Friday, April 22, 2016

Wild roses (couldn't drag me away)

Since the gazebo is about 12 foot tall, I'm guessing the rose bush is...9 feet?

Last spring when we had our first contractor come in to give us a bid on remodeling the backyard, he could not get over our taller-than-us iceberg roses. He snapped pictures to send to his wife and kept telling us, "I had no idea roses could get this big -- I love them!"

Our iceberg roses stand about nine feet tall, and when they bloom the white-on-green color is amazing. It's especially beautiful by moonlight.  In our last home, we had a Mojave rose we allowed to do the same thing, and every spring it was a profusion of sunrise colors in our back yard.
Big bushes.

I believe in letting things take their natural shape and size whenever possible. These roses had been kept to about a two-foot height by the gardening company that kept the yard tidy for the lady who lived here before. And yet, apparently they always wanted to be larger. So when I realized how many of the neighbors' lights were blocked out by having larger rose bushes (giving us a darker sky and better view of the stars), I decided to let them become what they wanted to be. I prune them in January every year, taking a couple of feet off, and I dead-head after each bloom, but they recover quickly.

I also have a Bay Laurel "tree" that seems quite committed to becoming a bush, so I'm allowing it to do that. I had a tomato plant last year that wanted to sprout in November, so I let that happen and it's overwintered and is now ready to produce fruit.

Over-wintered tomato in January. It's twice this size now.
Some plants you can't allow to run wild. I have coyote brush outside and if I let it go it would crowd space that's designated for other plants, so I have to keep it within bounds. Other plants I will allow to blossom before cutting them back to where they should be. 

But where you can, why not let gardening be a little bit fun and see what natural shape and size some plants will grow into? Not knocking the well manicured hedge or the symmetrical 2-foot rose bushes that are pruned down to their canes every year, but it almost seems that plants can and should reflect their owners, so I guess it's no surprise that my garden will be a little unorthodox and rebellious. 

I like my roses wild, thank you. Like my life.


  1. Beautiful rose bush, or should I say rose tree!

    1. Thank you! Not sure what the height requirement is for a tree, but I think we've achieved it lol.

  2. How beautiful they look blooming among the lavender and that silver foliage! I came to know the gardener behind a garden I had always admired a few years ago. She has giant old crabapple trees that lean and squiggle in a very Japanese way. I asked how she "trained" them to do that and she said she took the supports off the trunk that the landscapers put on and let them do their thing.
    Do these roses along your patio have a strong perfume? I would love to sit out there and read! Lovely!

    1. Yes, it is very rose-y out there. Not sure if it's the icebergs alone or some of the others we have which are also blooming, but it's really nice to smell! I like the idea of letting crabapples do their thing, too, sometimes Mother Nature is a much more interesting arborist than we are.