Everyone wants to know Where The Roses Grow Wild!
Barbara Knox-Shaw gives you her gardening tips:
Grow your plants where they’re naturally happy – before you plant, make sure you know whether they prefer shade or sun, dry or wet conditions.
- The roots of trees will always pose a problem if you try to create a garden beneath the trees. ‘We use logs, pieces of bark and soil to create raised beds around the trees, and then plant in these. This gives the plants a chance to find their feet without competition from tree roots; the drainage in these beds is also good. And if the tree roots become a problem again, we simply start from scratch.’
- Plants do not grow well if they get too little light; make sure there is enough light if you plant under trees, even if it means you have to cut off branches.
Don’t prune old roses too severely and do so only after the rose has bloomed. ‘We spray our roses with lime sulphur in winter and give each plant a shovel or two of chicken manure in early spring. Well-rotted compost can also be used. Other than this, old roses need very little attention to flower beautifully.’
Cover the soil in your garden – it looks nicer and keeps the plant roots cool in the hot summer months. ‘However, I’m wary of groundcovers that multiply too easily. I prefer groundcovers that don’t multiply by means of runners or root formation (for example, wild strawberry and Vinca minor) but rather by means of seed dispersal; I also prefer plants that I can divide and re-plant. It requires more effort and takes longer to cover the soil, but your beds will not get overgrown so easily. Helleborus, Aquilegia, Arthropodium, Thalictrum and Aruncus are all good options.
Eradicate weeds in your garden before they take over. Keep an eye on the weeds in your neighbour’s garden and remove them immediately if you see them coming up in your garden.
Visit as many gardens as possible. ‘You can never get the sense of a plant you see in a nursery until you see it growing in a garden.’
Words and image: Home magazine