Thursday, April 26, 2012

Secret plants

I have been keeping things from you.

Last year I planted a small Wisteria frutescens to climb up the sturdy main canes of the Iceberg. This was ahead of the Martha Stewart shoot, and I was worried that the canes would look all...bare. As it turned out there was no need for camouflage, but I now I have this wisteria. Though far less rampant than Wisteria chinensis, wisteria is till wisteria and not the best choice for a container. The vines grow fast, grow deep, and generally tear down whatever they're growing on unless pruned very smartly. This one has already twined all the way to the top of the rose. So I can either turn it into a dinky standard, or rethink. A clematis would have been a better choice. I may still find the right type - Pruning Group 3 is what I am looking for, the kind of clematis that you mow down to the ground at the end of winter as it blooms on new growth only. 

Which brings me to...:

Bee's Jubilee! Growing up the lower canes of the New Dawn. The New Dawn really is in trouble. The Iceberg on the other side is not. That rose is very healthy. But now I have this bright clematis and an indestructible autumn clematis climbing up the unhappy New Dawn. Should I just grit my teeth and take the whole lot out? Bee's Jubilee is in its own pot. But in the big rose pot are two giant lilies, now three feet tall, and the autumn clematis. I am torn. And there are rose buds. Not half as many as in previous years, but they're there. Wait for bloom, and then replace with...another rose? Or see how it goes. It will be a huge performance.

Also, this clematis belongs to pruning Group 2, which means that it blooms on last season's growth. But it is supposed to rebloom on new growth. Does that mean I should not prune it after this first flush? I prune the Etoile Violette (Group 3) lightly after the first flush and it sprouts more and blooms more. 

That's the Iceberg in flower, above. At night with the door open, I smell roses.

And pansies. One forgets that they actually have a very good fragrance.

For the last few nights I have been moving my seedlings in and out, up and down. They are well traveled. At night they go under the table. I know. Over protective. And last night I squashed my first mosquito of the season. Yay.

So far, this spring has been an interesting ride.


  1. It's painful, but I'd say trash the New Dawn. I had the same terrible experience with her-- and I will never get a new one. Mine was even in-ground. I just ordered a Renae-- climbing polyantha, thornless, great re-bloom and shade tolerant. It's also supposed to be great in a container.

    Secret plants are the best. I've ordered so many things for this spring-- I plan on covering my railings with passiflora incarnata and p. incarnata alba. The idea of fruit is thrilling. I have lilies coming on Saturday.

    Which reminds me-- I know you grow your lilies in a pot-- how many inches is the pot? I was thinking to put them in with other things, but I wasn't really sure what i wanted to do. I'm getting both trumpets and orientals.

  2. If you love your sw autumn clematis and Group 2, can you give them pots of their own with big obelisks to climb upon? Then you could add another luscious Group 2in purple. And I cut my Viticellas to the ground each spring -- too hard to keep track of the ones that go both ways.

  3. I grew Bee's Jubilee for one season only and then took it out. Your photo shows a bright pink striped (garish?) bloom, but my Bee's Jubilee got completely washed out and was so pale that it was uninteresting. It was limp and the foliage was unattractive. Bleeah.

    I replaced it with a viticella (group 3 cut to the ground in winter), tidy, only 8 feet tall, well behaved with interesting dangling white & green handkerchiefs for flowers (it is 'Alba Luxurians') I am all in favor of viticellas and small statured clematis that scramble rather than overtake.

  4. Thank you, Thomas. I love your ranch :-)

    Katkoot - you may be right about the rose, I've been threatening to do this for years. Sigh. My lilies grow with other plants and the big ones are in pots about 20" wide and 22" deep. One smaller pot has only lilies, is 14" across and 16" deep. Good luck with your passion fruit, sounds like fun!

    Janet - Haha, I wish, but no space for obelisks :-)Bee's Jubilee is in its own pot, so that's OK. I may do another viticella the New Dawn goes.

    Laurrie - ahem, garish, yes, I suppose, but you've seen the colour of my terrace, right? :-) Maybe your clematis was hot? I actually want a clematis that will go beserk in this corner of the terrace, but like you I'm drawn to the viticella's, especially as they rebloom.

  5. Marie-- thank you! It's difficult to find others who have grown lilies in pots (well others who have done it and are aiming for more than one plant per pot and a real garden effect).

    I am actually trying to get a sweet autumn clematis for my own balcony since I need something which will survive shade but bloom and be a great grower. If I were closer, I would volunteer to liberate yours from you! :) The passion fruit is native to here and will also live for you if you ever become interested. It dies back to the ground in winter and blooms June-October or so. Like you I like to get as much as possible out of my space, so I chose it over a clematis just because of the fruit factor (well and I can't get fruit here in the store). So many orders will be coming soon... strawberries (mara des bois), tuberoses, gloriosa lilies, hardy begonias...

    Good luck with your terrace this season! I am sure it will be beautiful even if you have to get a new climber.


  6. I am so happy to have found your blog. I so enjoy your pictures and descriptions of your gardening activities. I live in northwest Georgia on 70 acres - and I "fancy" myself a gardener. It is most interesting to see your progress in such a different climate and setting. Love the seedlings! It's like tending babies till they get big enough to make it on their own! I look forward to following your gardening and food blog.

  7. Bet you were glad you were putting the seedlings under the table on Sunday night. I was worried that you would get snow, but it sounded like you just got lots of cold.

    I love the wisteria, and may look for one, but feel your pain about its future.

  8. Love the wisteria, had to move 4 years ago and mine didn't move with me as it was in the ground. Have wanted another but it hasn't come up on the budget yet, maybe next spring! Your garden (and cat) are beautiful!
    Blessings, Janet


Comments on posts older than 48 hours are moderated (for spam control) . Yours will be seen! Unless you are a troll. Serial trollers are banned.