Thorn in My Side

MartiniThis is Leptospermum scoparium “Martini”.  This beautiful tea tree is definitely not a “thorn in my side”, in fact it has been trouble-free, demanding little attention.

What has been a spiritual, emotional and physical “thorn in my side” has been the Fragrant Cloud border.  This border of roses planted forty years ago (I am cringing just typing that) has in the last couple of years been continually devastated by the deer.  This wanton destruction has left them weak and ever more vulnerable.  I am all for a bit of sentimentality in the garden; sentimentality generally gets my vote.  So although I have never been a fan of monoculture beds I have tried my best to keep this border in tip-top condition.  I have tried; I have really tried.  I have mulched with mushroom compost and fed with chicken manure to try to keep their strength up under the relentless onslaught; I have protected with chilli and curry powder, Jeyes fluid and scary windmills, tape and fleece.  All with limited success.

Today I snapped.  Enough is enough.  We are opening to the public on Monday and a half chewed, weed ridden, disgrace of a rose bed is not the image I was hoping to exude.  So I have begun the rebranding of this bed.  Forthwith it will be known as the Salvia Bed (with lots of other goodies to make up the numbers and to avoid another monoculture just asking for attack from the Salvia monster). To be fair the rose Fragrant Cloud is a stunner, both in looks and perfume, and we will keep a few in the bed in the hope that the other plants will divert Bambi’s attention.  Still, as I dug out the first sickly rose, I felt a stab of guilt.  It was if all the head gardeners of the last 40 years winced disapprovingly (from their graves mainly).  Then I got into the swing of things, surprising how easily they came out after all that time!



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8 responses to “Thorn in My Side

  1. Oh my goodness! Fragrant Cloud is the rose of my childhood. I recall its extraordinary scent, but also that it’s not the most robust bush. I don’t really grow roses now, but great to know it’s still around, even if it is a bit harassed by the deer! Hope the new Salvia Bed is a worthy successor and that the remaining Fragrant Clouds prosper.

  2. I had a Madame Hardy rose that got to be quite large. It was enclosed in a wire cage its whole life. The cage only came off when I needed to prune or weed. I expect it’s still there and still in its cage, but we have moved. So far, no deer here, but we’re moving again soon, so who knows what we’ll get at the new place. There doesn’t seem to be any really good answer, and our municipal Councillors are continually debating on what to do about the “deer problem”. They don’t eat the salvia, anyway (the deer, not the Councillors).

    • Which is good news! Thought the salvia might put the deer off the remaining roses, will probably leave 5 or 6 dotted around. Roses in cages sounds so cruel, but I expect they think that being eaten by bambi is a worse option!

      • Yes, it does seem rather cruel and it doesn’t look that great, either. If I had it to do over again (and I’m glad I don’t), I would only plant the things that deer don’t like to eat; otherwise, It’s just such a losing battle.

  3. diversifolius

    I know very well how it feels – the guilt that you’re talking about, but sometimes you just have to let go of things, for the good of both parties involved 🙂 Good luck with the opening, I look forward to see more photos from the gardens as I cannot visit in person.

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