Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Never say never!

In a recent post Chloris over at The Blooming Garden wrote about Taste in Flowers.  In her post she touched on varying tastes in flowers over the years.  It was considered a brave post by a few.  Me included.   I had prepared a post a while back but was a bit apprehensive about hitting the publish button.  It's easy to read blogs and not comment on a particular plant we don't like or wouldn't grow in our garden.  It thought you'd be interested in reading on how my taste has changed even in such a short space of time.     

When my gardening journey began back in 2011, I knew very little other than what I had picked up attempting to grow a few plants in the teeny tiny garden of my old house.  I didn't have a specific style in mind, somewhere between cottage and a rustic look just about covers it.  My gardening style is still in it's infancy and is constantly evolving.  I am really enjoying learning.   It's mostly through trial and error and from what I pick up reading blogs.  I am not big on reading gardening books.  Already I am much more appreciative of a plant growing healthily and happily in the right spot is far more worthy of our precious garden space than one that is sickly, struggling and ready to drop dead at the drop of a hat.  I'm willing to bet that I am not alone in the fact that some genus of plants have grown or crept up on us.         

I used to be scared of roses!  I know that will make some of you laugh but I really was petrified of them.  They come across as awkward and unforgiving plants.  Where to snip, how to snip and when to snip.  There are so many different opinions on how to grow them and take care of them successfully.   For me, as a beginner, I don't mind telling you it all made my head spin. 

The initial framework 2011
I decided one day to take the bull by the horns and jump right in with both wellies, so to speak.  If I was going to attempt to grow a rose, I wanted to try something a bit different and made the decision, after coming across a gorgeous image of a rose being grown against a wall espalier style, I just knew I had to give it a go.  Now, I didn't have a wall in the right place but my back fence was screaming out for some sort of cover and seeing that it wouldn't take up too much precious ground space, why not?   Lets give it a go.  I did suffer a bit of a set back in the first year.  I was disciplined and spent many an hour or so tying in the stems and by the end of the summer, although I had no blooms what I did have was a carefully tied framework with which too work.  In the winter storms of 2012 my back fence came
crashing to the ground and with it went the Rose.  It was severed at the base and all my hard work was lost.  I erected a new fence but hadn't held up much hope for the rose.  Would it regrow come spring?  Indeed it did and I spent the next 18 months tying and snipping again.  This was my eureka moment, I realised that roses were not as difficult to grow than I had previously imagined.        


Rose 'Félicité Perpétue'
My second attempt was also on the vertical - a pair of climbing Wedgewood Roses over the seated arch.  The scent drifting around as I relaxed was heavenly.   I was a bit shell shocked one day when I answered the door and Jim (a neighbour) called round as he just wanted to tell me how beautiful my roses look from his upstairs window and they had been a real pleasure for him as his mother loved pink roses.  He thought of her each morning as he drew open the curtains.  How sweet is that?     


The Wedgewood Rose

Encouraged, I added another pink rose to my collection.  Rosa Princess Alexandra of Kent drew me in when I saw her gorgeous blooms and scent when I happened across her in the GC.  She just had to come home with me.

Rosa Princess Alexandra of Kent


The style of garden I am trying to create would be, I think, quite incomplete without roses.  I am so glad my initial apprehension has gone and I gave roses a chance.  What ever was I scared off?  I've fallen hook, line and sinker for roses.  So much so I've added another 9 to the garden this year.  They are of course deserving of their own post but here's a wee sneak preview.


