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The Rose Bed gets a make-over and then another

In March this year I had a small corner bed re-done. I pulled out a tree that was causing a few problems and replanted the bed. At the time I was reasonably happy with the decision, less than happy with the “re-do”. As time went on I was not really happy with it and kept making changes. Here’s how it went (All the photos can be clicked on to see the larger, uncropped versions).

4 March 2011:
We went from this …


22 March 2011:
… to this. See? It’s just ok – nothing great. But I now had three standard roses (Iceberg) and a bird bath, some Gaura and Heliotropium, all so small you needed a magnifying glass to see anything. (The plants in the front are Tulbaghia, left from the original planting and those are Star Jasmine creepers on the trellises).


28 May 2011:
Time went by, I added Alyssum which was intended to form a ground cover during this interim growth phase and then a peach pip mulch. Looked nice enough, but being winter, things were progressing very slowly.


24 September 2011:
Uh oh! Whats happening here? The creeper on the trellises is Star Jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides). I was warned that once the tree was removed it might get too hot for Star Jasmine in this position. They like some shade. Oh dear, seems these are getting fried.

Jasmine gets fried

Yep, not looking good, these need transplanting to a shadier spot before they are ruined.


And so at the beginning of Spring (the recently pruned roses have just started their new growth), I removed the Star Jasmine creepers from the trellises and transplanted them to shadier places (lots of those in my garden!).

Bare trellisses

24 September 2011 cnt/.
I purchased four fair-sized Jasminum Polyathum creepers and started planting them. Here the first one is up …

Jasminum Polyanthum gets planted

27 October 2011:
All four were lovingly planted and secured to the trellises and a few weeks later they were looking kinda good already. See how much the roses have grown and are now starting to flower, the Jasmine has started to creep upwards on its own. But … I’m still not happy with this bed. Something is wrong.


Yup, it’s the Tulbaghia (the row of plants planted at the front of the bed in a curve). They just don’t do it for me here, for a few reasons. Firstly, grown in this position, this should-be-easy, indigenous plant, takes at least 45 minutes of my time every week to remove all the yellowed leaves and to keep it tidy (I don’t spend that much time on any other individual plant in my garden, and it still always looks messy).

It NEVER flowers here (it should get lovely little pink flowers, but it doesn’t). So after three years of battling with these plants, I decided it was time for a change. See the yellowing? This was after a clean up. And I had to do this every week on all twelve of them. Annoying!

TulbaghiaFinally, for my liking (or for my “eye”), there is too much dark green foliage in this bed. There is no hardly any variation in the colour of the foliage from the front of the bed right to the trellises – it’s all just the same shade of dark green, which, to my ageing eye (and when I view the bed from a distance especially), does not provide enough interest or contrast. So again I set to work and removed the Tulbaghia. Fortunately a friend wanted them, so out they came …

Tulbaghia get removed

25 November 2011:
I was at Ferndale Nurseries the day before the big “dig-up” and waiting for me all in a display area were ten nice sized Carex “Evergold” at a very good price so I bought all ten …

10 Carexes

Excited about these bargain plants that looked great, I started planting right away …

Get planting
… until all ten new Carex “Evergold” were happily ensconced in their new home … complete with doggie toy that nearly got planted! (Notice my roses? Lots of blooms)

All ten are planted

21 December 2011:
A few weeks later, things have settled, the creepers are creeping, the Carex’s are ‘mounding’ … and I’m kinda happy now. Unfortunately, for this next photo, I had picked all the roses a few days before the photograph (twelve roses for the vase in my “Twelve Days of Christmas” post), but you can see what I am going for …

Rose Bed redone

By next spring the trellises will be covered and small white blooms should be smothering the wall. As they stop flowering, so the white roses in front of the trellises will start to bloom. At least … that’s the dream. Lets see if it works out! And I must mention, I don’t miss the weekly 45 minute ritual of removing the yellowing leaves from the Tulbaghia. They smell strongly of garlic and used to make my hands reek of it for hours if I forgot to wear my favourite gardening gloves.

26 December 2011
One final addition … in the second last photo above you will see a “gap” on the left just behind the Carexes … I planted out my Mexican Feather Grass seedlings in this spot, next to the existing one, just in front of the Heliotropium.

26 December addition

26 December 2011:
What do you think?

Rose bed on 26 December 2011

I will observe it for a while. Perhaps I need to move a few things out of this bed (should I be controlling / cutting back the Heliotropium more?). I certainly like this bed a whole lot more than anything I had here before. But knowing me, this bed will likely get changed again … and again.

