Sunday, August 11, 2013

Settling In

With the move to the new church, Epworth United Methodist Church, and new home a couple of months under the belt, this past week and a half has given me the first real time to do much work in our new yard.  This also gives me a chance to update my blog which has been neglected this summer.  Yet before I show you the landscape, let me share one of my other hobbies with you, my 62 VW Karmann Ghia.  This picture shows the car beside our new home.  They look like they belong in the Italian country side.
It is hard to believe that when we started working on this car a little less than 10 years ago, it had been sitting in the pasture for years as a chicken coupe.  I just love this picture of the ghia.
Now to the work at hand.  We are a long way from putting in new roses.  That will get started in September.  For now I have been cleaning out some of the overgrowth in the yard.  This Friday we began chipping branches from the dozen 3-6" round trees that had grown up in fence lines and flowerbeds while also trimming up some of the bushes and lower limbs on the trees in front.  Thomas, my happy helper, is feeling triumphant in his work.  The two small trees behind him stayed keeping the total number of trees on the lot at a dozen while still bringing in some needed sunlight. 
After referencing the manual, we were ready to get busy chipping.
A chipper is a great way to get rid unwanted trimmings while also providing good matter for a compost pile.  You should really know that it can be a real workout.
After all was said and done, we ended up with a nice start to the compost pile which will provide a nice soil amendment for the flowerbeds in the spring.  When some lawn clippings and other yard waste is worked in as well, it should really start cooking.  For now it is about 8' x 8' and 2' tall.  Angie was a big help in this project, but she is unseen as she was the photographer. 
Now that the yard is looking better and the beds are shaping up, I can start figuring out what I will move and where roses will go.  This summer has been so very busy with the new church.  It has been great but I have missed the physical exertion and pleasure of being in the yard.  While exhausting, it is also refreshing.  I don't know who said it, but I have always been fond of the saying, "When the body is most in motion the mind is most at ease."  That being said, I think I'm ready for a nap on this Sunday afternoon with my body, mind and spirit each feeling at ease.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Mature Bushes

While I am as much a fan of new roses as the next person, I love to see big, mature, old rose bushes.  Mature roses offer so much that their younger siblings can not.  A young bush can not overwhelm you with thousands of blooms.  A young rose is more susceptible to draught lacking the developed root system of a mature bush.  And while we all love to see new basel breaks sending out strong new shoots of growth, it is the strong woody growth that can support the explosive displays of spring.
This old growth wood often looks very different from the green wood of new growth.  As this older wood continues to build rings of growth just like a tree, its outer skin breaks with the expansion and develops bark while looses its thorns and looks like what we often think of as a tree.  You can see this on my mother's mature plant of Buff Beauty.  Without support Buff Beauty becomes a broad spreading plant but with support it easily grows as a climber.  Pictured here is Buff Beauty after the arch it had grown on for over a decade had fallen and after it had lost almost half its growth from the collapse.
The canopy created by this mature bush of the Hybrid Musk, Buff Beauty is breathtaking to sit under when in full bloom.  If it were not for the strong, older, mature growth underneath it could never reach these heights.  New breaks of growth will develop at the top of such mature wood while the lower portions will seem rather bare even loosing its thorns.  Sitting here, under the filtered light and overwhelmed by its heavy fragrance one can become lost to the world.
This final shot serves as the backdrop for my blog.  I love its heavy wood and light flowers.  I thing we have done a disservice to would be rose growers when they have been told for years to trim their roses back in the spring.  Too often they trim them back and miss the real beauty these bushes can give.  One of the first pieces of advice I often give an aspiring rose grower is to stop trimming their roses and let them grow out to their nature size.  Too often we have tried to work against the nature of these beautiful roses to their detriment and our own. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Cut Back and Dig Up!

When I first started ordering roses, I would order them as bare-root plants that came in the early spring as plants that were cut back to about nine inches tall and a healthy root system on the other end.  As I prepared my roses to make this migrant journey, I thought of those boxes of roses I would eagerly open each spring imagining their coming blooms.  Now the roses I order come as much smaller plants in small containers of soil, but the roses I am preparing to move are going to follow the bare root images in my mind from years gone by.  I worked through the garden selecting the roses that will make the move and those that will stay to make a manageable garden for the new resident.

