Saturday, March 31, 2012


They’re the teensiest bugs you’ve ever seen with your naked eyes. Of course, you can’t see them if you don’t deliberately go looking for them, but it’s not hard to know where to start looking.


Light colored roses are the prime targets for thrips. I don’t know why. However, I was greatly dismayed today to find that ‘Enchantress’, a magenta Tea Rose, was infested with them. The photos here are of ‘Clotilde Soupert’, but ‘Souvenir de la Malmaison’ and ‘Duquesa’ were ruined also.


Clotilde has been blooming for a good while but she’s building for her first big flush – or I should say was. I wasn’t going to, but I decided to de-flower them today. I compare this task to picking cotton even though I have no experience picking cotton. I wear a trash bag tied to my waist which gets quite heavy with the many, many ruined blooms that I drop into it, and the required position is bent over at the waist leaning over and into the bush. This is why I wasn’t going to do it, but the thought of having roses that look this awful for weeks and weeks changed my mind and made me choose the pain. You see, the thrips larvae fall to the ground and then mature to fly and lay their eggs in the next crop of flower buds…and the next and the next for several generations through the end of April usually. So my perspective is to end it now by disposing of the flowers and the larvae in them before they can reproduce. Last year the next flush was fine.


Once the sepals have opened even just a little bit it’s obvious that thrips are in the bud because of the stained petals that show, and no amount of wishful thinking will save them at this stage. They have already been infested for a good while. The blooms will most likely ball and never open…

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and if perchance they do open, they are as ugly as sin and have to be deadheaded anyway. I figure this flush is lost anyway so why not get rid of it and start the rose moving toward rebloom.


This is ‘White Maman Cochet’, usually an exceptionally beautiful Tea Rose. You can see the buggers by parting the petals open and looking down at the base of the flower. The light-colored creepy-crawly things will be scurrying around, but you’ll have to look hard. They really are tiny.


I’m thinking ‘Chrysler Imperial’ has them by the looks of his crispy outer edges and unusual form. I didn’t think about it being from thrips so I didn’t break it open to check. The removed flowers and buds need to be disposed of in a way that the thrips can’t escape to re-invest. One word of careful wear you stick your nose this time of year.


Hermosa’ was beautifully unscathed. The buds of ‘Madame Abel Chatenay’ are still tightly closed, so I don’t know about her yet. She had them last year, so I’m assuming she will again.


Early in the season there’s a lot to be said for pink roses.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

On to the front garden

At a time when things in the garden are changing and also appearing out of the blue I am sad to say I did not get to walk through it today. Instead I stayed inside with DH while our DirecTV satellite installation was completed. Others are bookworms. I am a TV slug. I love movies, a few shows like The Closer, Fox News, football and small doses of other sports that DH likes. But mainly I hate the huge bills that Cox Cable was sending us every month, so the change was made, and I like it.

However, that leaves me with no memories or photos of today. The missed photos of ‘Polonaise’ yesterday were followed by more missed photos today. Is distressing too strong a word for my feelings? Well, maybe you understand. I do have some photos from Sunday, so I’ll just pretend today didn’t happen. Ooh, I don’t like the sound of that. Here’s Sunday.

This is the northeast corner of the circle which is situated in full southern sun. It’s almost a vanity shot with some gratuitous boasting thrown in. Leaves, leaves, and more leaves…and green leaves! I cherish spring for the leaves it brings, but I apologize if it’s a boring blob. To me it’s dense foliage. What could be better, I ask you? Or until now, rarer? Maturity brings all kinds of improvement, you know, and bushy rose bushes have been a wishful dream for me, so I can only hope leaves are here to stay. I don’t think you can see clearly the distinction between the bushes. I’ll tell you what and where and maybe with a zoom capability you can see where one ends and the next begins. Bottom right: ‘Clotilde Soupert’; bottom left: ‘Souvenir de Francois Gaulain’; above him: ‘Duquesa’; to the right: three bushes of ‘Hermosa’; top middle: ‘Pinkie, Climbing’; far left: another ‘Clotilde Soupert’; and top left: ‘Clotilde Soupert, Climbing’. These are my leafiest roses. Glorious, aren’t they?


Le Vesuve’ is on his way. He’s not quick out of the gate because he loves the heat, but above him yesterday was a veritable cloud of flower buds. I eagerly wait.


