Roses are my greatest joy in the garden, and also the plant most admired by visitors and fellow gardeners alike.However, they can look a little leggy, especially in the southern summer heat. So I set out to find some quick growing solutions. And since I have a few more roses then most, it had to not eat up the entire plant budget.
When I was still confined to a small planter garden on our rental deck, I spent most of my time reading and dreaming about a large garden. It was then, that I came across several books and articles about incorporating edibles into the flower gardens for quick color and interesting textures. Both thyme and rosemary play a vital part in the garden design now, one as a quick ground cover and one as an evergreen shrub transitioning the flower garden into the vegetable area. The new varieties of variegated and colored sage have also found a home in many different areas. And who could leave out the lavender.
However, the my solution came in form of parsley. I use it to cover up the rose stems and plant an almost instant addition to the garden border. Simply sprinkle a bag of parsley seed along the edge of the flower bed an keep he area evenly moist for germination.A small bag goes a long way, as every seed will become it’s own multi-stemmed plant.
Parsley is fast growing, but short lived – growing to maturity in just a few month, but starting to bloom and set seed in the second year.After that the plant will die. Collect the seed to be used in the future, as I have had little luck with self-seeding. I believe it simply gets too dry and hot here in the summer.
If you want to maintain a constant border, sprinkle some more seed every year or mix it with border perennials such as small snapdragons and candy tuft that will take over the space left by the parsley once it dies back.
Parsley enjoys regular picking, growing bushier every time. I use parsley in almost anything. To marinate meet and add to burgers. Make a parsley pesto (parsley, walnuts, garlic, Parmesan, cream), throw it in Spaghetti sauce, stews and soups, roasts and casseroles. Put a handful into your summer salad. My son likes to pick a leave and eat it on the spot.
Parsley is truly a wonderful addition to your garden, ornamental and fast growing, antioxidant and anti inflammatory, high in Vitamin K, pretty to look at and almost maintenance free once established. What more could one ask for.