As I decided that a rose would move, I cut it back the week before it was to be dug up hoping this would give it some time to adjust to the idea.  I picked my day of spring break, got up early and I dug up thirty roses.  When I trimmed them, I had carefully gone through each plant deciding just how far back it was to be cut off.  I was trimming them back farther than I really like, but as I was digging them up I realized that I had not cut them back nearly enough to make their transportation easy.  The first roses I dug up were probably two feet tall above the ground.  Those first roses with their generous size were packed and loaded, but quickly I began making a second cut to about a foot tall as they were loaded up.
Notice the sucker being sent out from the roots.  This will expand the size of the plant when it emerges.
As I was planting them in my mother's garden, I saw just how clearly from one end of the row to the other they decreased in size.  For convenience I dug one long trench and placed them side by side far too close for my comfort and certainly their's if they were to stay long.  After years of hearing me say, "I would rather plant a two dollar bush in a ten dollar hole than a ten dollar bush in a two dollar hole," my mother mockingly asked me if that was a ten dollar hole as she brought me a glass of water to quench my thirst.  Knowing that I was borrowing her garden space, I politely smiled.  Certainly the soil qualified but it was not my best effort.

          The list of the roses that made the move:
Distant Drums
Prairie Star
Folksinger
Heritage
Jude The Obscure
St. Swithun
Tradescant
William Shakespeare 2000
Fair Bianca
Golden Celebration
Maggie
Jeri Jennings

Penelope
Oklahoma
Winsome
Lavender Crystal
Tattooed Lady
Popcorn
Twister
Red Cascade
Treasure Trail
Unconditional Love
Mel Hulse
Belinda's Dream
Siren's Keep
Rhapsody In Blue
Pam's Choice
DayDream 
Carlin's Rhythm
Moore's Striped Rugosa

          Small plants potted up and ready to move on day one.
Autumn Splendor
Abraham Darby
Linda Campbell
Vineyard Song
Lavender Lassie 

        To be Cut Back and Moved after the Spring Bloom
Climbing Rainbow's End
Red Moss Rambler

Only a rose nut would even consider this much work.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Visiting Home

In my last post I shared that in June we will be moving to serve a new church and community.  In the United Methodist Church, pastors (or parsons) live in parsonages provided by the church.  So last week we visited the new church and what will be our new home.  I want to thank fellow blogger and current resident, Elizabeth Johnson of Wind and Honey Creations for sending us this lovely picture of the home before we arrived.  Elizabeth and her husband Rev. Rockford Johnson, whom I will be following at Epworth United Methodist Church in Chickasha Oklahoma, graciously welcomed us in and gave us a tour of this 1919 construction parsonage.  I'm sure that over the coming year you will get to know much more about  this house.
The church has maintained the parsonage very well.  While I certainly wanted to learn about the home, my mind was also thinking about potential rose gardens.  Arriving early I drove by and shot this picture which shows the house, garage and so much space for roses.  Yet before I can do too much dreaming, there are many administrative tasks to wrap up, sermons to prepare, a home and office to pack up, and hardest of all many goodbyes to say.  Now is the time of living in between.


Saturday, March 9, 2013

Moving Day

Having served as a United Methodist Minister for the past 22 years, I am more than aware of one reality that Methodist are often known for; our pastors move.  United Methodists follow an "apostolic", meaning "sent", form of pastoral assignment.  That is, we are sent to serve a congregation by a "General Superintendent" of the church otherwise known as the Bishop.  Regions of the country are divided into conferences of which we are members, and we are assigned or appointed within the conference - Oklahoma in my case.  For the past four years I have served the United Methodist Churches in Prague and Arlington.  I have enjoyed our time together very much.  It hasn't always been easy but it has been four very good years and we have seen many accomplishments during this time.  So as you have probably already figured out from my lead in, I am being appointed to serve a new church this year.  This will take place in early June, which (for relevance to this blog) is a prime time in rose season.

