Friday, July 29, 2011

'Maman Cochet, Climbing' - The First Two Years

As they say, ya hadda be there.  For the exhilaration, joy and sheer pride of witnessing nature firsthand for the first time.  For the panic at watching a monster rose eat the house (well, almost.)  For the fear that curdles the stomach knowing you're in over your head, hoping no one sees the deer-in-the-headlights look on your face.

You weren't there, but I know you're wishing you had been.  All it takes is a little fairy dust. POOF!! (Sorry about your frizzy hair. It's humid here.)

3/5/2008 - still in the pot







Thursday, July 28, 2011

Why am I surprised?

Only I could be surprised that a plant by the name of Giant Apostle's Iris would become huge. I mean, even in the Bible names indicated character.  Names mean something!  And yet here am I, one who gardens in a very small garden, adding plants to it that someone thought reasonable to name Giant.  I can only attribute such ditziness to...  Oh, wait!  I didn't know its true name when I bought them (one giant is never enough).  They were labeled "Purple Iris".  Oh, saved by the bell! I am not the nitwit that I thought I was.

Alas, that still leaves me with three of these plants (I divided one in two before planting) that are rapidly growing into their name.  By rapidly I mean in five months.  Here they are when I planted them.

Here's half of one on February 24th. It is only two or three fans, and that's all. The other half is in the background behind the daylilies in the other bed.
Here is the same plant two days ago.  (Gee, I wonder how big it is today!)  Now this bed is five feet long from the corner of the patio on the right to the brick edging on the left.

I didn't measure it, but this baby's got to be three feet tall - easy.  Are you sensing my terror yet?

Here's the other one.  The turquoise pot is 24" in diameter!  And perhaps you've noticed how lovely they are.  They are even more gorgeous in person.  Believe me, the camera does not do them justice.  They are very beautiful shades of green.

Again, this bed is five feet wide also.  Aren't they gargantuan??  But the pressing question is how much more gargantuan will they become?  Am I going to have to be dividing these every six months?  How big is giant?

These two plants have not bloomed yet.  The other one in the driveway bed had a flower bud when I bought it, and that stem has bloomed several times, the only one that has.  I believe this plant is also called walking iris because of its habit of bending down and rooting where its stems touch ground. Well, there will be none of that!!  On the other hand I may have a gold mine here.  At $12.98 a pop I could make some real cash by selling the divisions out at the curb, but probably digging them up delays their blooming so I best wait to cash in.

Perhaps someone who grows these beauties could break it to me gently. How massive do they get? Maybe I should cut back on the alfalfa and no more composted horse manure!!!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Recent events

Clematis 'Violacea Venosa' is blooming again (yay!) and has grown all the way up to the top of the arbor, blooming at the top and covering the side of the arbor with its pretty leaves.

This is not a good photo, but it shows (barely) the start of the second round of 'Violacea Venosa' flowers at the top and lower right and all the leaves up the side.  However, 'Duchesse d'Auerstadt', the Tea rose from 1888 climbing on the left side and across the top, is highly offended that I would publicize such an unflattering photo of her.
Last evening I finally potted on the Austin babies to 1-gallon pots. In these pots they don't look tiny at all. They really are nice plants with lots of healthy leaves. Neither photo is any good (makes me think of 'Where's Waldo?'), but hopefully, they're good enough to show you size and health. I put them in this fairly shady spot temporarily until I'm sure they've adjusted to our heat. Also I'm hoping the squirrels won't notice them there.

Lately, flowers are an event in my garden. LOL So here are some other events in the back garden.
Echinacea happily blooms in all parts of the garden and next year will be absolutely everywhere. I guarantee it!
'Duchesse de Brabant' - a Tea rose from 1857 looking a little different

'Blush Noisette' from 1814 - one cluster

'Souv de la Malmaison'
Oh, we've had some rain three out of the last four days plus a lot of cloudiness, keeping temps down in the 80's for a refreshing change. There's been so much dampness that the roses smell of mildew – the musty kind of mildew not the powdery kind. I was in the middle of a climber last evening, tying it up, and got some good whiffs. Amazing how the roses that like it here don’t mind all this heat and humidity and fungus that we live with outside. In fact, there isn't anything in my garden that's suffering from the wet. Weaklings beware! It's jungle season!!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The amazing 'Maman Cochet, Climbing'

It's impossible for me to convey to you in a photo the size of this rose bush. I can't stand far enough back from it to get a head-on view. It is at least 25 feet long, ten or twelve feet across and twelve-plus feet high. But that isn't the only reason I think she's amazing. I have never seen so many blooms on her as in this flush. Our recent rain and a big dose of alfalfa have really rejuvenated her and caused many new cane breaks. More good news is that I was able to keep the squirrels away from most of them with cayenne pepper and an egg and water mixture. This rose was planted in February, 2008 and took off like a shot.

Because of the wide-angle lens, this photo is deceiving. The tips of those farthest canes over the arbor are 25' away, and there's lots of rose bush in between that doesn't come into view..

Lots of frilly muddled flowers with a center knot.

I try to keep her trimmed high on my neighbor's side, but she has a tendency to extend herself quickly..

She has so many perfectly scrolled flowers. I'm glad I ran out to take these photos.
The trellis is 12' wide and 8' tall. See the bloom on a foot-long lateral? She added 8 or 10 new canes in this growth spurt.

It was so wonderful to stand under her this evening. She is the bright spot in my garden while much of it is in an in-between stage and some of it looks downright bad. 

My favorite nursery took cuttings from this rose last year. Here's the story on that. I just looked, and there's one in stock.

Here's a poor view out my kitchen window through the screen.

This is a great lesson for me. I have often said I could never be without this rose, but lately (before this flush) her foliage was looking very skimpy and barely there. I was wondering what was wrong. Then all of a sudden she leafed out and day by day is adding more and more flowers. I have a feeling that she is coming into her own at 3+ years old and will be putting on great shows from now on.