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Don’t Believe Everything You Read


Wouldn’t life be just about perfect if roses could grow in shade? It so happens that once in a while you come across one that says it “tolerates some shade.” So when I saw those magical words attached to ‘Zépherine Drouhin’, I took them as a clear invitation to buy one and plant it by my front porch landing where it would get some morning sun although there was a 50-year-old mock orange shrub standing nearby on the right and a ‘DeGroot’s Spire’ arborvitae a few feet in front of it next to the steps. There was a pocket through which the rose would get “some” sun as it faced east in the morning, but alas, not enough.

Zépherine Drouhin is a climbing rose with very fragrant, large rosy pink double flowers and no thorns. It has reliable repeat bloom and will keep producing until fall. It’s a lovely thing.

Photo courtesy of www.heirloomroses.com

It bloomed a little its first year. Less the second, and then in years 3 and 4, not at all. The message from the universe was clear. I knew what I had to do.

So early last spring, while the plant was still dormant, I dug it up and moved it to a spot near my front fence, next to the sidewalk. Again, it didn’t bloom, but that was to be expected. I just wanted to keep it alive. I watered faithfully throughout the drought and gave it fertilizer from time to time.

And now, success! This spring it was one of the earliest roses to break dormancy and start setting buds. At the present it is blooming very nicely and the fragrance alone has made all of my “suffering” worthwhile.

Good things come to those who wait.

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questions

What are your three favorite “all-but-forgotten” perennials that every garden should include? Why do you like them?

We have a skylight in the bathroom over our Jacuzzi tub with an area around the tub that is quite large. What plants can we grow there, and what care do they need? Can we grow orchids?

I have twelve beautiful blooming violet plants on my office desk, placed 12 inches from a light source that’s kept burning day and night. I water them from the bottom and let the water remain in the saucer.

No matter what I spray, I continue to have gnats and other insects in my soil. I also occasionally start to get yellow spots on the tips of the leaves and then the spots start going down the leaves. What’s going on here?

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