Florida didn’t have a winter this year, and last year’s winter left a lot to be desired. However, this means that the growing season started earlier this year so that makes me one very happy woman! It also makes me very conflicted to be happy about this because I know climate change is behind these absurd weather patterns. This past weekend I tended to many things in the garden, including weeding, pruning my David Austin roses, and planting Japanese boxwoods for my new landscaping project.
Of course, this is not what my landscaping project looks like right now, but it is the end goal. At the end of our driveway, the view is that of a murky water-retention pond and a neighbor’s trashy backyard. In a few weeks, I will plant a new podocarpus hedge to block that view, and in front will be a half-circle bed for roses tucked in by boxwoods. Currently I’m wrestling between the Olivia Rose (above) and the following beauties.
The Alnwick Rose isn’t one that I’m considering for this bed, as I found that its blooms fade pretty quickly in the Florida sun, but it’s trucking along in my southern rose bed. What I’ve learned in my first season as a rose gardener is that bare root roses truly do need a few years to establish themselves. My Alnwick produced tons of small roses last season on very thin stems. I was disappointed in it until, just last week, a super thick stem shot up through the center that was the width of at least three stems from last season’s growth. It is absolutely spectacular and I can’t wait to see how much bigger the blooms will be this season.
But back to my new landscaping project. I am in love with the Olivia Rose for this project, but I need a pop of color in our otherwise evergreen yard. Olivia Rose is absolutely breathtaking in its growth form and each individual rose. The soft pink is gorgeous, but on this sunny west-facing location, I’m afraid she will never reach that gorgeous pink hue so I have to go with a deeper pink to compensate. Plus, our house is a neutral color, so it needs an intense hue. I will have Olivia in my garden somewhere, probably in my east beds by my kitchen and lanai, where the morning sun won’t fade her. She’s such a beautiful specimen. I have flip-flopped between 4 different David Austin roses in the past month, so in a way, I’m glad I haven’t ordered them until I make up my mind. Last night I settled on Princess Alexandra of Kent (for the time being). As long as I place my order before March 3rd with promo code ULC, I save 15%. Fingers crossed I can decide by then!
I started by using marking paint to draw an outline of my new bed. The half circle bed is where the roses (represented by the pots and saucers) will sit nestled inside boxwoods on the circle’s edge and podocarpus hedge in the rectangular bed. Using the marking paint, flags and props really helps with the planning stage of landscaping projects. The white PVC pipes are an extension of our current irrigation system that I added in. I could think of a million other things I’d rather do than water plants by hand in the hot Floridian summer sun, so I wanted to make it easier down the road.
After finishing the added irrigation lines, I used my Black & Decker Edge Hog on the trencher setting to help me put in the edging. I still ended up needing my Garden Weasel to make the trench deeper. Tip: when putting in 4″ flat edging, moisten the soil. Dry soil doesn’t hold shape and will make the job infinitely more difficult. This is where using the marking paint REALLY comes in handy!
Placing the boxwoods in their future home starts bringing some sense to this mess, haha. I ended up purchasing two more, for a total of 13, since they were so tiny. It will take two full seasons to have them touch, and probably a third season to form the full hedge (seen in the Olivia Austin photo above).
Gardening, especially landscaping, is HARD WORK. I would love nothing more to finish this all in one day, but I rather do the work only once. When you rush things, you have to go back and redo things, and you end up doing twice the work.
These photos were taken over the course of two weeks, doing a little each day. Yep, they’re iPhone photos; I wouldn’t bring my DSLR anywhere near all the dirt so you’re gonna have to deal with these crummy photos until I’m done with the project.
Do you have any garden plans this season?