Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Christmas Rose

We live in a region that allows many late blooms in sheltered areas.  On the south side of our house is one of those locations.  It is here that we have a few hold on buds that never quite opened and seem a bit freeze dried and will stay on the bush for a while.    The two pictured are the red miniature Sorcerer and the pink/lavender mini Vinyard Song.

There are two traditions regarding the Christmas Rose.  One comes from a legend regarding a story of the little sister of the shepherds who left their flocks following the direction of the angels to the infant child Jesus.  Madelon, as the little sister was called, not wishing to be left behind, had followed her brothers to the lowly manger. There, concealed by the shadows, she watched the wonderful baby and loved him dearly. Yet her heart was heavy for she had no gift by which to express her love for him.

She was crying softly in the darkness; when one of the angels saw her. Suddenly Madelon found a small cluster of roses at her feet where her tears had fallen, which were white with pink edging.  She quickly gathered a handful of them and falling on her knees before the Christ child, presented her gift as a token of her love.

The second is more theological and speaks of Christ himself as the rose.  This is the view that I most identified with and is exemplified most clearly in the the 15th Century German hymn Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming.

     Lo, how a Rose e’er blooming from tender stem hath sprung!
     Of Jesse’s lineage coming, as those of old have sung.
     It came, a floweret bright, amid the cold of winter,
     When half spent was the night.

     Isaiah ’twas foretold it, the Rose I have in mind;
     With Mary we behold it, the virgin mother kind.
     To show God’s love aright, she bore to us a Savior,
     When half spent was the night.

     This Flower, whose fragrance tender with sweetness fills the air,
     Dispels with glorious splendor the darkness everywhere;
     True Man, yet very God, from sin and death now saves us,
      And share our every load.

I pray that you know more fully the love God hold for you this Christmas season and that it truely be a holy-day for you. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Deeper Look at Rose Rosette Disease

Back in May, I posted some pictures of some wild growth of my rose Tradescant that I called a Monster Rose. Through the help of others we identified that what was affecting my roses was Rose Rosette Disease or RRD.  RRD (Rose Rosette Disease) causes a form of growth that is a hyper frenzied growth that is sometimes referred to as Witches' Broom.  Since that time I have been on the look out for  RRD and found it this winter on the one rose that was at our home before we moved here.  It was growing in two spots on a plant of Blaze Improved.  Isn't Blaze Improved what people grew before Knock Out?
It is believed that RRD is transmitted from one affected plant to another through a wingless mite which chews on an RRD affected plant and then is blown by the wind to a plant that becomes affected when the mite chews on the second plant.  The most complete information of RRD is found at Ann Peck's site .  I encourage you to read her site to understand just how pervasive Rose Rosette Disease is becoming.  One interesting feature of the growth is that generally as a branch grows further out the growth becomes smaller.  On a RRD affected plant the growth seems to get larger and sends out more growth than can be sustained.  I have pulled off some of the leaves so you can see exactly what I am talking about.

From the Spring I had three affected plants: Tradescant, Buff Beauty, and Lavender Lassie.  I was not willing to give up on these plants and follow the advice given - to dig up and throw out the affected plants.   So I cut off all the affected areas in an attempt to save the plants.  Of the three I lost both Tradescant and Buff Beauty.  So far it looks like Lavender Lassie will be saved.  Below is a picture of the last part of Tradescant that was dug out and thrown away.  I continually cut the plant back to just find more growth the next time I went out to see the plant.
Through my experience this year, I have been on the look out and what I have seen alarms me.  I found affected roses among my mother's roses, in the Oklahoma City Will Roger's Rose Garden, and in the Tulsa Municipal Rose Garden.  I have seen it everywhere.  After my experience this past year, I have some suggestions for how you might deal with this when you find it on one of your plants. If the plant is widely affected - get rid of it.  If however, you find a small amount of RRD growth on the end of a cane - cut off the cane as far back as you can possible make yourself.  This is the best hope of saving the plant.  It is hard when you have plants that you have been waiting to get to full size but it is better than starting over with a small band.  Radical surgery sometimes is the only thing that will save a life.  One other suggestion,  when you find growth on one of your plants, as soon as you can take several cutting from unaffected portions of the plant and see if you can get a replacement plant started in case you can not save it.
I know this is not a cheery post, but I hope that you will find this information helpful should you see anything like this in your garden.  And from what I have seen, I think it is only a matter of time before we all begin to see RRD in our gardens.  The one available chemical that seems to kill the offending mite is Sevin.  Maybe you should add it to your list for Santa.

