Thursday, April 11, 2013

It begins

Pic heavy. That’s the story of my blogging life. Pics. Mouth-watering pics. For this rose gardener they were the entry-drug, the irresistible temptation, the baited trap that guaranteed my doom, er… addiction, er… joyous pastime. So naturally, I’m paying it forward. Someday you’ll thank me.

Who says you can't have an English cottage garden in Florida? These larkspurs reseed every spring. I've learned to thin them (yes, they're thinned) and stake them. Otherwise, they fall all over the place like the one on the right, but then it sends flowers straight up and looks lovely, so I let it be.
The beautiful 'Souvenir de la Malmaison' has returned in all her glory.
The Western Flower Thrips arrived right on schedule at the end of March. Last Sunday night I sprayed Saf-T-Side horticultural oil, and even though I screwed up the directions by half, it seems to have helped. SDLM's first blooms were a sickly grayish white and some were balling, but now she's her normal pink self. I think the yucky center in this pic is thrips damage.
Here's a bush shot of SDLM, showing lots of buds. Another thing I did Sunday was give every rose a dose of quick-acting nitrogen, namely Blood Meal. From discussions on the Antique Roses Forum I learned that roses take up the most nitrogen just as they are setting flower buds, so the nitrogen has to be there to be taken up, naturally. In my sandy garden nitrogen leaches out seemingly instantly, needing continual replenishing, and lots of yellow leaves with BS spots were evidence of the deficiency. (Note: these OGRs are resistant to black spot if they're strong and healthy, so the yellow BS leaves were a clue.) I think the blast of nitrogen is helping to produce a big flush. I will repeat the Blood Meal at the beginning of every flush from now on.
I guess I'm bragging with this shot. Bragging that the Creator of all gardens invented beautiful flowering plants that perpetuate themselves.
I hadn't been out all day due to pressing issues in the house (laundry, etc.), and when we got home after eating out, I saw this and let out a screech of glee! I ran for the camera, hoping to catch the waning light. This is daylily 'Pearl Harbor' and more larkspur.
I love Drift roses! This is 'Coral Drift' in a pot, big and buxom and green. 'Softee' is to the left, 'Borderer' at the top, and more larkspur.
Do you have a "difficult" spot? Try a Drift rose. This one is planted inches from the curb in road-bed - basically, limestone cement-like crap. I've amended it over the years, but it's still road-bed. This 'Coral Drift' doesn't seem to care a bit. She was transplanted here over the winter.
This is my second-year 'Maggie'. You are a keen observer if you think she doesn't look so hot. That was my view when I dismissed her six years ago with only a year under her belt, but I'm determined to let her mature this time, hoping she'll eventually be able to defend herself against the black spot that plagues the long-caned Bourbons here. Her big, smelly blooms and others' success with her demand patience.
Good golly, Miss Molly! Daylily 'Sherry Lane Carr' is going to put on a show!
'Madame Lombard' is on the left, and two 'Souvenir de la Malmaison' bushes look like one on the right. Notice the scattering of yellow leaves on SDLM. You look past them in a no-spray OGR garden in Florida and glory in all the beautiful green foliage. It takes a while to learn to quit fretting and let the rose be herself. 'Madame Lombard' on the other hand is still finding her self. At present she's pretty bare and gawky (light on the pretty except for her blooms). Just wait another few years. She'll be a big, beautiful bush - fingers crossed.
Can't resist sharing these.
A wider view.
And a taller view.
'Pearl Harbor' again. Such magnificent beauty deserves repeating. After all, it is a different angle.
'Le Vesuve' just getting started.
'Le Vesuve' is not like any other rose. She dances to her own exquisite beat.
And 'Borderer' loves to dance to several tunes at one time.
'Curly Pink' has finally stopped shrinking. Sometimes these babies require more patience and TLC than we think we are capable of. Never give up!
'Anda' is determined to blow out my camera lens. He is red as red can be and so sweetly single.
David Austin's 'Darcey Bussell' is a knock-'em-dead winner, growing big and blooming strong after only two months in the ground.
Unfortunately, you can't tell how huge this bud of 'Chrysler Imperial' is. Wow!
The ever changeable, ever grand 'Madame Lombard'. This flower is as tall as it is wide. So incredible.
Here's a higher view of the exquisiteness of 'Mme Lombard'.
And another bloom.
A just-opening flower of 'Madame Lombard' reveals her carmine outer petals.