My volunteer larkspur forest. I’ve been assuming that they would all be purple because that’s the color they were last year. What a pleasing surprise when I saw that they are also lavender and pink. I do hope that the breeze blows their seeds absolutely everywhere. The pink one on the right sprouted from a vacant rose pot. I never even considered pulling it out – even to transplant.


This is ‘Lilian Austin’. She was a tiny thing after pruning. Her eagerness to get going is a nice surprise. She’s blooming on new growth that is only a few inches long.


Another ‘Lilian Austin’ bud.


The grande dame of my daylilies, ‘Sherry Lane Carr’. Some of you may not know that my affinity for this daylily is rooted in her name. You see it’s almost the same as mine. Change one little letter, and you get Sherry Jane Carr, the girl I used to be before marriage changed everything. Seeing this daylily’s name in print still catches at my breath and makes my heart flutter. It must be the thrill of fame – sort of, or at least as close as I’ll ever get. Anyway, this plant is a division of one that was buried about three feet back, under ‘Souvenir de la Malmaison’. I dug up that plant in February, I think, divided it in two, and they never missed a beat. This one has a budded scape. The other original plant that I did not divide but which is really quite huge has six scapes on it… the last time I looked anyway.


Souvenir de la Malmaison’ or 'Borderer' and friend. Looks too peachy to be SDLM, but I can't be sure.


Does anyone else buy packaged bulbs and bareroots with the best of intentions and then sort of forget them? I really need to stop buying them because so many don’t make it into the ground. This new sprout is a dahlia ‘Le Baron’, one of three planted about ten days ago. Hopefully, the other two will pop up and join this one.


The first Purple Coneflower blooms don’t look as shabby as first blooms usually do. They’re a welcome sight.


And more are coming.


Softee’ is underway. She’s a miniature that grows in a pot. By the way she’s almost thornless and quite healthy and pretty.


‘Le Vesuve’ again.


This is ‘Anda’, a small polyantha single. This flower is about two inches across, maybe a tad less, and the petals have a habit of rolling on one edge or the other for a rather unique look. Her color is really deep red which usually explodes in my camera as fuschia. I think she’s darker than this photo shows, but at least it’s red – on my monitor anyway. She gets some black spot but not terrible.


The ‘Queen of Beauty and Fragrance’ again, followed by the nightmare of every rosarian.


This is a balled flower of SDLM. It will never open, sealed shut by untimely moisture and/or thrips. This time I think it was moisture in the form of Saturday night’s downpour in the middle of a thunderboomer.


he-he. No, it’s not a very grainy photo of the garage wall. It’s a photo of the bird netting I “installed” so the two clematis vines would have something to hold onto – hopefully. I didn’t expect the mesh to be this small, only half inch. Hopefully, that will not be an impediment to their climbing. I also put some of the netting on ‘Maman Cochet, Climbing’ since her companion clematis ‘Duchess of Albany’ has had to lay on the ground for two years unable to grab hold of that Tea Rose’s thick canes.


This one is ‘Henryi’ (closer to the camera above).


And this one is ‘Westerplatte’. Hopefully, the snapdragons on both sides of them will keep their rootzones cooler.


This is clematis ‘Princess Diana’, already to the top of the four-foot obelisk.

So cottage-y. Hopefully, this ethereal sight distracts from the big hole on the left side of the garden…

…where ‘Maggie’ is just getting started.

Gardeners can’t have it all all the time. There’s always something not quite right – or very wrong. We hope no one else notices.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Spring continues to unfold

Serratipetala’ is a Found China Rose, discovered in France in 1912. Its flowers are so petite – an inch and a half across. The petals are serrated, and the blooms have a flat form that darken with age. What that means is that when I went back the next day, this flower was crimson with touches of pink. To me, it’s an incredibly interesting rose. Also incredible is the fact that it grows larger than both HMF and Vintage Gardens report. Mine is growing in a pot and not a large one, because I thought it would be a diminutive, three-feet tall rose bush. I’ve been thinking of putting ‘Serratipetala’ in the ground, but every place I consider may not be big enough. After all, if it grows to a 5x5 bush in a pot, what will it do with the blank check offered by good old terra firma? Another gardening unknown to wrestle with.


