Deadheading daze…

The months of April and May are peak times in my garden–rapid growth and lots of perennials and roses in bloom. This year travel took me out of my garden from mid-April until 10 days or so ago when I returned from the Austin Garden Bloggers Fling. A few days home here and there did not afford me many opportunities to keep up with the daily maintenance my spring flowering plant heavy garden demands to looks its best. Adding to that was our very mild winter which brought many things into bloom earlier and thus looking a little longer in the tooth by mid-May than I prefer.

So even with my 1000+ Fling photos still needing attention and at least a dozen posts to write covering all the glorious garden I saw in Austin, I knew time must be devoted to deadheading at least the roses. This routine task becomes much more taxing as the heat of summer comes and I like to have them all cut back by late May so I can look forward to a nice repeat flush of bloom mid-summer.

In direct opposition to my sort of blowsy, frowsy, scrambling, climbing plant aesthetic my husband feels more comfortable when the garden is under a little more, even if still tenuous, control. He is sure that the minute he gives it an inch, the garden will take a mile and rampaging plants will have damaged stucco walls, weakened wood fences or tumbled out of beds and borders and onto sidewalks and patios. He is not much for that garden principle of blurring the lines or softening the edges by letting plants wander as they choose. To that end, the purple Lantana montevidensis planted on either side of the rock waterfall behind the pool is always on his radar and I swear he adjusts his travel schedule so that he will be home while I am gone for several days so that he can have his way with the purple interloper.

Daze 1

In this older photo taken from just off the patio you can see the lantana has scrambled over the boulders–just the way I like it!

Daze 3

Several weeks ago when this photo was taken the lantana was just coming back into bloom after a brief late winter rest. Neither the climbing roses ‘Raspberry Cream Twirl’ on the fence behind the waterfall nor the cascading tree roses ‘Renae’ planted on either side had really come well into bloom yet.

Daze 2

Here’s what I returned home to–both climbing and tree roses had bloomed steadily during my absence and my purple trailing lantana had gotten a haircut worthy of a pair of army boot camp recruits! The twiggy little mounds remaining can barely be seen at the bases of the ‘Renae’ roses. OK–I really wasn’t surprised and am practicing being grateful because it is one less cutting back task for me in an all ready busy spring. To his credit I do tend to let them go too long between trimmings. This particular plant responds well to his unmerciful cutting style and will reward me with lots of new growth and flowers in a couple of weeks. Speaking of drastic pruning, you may notice we now have a view of our over the back fence neighbors. Until last fall their very overgrown plantings of Xylosmacongestum and Nerium oleander towered over our garden, allowing only a peek at their roof. We lost 100% of our privacy when all those trees were topped with their stumps right below the top of the fence. You can see that they are making a small comeback with some new growth above the fence edge but it will be forever, or possibly never, until the full view of their second story is obscured. See below what we lost!

Daze 11

I got busy today and deadheaded the ‘Raspberry Cream Twirl’ climbing roses (just barely planted in the above photo which is about 3 years old) on the fence. This dark pink striped climber has very long canes and it a great repeat bloomer.

Lavender Twirl

Daze 5The west side is done…now on to the east.

Daze 15

With both climbers and the ‘Renae’ tree roses on either side cleaned up I gave the waterfall rocks a scrub down and let it run for awhile.

Daze 16

‘Renae’ is pretty much a self cleaner and this is the first time I’ve have made an effort to deadhead midseason. I have 2 in the front garden and these two in the back which were planted a year later. Neither of the two has ever been as vigorous as the two in the front. I think it will be interesting to see if this deadheading will encourage renewed growth on the two that lag behind. The rose on the east side (right) has struggled since planting and only this year seems to be gaining some speed.

The front garden did not even seem to notice my absence. In our lawn removal/bed renovation projects the last couple of years I have eliminated almost all of the older roses, leaving only the modern carpet/ground cover types which require very little deadheading. I have put the last plants for this season in the newest of the formerly lawn areas and soon I’ll give you a tour. I used many 4″ containers and recent photographs reveal mostly the humus top dressing with a little blob of green here and there–let’s give these little guys some time to get going. Every year I look forward to the luminous white blooms displayed on this colony of trumpet lilies which rise behind a ‘Pink Supreme’ ground cover rose and a couple of salvias–Salvia fruticosa and Salvia chamaedryoides ‘Marine Blue’–not yet flowering. Soon these venerable three will be duking it out for dominance of the space and, if I am very lucky, spill right out onto the front sidewalk in search of the upper hand. Just the way I like it!

4 thoughts on “Deadheading daze…

  1. Ooooooo!!!
    I love those beautiful flowers !🌸🌼🌺
    Stephen is a firm believer in the “David” method of gardening at our house—bring on the hedge clippers—as he says!!

    Liz ❤️

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  2. Lantana is uncommon here. I do not know why. It does well, and does not need much water. In fact, it does better with less than more watering.
    We have one shrubby lantana that gets cut to the ground annually. I am told that it should get cut back to a wad of inner stems, and that new growth will come off of these stems. I never see the need. I would rather cut it back all the way, and get rid of these inner stems that will only make it more difficult to cut back later. The lantana is coming back very nicely now. I think it looks neater. When it gets big enough, it does not matter either way, since the interior is concealed. I just feel better about cutting it to the ground. Anyway, nearby, there are spireas that get cut back to little wig looking things. They are also regenerating on top of these wig looking things, and they look funny. The wigs are holding so much dead that i want to get rid of. It just takes too much time now. I think it would be better if they were just cut to the ground and all the wig growth got eliminated.

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    1. I don’t grow any of the shrubby lantana for exactly that reason–you end up with a twig fest every season. They do really respond tog hard pruning. I am just always rueful because here they rarely die back on their own so they need a little cut throat help like that my husband doles out to give them a fresh start. It seems as though they are always perfect when he decides to whack them back but if he didn’t do it even while I am wincing they would be 3 feet deep in dead wood!

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