Rosa Port Sunlight, Fighting Temeraire and Lady of Shallot 


I used to walk around GCs, often with my mother in tow, take one look at all the Fuchsia on offer and think why?  No matter how hard I tried I just couldn't see the attraction.  My mother loves Fuchsia and we would often have the discussion about me growing them in the garden for her.  My answer was always no!  However, earlier in the year, I was kindly sent some Fuchsia cuttings by Helene over at Graphicality UK.  I had explained to Helene that I did not particularly care for Fuchsia but my mother absolutely loved of them.  She encouraged me to give them a go, convinced I would be converted.  Upon receipt of the tiny Fuchsia cuttings, my mother promptly told her friend, a Fuchsia fan herself, that I had finally relented - she came home with a good sized pot of yet another Fuchsia.   I am truly amazed at just how easy these plants are.  They are no bother whatsoever.  An online gardening friend offered the advice to feed them with tomato food, other than that, they take care of themselves.  How right both of them were.  They truly are no bother at all.  They are all doing well and take pride of place on the back step.  I must admit they are growing on me!

Various Fuchsia



I touched on the subject of right spot, right plant at the top of the
Out with the pink!
page.  My next choice kind of came into the garden by way of necessity rather than choice.  Part of my garden that occassionally suffers a wee bit of waterlogging makes choosing plants rather difficult.  It doesn't regularly happens and over the past few years I've given up on many plants.  After doing a bit of research, Astilbles seemed to be the perfect choice for this spot.  My image of Astilbes was mass planting by local authorities of feathery pink and purple blooms.  They just we not me!  They were not the look I was after.  However, trying to keep an open mind, I managed to source some that would not break the bank and if I didn't like them, I wouldn't be so worried about ripping them up and tossing them out.  They thrived and did remarkably well in that particular spot in the garden.  The pink/purple was still bothering me but upon coming across a white flowering variety in a local GC, I decided to replace the pink with white and pair it with a yellow flowered Ligularia (another plant I had seen and not found a particular fondness for).  This combo really has done well in the garden and now I wouldn't be without them, not in a million years!

Astilbe Deutschland and Ligularia The Rocket
I added another Astilbe to my collection, I like this one too.  A dwarf Astilbe, A. Red Sentinel looks good at the front of the border, I think.

Astilbe Red Sentinel
Yellow flowers tend  to remind me of huge swathes of yellow daffodils in springtime.  I am not a fan of huge in your face yellow daffs.  I know from previous blog posts that opinions are divided on the yellow daffodil front.  As a compromise too not growing yellow daffodils, I first tried some white flowering daffodils, they were far easier on my eye and then soon followed some species and dwarf Narcissus.  I still don't grow any of the large narcissus that many of you love and I don't see that changing in the foreseeable. 

White, dwarf and species Narcissus growing in my garden
As I sit here contemplating on how to end this blog, I could easily go on forever but I thought the perfect ending would be to open the floor to my readers.  How have your tastes changed over the years?  Is there a group of plants or maybe just one in particular that you did not particularly want to grow or maybe you were gifted one and have learned to love it?  Maybe like me, you never will grow a shrubby Potentilla or covet after a carefully tended display of summer bedding.  Do share, if you have written a post or would like to write a post on the same topic, please leave a link in the comment box.  We'd all love to read it I'm sure. 

37 comments:

  1. Complimenti per le rose, io ne ho pochissime e non me ne intendo molto! Ma vedo una bellissima Ligularia!!! Qui non sarà mai così bella!!! Gelosia :D Bellissime anche quelle astilbe rigogliose! Qui quando fa troppo caldo soffrono un po'!

    Un caro saluto e a risentirci :)

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  2. What a nice thing to say Pontos - thank you and thanks for stopping by :)

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  3. Thank you for the mention Angie. Maybe some people feel uncomfortable admitting that there are some plants they don' t much like or even loathe. But having said that, more people visited that post than any other in the last quarter, so perhaps now and then, it is good to have a discussion and agree to disagree about matters of taste.
    I love your taste in roses, I have 3 of the ones you mention.
    The white Astilbe looks stunning with the Ligularia.
    Shrubby potentillas! Yuck, I am with you there. There is one in my garden, its days are numbered. I used to hate succulents but I love them now. But I will never, ever love Snowberry,: Symphoricarpus, carnations or Vinca.
    Do you understand Italian? I am impressed.

