A trip to Weston Nurseries for some rhododendrons for the rhodie walk through the woods — a multi-year project, and I found room for just one more thing; this beauty.
I have it sitting in the pot near rose Graham Thomas until the yellow rose opens. Graham may be too much of a gentleman for these flaming colors. Most of the pictures that I see show this hydrangea to be a darker pink; maybe it will change as it matures but I was promised that the throats stay yellow-green for contrast.
I was also told that it was dwarfed but Monrovia shows it as a 6′ plant. Other sources say “compact plant”, so I hope they are right. I have room; I just don’t need more shade.
I’m adding a couple of bonus photos, pictures of rose “City of York” from my guest room window for a friend who isn’t on Facebook.
I mowed the last of the bugleweed (ajuga) in the lawn as the blossoms were over and the pollinators had moved on to the rhodies. The smell of lily of the valley was replaced by the more subtle scent of iris and now the roses begin. Gertrude is the first of the roses to put on a display. A serendipitous conjunction of a junk rose (I think it’s a climbing rootstock where the display rose died) that I’ve never completely killed, though I’ve tried, and a couple of varieties of honeysuckle that I grow up the fireplace make for a very pleasing combination. The more solid yellow honeysuckle is the one I grow for scent.
It’s way too early but I’ve given up on culling blossoms on the tomato plants. This early blossoming phenomenon is something that started last summer when I first used the LED lights to grow the plants. Both years, I’ve snipped off any small blossoms that were present at planting and still the plants want to bloom. But last summer was uncharacteristically hot and early. We’ll see if this is a mistake.
I promise the next post will be pretty pictures but I’d like suggestions.
I am not sure how to prune Seven Sisters. I will be deadheading this, which was magnificent, and I’ll have to do some serious thinning, too. This rose is not prone to black spot but you wouldn’t know it from looking at these shots. Summer pruning will help. Here is my problem. I know that next years blossoms will grow off laterals from those new shoots but what about the old canes and laterals, do they produce blossoms again on the old laterals? Do old laterals produce new laterals with blossoms?
It’s the time of year when most garden chores change from starting things to maintaining them. Mundane tasks like mowing and weeding have taken the place of dramatic decisions about what and when to plant.
And some harvesting. I’ve let the first year asparagus go weeks ago, to get more next year and I’m picking snow peas at the rate of a pound every few days. The tomatoes are at least a couple of weeks early, which is pretty much how this season has been going. Picking even a cherry tomato in June is almost unheard of and if you look carefully at the top, left of the picture above, you can see my second ripe tomato getting redder. The first one was picked slightly green and ripened inside.
I’m playing chicken with the chipmunks, who ate most of my crop last year. The sight of this one turning red untouched had me a little hopeful that the family who likes tomatoes moved on, but I see a quarter of a ripening Black Krim has been eaten, just as it was turning color. Last year I tried Coyote urine around the perimeter of the beds and all I got out of that was ruined shoes.
Focusing on happier things, a pretty shot at about eyesight where the last, slightly chewed, small Teasing Georgia blossoms made friends with the last few blossoms on a lavender foxglove stalk; making for a beautiful relationship.
This really goes with my last post but WordPress’s graphics editor is so yucky that I can’t integrate it, it overwrites one of the other pictures. This, like the shots with the clematis, was taken of the arbor in front of my front door.
Seven Sisters is the latest of my once-blooming spring roses.
Once-blooming roses are often ignored in favor of the many ever blooming roses on the market. But when I visited gardens where they were properly used, I realized that they make up for their short season with their extravagance of blossoms.
This weekend, I’ve trimmed a few bushels of spent blossoms from roses that I’ve featured in earlier posts. And I have a few more bushels to go.
The fact that clematis Jackmanii blossoms at the same time as Seven Sisters rose was pure luck, although I can take some credit for combining the colors.
About a yellow climbing rose with pictures for a gardens friend. At least that’s my excuse for another post on roses. And I’m sticking to it!
I don’t remember this rose being classified as a climber when I purchased it. But I planted it near an arbor because Austin roses do tend to throw long canes. I ordered it because I’d just lost a cat to old age, a cat with burnt yellow/orange markings, Sweet Georgia Brown. Her color; her name.
The place that I planted her has gotten shadier every year so Georgia is trying to walk down the hill toward the sun and away from the trellis. I either need to coax her back up the hill or come up with another method of supporting her.
She’s been robust and colorful every year in my zone 5b garden
Yes, there are other things happening in my garden besides roses, but can you blame me for being obsessed?
The gallery below starts with shots of the front walkway. The pink rose near the door is Gertrude Jekyll (yes, again) with a shot of City of York (white) and clematis Ramona on the walk light. More shots as it’s so pretty and it smells so good.
