Monday, April 30, 2012

Some Spring Roses

I would like to share with you some of my spring roses. Most of them are at the peak of bloom or already finishing up. This spring seems to have gone by very fast for me.

Gruss an Coburg. A wonderful rose, with lovely colors and a strong fragrance. Mine is own root from Vintage and has very good vigor.

Penelope in full bloom is a sight to see.

The apricot color fades quickly but the flowers still look lovely. Crepuscule is behind it.

Imagine (a Clements shrub).

Crown Princess Margareta on an arbor with several climbers on a long fence behind it.

Sophie's Perpetual, after several years, is still very small and sprawling.

Buff Beauty looking down on Memorial Day and Heritage.

Carding Mill.

Secret Garden Musk Climber.

Two Regensbergs and Buff Beauty

 Mrs. Wakefield Christie-Miller

Lyda Rose.

 Shön Ingeborg.

I like meat for dinner too :).

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Maréchal Niel

Maréchal Niel, a 19th century Tea-Noisette, is a rose I have been enjoying very much this spring.

Over the years, I have read again and again that it is an unrewarding rose, hard to grow because it dislikes cold, lacks vigor, and what not. But curiosity and collector's enthusiasm ultimately got the better of me, and I purchased an own root one gallon plant from Chamblee's nursery in Texas. I planted it to grow over a modest arbor. Like other Tea roses, it nods its blooms, so they look down on me as I pass under the arbor.

I did choose the spot with some thought: it is in all day sun, sheltered from wind and enjoying additional heat from a stucco wall. The plant is still young, but I have been very impressed so far. The blooms are exquisite, starting out icy lemon in bud and opening to a warm glowing yellow. They have a very strong tea fragrance.

 My rose has been growing very vigorously, with clean plentiful foliage (and impressive hooked prickles). It does require heavier feedings than my other roses but I am happy to work for such a show as this.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

From Rain To Heat - Part I

The recent vagaries of our spring weather made me wonder why I grow roses at all. In one week the temperatures went from 57 and rain to 90. Many of my first rose blooms balled and rotted in the rain, and most of those that opened later fried in the heat :(. There won't be many glamour shots of my spring garden this year....

Only a few roses stood their ground, and Dame Edith Helen is one of them. The huge petal-packed blooms take my breath away (but not before I inhale their wonderful fragrance), and I have not seen a badly shaped bloom yet. It is not particularly shy of bloom either. Mine is own root in a big pot.

Souvenir de la Malmaison balled every spring for me, but not this year. Could it be that it outgrew its awkward teenage years? I don't know, we'll see what next year brings.

Regensberg is pretty much perfect all the time, and it is the reason why I have three of them in my small garden.

The blooms on Francis Dubreuil/Barcelona were ruined by both rain and heat. Oh well, a few did manage to open in between, and the fragrance was amazing.

Marechal Niel has perfect foliage year round. The outer petals on the buds do show rain damage, but not really badly. The first blooms are opening well and they seem to last a few days in the heat.

Mrs. Wakefield Christie-Miller is a charming little rose. Mine is in a bit of filtered shade, and looks perfect. The blooms do not last a long time, but they show no rain damage at all, and the foliage is good too.

I can find no fault with Secret Garden Musk Climber. Despite the fragile look of its flowers they hold up well to the weather, are incredibly fragrant, and last a fair time in a vase too.

This one is Nancy Lee, which may also be 'Huntington Pink Tea'. I have been meaning to throw it out for three years now, and somehow it is still here. It mildews badly all the time, and I have yet to see a fully open bloom. The buds have a zillion paper thin petals and feel really heavy. I keep thinking that if they ever open, they might look exquisite, but so far they are all in my imagination.

Sunsprite, in all day filtered shade, looks pretty good. I can't say I love its neon yellow color, but there is a lot to say for clean leaves and a strong fragrance.

Mme Caroline Testout balled and mildewed.... This year, the rains happened right when most of the buds were opening, and that took care of most of its spring flush.

Lyda Rose at least had the sense to wait out the rains. It is only just beginning to bloom. I love its simple beauty.

Here is Crown Princess Margareta looking dreamily over the fence. It is a very good rose for me, with clean foliage and consistently good blooms. I can't detect any fragrance from them.

Zéphirine Drouhin is not known for great disease resistance, but I can say, with gratitude, that most of what the weather throws at it shows up in the foliage, not in the blooms. The blooms don't last long, but they don't ball or fry for me, so I put up with imperfect foliage (it mildews most of the time).

Even though its blooms are delicate and have almost see-through petals, Lady Hilligdon gives a wonderful display of color. However fast the petals fall from old blooms, new ones are always coming.

Most of my perennials were much less bothered by the changing weather. I think I need more of them in my garden :).