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    1. First of no, I don't understand Italian - google translate is extremely handy :)
      Interesting to read that the post was so popular. I did enjoy reading it and all the comments. To be honest, I could have did this post 3 times the length but thought I had rambled on enough.
      Oh, don't mention the Snowberry - it's on another list I have entitled Plants one should never knowingly introduce into their garden! and to think the GCs sell it at £10 a pop! Carnations, I know exactly what you mean!
      Glad you like the roses, my new love this year Apricot roses. I have a plan!

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  4. Hi Angie,

    I think we all change our tastes over time, plants fall in and out of favour too and can become very difficult to source. We also get used to plants, and some end up feeling boring and our attention turns elsewhere; although I'm sure in the future we'll once again enjoy them.

    Never a fan of yellow and I share your thoughts on Daffodils, however over the years my collection has grown, because I've come to realise something is better than nothing. And Daffodils are very useful to brighten the garden up when all else is brown and drab. So I'm still on the fence and do prefer to go for Narcissus species, and usually white ones or softer yellow.
    I'm also no fan of the bedding/pot type fuchsias, although I would be happy to have a large fuchsia shrub - and they're great for dark spaces as they seem to grow anywhere.

    I'm trying to think of plants I once loved/wanted but actually as my tastes have changed, no longer really want or don't really mind if they were to die. I know it's happened, I just can't remember which ones right now.

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    1. My reason exactly for choosing the white and species daffs as an alternative. I never bothered too much about spring flowering plants until I started blogging and got decidedly jealous of everyones blooms when my garden was empty.
      I'm forever changing my mind about plants I love and no longer really want. They tend to be the ones that don't do well, so don't feel so bad at tossing them.

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  5. So interesting, I indeed think our tastes change over time, long ago I loved annual bedding plants as red Salvias, marigolds, ageratums and so on. Now I should not think about planting them in my garden. At that time I barely had roses in the garden, now I am fond of roses especially the antique roses. Ten year ago I had a large collection of Fuchsias, now I am bored of Fuchsias, I gave them away and a shame I let them die in winter.
    I think you have some beautiful roses and the combination of the Ligularia and the Astilbe is great.

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    1. Janneke, I think when we fall out of love with a plant, we don't give it the care and attention it often needs. I've did exactly the same with some tender plants that you have done in the past with your Fuchsia. Yes, bored just about covers it!

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  6. My tastes have tended to go from the blowsy to the simple and smaller. Large daffodils I'm not fond of at all but the miniature ones, especially the species like N. cyclamineus I adore and want to build up huge drifts. The same with species tulips.
    Roses I can't get enough of, I love your combination with the drumstick allium.
    Now, you can help me out. I was looking at Fighting Temeraire just today. Mike loves it, but it is quite tall. 1.5-1.75m according to the label. Does it need support like a climber or will it hold its own?

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    1. Fighting Temeraire is new in the garden Jessica, so I'm probably not the right one to give you advice on it. What I will say though is that the one I bought was the last in the GC and not looking terribly good, shape wise. I snipped a few stems to tidy it up and the stems that are growing back seem quite strong. The flowers being semi double are not as heavy as some rose flowers. I am hoping it will hold it's own!

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  7. Of course our taste change with the years but also the way we approach gardening. Nowadays I give a lot more importance to plants that will thrive in the conditions I have to offer. I do take the look of a plant into account but only when I have ascertain I have a spot for it where it has a chance of surviving.
    I found interesting that you were hesitant to grow things such as roses. I was the opposite, I was not hesitant enough - fools rush where angels fear to tread.
    I also enjoyed Chloris's piece on taste.

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    1. Alain, I do now tend to take account of planting conditions but like most folks, I get tempted to try something different or push the boundaries. More often than not I am not successful.
      The only reason I was hesitant on growing roses was my fear of them - my grandfather grew roses and when I think of the hours he used to tend them, that also put me off but roses are far easier nowadays that they were in the 70s.