The gallery goes on with more flowers, the peonies that I thought I planted in front of the roses (oops), more Gertrude, golden-colored Austin rose Evelyn, rose Tropicana and two mountain laurels. No names for the peonies and white mountain laurel as I inherited them with the house, although I had to find the mountain laurel under overgrown forsythia. The red laurel is one that my neighbor planted on a strip between our houses that I think of as friendship alley.
While not the first to open, she is the first to put out a display in my garden.
When I was checking the spelling, I noticed her descrbed as a climber. I don’t think so. Like many Austin roses, she puts out long canes and does best with support. But she’s growing into seven sisters, the rose over the arbor with still tight buds and that’s a true climber.
I just read the book “Madame Toussaud”, by Michelle Moran; bear with me here for a short deviation from gardens. Madame was an incredible woman, although she must have been all business first. If the characterization is true, I’m sure that she would have been called “hard” and unfeminine by many, especially in her day. I admire her for doing what was necessary. Moving back and forth between the worlds of both royalty and revolutionaries, she survived her central role in the French revolution by making wax death masks of the executed. When she could do so no longer, she was imprisoned. I highly recommend this book as a very readable but historically accurate depiction of life and death during the French Revolution. Winding back to the topic for this post, the book has her in prison, awaiting execution with as woman named Rose, who would later be known as Empress Josephine, or Josephine Bonnaparte.
Rose is another self-made woman from that era who was often described as being pragmatic, at best. Rose’s first husband from an arranged and failed marriage was executed, but after Robespierre’s execution, the prisons were opened and she survived to live on her wits and highly placed friends, until she married Napoleon. My mind is still open but it’s impossible for me to tell, from hundreds of years away, whether her contributions to the science of botany and her ambitious plant collections were a sign of a serious and capable woman, or symptomatic of leftover imperialistic ideals.
Whatever values they reflect in the woman, history does tell us of her successes. In a day when people were scouring the globe to bring home the new and novel, for study or the amusement of their friends, she amassed a small menagerie and a garden full of exotic plants at Malmaison, where she continued to live after her divorce from Napoleon. Roses were a favorite and she’s reported to have collected hundreds of varieties, helping to establish a source of breeding stock for early hybridizing efforts. She employed the premier garden designers and botanists of her time. Her gardens were immortalized in books and in paintings. The painter Redoubt captured hundreds of her roses alone, and was influential in having them converted to printed media.
After her death in 1814, through neglect and the influence of war, the gardens were destroyed. The Chateau has been restored as a museum to Bonaparte and the gardens, a restored wisp, a memory, a small fragment of their former glory can be seen today at Chateau Malmaison in a Rueil, a close-in suburb of Paris. It’s a chance to touch her spirit, even if time has diminished the impact. The pictures were taken in 2003.
Traditions are important in France and change is slow in coming. I was made sad this year to find out that the very hotel that I was recommending when I surprised myself by saying the words, “whenever I’m in Paris”, has changed. It still lives on a tiny street near the Latin quarter and the Seine, but when I returned to it, trip after trip, it was a modestly priced hotel with tiny, indifferently decorated (but clean) rooms; plumbing that grumbled loudly to get me out of bed in the mornings; weak English-syle coffee with a roll, a croissant, butter and jam, for breakfast; and a friendly manager who spoke English and remembered her customers; even when it was years between visits. I usually booked with an e-mail saying, “can I still get the same rate?” and the answer was almost always yes. Sadly, a friend came back to me for another recommendation this year because the rates have more than doubled. It appears to have changed ownership and become part of a small luxury chain.
The Left Bank, while a good place for inexpensive hotels and restaurants by Paris standards, has never been the place where people would look first for true luxury accommodations. The historic old streets are small and noisy, full of the smells of diesel fuel and garlic. At night, the hawkers in the small streets will stand in the doors of the various ethnic restaurants, music blaring, to try to pull you in for dinner. The crowds are full of students, emigrants and budget tourists. But the location has its charms, especially for me. A short walk to the East, just past the Arab World Institute, and the small Park zoo, is the entrance to one of the most wonderful places in the world, Jardin des Plantes, Paris.
The people of Paris use this place (no entrance fee, except for the zoo and museums) as their front porch, their work-out studio, their alternate living room. Summer, winter, rain or shine, there are always people in this park. Jogging, walking, sitting, snacking in the cafes. Rows of benches under the Plane trees create a cool haven in the summer and a comfortable place to sit year-round, to soak in the beauty and the history. Kings and queens have walked here; in fact it was established as a medicinal garden for a king, hundreds of years ago. Sitting as close as it does to the historical center of Paris, it’s challenges, reversals and perseverance to become a world-class botanical and scientific resource could fill a book. But you can see it; soak up its essence, for free.
