August 2016 - Casurina tree, left
In that post, I explained how we used all of the tree, to mulch various fruit trees, and some roses. I didn't take any photos of the roses at the time, because they looked really pitiful.
We cut the roses right back, as instructed by the nursery we purchased them from. It's meant to stimulate branching and new growth, which we wanted. It's actually meant to be a rose hedge. Maybe one day, it will be?
This photo was taken a month after mulching, with the leaves of the Casurina tree. We also used the trunk as a border. This position in the garden, is incredibly harsh. It cops the hot western sun, is on clay and really doesn't receive a lot of attention from us. Certainly not with additional nutrients.
The keys factors to success has been, purchasing the hardiest rose our local nursery could recommend. It's a rose resistant to blackspot, and a lot of the diseases which infect roses, grown in a hot and humid climate. But the second key to success, has been the kind of mulching material we selected.
Aged wood, and woody mulching material, provides the perfect environment for mycelium to grow. Mycelium helps plants take up water and nutrients better, and for longer. Without that structure in the topsoil, everything would be lost via gravity, to the subsoil. So the kind of mulch you choose for your environment, is important too.
Still a month after mulching, and the new shoots are really taking off. The front rose is a rugosa rose - closest relative to the wild rose. The original hardy variety. The others in the rear, are a Tiger Rose. Back when we purchased them, they were just known as a Tiger Rose, but now they breed different varieties, with variations on the "Tiger" name.
I'm sure all the Tiger roses, must posses the same tough, disease resistant qualities though. I have not been disappointed with buying these roses. Not one bit. If you have a harsh environment, most traditional roses wouldn't like - look for the wild roses, or any new varieties, sharing the same genes.
Four months, after the initial mulching now, and the roses are filing out more. It's autumn, and our roses survived the intense heatwave, we endured last summer. With no additional water or nutrients added by us - other than mulch.
The needle like leaves, of the decaying casurina foliage, was still present, but patches of soil, began to appear though it more. In the above photo, I merely weeded the grasses and weeds, which popped-up in the rose bed and around it, then laid them on the thinner spots of mulch.
I don't worry about unwanted seeds going into the bed. Anything which does pop up, just gets pulled for mulch on the garden bed again. The more I've been doing this, the fewer weeds there are. Plus they are really easy to pull. Although I have to avoid the thorns of the roses!
Given this location is such an inhospitable environment, and we just experienced one of the hottest and prolonged summers I've been here (max 45C or 113F), it's remarkable to see how strong and healthy the new growth was, as we entered autumn. It's like we all breathed a collective sigh of relief.
Which highlights, the correct plant choices and mulches, makes it's possible to keep plants alive through extremes. We have that Casurina tree to thank, and why I'm an advocate for growing companion plants in your garden. The kind which can be used as a windbreak, shade enhancer (but not too much shade) and can afford to be sacrificed at the right time, so others, can continue living.
That incredible gift to the landscape, hasn't finished giving either. Just as I'd hoped it would, the Casurina tree started re-shooting, from the stump which remained. Being hardy, is an excellent feature to have at our place. I'm looking to get more of these beneficial trees, as a form of long term mulching supply, and even hedging.
We let this Casurina get to a tree size, requiring a chainsaw to cut down. However, a regular pruning should keep it's growth in-check. So you'll still get woody material for mulching, you'll just use a set of pruners more regularly, instead of a chainsaw, several years in.
A word of caution though, if left to grow to it's full potential, it can get to be a big tree. So unless you plan to keep it's growth in-check manually, I would avoid introducing it into a small garden.
This is what the rose bed looked like, earlier this month. Healthy, bushy roses, smothered in blooms. This arrangement, is actually positioned on our property boundary. We wanted it to be a living fence, however, I'm not quite sure if we got our spacing right.
Maybe it just needs to fill out some more?
In the distance
I was really chuffed to see our neighbours planted a pair of Jacaranda trees, near our rose boundary. I was a little concerned at first, they might shade out the roses - but really, they'll be benefiting them. They will help shade the hot afternoon sun, while still getting access to sunlight, for the rest of the day.
And Jacaranda trees, don't tend to have thick foliage either. So a nice, dappled shade. I'm imagining the bright purple flowers of the Jacaranda trees, contrasting against the hot pink, and white - later turning yellow, of the roses. I'm so glad our neighbours put these trees in.
I don't believe you should have to go without roses, in a challenging environment. These magnificent blooms, subsist on natural rainfall alone. And it can be such a long time between drinks, too. Just select a hardy cultivar, and the kind of mulching material that will attract mycelium to the soil. Also, don't forget a companion plant of some variety.
You might not always want to go out and buy mulch for your roses. I find straw breaks down too quickly in our climate. So a companion plant with some woody material, that takes longer to break down is beneficial. I can recommend the Casurina tree, but for smaller places, the humble wormwood too.
The benefit of having roses, are beauty, delicious fragrance, bee food, habitat for predatory insects near our vegetable garden, a living fence, but also connection with our neighbours. Whenever they pull into their long driveway, and check the mail, they get to see roses. That connection, possibly encouraged them to see what was possible, so planted their own trees with attractive blooms.
White turns yellow, as the blooms mature
So now we've created a community of biological lifeforms, for a more alluring outlook, than just brown grass. I'm sure this area will only get more beautiful, as long as we continue to apply the right mulch.
If you want to get this rose, I can highly recommend the Brindabella Nursery in Highfields, if you're a local. They have really healthy stock, and know how to select the right rose, for your environment. But I also think they can be mail ordered to other States. Wild roses, like the rugosa rose, tend to be available, in most locations (here and abroad) too.
I'm looking forward to the rose hips, that will develop into winter. They are full of vitamin C. But that's only if the kangaroos don't eat them all, first!