Monday, April 16, 2012

Rain and Roses

We had a lot of rain, thunderstorms and strong winds last week.

Handel still looks pretty good

The storm lasted for a few days, and while the rain was welcome, the wind did a lot of damage to my garden. My spireas, in full bloom, look even more disheveled than usual. Many tender new canes on roses were broken off. Quite a few rain-damaged petals too, not to mention rust, mildew and blackspot...

But the flowers on my Souvenir de la Malmaison all opened, to my unending surprise

Oh well, in times like these I am grateful it is not actually my livelihood that is so affected :).

The Dutch irises were fine, but Rosette Delizy shows quite a bit of rain spotting

Take my Soleil d'Or, for instance. I have read so much about this rose, the first Pernetiana, and so uniquely colored. Its claim to fame is the introduction of yellow and orange colors into the breeding of hybrid teas, but this rose is also notorious for lack of disease resistance, awkward growth habit and less than stellar rebloom. I have never seen Soleil d'Or in person. However, I like Pernetiana roses, and grow a few of them...

Condesa de Sastago

... so this fall I finally succumbed to my curiosity and ordered Soleil d'Or to see for myself how bad (or good) this rose is. My band arrived and promptly started to die back. These past few weeks it grew a little, and set 8 buds on a tiny twig. I thought it was a remarkably brave feat for a rose that unfailingly continued to die back and, in six months, never outgrew its 1 gallon pot. I removed the buds, of course, except for one, because at this point I just wanted to see whether the rose is worth ordering again. Well, today the bud opened.

Not only is the color spectacular, but there is also that distinctive tangerine fragrance. I fell in love with the bloom, although the plant's lack of vigor and disease resistance is truly unparalleled (in my garden, at least). Still, I think I might try it again, in warmer weather. Maybe my perseverance will pay off :).

Luckily, not all is bad. Some roses continue to be delightful no matter what the weather might throw at them. Mme Bérard is one such delight.

Cynthia Brooke is in full bloom now, and I am very happy with it too. No disease, no balling, no issues whatsoever, except that its fragrance is not as strong as I expected. Mine is own root and fairly young, and so far has done really well in a big pot.

Now the days are finally getting warmer, and the garden is coming more and more alive.

 I spend so much time outside now, watching the flowers open.

Break o'Day

If only spring could last forever.

Flax lewisii

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A New Lavender And Some Roses

My spanish lavender collection is growing faster than I anticipated.

I stopped by a local nursery this past weekend to get some compost for my tomato bed, and stumbled at the last second upon four miserable wilting lavender plants. They were unusual in having sky-blue flowers, chartreuse bracts and a very strong lemony fragrance.

This variety is called Tiara Blue. My plant was terribly root bound, and I had to cut the bottom of the root ball off completely because I couldn't pry the roots loose even after I made the customary cross cut through the bottom... It didn't seem to mind at all, and is looking better and better each day, with more flowers opening and bracts growing bigger and fluffier. It goes wonderfully with the more common purple varieties.

My roses are slowly opening, and I caught a few blooms on camera before the rains started again. Devoniensis, a tea, finally matured enough to give me some gorgeous flowers, even if they only look so good in spring. In summer, the size and petal count go down substantially...

Purple Pavement, a rugosa, is beginning to bloom. I love its spicy clove fragrance and round red "tomato" hips. My plant is own root and so happy it sends suckers as far as 5 feet away from the main plant!

And here is a self-seedling of Purple Pavement, my very own white semi-double rugosa. The blooms seem to be slightly bigger but otherwise it is identical to its parent. It is also strongly fragrant.

And another rugosa, Roseraie de l'Hay. It has wonderful color and fragrance, but rebloom is less than spectacular, and hip production is not as good as that of Purple Pavement.

Elie Beauvilain, a tea-noisette, is blooming with abandon. I will have to remember these flowers till next spring: while I do see occasional blooms throughout the rest of the year, they are nothing compared to its spring display.

The Imposter's flowers always cheer me up. The rebloom on my two plants is very fast, and they continue blooming even while producing abundant hips.

Sophie's Perpetual, a china, is blooming with some ground cover erodiums. This rose has a very horizontal growth habit so far, but is very clean and completely prickle free.

Mme Berard, a climbing tea, is beginning to bloom too. I love the perfect shape, the strong fragrance and smooth canes. It does have a bit of mildew, but not too bad.

It is very hard for me to photograph the colors of Condesa de Sastago which can be blindingly bright but I seem to have finally done a good job with this opening bud catching bright red blending with hot pink on the outer edges of this Pernetiana rose.

And here is a satiated (I hope) ladybug. I have seen a lot of them in my garden this spring, and there are very few aphids. Now I wish they could do something about the mildew too :).