It’s been several months since we moved into a new house mired in heavy clay soil, a damp, rainy environment (fungal disease heaven), steeply sloping side paths and tons of insects (from the mature woods around our house). So when my husband and I considered plants for the deeply sloping path next to the side of the house, we definitely wanted easy-care roses.
Not only did we want low-maintenance roses – they also had to be pest- and disease-resistant. Secondly, we wanted something neat, low-growing and uniform-looking – something that would look great from a distance. If that wasn’t enough, they also had to offer season-long interest, low watering requirements (with a 3-year-old, you know, you just get busy and forget). And finally, they had to fill and spread while holding up against the erosion of a slope (see photos)
So we decided to plant Flower Carpet roses in masses. You can see why we’re extremely happy with the results, even if we did only get half the project done this year (we’ll likely take out the hostas and replace them with more Flower Carpet Amber next spring). Since our house is blue, we thought the new Amber color, with its variations of soft pinks, peaches and yellows would provide a dramatic look, being a complementary color to blue.
At first, I wasn’t so sure about the color combo, but now that the blooms are out in full force, I’m glad I took a chance and did something different. I’m also happy that my Flower Carpet roses lived up to their claim of staying low and compact, especially when comparing them to the scraggly, now-defoliated, flowerless hybrid teas I see struggling at other homes in the neighborhood. By next year, the Flower Carpet Amber bushes should grow together into a blanket of peachy-pink blooms.
Plus, I have to admit I held my breath as Japanese beetle season descended upon us last week. But the Flower Carpet roses have held up particularly well. Even though they invaded in full force, chewing their way through other plants, they’ve barely touched the Flower Carpet roses’ shiny-green, fantastic foliage (which, I have to say, gives them season-long interest, even before they’re in bloom). I saw maybe two beetles on the whole bed of Flower Carpet Amber, sprayed them with neem oil and – as you can see in the picture – haven’t seen any since:
But don’t believe me. Here’s another Flower Carpet success story — this one from Australia:
Any gardener going past Kristin and Glenn’s place back in May 2005 would have been struck by a barren site and way too much clay. And if they’d stopped to take a closer look, they’d have spotted more challenges: no topsoil and a driveway slope that would thrill any skateboarder:
Add them all together and you had almost too many obstacles to be overcome by anyone hoping to transform the site into a glorious garden. And as is usually the case, none of this became obvious until Kristin and Glenn had moved in.
“The process of building the house was terrible, but then I’m the most impatient person God put breath into,” says Kristin. “And once we’d moved in, we found ourselves surrounded by mud and clay, a significant slope and no thoughts about a garden or any idea of what to do.”
As most people do, they found they’d gone over budget with the house and didn’t have a lot of money to throw at retaining walls or terracing. However, what they did do was not only clever — it has generated a fist full of compliments and given their house a neighbouhood nickname – The Rose House.
Knowing that they were looking for something that would thrive in the clay, cover a lot of ground quickly and not need much in the way of care or water, roses became the obvious choice. Steering clear of anything too fussy, they quickly narrowed the field to the Flower Carpet collection and with luck on their side, picked Flower Carpet Apple Blossom and the classic Flower Carpet Pink (both bloom at the same time).
“Which is great,” says Kristin, “but then they flower for so long over spring and summer that I wondered how they could possibly not happen to flower together.”
Glenn kept the costs down by top dressing the site with soil and mulch, then planted the roses literally over a weekend. (He was under some pressure given he was about to announce his engagement to a woman who has already professed to be beyond impatient, and the engagement party as well as the wedding were both being held at their new home.)
Wonderfully, the story ends happily ever after, as all stories with roses in them tend to do. Kristin and Glenn’s home is complete, and the garden is the low maintenance vision they’d hoped for. They were married New Year’s Eve of that same year, and they’re living happily ever after with their own little 3-year-old — another happy family surrounded by roses.
Have you made over your landscape with Flower Carpet roses? Post a comment and tell us all about