Growing Three Ways in One Garden
After a full day of rose enjoyment, I was about to leave The Celebration of Old Roses*, when a pert little red rose, named 'Chevy Chase', caught my attention, and purchase. The rose bloomed beautifully the next spring, but mid-bloom when long canes began shooting up, it looked like I had a rambler on my hands. Since space was an issue, I trimmed the canes for two years, until I traveled to England and saw pegged roses at Sissinghurst.
On my return, the new rose pegger (me), now relished those long canes and all the circling, twisting, twining, and tying. The end result looked like a modern sculpture! See the results below.
'Chevy Chase' is a bountiful shrub no matter how you grow it, but when pegged like this, there’s almost no end in bloom production. I’d harvest an armful and you couldn’t even tell.
Trained as a Climber
When my husband built our beautiful deer fence, I wanted a Chevy that climbed. The canes propagated easily, and in the picture above, the climber is only two years old, spread out on 27-feet of fencing. I love how the sun happened by for a little highlighting to show the extensive reach.
Here’s a bloom view from the outside of the fence. By the way, the deer in my neighborhood don’t show much interest in this rose.
This is a peek from the inside. My garden is color-themed, and ‘Chevy Chase’ provides a rich backdrop for the dense plantings in front. R. glauca is to the far left, ‘Baby Donnie’, ‘Sweet Chariot’, ‘LD Braithwaite’ and ‘The Prince’ mingle with Geranium ‘Johnson’s Blue’.
Free-style (unpruned for a year)
Last summer, when the canes were ripping through the air and cascading in awesome arcs, I didn’t have the heart or heft to train them, and decided to let them make their own special statement.
If you’ve been following ‘Rose of the Week’, you know that this post is late, because I was waiting for Chevy to bloom. I tried for two days to get good shots of the unpruned version, and so far this is the best I can do. Photographing the whole shrub is always a challenge and the light wasn’t what I would have liked, but I hope you can get the idea. It’s so much more impressive in real life. This is the front of our property along the sidewalk.
Next year, I'll have to cut it back or risk a takeover.
People wonder what the tall plant to the left is. It's Melianthus Major and this is the first year it has bloomed. I originally planned to cut off the flowers when they first emerged, but I let her go and wow what a look, especially with the seed pods forming.
Chevy Chase is tough, flexible, and cooperative. The leaves are grayish, dry, leathery, and crisp. Small, sharp prickles grab my wrists as I harvest. Blackspot is minimal. Sturdy, long lasting blooms do not bruise easily, and rain does no damage. However the flowers have no fragrance and, for me, it's a once-bloomer.
*The Celebration of Old Roses is next Sunday, May 17, from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., at the Community Center in El Cerrito, at Moeser and Ashbury.