‘Belinda’s Dream’ is one of the classiest and best roses I have. Due to her parentage, a cross between the elegant Hybrid Tea, ‘Tiffany’ and ‘Jersey Beauty,’ a light yellow Wichurana Rambler, her silvery pink blooms are borne on strong, upright stems. Gazing upon her classic, Hybrid Tea-like beauty, you expect to see spindly canes beneath her, but instead her blooms emerge from a bushy shrub. Belinda is disease resistant (including blackspot,) blooms prolifically, and she even smells good. She was the first rose to receive the Earthkind rose designation.
What else could you ask of her? Wouldn’t you be alarmed if she suddenly started to falter?
I watched her struggle this season and the last one, and I was worried. A couple of my local, gardening friends lost their Belindas, and I feared I would lose mine next. Fortunately, this year, I bought another Belinda and placed her in the lower gardens next to a Rhapsody in Pink® crapemyrtle. Belinda #2 grew so well that she was already a medium sized shrub in less than one season. From her performance, I gleaned more clues.
My original Belinda wasn’t blooming as often, and she seemed to have more blackspot than before. Her growth was also stunted. She sent me numerous signals, but she was such a strong bush that she was too subtle.
Yesterday, while pulling weeds, the answer came to me like a lightning bolt.
Not enough sun.
The crapemyrtle I’d trained into a tree shaded that portion of the garden more than before, but an even bigger problem was the rose ‘Carefree Wonder’ (shown at left.) ‘Carefree Wonder’ and ‘The Fairy’ grew together around the crapemyrtle into an impenetrable hedge which blocked sunlight from the east. ‘Carefree Wonder’ is truly carefree, but left unchecked, she will take over.
Let there be light . . .
I pruned hacked away at ‘Carefree Wonder’ and ‘The Fairy.’ Then, I limbed up the crapemytle even more. You can see the pile of rose canes at right. The entire area looks improved, and I believe Belinda appreciates my efforts. There’s enough growing season left for her to rebound.
How did I let this happen? First, when I planted the fearsome threesome, they were all small shrubs. I didn’t anticipate their full size. Shame on me. It took years for them to grow and change the structure of the garden from a very sunny space to a shady one. In the meantime, on the other side of Belinda, I planted Salvia leucantha. Mexican bush sage is not considered hardy in our zone, and for a long time, it wasn’t, so it never grew larger than four feet. However, in recent years, although my Mexican bush sage died back to the ground, it emerged each spring with renewed vigor. Also, when I positioned the Mexican bush sage, it was south of Belinda. Like many plants, it spread where it wanted. It now grows taller than five feet and shades Belinda on the west side, cutting out her afternoon sun.
One lesson learned is to keep my eyes open. I’m in this garden daily, but familiarity sometimes causes me not to see what is really going on. Lesson two is that plants live and grow often totally changing their environment over the years.
What lessons have you learned from your garden this summer?