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Farewell Rosa Rugosa… Hello Daphne Odora

Just when we thought we had finally finished garden design at the Villas, I had a change of heart about Zone 2 (previously known as the Secret Garden).

Zone by Zone

So, a little bit of background information to set the scene… When we moved to the Villas seven years ago we were faced with 400 square metres of amenity land which we proceeded to landscape zone by zone, year by year.

VILLAS before

Zone 1, nearest the house, consists of the sunken garden and the wall supporting the trained fig and peach trees; Zone 2 the Secret Garden with the Poplar tremula in the middle; Zone 3 with the fruit cage, greenhouse, raised beds …and most recently Zone 4 – now known as the Fruit and Nut Garden, with a couple of cob nut trees and a Greensleeves apple tree.

Rosa Rugosa Rubra hedging

Rosa Rugosa

But it was Zone 2, the Secret Garden, that has been keeping me awake at night of late. A nagging feeling that I was losing control; that the Rosa Rugosa that I had so keenly planted two or three autumns ago, was starting to run riot at the expense of the majority of the rest of the plantage. Also its ferocity – particularly if fallen into by a small child on a a skateboard (sorry Ben) – had become an irritation, literally.

WW Bee on Rosa Rugosa

To be fair to Rosa Rugosa, I’ve only got myself to blame. I’d set my heart on it because of its gloriously scented bee-magnet flowers, juicy scarlet hips much loved by birds, vigorous growth (I’m an impatient gardener) and potential height (it was meant to be a secret garden, after all) …but failing to research it properly before I put in my order.


If I’d taken the time to check carefully, I would have known that it “can produce an effect of barbed wire security without ugly barbed wire”, that it has a habit of producing suckers from below the ground (often a metre or so away where , in a confined space, you don’t want it) and individual plants can have a width spread of a metre or so; all three attributes making it somewhat unsuitable for a relatively small garden.

Rosa Rugosa bristle thorns


So, it had to come out …and there’s the rub. As well as being vigorous above ground, it is equally vigorous below ground and it had no intention of going quietly. In fact it was a two-man job and we resorted to the power of leverage, as the garden fork very quickly proved to be inadequate. We wore gloves of course, but were picking out the hypodermic-like bristle thorns from our hands for days!

Rugosa and the removal of...

Daphne Odora

Lesson learnt. Note to self: Research thoroughly before planting. I have replaced the Rosa Rugosa at one end of Zone 2 with the three young Daphne Odora plants I grew from cuttings earlier this year while the rest of the vegetation is much happier now that I’ve cleared some space and let the light in!

View from guest room MAY 2013

I have now changed the name from the Secret Garden to the Bird and Bees Garden …and am sleeping well once more.

2 thoughts on “Farewell Rosa Rugosa… Hello Daphne Odora

  1. That last picture.., what a lovely garden. Chapeau.., you did very well. You can, indeed, sleep well.
    Rogier Noort recently posted…The Reimagining Work PodcastMy Profile

    1. Why, thank you for your kind comments! gardening gets so much easier once it becomes established – just the odd tweak, here and there…
      Bridget recently posted…Rain on Curly Kale – Wordless WednesdayMy Profile

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