The whole garden measures 40 feet long by 32 feet wide. This fits perfectly in front of the little cinderblock building beside our barn. The beds on the outside of the garden are 6 feet wide, and the island in the center is 12 x 20. By the end of next year, I hope to have a picket fence installed to enclose this garden.
Now that I had a blank garden on paper, it was time to see how to arrange the roses. I used a compass and drew circles on a piece of card stock. Each circle is in scale with the potential diameter of each of the roses. This way, I could play with the 'roses' like puzzle pieces, and move them around until I had an arrangement that I was pleased with.I started with the center roses in the island bed. Abraham Darby is in the middle, because he is beautiful and has the potential to be 6 or 7 feet tall and dominate that space. Red Coat and Dapple Dawn are also fairly large, and similar in habit, so they went beside Abraham Darby. The rest of the island bed is filled at the edges with some of the smaller roses in my collection.
Each of the outside corners of this garden hold roses that have the potential to get big and leggy. Sir Clough and Cressida will grow the usual Austin 'Octopus Canes', and I have given them room to spread out. Charles Austin is a climber, and The Generous Gardener is a beast, and each of them can flop and stretch along the future fence.
Many of the roses I have collected for this garden are ones that have been discontinued by David Austin Roses. Some have been superseded by newer varieties, and others have been deemed to be inferior. I am a rescuer at heart, and I had to give these roses a try for myself to see if they deserve a place here in my garden.
The beds themselves are edged with 4 x 4 timbers. We got these timbers for free this summer from a neighbor who was replacing his pasture fencing. We were thrilled to get them, and he was glad he didn't have to load them up and haul them away. There are probably enough timbers here to edge every garden I have!
The roses are all planted now. My friend Robert came over one day in November, bringing with him his trusty Fiskars shovel, and he and I made quick work of the job. It's great to have a friend who is such a great hole digger! The Husband went to work mulching the beds shortly afterward.
Things in this garden are all finished now! When spring comes, and the roses start to grow and bloom, I'll be really excited to see how everything settles in and matures.
Before you start congratulating me on such a job well done, I must confess that I still technically have some David Austin roses that I must find places for. I have an order for eight coming from California in March, and there are at least three in the greenhouse that have recently rooted and will be ready to plant next spring. Fortunately, there is space at the top of this plan for a bit of expansion.
The mulch isn't quite finished in this photo, but you get the idea.
For those of you who are interested, here is the list of all the roses that are planted in this garden:
Comte de Champagne
The Generous Gardener