Seemingly bunches of daylilies are sporting flower buds. Oh, be still my heart. Some of them are newcomers, and I don’t even know what I’m getting excited about because I have forgotten who they are without my cheat-sheet. It’s simply hard for me to believe that spring is on the move.


Mrs. B R Cant’ is beautiful again. She’s not a typical delicate Tea Rose but a sturdy, robust one. Even her fragrance is strong. She has tough, pretty much disease-proof foliage, too. Beauty and brawn.


Souvenir de la Malmaison’ has many buds and some flowers, too. This cluster was rather breathtaking to me.


A couple of days ago ‘Polonaise’ was looking like this. This evening there were two gorgeous open blooms. I went running in the house but not for the camera. I wanted DH to see these red roses. With long face and mumbled protests he came out…and enjoyed himself and the garden and the swing and the lovely cool evening in the shade of the oak tree. Some things are worth the effort. And that’s my long excuse for not having a photo of Polonaise’s first blooms.


The two big fat buds one over the other in the lower half of this photo were gloriously open today. I would suggest that you use your imagination, but you can’t even come close.


Richard’s Rose’ is a tiny, little bug-eaten thing, but he has a couple of new shoots and is putting up a good fight. I think I see evidence of a squirrel attack. I also think I should put up a defense perimeter around the little guy.


Right next to ‘Richard’s Rose’ is the bare-root “Pink Hollyhock” from Walmart. The other one I planted didn’t come up. I hope this is ‘Summer Carnival’ since other cultivars don’t stand much chance in Florida. This one looks like the Summer Carnivals that I’ve grown – so far.


A bud of ‘Marchesa Boccella'. I guess my hard pruning didn’t hurt her, and since she’s looking fairly bushy, I guess maybe it worked out okay. You can see her whole self in her purple pot below.


Here’s a volunteer from last year’s seed project whose name I can not remember. I think I have more in the front garden. How fitting! SDLM and Polonaise now occupy a red, white and blue bed. Well, in the heat of summer SDLM will be off-white anyway.


Now she’s gorgeous pale ‘baby pink’.


This ‘Souvenir de la Malmaison’ is now six feet wide, fitting from edge to edge in this bed, but she’s only about three feet tall and hardly thorny at all.


I’m really pleased with this ‘remodeled’ bed. You are free to use as much imagination as you need to picture Richard’s Rose, the hollyhocks and coreopsis, and the daylilies and purple coneflowers – in a few years – filling in between ‘Louis Philippe’ on the left and ‘Arcadia Louisiana Tea’ on the right. Packed in like sardines, aren’t they?

Referring to my cheat-sheet, this one is ‘Seductor’. Won’t be long. I’m going to try to count buds this year on the daylilies. I’m not really as compulsive as that may sound, merely curious.


‘Maman Cochet’ has a rather imperfect bud, perhaps from thrips. They’re baaaacck !! Crap-ola!


Maman Cochet’ (on the left) is looking much fuller already now that her new canes in the middle are taller. These bushes (‘General Schablikine’ is on the right) are about five and half feet tall, and this portion of the bed is about ten feet wide.


Here’s a close-up of the young canes in the upper left quadrant of ‘Maman Cochet’, showing flower buds already. When these flowers are spent, these canes will sprout new shoots from about two inches below these buds at the abscission point, and the rose will get taller in this way and make more flowers again at the ends of all that new growth. By the way, Maman is French for mother/mama. Monsieur Cochet was the breeder of this rose.

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‘Maman Cochet’ is a huskier Tea Rose than ‘General Schablikine’ who has already had one basal break chewed off by an %^$## squirrel. These roses are three and a half years old, planted in September, 2008 and still quite juvenile in their maturity. The General definitely needs more basal breaks…and some barbed wire.


‘Maman Cochet’ is apparently an earlier bloomer than ‘General Schablikine’. Some Tea Roses definitely wait for hotter temps to start their blooming. Of course, YMMV.  he-he. Now that I know what that abbreviation means, it makes me chuckle. Your mileage may vary. Hmmm, garden mileage. It is rather variable, isn’t it? And I feel like some of us (moi?) have garden mileage envy. In reality, fast or slow our gardens should be accepted unconditionally and not judged against others. Gardens should be green…not gardeners.

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