Good shot, Sher! 'White Pet' and 'Lauren' in pots with their co-star, larkspur.
The diminutive perfection of 'Hermosa'
'Climbing Pinkie' shows a single, lovely flower in advance of the abundant clusters that will follow.
I'm convinced (even though I have not seen them all) that 'Duquesa', a Tea rose of fairly recent introduction, is the most leafy rose bush a Floridian can grow. She is bushy with a capitol B. And never any yellow leaves, I promise. Oh, wait... there's yellow leaf. But it has 14 million green ones!!
'Duquesa' again.
What is spring without armadillos?  They know where the earthworms are! Amending with manure compost makes my sandy soil black. Yummy, says the armadillo.
'Clotilde Soupert' seems willing to share her bounty with the armadillos, preparing for her massive flush, despite their disruptive robbery.
Thrips love Clotilde, but she seems to be opening bravely, thumbing her beautiful nose at their assault.
'Rosette Delizy' is suddenly getting taller, beginning to throw those vertical canes that will make her six feet tall.
The love of my life - 'Sherry Lane Carr' with 'Rosette Delizy' behind her
The beautiful 'Maggie'
'Maggie' blooms in bunches!
This dime-sized punch of pink is rapidly becoming a favorite, a found rose with no positive identification simply called 'Cracker Rose Pink'.
'Cracker Rose Pink' blooms in bunches, too. Can't wait!
'Souvenir de la Malmaison' will not be outdone by a little foundling!
Baby 'Darcey Bussell' is almost three feet across and two feet tall. I'm living in denial about how much room she will ultimately demand.
Mums! I can't figure these guys out. I buy and plant them in the fall thinking they'll brighten the winter barrenness, and then they do nothing but look dead until spring. I yanked all but three. Sheesh!
'Stephen's Big Purple' has been living in dead shade all winter, hopefully setting down lots of roots because the top growth has been nil. This is another one that shrank from his original size, but he held on until the sun could swing up and over the trees to his side of the house, the west side, rose purgatory, but I'm believing the PR on this rose that he's healthy enough to take it.
'Naga Belle' about to make her debut
Yay!! Louie is back! The handsome 'Louis Philippe' is THE bullet-proof rose for Florida yards. Are you clueless about roses and not blessed with a green thumb? Do you love the scent and taste of cherry candy? Then you need this rose as badly as I do.
'Richard's Rose'
'Richard's Rose' again
'Richard's Rose' has stood still, seemingly forgotten by time since being planted more than a year ago. Maybe he's making his move.
'Mrs B. R. Cant' is either traveling in disguise or fallen prey to thrips. She never looks like this.
Another of the late Dr. Bob Carr's gorgeous, Florida-friendly daylilies, 'Inherited Wealth'. Not too shabby for a first flower of the season.
David Austin's 'Jude the Obscure', growing for the time being in his four square feet of space until I can find a larger spot for him since I found out he can get to ten feet tall and who knows how wide. What the heck is a gardener to do?
Jude's bloom is a bit underwhelming. Hope he surprises me.
Talk about surprises, clematis 'Ville de Lyon' has been blooming since last month.
I just gave her some bird netting to climb on. Watch her go!
New in the garden, daylily 'Beverly Raeburn'. I definitely like her, and she fits right in in the "yellow bed".
Don't know why this bud of 'Gold Medal' decided to grow all bent over like this.
Next to the new addition, 'Gold Medal', is the Tea rose, 'Alexander Hill Gray', who didn't take kindly to being moved a mere two feet last November. I moved four roses last fall, and two reacted badly with a lot of cane dieback that continues still. A third was 'Borderer' who never skipped a beat, a truly no-fuss rose bush. Somewhere in between was the fourth, 'White Pet'. (Oh, yeah, then there were the two Drifts - I guess, I did a lot of moving last winter.) The three long canes of AHG have an explosion of growth and bloom at their ends but nothing in the middle of the canes. Another lesson that the garden is trying to teach me. And then there's the dozer tracks. Do I really have to learn to love armadillos?
I have only five yellow roses in my garden, and 'Alexander Hill Gray' would have been sorely missed had he not survived. And three peaches, Jude and the Coral Drifts.
'General Gallieni' is the epitome of slow-to-mature Teas roses - at least in my garden. He is exactly five years in the ground and has been through so many versions of himself that I have lost count. Low, spreading and non-growing for three years, he was a real act of faith on the part of the gardener to stick it out. Needless to say, I'm glad I did. See that upside-down 5-gallon Lowe's bucket underneath the General? Last week there was an armadillo hole there, heading into GG's root zone, so I "capped" the hole. It worked last year. I've seen no evidence of a back door, and last evening there was quite a nasty smell of death in the back garden. I live in hope that that's what it was. Then, of course, I found another hole! This time I ran the hose into it and ran into the house to find out if the gun was loaded. DH was pointing to the den, saying I just needed to pump it up. I said NO, the real gun! I was going to blast him if he came out, gasping for air. DH didn't approve of that (noise, you know) and proceeded to pump up the pellet gun "ten times"! Again, I saw no evidence of an escape, and unless I keep running water into the hole, it's empty in about five minutes, so how long can an armadillo hold his breath? At 2 o'clock this morning DH asked me if I wanted to hunt armadillos. Had to decline due to exhaustion.
General Gallieni's flowers are unique. One might even say abnormal or deformed. Sorry, General.
However, the flowers of 'General Gallieni' are also decidedly breathtaking.
Sometimes 'General Gallieni' defied the camera, making what appeared to the human eye to be stained glass nothing more than a glare-y blob when photographed. In fact, this may well be the first good photo I have taken of him. Yesterday's flower surprised me when it submitted beautifully to the camera. Maturity does amazing things for a Tea rose.
The yellow bed isn't entirely yellow. There's the still young and invisible, in-your-face-pink 'Vanity', destined to fill the area alongside the trellis and the about-to-bloom-baby, 'The Charlatan', just this side of the trellis, that will spread out along the fence, hopefully. Also, 'Moondance' is behind 'General Gallieni'. You can see clematis 'Venosa Violacea' inching up the arbor on the left, but you can't see 'Pat Austin' in the pot. Someday you will though!
'Reve d'Or' is responding beautifully to her pruning. She's technically "in the yellow bed" as it continues along the side of the house. What a happy accident. Way over in the bottom left corner of this pic you can see the red blooms of 'General Gallieni'. It took me a while to figure that out.

Happy gardening to everyone! And now you can run to the potty. Of course, by now you all should've learned... go first!