There are times when my garden makes up for every disappointment it has visited upon me throughout the years. This is one of them, thanks, mostly to a rampant Chinese wisteria planted twenty years ago along with cedar trees, vanilla scented Clematis montana, May Queen and New Dawn roses. The clematis and May Queen rose have perished and so have two cedar trees that were meant to frame the lily pool facing the rose arbor. The New Dawn rose and the remaining cedars seem to be tough enough to survive the wisterias suffocating embrace and on cool cloudy days their reflection on the dark water pleases the selective eye.
Mine is a nearly wild garden with no discernible design. Whatever I have tried to grow in this half acre where there were at first only wild cherry, maple and sugarberry trees, either dies a quick death or grows with such vigor I fear that someday visitors will have to hack a path to my door. Rosa fortuniana, found in a mandarin’s garden by one of the first Englishmen to visit China, is not meant for West Virginia, according to the nurseryman from whom I bought it.
“It will not survive Zone 6 winters,” he said.
He was mistaken. Fortuniana has grown steadily, clinging to a brick chimney to sprawl on the roof of my two-story house. I find its tenacity inspiring.