Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Rose riches

Have you ever found something that seemed to you to be of incredible value? And before you could fully discern what exactly it was you ran to show it to your best friend? That's the way I feel right now. I was googling - naturally - the name of a French rose breeder from the 19th century, and voila! I found this lovely French blog, Mon Jardin de Roses Anciennes, that has old, old photos of the breeder's nursery, several links to photos of European rose gardens, old lithographs of roses, old French books about roses, and more. I don't read or speak French, so I let Google Translate do its thing and transform all that was French into words I can understand. 

Then I could see that this beautiful blog is titled simply, My Garden of Old Roses. I clicked and clicked on photos and links, barely seeing what I was clicking on, just knowing that it was all wondrously about old roses.

So picture me standing before you, out of breath, hands outstretched, offering this prized discovery for you to share with me. You only need to click here. I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I will. There's a lot to see.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Some rain-soaked lovelies

I went for a quick walk in the back garden with camera in hand and found some surprises.

'Indy Snowfall' just starting to bloom with hopefully many more to follow.
Mr. Spider (don't know his real name) lounging and/or lying in wait on 'Souv de la Malmaison'
Rain lilies a little beaten down but still beautiful
'Borderer' getting ready again
'Polonaise' full of new growth and flower buds
'Marchesa Bocella' and benefactor - The rose is a Damask Perpetual from 1842.
Stop the world!  'Jaune Desprez' has her first flower!!  A Noisette climber from 1830 planted here in September, 2009 and said to be slow to get going.  I'll say!

Let me catch my breath! A blooming Foxglove! Quite late but I'm not complaining. Can you see the brown stump of the central stalk courtesy of the stupid  squirrel(s)?
Curly flower stems? The chewed-off stalk is left of center above the flower.
One of my lupines still green and living but small and not a flower in sight.

This is several plants of  'Periwinkle' aka Vinca, a little bowled over by the downpour. Please note that it is not growing in the amended and watered bed but in the 1" deep gravel over weedcloth and only rooted above the cloth. When standing upright, it's almost 2' tall. It reseeds and gets big in this spot every year, blocking the path but that's OK. It used to reseed all over the back garden but not since all the beds are under irrigation. I think it's beautiful, and seedlings are still popping up elsewhere - in the gravel. It has died quickly when I planted it in a bed.

Remember my former eyesore? No longer an eyesore but not blooming either. Maybe 'Penny Mac' doesn't bloom until the second year?
'Duchesse de Brabant' - a Tea rose from 1857
'Blush Noisette' bearing beautiful buds. She's a Noisette from 1814.
 Between the rain and all these surprises I'm just plain flabbergasted but not exactly speechless.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Few flowers, lots of green

I learned early on that evergreens in a garden are its backbone, but my primary reason for deciding to inter-plant the roses with evergreens was to hide the fact that the roses had very few leaves. A beginner gardener can't expect to have everything, I guess, and leaves were the things I was sorely missing in the first year or two. Human beings are not always the quickest learners and nature can move quite slowly anyway, but a  person can only look at bare rose canes for so long before she becomes nauseated, so this was my remedy.

'Red Ruffle' azaleas I had in abundance because I had selected them for the original landscaping when we built this house. I found out they transplant quite well, so they are scattered around most parts of the garden. Encore azaleas seemed to be just what the doctor ordered but haven't lived up to to their advertisements in my garden. Half of the four I bought died from my higher pH as did a couple of 'Red Ruffles', and the other two need regular soil sulfur applications. The remaining two do not bloom except in the spring with the other azaleas. I should have just bought more 'Red Ruffles'.
In shade

Or sun

Liriope - both variegated and 'Evergreen Giant' and now 'Super Blue' - are staples in my garden. There's something about those slender green leaves waving in the breeze that sets my mind at ease.

I tried two 'Dwarf Walter's Viburnum'. One died; the other is nice and green but is an extremely slow grower and didn't bloom this spring. It's leaves are about 1/2" to 3/4" - very little.

'Regina', Giant Apostle's Iris, came into the garden this spring. So far I like them. Only one has bloomed, and they are getting quite large in a short time, so I don't know if I'll be constantly dividing them or removing them if they start getting out of control. Obviously, their stiff verticality is an interesting element that was missing before they came, so I'd like to keep them.

Daylily greenery is becoming more of a presence as the plants mature. Their flowers bring wonder into the garden, but the plants themselves are not only interesting but space-filling without the bother of planting annuals every year or deadheading perennials. If chosen wisely, daylilies can bloom well into the heat of summer and the foliage can last through winter.

In my shade areas I have several kinds of azaleas, several kinds of hydrangeas, a ginger of some kind and, of course, the oak tree suckers that are the bane of my life.
This azalea is called 'Red Formosa' but it's more of a deep magenta, and the leaves are deep green with a tinge of burgundy - and very pretty.
'George Taber' or 'Mrs. George Taber'- Leaves are a much more yellow green, almost chartreuse.
 'Limelight' Hydrangea paniculata is blooming today. It's leaves appear below.
Variegated Lacecap Hydrangea doesn't bloom much in my garden, its flowers aren't much to look at, and they don't last long, but the foliage is reason enough for me to love it.

'Duc de Rohan' azalea blooms from October thru the end of azalea season with coral flowers. Its leaves are smaller than my other azaleas.
Some roses' foliage is worthy of boasting. There's no doubt I could have found others, but my camera battery died. Here are four.

'White Pet' (a polyantha)
'Enchantress' (a Tea rose) - Here is the definition of flowers few and far between - today anyway.
'Souvenir de la Malmaison', being the queen of the garden, is green and  blooming, of course.
'Bow Bells' continues to amaze me with her healthy foliage and increasing size in her shady spot.
And did you see the flower bud?
However, there are always some flowers in the garden - just in case you need your fix.
'Stokesia' Aster

'Napoleon' - China rose from 1835 looking too cute.

'Blueberry Frost'

'Souv de la Malmaison'

'Souv de la Malmaison' reminding me of old lace

'Souv de la Malmaison' sharing the spotlight with her oh, so healthy foliage

'Madame Lombard' -a Tea rose from 1878 in one of her many looks.
Greenery is a good thing in a garden, and I like having a lot of it. As someone once said, you shouldn't be able to see the mulch. I'd much rather look at all those shades of green.