I highly recommend it as a cure for jet lag. The overnight flights often drop you off in Paris in the morning, with little or no sleep and an afternoon to fill. Take a book to the park, wander around and when you get tired, find a comfortable bench. The light of day will start to reset your clock and the beauties will sooth the soul.
There are a number of gardens, including one that organizes plants by their botanical characteristics; so read up on your interests before you visit or ask for a map at the small gate house. The rose garden is best in late May or very early June as it contains a number of once blooming varieties, but the main parterres have many roses that last most of the summer. Most of the pictures in the gallery were taken in the main parterres.
Notice the smoke over Buffon’s right shoulder in the long shot toward the front gate (fourth in the gallery). There were some particularly vehement protests that day; I saw worried police everywhere on my way to the gardens but I was oblivious to the cause until I heard the noise, and saw that night’s news. Explosions, smoke, screaming loudspeakers and sirens as the protests passed the park, but inside it was an island of tranquility.[oqeygallery id=20]
Well, not much and not on this issue. The first year I got this rose, it bloomed about this time of year for the first time. I was really disappointed and called J & P to tell them they had sold me the wrong rose. No scent; and the number of petals didn’t match the description. It’s not supposed to be a flat, single rose. J & P told me that they would refund or send me another the next year. I procrastinated until the next spring and guess what! It was a full and pretty rose with a wonderful scent.
Evidently, there is a difference between what it produces at different times of the year because I’ve seen the same issue with summer reblooms later in the year. It would be interesting to know if this is a characteristic of the rose itself or if it’s something about the root stock or this particular bush.
July is when I realized that I was insane. Or at least that my decision to keep up with the weeds in the rose bed without mulching must have been made in a moment of insanity. My father told me that roses did better with bare soil but now I remember that he said that when he was fully retired and could tend to his roses (and the weeds) every day.
To mulch or not to mulch is a serious question. Here in the North, mulch has a number of negatives, especially the typical bark or wood chips that are so widely used. These mulches can:
Raise the acidity levels, and most New England soils tend to be a bit too acidic already.
Tie up nutrients as they decompose, at least right where they touch the soil.
Keep soil cool, and I’m always running around in the spring with a soil thermometer, willing the soil to heat up! Heat up!
Prevent repeated applications of composts, manure and other soil amendments, throughout the season.
Bring their own fungal diseases or weed seeds.
Create considerable expense.
So why mulch, I asked? And with that long list, you might also. Well, here’s my story from this summer, with the plants I raise.
Tomatoes: I don’t have enough space to rotate, and that’s fallen out of favor as people learn more about micro-organisms that live in the soil and have a symbiotic relationshp with specific plants. However, other diseases overwinter in the soil and get transferred to the plants when water splashes them onto the leaves, so mulch can minimize that. See my post on Mainely Mulch. I was very disappointed that it wasn’t free of crop seeds as advertised, but the truth is that even the heirloom varieties that are vulnerable to soil borne diseases are looking good for late July.
Dahlias: I’m a novice with these. Told not to put them into the ground until the soil warmed, I planted them out in a new bed with soil purchased from a local farmer and thought that the sun warming bare soil would be a good thing. But when I asked some questions about plants that were wilting and failing to thrive, See pictures in Dahlia Problems. I was told that it was probably verticillium or fusarium wilt, the same soil borne problems that tomatos have! Further, because of questions from a gardening freind in Arizona, I learned that dahlias have shallow root systems that don’t like too much heat. Southerners who want to try to grow them should apply a thick layer of mulch to keep the soil cool. It’s all relative, I guess. But I can report that after a thick layer of mulch in July, all of the plants in the dahlia bed, even the healthy ones, perked up and started growing faster. (No, it didn’t save the plants that were already sick.)
Hydrangeas: This spring, I planted a couple of small “Let’s Dance Moonlight” hydrangeas (picture above) that I’ve been growing in pots into a bed that’s not realy finished. I wanted to continue to reshape the area and add amendments and other plantings before I mulched. The hydrangeas were doing very well except that they would wilt badly in the heat of mid-summer sun. I was wondering if I had to sacrifice their lovely blossoms for this season, to let them develop deeper root systems. But first I thought I’d try mulching them. Since this section of my post is talking about why I do mulch, you know what happened; they thrived.
Roses: Yes, personally, I’m sad to say that I can’t keep up with the weeds without mulch. Even with mulch, I have to weed. Lots of vining or plants with runners (strawberries, e.g.) don’t need bare soil to settle in. And mulch should never be applied right against the stem of a plant, which creates opportunities for weeds. Especially with roses; they do much better if there is plenty of air circulation around the bud union. That means no mulch but also, no weeds.