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  8. Hello again Angie, great post (I love chatty posts) it could be very easy to ramble with a comment here but I’ll try to be brief ;-)

    My tastes have seriously changed since blogging and being inspired to include plants for bees and butterflies. Pre blog my garden was a very green affair – I loved plants for foliage shape, colour and texture. Soooo many plants have come and gone and now the early favs are coming back in (like Hebe pinguifolia 'Pagei' growing above my new pond) and I wonder why I ever let it go.

    I could very easily let go of Fuchsia’s at the GC – little orange marigolds, red salvias and the many trays of bedding plants on offer. I have never succumbed there. However, I also went the rose route too after the deep colour and scent of rose cardinal Richelieu called to me at a GC. However, I’m a bit mean with it as I keep moving it when in flower as I see a better plant colour combination in my border - it sulks of course then I prune it almost to the ground and I look forwrd to seeing it again the next year. I have had a nice white scented climber too (after seeing it in a garden blog) 'Madame Alfred Carrière' but I keep moving it around too. I guess roses aren't getting the chance to grow on me!

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    1. Oh those little orange marigolds send shivers down my spine Shirley ;)
      Glad to read you are rediscovering your old favourites. I suppose I'll be like that eventually, only right now I'm just learning what my favourites are.
      I'm sure your roses will eventually end up in a permanent spot and then they will thrive for you! Mme Alfred Carriere is a lovely rose, great choice!

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  9. I think it is great when we change and grow in our gardens. I would love more roses but my climate is unforgiving and many won't make it. This year many didn't bloom and grew from the base because of our very harsh winter and spring. So I have given much of my garden over to native plants. They are beautiful, easier to grow and don't languish when the weather is not forgiving. I still have some non-natives but only if they can grow without fuss.

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    1. I think gardening in extremes like you do Donna, the native root is the way to go. I'm embarrassed to say, I am quite ignorant when it comes to many of our native species.

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  10. You've done wonderfully well with your new additions, Angie! I particularly like those peach-colored roses. I think you're right about the importance of selecting the right plant for the right place - success in growing a healthy, thriving plant can certainly do a lot to shift one's outlook. In my own case, I've developed a strong interest in succulents, which I'd previously dismissed. With our deepening drought, succulents make a lot of sense and I've come to appreciate their wide range of sculptural forms and colors.

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    1. Kris, I think you are making a wise choice by going down the succulent route, especially if our weather extremes are only going to get worse. Will be looking forward to reading all about them.

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  11. Looks like your season is a good one too. I have to say your Roses look beautiful. They may have scared you but you were up for the challenge. Mine has changed by removing half of the perennials a few years ago and replacing them with flowering shrubs. I have not regretted that for a moment, like the additional height in the back and they stay nicer looking also.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

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    1. I think your garden looks great with all the shrubs Cher. I can fully understand why you did it, I've often had a moment or two here in my garden thinking it would be the best option. Now that my shrubs are getting a bit more mature, I am finding I am enjoying them more.

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  12. Your roses are gorgeous.. we are adding an arch over our front door and have picked a beautiful scented rose to go over it.. can't wait. My mother loves Fuchsia also.. but I'm not so keen.. but I may give them a go as yours look lovely in their pots :o)

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    1. Thanks Julie, your arch and rose sounds delightful. I'd love to grow a rose over the front door, sadly there is not planting place for it. Our mothers obviously have the same tastes!

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  13. My love/don't love ( I don;t really has fluctuated over the years but what I find a bit annoying is when garden designers describe plant as in or out of fashion. Most of us don't change our plants frequently enough to consider fashion. Sometimes likes and dislikes associate with childhood experiences, I don't lie red hot pokers. One of my childhood neighbour;s front garden was full of them and they seemed threatening - an army of plants watching and waiting, We had one in our garden and when my dad dug it up we found it was home to a massive number of creepty crawlers si just imagine how many lived in a garden full of the things.

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    1. I don't grow dahlias for fear of earwigs! It would be boring if everyone grew the same flowers - if some of the gardening programmes and nurseries had their way - we might.