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Prague Rose Garden Club

Public Gardens can be wonderful additions to communities by providing beauty and serving as demonstration gardens featuring desirable plants or gardening ideas.  However, when they are not maintained they detract from the community and give a negative impression of particular plants.  The second of these options is what was happening to the the Prague Rose Garden Club.  I'm sure that the original members of the Prague Rose Garden Club could never have imagined that the garden would fall into such a state of neglect.  The great era of civic organizations and gardening clubs seems to be coming to an end.  Just look at the struggle of the American Rose Society to maintain its membership.  It only seems logical when people can learn more about roses in an afternoon of Internet surfing than they would gain in a year's participation the the ARS.  This is not meant to be a criticism of the ARS (I have been a member off and on several times over the past 20 years) just a description of our social reality.

My own involvement with the Prague Rose Garden began as an act of gorilla gardening.  We moved to Prague just two and a half years ago.  After the first year and after I got started on my own rose garden, I decided to start taking care of one of the two end gardens (this one actually did not have any roses growing in it and the other had one hybrid tea in the center). The garden consists of three beds: two 10 foot by 8 foot small plots on each end with a roughly 40 foot by 8 foot center section. After working on this small bed for a few months, I finally got fed up with the care of the center bed.  The city mows the park but since this was a garden with a concrete border which keeps the lawn mowers out, it did not get mowed.  It had gotten so bad that the grass and weeds were over two feet tall and you could hardly see the the six Knock Out, one Double Delight, one Europeana, and one lavender hybrid tea roses in the garden.  I brought my weed eater out to knock down the grass and weeds.  While I was pulling weeds directly around the roses a curious friend stopped and took the picture you see below.  You can also see a corner of the first bed I started on in the picture.
Since then, I have been spending an hour or two each week in the garden and have planted: 7 The Fairy, 3 Popcorn, 2 Graham Thomas, 2 Lavender Lassie, 1 DayDream, 1 St. Swithun, 1 Heritage, 1 Abraham Darby, 1 Twister, 2 Autumn Splendor, 1 Seattle Scentsation, 1 Reine des Viollette, 1 Precious Dream, and 1 Marti Gras.  Wow, that's twenty five rose bushes - more than I thought.  It doesn't seem like that many.  Partly because they are still very small and we did have some casualties from the summer draught and record heat.  A couple of The Fairy, 2 Gertrude Jekyll, one Vi's Violet, and a Tattooed Lady were lost this summer.
The black weed barrier that had previously been put down was removed by the High School FFA because (as so often is the case) it had grass and weeds growing both on top of and underneath it.  As I continue to add to the number of roses in the garden, I plan to install a soaker hose system for easier watering in the coming years.  While I hope that the efforts in the Prague Rose Garden will offer beauty to the park and community, I also hope that it will inspire a few more people to take up gardening with roses and maybe look beyond the most obvious selections. 
The roses I have added have either been own root bands that I have bought or they have been ones that I have started from cuttings.  This means that they are still very small but that since they are own root plants they will live longer once established.  In the Spring I hope to put together a workshop on rose propagation for anyone in the area who might like to attend.
This is the first bed I began working with.  The line of  small roses in the front are The Fairy.  As you can probably tell, two of them didn't make it through the summer.  On the back are Autumn Splendor, Twister, and Seattle Scentsation.  In the middle are two very small starts of St. Swithun and Abraham Darby. 
My long term hope is to get the garden strongly reestablished and then to see if we can get the Prague Rose Garden Club started again.  I know people don't join clubs like they used to.  If I'm successful then hopefully twenty years from now, someone else won't be trying to start up the garden and club again.  One other note, I often hear about rosarians who run out of space in their home gardens.  Why not expand your work into a public garden that is needing some help?  It might be at your local park or even at your church.  I think that there are probably many public spaces who could benefit from your expertise and time.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Looking for Some Winter Reading

As winter is closing in I am longing for some good rose books to read when it is too cold to be outside working in the garden. Knowing that I have some very well read friends, I would like to ask for your suggestions.  What are the best rose books you have read recently?  I don't have a large number of rose books (you are looking at it in the picture) so most anything would be new to me.  Thanks so much.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Guests