So I hope this has offered some advice that you can adapt to your own plantings. I do have a regular feeding schedule of balanced, slow release fertilizers for roses and other mulched plants to compensate for the little bit of nutrients that may be tied up in the decomposition process of the mulch. And I amend the soil in flower beds to lower their acidity every spring and fall. I’m trying to get competent with a soil test kit to make that more accurate. If you understand the needs of your plants and compensate for the down side, mulch can:
Help with weed control
Keep soil borne diseases from spreading to new plants
Gallery updated July 16, 2011 with three new shots from the rose ghetto. I think the third shot, a hybrid tea, pink blend, is “Love and Peace” but I can’t find the purchase info!
All of the roses have done their spring thing and some of them are over for the year or resting up for a late summer show. Here is a gallery of my best shots. As I looked through my photos, I realized that it’s heavy on the climbers and once bloomers, I’ll have to get more shots of the Hybrids in the rose ghetto. These pictures do show why I love the once bloomers so much. When they are in blossom they put on an impressive show. The ones I’ve selected also smell heavenly, sorry I can’t share that with you. The last shots are of Seven Sisters with Clematis Jackmanii. They are still looking good.[oqeygallery id=14]
I don’t seem to have a problem with pollinators like some people are reporting. Although it’s also true that many of those I see are wasps or bumblebees, not honeybees. I’d been tying up tomatoes before this photo was shot was working along side one of a bumblebee like this. Their laid back nature is comforting to one who’s been stung many times by honeybees and wasps. He’s working in rose “City of York”, one of the best smelling, ever. I didn’t have to add music as he was making his own!
This garden got top points for sheer impact with roses on my midwest trip. It has the advantage of being small and well designed. The rose beds are raised so that even the shorter roses are near eye level. It was probably peak bloomtime when I visited with both once and repeat bloomers in show. The first picture is not taken in the rose garden. It’s just the healthiest purple elderberry that I’ve seen, growing in the small place between restaraunt and parking area at a nearby Sushi restaraunt. The last shot expresses how I feel about this garden. [oqeygallery id=12]
When I got up today the sun was shining and I decided to wade through the remaining snow to do, well OK, start, a big job on two of my roses. After much research, I’ve decided that the way to take care of these two robust bushes, that have taken over much more space than they should, is a severe pruming. I intend to identify four strong, healthy canes on each bush, not the oldest ones and take out everything else to the ground. The blossoms grow on last year’s laterals so I will have to be careful not to damage those on the canes that I want to keep.
The rose on the right, shown first, with the larger canes and a more open habit is “City of York”. The crazy wildish rose on the left and over the door arbor is “Seven Sisters”.[oqeygallery id=7]
[wpvideo tO4B4taw]I found this park on one of my first visits to France. My early research had advised me that the Loire Valley was the place to visit for garden interest. Although it doesn’t have the history of Monet’s Garden or Villandry, what it does have is this well-loved feeling and such a variety of beautiful plants and special-purpose gardens that it’s always worth a visit. Ironically, the rose garden, a semi-ampitheatre around a large reflecting pond, was one of the best I’d ever seen on my first trip — no camera. By the time I started recording my journeys they decided that drainage was an issue there and were reworking that area to improve it.
Orleans is a short distance from Paris and it makes a great starting or return point for a car-based visit to greater France. The Mecure near the center of Orleans is a favorite of mine, especially when I’m ready for the air conditioned, large room hotel experience. I’d spent a week in Saumur at what was supposed to be an exclusive and historic B & B. The new owner stuck me in a badly furnished attick room up three flights of stairs (because a bus was coming (no bus came)), wouldn’t let me use the pool (problems with the permit and could use it but it could destroy his business), and wouldn’t let me into my room between 11:00 am and 4:00 pm (everybody knows that’s how it’s done). It was near 100 deg F most days and the attic didn’t cool down well at night. I gave up, and to my host’s great displeasure moved to the Mecure for the last few days and sunk into the luxury of air conditioning and dinner by the pool.
[oqeygallery id=1]These are pictures from the Peace Garden, it’s associated with the War Memorial in Caen. There were not good directions to the gardens itself, but if you drive around the block where the Memorial is located, you will find it. There is parking specifically for the garden.
I love the architecture of the rose garden and remember when I first visited. I came over a hill and saw this fantastic theatre in the round open out before me, full of roses. Breathtaking. These pictures are from two visits, one in the spring, where the rose pictures were taken and one in the fall. There is a really nice area that features dahlias and the blooms go well into October Notice the picture of the rose hips in the fall set. That rose is “Wedding Day”, and I would like to find a source for it in the US.