The options around Hoe and Shovel for sunny locations adequate enough for standard roses are scant at best. This consideration along with a dose of apprehension for the care they typically require is my excuse for not collecting these lovely specimens in the past.
For many years the shady parts of this garden have increased steadily as trees have matured and subsequently shielded almost every bit of direct sunlight. High shifting-shade that, I should note is decidedly appreciated in almost every instance, serves as the overarching environment and thereby provides the basis for choosing the permaculture.
When the very large drake elm was removed in late winter it became anyone's best guess as to how the loss would fully effect the exisiting underplantings once the daylight stretched into summer's longest hours.
One thing was for certain ~~ there would be some surprises and some adjustments to be made.
In May I surprised myself by taking a chance with the purchase of a Knockout Rose Tree. It wasn't in great shape, as it was left over from the fall, and was looking a bit bedraggled. Tied to a pole to hold it upright at the garden center it was evident it needed a good home.
That one lone rose tree found its new resting place in the sunniest spot of the back garden where the drake elm used to keep everything nicely sheltered in the shadows of it sprawling limbs.
All the branches on that pitiful rose tree were pruned right away to an ugly, small sphere. Organic nutrients of blood meal and bone meal were added to the soil and it was watered sufficiently.
Almost two full months later it is finally resembling a real rose tree. Sited prominently only 20 feet beyond the back lanai and visible from the kitchen window I'm thrilled it decided to become recognizable.
We guard against getting too overly excited until we measure how well a plant fairs through a few seasons. In this case the test will be summer through winter. Once it decides to stick around for a while and also performs well then we are more than obliged to pronounce all accolades due its achievements.
Depending on which direction you gaze, if you allowed your eyes to wander beyond the rose tree to the east, the circle garden would be almost in full view. Following the circle garden leads one to the tropical pathway which can be seen partially to the upper middle/right in the above photo.
From the circle garden there are more trailing pathways to the wildflower garden, butterfly garden, and the back "20" as well. All that sounds like more than it is but those are the names we've come up with to identify the borders and planted-out areas.
Serving as the hub of the circle garden is the very large container planter now being over taken (in an acceptable way) with Euphorbia leucocephala 'silver fog' and ornamental potato vine, Ipomoea batatas 'Margarita'.
Being it is impossible to capture the widest views on camera it will hopefully suffice to have a look around in segments.
It has been drizzling rain off and on for the past many days. No complaints here... we are loving the natural irrigation and a break from dragging hoses around.
The Gaura lindheimeri 'Whirling Butterflies', are just on the other side of a short walk-through, marked by stepping stones, from the rose tree. I'm loving their wispy, airy habit crammed in between flax lilies that border them. The flying insects are perpetual visitors to the consistently blooming flowers.
To the south and at the feet of the rose tree is a large planted out border with mixes of variegated liriope, agapanthus, dragon-wing begonias, variegated schefflera, container plants, a ligustrum tree, mexican petunia (boo), jewels of opar, and caladiums.
It seemed like it took forever for the caladiums to come back this year. Hundreds more have been newly popped into the ground for increased impact and summer bursts of color. Those have not yet made an appearance.
While we're talking roses it's worth noting that there is one other rose growing here. The Louis Philippe Antique Rose was first spotted at the Florida Native Plants Nursery in Myakka, Florida growing in the midst of winter wildly up through another tree in a partially shady spot. It peaked my interest with possibilities so that I was certain it was the rose for me and kept my eye on the lookout for it after that.
Again in my cautious fashion only one was decided on several months later. That one planted almost exactly a year ago. It has grown from 18 incles to 5 feet in that short time. It is a keeper and one I will add more of to the garden ~~ at some point.
It's been said that a Texas statesman, Lorenzo de Zavala, collected this rose during his 1834 stint as Minister to France and planted it at his home in Lynchburg.
God bless America! Happy Birthday, sweet land of liberty.