Here is the entire sequence as a slide show:

Happy Gardening

By Christine

Dominated by large trees on a medium sized property, my garden is very shaded. With no “full sun” areas I have to plant shade and partial shade loving plants. I love shrubs and flowers including camellias and azaleas but Roses and Irises are my favourite and getting these to thrive is a challenge …

23 replies on “The Rose Bed gets a make-over and then another”

I came back to check out the Mexican Feather grass with the heliotrope. It’s so pretty and striking. I think I’m going to add some grasses to my container garden this spring. I’m feeling quite inspired!! THANKS!!!!

I love the combination too. Using ornamental grasses in combination with flowering plants has been the biggest “gardening revelation” for me this year. I absolutely love the look – when I get the combos right it looks simply fabulous – almost like an “accent” to highlight the beauty of the flowers, the grasses are beautiful in their own right too.

Hi Tammy – I just saw an amazing combo of Heliotrope with Persian Shield – I’m so tempted to go and get some for a pot because they look so good together … maybe with a splash of grass added could be spectacular!

That’s pretty amazing, Christine! What a wonderful job you have done, that bed looks absolutely lovely. Thank you for the slideshow, it was a lot of fun to watch the transformation.

🙂 As I write this there are two doves playing in there. Very sweet. I see this bed from my desk so I get to see the birds whenevever I am working and they come to play … very cute they are!

I think it looks great, but the white roses are hard to see against the white wall. I would have pulled out the tree and tuhlbagia, too. The carex is much brighter. Have you thought about a yellow flowering vine against the trellis? It would help the white roses stand out more and would be a beautiful contrast to the white wall.

Hi – Yes, I made a mistake with the creeper I bought (at least, I think so). I didn’t think that through properly before hand and realised it afterwards. *sigh*. But they are in now and doing well, so I will leave it for now. But I will do something about that in the future.

The bed looks very organized and pretty, but you should keep an eye on the Carex. They will be sprouting new litlle plants very shortly and they root their way to just about everywhere. I gave up planting Carex in residential situations, yet still have it in my small beds by the sidewalk in bright sun and dry conditions. They are not supposed to like these conditions, but grow with abandon.

Hi Donna – I am so surprised to hear this! I have Carex evergold in a few locations in my garden and have had no problems with it at all. I find it VERY well behaved and easy. I’ve had them for about 18 months now, maybe the invasion is coming still?

This bed is a real show stopper. When you walk into your “front gate” it is what grabs your eye! I love the grasses, but these will grow quite large so you might need to monitor them. My grasses are now spreading and I can see the actual size they will be. See you soon sometime this week!!

(sorry you had to pick the roses, but the next buds are ready and waiting). Playing with foliage is so much ‘easier’ than will it flower, now, ever … I tweak off faded leaves on the roses, but Tulbaghia goes its own sweet way. Did you know you can use the leaves like garlic chives? But perhaps you don’t like to eat garlic in any form?

Hi Diana – the bushes are covered in buds … a week or so and I’ll have double, maybe triple the number of roses I had before I picked then. How wonderful it is to be able to pick ones own roses for the vase! I’m not complaining, I loved doing it!

I love garlic, but I didn’t love those plants, there. I might try them again at the back, they might do better there and the yellowing leaves won’t worry me there 🙂

I really liked the top photo but I appreciate that you had your reasons for digging up the tree. I think it is interesting to see how you have developed the bed and addressed your concerns. I agree that the Carex lifts the planting and I think the Heliotrope is just about right. I dont like the large leaved plant in the right of the last photo but at the same time you want contrasts of foliage – not just colour as you have but size. It seems to me that although it looks lovely if you are still unhappy then you might want to consider something with a larger leaf. Here in the UK I might consider a Bergenia, Hosta or Pulmonaria but I dont know your plants. But as Carolyn so rightly says you should leave it a season and see how it develops before you do anything more to it

Hi Helen – funny that you mention it, the plant on the right that you don’t like does not belong in there. Its a remnant from prior plantings, a Zantadeschia that keeps coming up again and again. I keep removing it and it sprouts back, so I just left it this time. I agree I need something with a larger leaf in there but I’m going to wait a while and let it settle. Then I will see.

I think that is very wise advice and I will take it! I had to stop myself today. Was about to fiddle around in there and reminded myself of what you said 🙂

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