Do you have guests visiting for Thanksgiving?  My mom is staying with us this year instead of us visiting her.  She recently started the process of remodeling her kitchen with one stipulation for the contractors - have it finished before Thanksgiving.  You know what happened don't you?  Well, its almost finished, except for the oven which was delivered with no time to spare but happened to be electric instead of natural gas.  Oh well, it gives us the chance to have her with us and the kids home from college at our house.  It feels nice to have them here and my sister and her family coming this evening.
We recently had an unexpected guest greet us at the door when we came home one evening.  This snake must have been seeking a warmer place to settle for the evening and found what he thought was the perfect spot.
While small and not harmful, in fact I enjoy having him around in the garden, it was quite surprising to find him in the dark door frame of our house.  We hadn't expected the be out after dark so we didn't leave the porch light on.  Opening the storm door to unlock the other I couldn't figure out what was hanging beside my hand.  So I unlocked the door and turned on the lights.  Once I realized what was going on I grabbed the camera.
He had his body wedged inside the frame of the newly installed storm door (I really need to paint don't I?).  I think he was as surprised as we were.  We happily moved him along - off the porch and into the garden.

I hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving guests and find that even those that surprisingly stop by offer something to the day.

Now I can't leave you without a rose picture this is one from a few weeks ago.  It is Jeri Jennings showing the more intense coloring that often shows up for us with Fall's shorter days of sun.  I love this rose and its beautiful color.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Propogating Roses

      You may have thought that I had fallen off the blogosphere.  No, I just took a break and a little longer one than I had realized.  I've not really felt much like writing.  I noticed that the beginning of my break seemed to correspond to a couple funeral services I conducted for church members.  Even though they had lived very good and long lives, there is an energy used on such occassions that changes routines and rythmns.  Then once you are out of the habit it seems hard to get back into it.  So here I am, back to the blog a couple of months later.  I hope I didn't loose too many readers in the process. 
     I had decided to do this entry (before I flaked out) about some roses that I had propogated from cuttings and planned to plant once the heat of summer broke. They had been potted up and waiting along with my order of Carlin's Rhythm and Dragon's Blood. They have since been planted and are getting established before the winter comes. They were Belinda's Dream, Popcorn, Abraham Darby, Graham Thomas, and Flower Carpet Red. I planted some here at the house and some at the the Prague Rose Garden.

     That was then.  Today I took advantage of a 77 degree day to put 32 cuttings into a propagation bed I keep.  It doesn't work for everybody but I have had good success planting cuttings in the Fall in a simple bed.  I will take cuttings in the Fall, dip them in a rooting hormone, and put them into a recently turned over flower bed.  Over the winter some of them will root and be ready to transplant in the Spring.  After they have been transplanted, I will take Spring cuttings and restock the bed.  I can't say my percentages are fabulous, but if even a third of them take I will have 10 new plants.  It really takes very little work over the winter.  I just make sure the bed stays moist and does not dry out.  I will add some compost or mulch on top of what you see pictured here. 

     My cuttings for the Fall (as always) come from some very different roses:  Red Cascade, F.J. Grootendorst, Sir Thomas Lipton, The Fairy, Popcorn, Maggie, Robin Hood, Golden Celebration, Evelyn, & Tradescant (from the healthy part of my plant that is being taken over by Rose Rosette Disease).  I don't ever label my cuttings so Angie has a good laugh at me months later when I am guessing about what rose is what.  Some are obvious while others are more difficult and you can only be sure once they flower.  It keeps it interesting. 

     I didn't get all of last Spring's cuttings transplanted.  The bed still has two Lavender Lassie's, one Heritage and one Ballerina.  They all have locations picked out for next year but I just didn't get around to transplanting them this Fall.  Too much to do.  Next Spring they will go out to their new homes with the Fall cuttings, just a little bigger.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Harvesting Rose Seeds

With all the heat this Summer I haven't had too many good flower pictures to share.  One interesting note from the garden is that I have decided to try collecting a few rose hips this year.  With all the focus on rose flowers, it is easy to forget that roses actually produce a fruit filled with seeds.  Some people make a rose hip tea which I've never tried but maybe some day.  This year my interest is in collecting some seeds to sow in the Spring.  When I get into the Fall I will be building a cold frame for a few Winter cuttings and to sow the seeds I collect this year in the Spring.  If you have advice on cold frames I would love to hear it.   
Pictured above and below are hips from the moss rose Unconditional Love which has readily produces hips for me each year.  As the mossing matures it can make handling the hips a bit prickly, though they usually brush off easily.  None of the hips I'm collecting are the product of intentional crosses but instead are open pollinated and most likely being self pollinated (which should reveal some of the plants genetic potential).  It is also possible that bees, other insects, or even the wind could have carried pollen from one plant to another thus producing a cross without much chance of knowing the plant which contributed the pollen.
The seeds are easily collected from the rose hips by simply cutting them in half and shelling the seeds.  The number of seeds in a rose hip can vary quite a bit.  I have opened a large hip to find one seed or as many as six or seven.
So far this year I have collected open pollinated seeds from Unconditional Love, Tattooed Lady, Vineyard Song, Climbing Rainbow's End, Scentsational, Lavender Lassie, Graham Thomas, Heritage, and Gertrude Jekyll.  We will probably end up with others before the year is over.  While I hope to germinate seeds from each of these roses, I am trying to not have many expectations beyond successfully growing a few roses from seed.  If I can successfully get a few seedlings to mature I will feel like I have learned something new.  Anything beyond that in terms of quality or revealed genotype through a self-pollinated seedling will be a bonus.  Wish me luck.  