Previous times when I have moved, I have left rose gardens behind and I will be leaving many roses this year.  However, I am going to try to take several roses with me this year.  My plan is to trim and transfer a large number of my roses to our new home with a couple of month stop in my mother's garden.  I started with my "Rev Recommends" but could not limit myself to only those roses.  I hope in the next week to finish my list of roses to transfer and to trim them in preparation for the first of two moves, one in the spring and one in the summer.  I am always happy to leave rose bushes for new residents, but I don't want my hobby to become their burden, or for them to whack them down and mow them over.

I have some duplications, which will allow for taking one and leaving one, and I have some year old plants which will transplant easily.  I also have some that will not be hard to leave behind although that number is small.  Here are the ones I am certain I will take with me.  Take a look at the list of Roses I Grow and let me know which one you would take, leave, or come back and get a cutting to start a new bush next year.  I know it seems crazy to think about moving this many roses, but it seems harder to think about not growing them or replacing them with new orders.

          Making the Move - 29 So Far - Or Not Quite Half
Distant Drums
Prairie Star
Folksinger
Abraham Darby
Heritage
Jude The Obscure
St. Swithun
Tradescant
William Shakespeare 2000
Jeri Jennings
Penelope
Oklahoma
Winsome
Autumn Splendor
Lavender Crystal
Tattooed Lady
Twister
Red Cascade
Climbing Rainbow's End
Treasure Trail
Unconditional Love
Belinda's Dream
Braveheart
Siren's Keep
Pam's Choice
DayDream
Carlin's Rhythm
Linda Campbell
Moore's Striped Rugosa

Friday, November 2, 2012

Rose Hip Tea

Over the years, I've come to appreciate so much more about the rose than just the beauty of its flowers.  In these days of late fall the rose hips add some nice color to the last few roses that are still in bloom.  One of the best hip producers I have is Gertrude Jekyll whose rose hips you see pictured here.
Last year I gathered many rose hips and tried planting their seeds.  Unfortunately I was not able to get any to grow.  This year I decided to give it another try and I have been collecting seeds again.  One night as I was cutting the hips open to collect the seeds, I tasted the sweetness of the hips on my fingers and knife.  Having known people who used to collect hips to make rose hip tea, Angie and I decided to give it a try.
A quick search of the Internet and we found a simple recipe to try.  Chop up 2 teaspoons of rose hips for each cup of tea you want, bring as many cups of water to a boil, pour the water over the hips and let steep for 15 minutes.  Finally pour the tea through a strainer and serve.  We also added a small amount of sugar during the steeping process.  Rose hips are said to have far more Vitamin C than Oranges or other citrus and are full of anti-oxidants.
Not knowing how fine to chop the hips we cut them to a medium size.  Not minced or too fine but enough that it still brought out the flavor.  I think it was about right but we were pretty much going blind.  This size was easily strained.
 The color of the tea was light and a bit cloudy.  Angie's father was visiting and the three of us approached this new experience with varying degrees of comfort.  I was most eager, Angie has been pulled into trying so many new things with me that by now she was ready, and Clyde was just going along.  So you want to know what it tastes like, right?  Well, you should give it a try.  My father in law thought it tasted like apples.  I thought there was also a flavor like pumpkin.  Angie was surprised that it was more flavorful than she expected.  Everyone finished their tea and in another half hour we were all ready to go to bed.  It was just late I don't think the tea had anything to do with that.
 If you decided to make some rose hip tea, only use hips from roses that have not had chemicals applied to them.  You just don't know what the chemicals will do to you.  One last thing, to any of my readers who have wondered where I have been, thanks for coming back.  The summer was so hot this year that I didn't have a lot of great pictures to offer and not enough energy to work hard figuring out something to write about.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

For Something Different

It has been so hot this summer that I haven't had many roses in bloom recently.  With that being the case I thought I might share something totally different about myself.  Below is a commercial I was in.  It was filmed at the church I was serving at the time.  It starts with a test screen.  If you hang on the video will start.  Enjoy!