The Rose Whisperer: Déjà vu all over again

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    The new tree rose after planting in early May.
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If baseball great Yogi Berra were a dedicated reader of The Rose Whisperer (and maybe he is!), he’d probably think he’d seen Photo No. 1 above before. And the quotable Mr. Berra would be exactly right.

I took the picture back on May 1 to accompany my first Whisperer posting. In that post, I wrote about the relationship between writing and gardening. I also offered some tips for rejuvenating tired soil and planting a new tree rose.

Soon, the tree rose was coming along very nicely. In fact, today it’s covered with blooms.

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But along the way, this little patch of garden took an unexpected turn. The tree rose was supposed to be the focal point -- the cherry on top of the ice cream sundae.  Instead, the plants around the Baby Blanket rose (see Photo No. 2) have at long last stolen the show.

Over the years I’ve tried to create a classic cottage garden with the look British gardeners call “a tidy mess.” Things may look helter-skelter, but they’re supposed to. To make it all work, you need plants that complement one another as partners and a little serendipity. More often than not, I’ve struck out.

Now I have roses -- including Tradescant (see Photo No. 3), L.D. Braithwaite, James Galway, and Knock Out -- living happily together along with catmints, foxgloves, centranthus, and clematis. It’s an amazing display of teamwork.

So what happened? The old Sea Foam double tree rose I dug up and discarded in April was wide and dense. Perhaps the little area was starved for sunlight. Or maybe it’s all the rain we’ve had this spring. Or maybe I’ve found just the right lineup of companion plants.

In the end, it doesn’t really matter. You see, Yogi also said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll wind up somewhere else.”

I don’t always know where I’m headed with my garden journey. But I’ve ended up in some very beautiful places.

Psssst: Be warned, Japanese beetles may be getting ready to zero in on your roses.

Editor's Note: We're almost ready to announce the first-, second-, and third-place winners in a Gardening With the Monitor photo contest on Flickr. Return tomorrow to get a look at the winning images. At the same time, we'll announce a new contest.

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