the always needy fence on the back lot.
It's not that I hadn't tried. Here is what was tangled together growing on it; 'Graham Thomas' rose (not a climber but it does grow very tall here and it did grow up over the top), 'Sally Holmes' climbing rose, purple potato vine, a variety of passion flower, and a clematis of some kind, I think.
I've decided to just go and buy two of the same kind of climbing rose and plant one on each side and then monitor them weekly and tie the growing canes horizontally along the sides of the arbor. I started to do this on the previous roses planted here but obviously got distracted as evident by the top notch of blooms showing in the pictures. This is the key to getting climbing roses that have flowers all along the sides of the arbor and not just at the top like the yellow Graham Thomas rose in the picture above. They must be diligently tied in a zig-zag pattern so they will bloom on the horizontal branches like here or here. Which roses I choose will be somewhat dictated by my choices in the nurseries or whether I am willing to order on-line. Usually we are better off choosing ones that are available locally because they are typically proven to do well in our area. We need ones that will put up with June gloom for months without succumbing to mildew. Strong foliage is always good to discourage those pesty sawfly larvae that haunt us all. I looked a couple weeks ago and although some of my favorites from my Laguna Garden were at the nursery I usually go to, like 'New Dawn', it typically only has one long and full bloom in the spring and is flowerless the rest of the summer. They also had 'Polka', a beautiful peach colored climber that I find very difficult to get to bloom. Of course there is always the popular 'Eden', but I find it so disease prone, at least in my area, that I am a bit wary of the maintenance involved. Oh well, the search begins!