In which I will continue to bore you with my gardening plans.

Some wild roses growing at Molson Stadium at McGill University; I snapped this just the other day. They are so pretty, and reminded me of how nice it would be to have some at the Manse.

Some wild roses growing outside Molson Stadium (where the Montreal Alouettes play) at McGill University; I snapped this just the other day. They are so pretty, and reminded me of how nice it would be to have some wild roses growing at the Manse.

So having accomplished the extremely modest gardening feat of planting a few herbs in a little corner of the yard at the Manse in Queensborough, I am now a bona fide gardening fiend. Big plans! Most of which I am sure I will not be able to execute (at least until I acquire a lot more garden wisdom and experience than I currently have); but it’s fun to dream.

Next up: wild roses. Raymond and I bought a packet of wild-rose seeds during our visit last weekend to the Old Hastings Mercantile in Ormsby, a fantastic store that sells absolutely everything (or so it seems) – and that I will be telling you a lot more about in tomorrow’s post. I adore roses, but have long considered the job of managing cultivated rosebushes – a very fine art – as something way beyond my ken. But I kind of think (though what do I know?) that wild roses don’t require much attention at all, and that is my kind of plant.

The old compost bin in mid-destruct (by me). It was not exactly filled with high-quality compost.

The old compost bin in mid-destruct (by me). It was not exactly filled with high-quality compost.

I have decided the wild roses should go in the spot toward the rear of the Manse where the plastic compost bin was, until very recently. That compost bin was just an annoyance, having been poorly managed before our arrival at the Manse – and I’m not blaming anybody here; I know from personal experience that doing compost properly is a bit of an art and (pace, environmentalists) quite possibly more trouble than it’s worth. When we got there it was filled with stuff that was definitely not good compost. (Note to former users of that bin: plastic bags do not go into the compost bin.) Anyway, one recent weekend I took that sucker apart and disposed of the contents, and now we have a great sunny spot for a wild-rose bush.

The back of the Manse, which is actually the back of the back porch, or back kitchen. This is where once there were thriving blackberry bushes. And where I think they will thrive once again.

The back of the Manse, which is actually the back of the back porch, or back kitchen. This is where once there were thriving blackberry bushes. And where I think they will thrive once again.

And then there’s the rear of the house. This evening I was thinking out loud about what we might plant there, and mentioned hollyhocks, which I quite like because they’re tall and pretty. But as I was blithering on to Raymond about the prospect of hollyhocks, I also mentioned that when I was a very small child at the Manse, growing against that sunny back wall were some very healthy blackberry bushes. (Long since gone, doubtless because my father, the woodlot manager/United Church minister, turned that space into a woodpile.) And Raymond said, interestingly and sensibly: why not have blackberry bushes again? And/or raspberry bushes?

And you know what? Why not?

So I think we have a plan. Wild-rose bushes against the south wall of the house; blackberry bushes – and maybe raspberries too – again the west wall.

It almost sounds like I know what I’m doing on the gardening front. Which, I hasten to add, I do not. But did I mention that it’s fun to dream?

11 thoughts on “In which I will continue to bore you with my gardening plans.

  1. Softly, softly. Wild roses will look after themselves but they can grow all too well, taking over every empty inch. Soon your picture may be of a giant rose bush and you may have to buy machetes to chop your way in and out. (OK so I’m exaggerating a bit.) K

    • Well well well – who knew? Not me, that’s for sure. Thank you for the wild-rose info, Kerry! Still, we have quite a lot of space at the Manse, and I think it would be a while before we felt the wild roses were taking up too much of it. Boy, would I be proud of myself if my planting were that successful! But I know the same thing happens to many people with lilacs. Forewarned is forearmed!

      • We have lilacs here too but they’re a lot easier to tame than roses. The underlying problem with them is their root system which digs in (quite literally) and is virtually impossible to remove.
        Proceed with caution. K

      • Thank you again! I can see there is some wild-rose research I need to do before taking the plunge. My goodness but gardening has its pitfalls, does it not?

  2. Hi Katherine
    I must second the wild rose fear-mongering. And I hope I won’t make you crazy by adding that, at least in Oregon, blackberries are worse. In fact I have a theory that if all the humans vanished overnight (okay I know that is sort of a long shot except on maybe HBO) then in approximately two months every inch of ground– including tall buildings– in the northwest corner of the US would be covered in blackberry vines… It is true that the berries make great ice cream, but in a garden I do love hollyhocks.

    • Good gracious, who knew! Thank you for the advice. I had absolutely no idea of the threat that blackberries pose to life on earth as we know it! (Though perhaps they grow healthier out there on the west coast where they get all that nice gentle rain?) Meanwhile, thank you also for the reminder of how great hollyhocks are. I had kind of forgotten them, but I’ve always liked them very much. The photos of hollyhocks on your delightful blog (which I shall link to once I’m back in The Land of Better Internet and not trying to blog on my phone) are beautiful!

  3. Just an idea … what about planting morning glories around the TV tower? That would be a ready-made trellis, and the vines would wrap themselves around it and make a beautiful presentation of colour. If you haven’t grown morning glory before, be sure to NOT plant it near other plants. It is invasive, and it will take over and choke anything else in its way. But, a trellis, or the TV tower would be perfect, and there is nothing prettier than these beautiful flowers. And, they come back every year!

    • A very interesting idea! It’s funny – I just got introduced to morning glory very recently, thanks to our neighbour in Montreal having planted some. I was admiring it, and thinking it was clematis, and she set me straight. I think in an ideal world that TV tower would be gone, but unless and until that happens, morning glory could be just the ticket!

      • Either morning glory or clematis would be ideal, as they love to grab onto anything. Both are invasive, so be sure not to plant petunias beside them or the vines will end up winding themselves around the other. Wouldn’t that be a pretty sight, though? To see a burst of colour going up the tower would be amazing! There are some beautiful dark purple clematis that are out of this world. Or, the yellow brown-eyed Susan climbing vine works well, too, but for a country estate such as the Manse, I think it would take to morning glories.

      • Interesting – I’d never heard of the black-eyed Susan vine before your comment, Sash, and then today I came across another mention of it in the gardening column in one of the local weekly newspapers. A flowering vine does sound like a beautiful idea for the old TV tower, but it strikes me that one area of concern is the vine spreading to the brick wall of the house. That’s not good for the brick, in that it can lead to cracks and water getting in, and water is basically a building’s worst enemy. I’ll have to do a bit more research – don’t want to cause any harm to the study old Manse!

      • Yes, it’s best to be careful of the brickwork, especially on an older building. Possibly, if you noticed the vines going toward the house, they could be pulled down? Today, I saw a telephone pole with morning glory from top to bottom. What a sight — the blue flowers at the top were beautiful.

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