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    2. Often plant our dislikes stem from childhood Sue. I can see why a youngster would find a garden full of RHP quite threatening. My Fuchsia phobia comes from childhood too!

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    3. L.....the earwigs are a put off for growing Dahlias. I remember my grandfather's bother with them on his Dahlias.

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  14. Your garden is beautiful and so is your post!
    I like the roses and other flowers. I like the story about Jim from next door admiring your roses each morning, and the memories they bring back.
    I have a talent for killing roses, so I'd say that one change I've made over the years is to stop buying them. My mother was very successful with roses, but there's another talent that completely passed me by!

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    1. Cynthia, I am fearful to turning into my mother! Just kidding, such a shame that her talent for the roses didn't rub off. Jim is an awfully nice man and always shares his harvest of vegetables with us. So for that I don't mind growing the roses in return.

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  15. I am also a convert when it comes to roses. At first I just had no interest, then I kept seeing them in other gardens and finally I had to have one. I don't have a lot of roses but I would hate to be without the ones I have. My feelings also shifted about peonies. I used to despise peonies because they were too frou-frou with too many pettles that made a mess after the rain. Then to oblige my spouse, I found some single-flowered peonies and now I am quite fond of them. I love your felicite perpitue. Roses are not necessarily fussy plants, especially if you get the right ones.

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  16. Thanks for an interesting post Angie, Your roses look fantastic, and I love the contrast between the trellis colour and the pink roses. Lovely strong planting with the Ligularia and Astilbes. I agree that roses are scary until you actually start growing them. I came to them late and just adore them now.
    I think my main learning curve has been matching the plant to the place. I used to buy plants which took my eye, but were totally unsuited to the conditions of my garden - and of course they died !!

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  17. Our tastes do change...just look back at family photos from the 60's, 70's and 80's. Congratulations on taming the unruly rose.

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  18. There are very few plants I absolutely don't like, but there are many I'd prefer to see only in small quantities mixed in with my favorites. One of those plants is Asters. I didn't have any in my garden until last year. This year, they'll soon bloom and I'm actually looking forward to it. :)

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  19. Gardening is such a subjective pastime, most of us can't agree on the style of garden we prefer, be it formal or "cottage garden" for example, so we have no chance of agreeing on the type of plants we grow. Great post Angie.

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  20. I enjoyed reading this post, I have very much the same approach to what to put in my garden – I see things I like on blogs, on TV and in magazines and then I try and see if my garden likes them too. I am so glad the fuchsias are looking so great and got to stay in your garden, I was afraid they might all end up at your mother’s, so good for you letting them grow on you!

    My taste in plants have changed a lot over the years, but I have always been fond of roses, lilies and fuchsias. I have tried a lot of plants in my garden that I liked but didn’t grow well and had to get rid of, and I have also got plants I would never have thought of getting unless someone had mentioned it on a blog. One plant I don’t think I will get, despite all the hype, is Alchemilla mollis. I just don’t get what’s so fantastic about it, to me it just looks like a weed. Sorry if you got one in a pride of place!

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    1. I don't get Alchemilla Mollis either. I do have it in the garden in rather a difficult spot, but hate the way it spreads everywhere. I like plants that know their place!

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  21. A most thoughtful post Angie. I can understand your initial apprehension about roses and all the advice about what to do and what not do and when to do it. You must be delighted that you took the plunge. What I've found over the years that things have come round full circle and I'm seeking out more of the plants that I first planted in the garden such as hardy geraniums and pulmonarias. My prejudices remain much the same although I'm more tolerant of yellow flowers than I used to be.

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  22. Angie, The results you obtain in the garden would give the impression that you have been into gardening for much longer than you have. I thoroughly enjoyed this post, often I would talk of plants which once we were not fond of starting to grow on us. It brings to mind a regular blogger named b-a-g, he would always say he couldn't stand Daffs, I would tease him and say you will learn to like them, never! he would say, a couple of years later they were popping up in his Spring garden here and there, I wonder how he is getting on.

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