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Carlin's Rhythm and Dragon's Blood

As yesterday's delivery from Rogue Vally Roses arrived the temperature was reaching 110 degrees for the 4th time this year.  Not my most well thought out plan but I can easily get these small roses full of potential to survive until they are ready to be planted in September.
The flower in the above photo is what was waiting to surprise me upon my opening the package which had just traveled halfway across the country.  Carlin's Rhythm is one of Kim Rupert's creations.  Kim runs the rose blog Pushing the Rose Envelope and has been an encourager of my budding interesting in growing a few roses from seed this coming year.  I'll tell you more about that later.  Carlin's Rhythm is a lavender single floribunda or shrub rose and is very fragrant, at least the one flower I have enjoyed.  The breeding behind Carlin's Rhythm holds some interesting possibilities as it brings several species roses in through its parents Lilac Charm x Basye's Legacy.
I will just have to dream of the other rose's flowers for now.  It is Paul Barden's dramatically colored shrub rose Dragon's Blood which I have almost ordered several times before.  You can follow the link in the previous sentence to see a few pictures of the flowers but let me also tempt you by saying that its flowers can be a smoldering fire orange/red.  You can find out more about Dragon's Blood and Paul Barden through this link. 

For now they are potted up and in the widow sill waiting for the promise of Wednesday's projected high of 98, a cool 10 degrees cooler than today.  They will live in the shade until they are ready to make their next move.  I think today makes 44 days now of 100 degrees or higher this Summer.  When we hit 50 it will be the hottest Summer on record for Oklahoma.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Dragonfly Visitors

I was inspired by Cat at The Whimsical Gardener to try and capture some dragonfly photos.  Here is the first one I was able to capture.  Can't tell you anything about its species but it did give me a couple of different angles to get its best side.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Green Ice Cooling the Heat

It has been so hot I thought maybe a few pictures of Green Ice might help cool things off.  My small plant of Green Ice has just been covered with blooms.  As you can tell this Ralph Moore miniature gets it name from the green tint its old fashion form blooms take on as they mature.  The plant architecture is nicely spreading and is always a healthy bush in my garden.  It is nearly Wednesday so let me stop here and let it be a Nearly Wordless, Nearly Wednesday.

Monday, July 18, 2011

A New Hybrid Musk Rose - Jeri Jennings

Having enjoyed growing Hybrid Musk roses for some time, had success with several of Paul Barden's roses, and enjoyed Jeri Jennings comments on the GardenWeb Antique Rose forum I felt like I had to grow Jeri's namesake which was introduced in 2007 and is now growing in its second year.  Jeri has been a help to me and many, many other people as they have sought to learn about and grow antique and shrub roses.  This rose is a wonderful tribute to her sunny disposition and friendly greeting to those with even the most simple questions.  It opens with a cheerful yellow then fades to a warm buttery color.  Jeri Jennings' fragrance is a strong tea scent with both sweet and musk overtones.  Very pleasing.

Jeri Jennings' graceful habit is very typical of the Hybrid Musk class growing wider than tall but maybe just a bit smaller than many.  Its long pointed leaves have a refined elegance.  I think that in many ways Hybrid Musk roses represent a near perfect ideal of graceful repeat blooming shrub roses.  My own selfish desires would simply add size to the flowers which typically are about 2 inches in size.  I personally think that might be the image David Austin has had in mind working with the English Roses.

The Hybrid Musk group was created by Rev. Joseph Pemberton, an Anglican Priest, from 1912-1939.  He was assisted in his work by John and Ann Bentall, who continued the work after his passing.  There are a large number of roses in this class that it is hard to say who of the three was the actual breeder.  Record keeping was not at the top of their "To Do List", and maybe that type of credit was relatively unimportant to them.  In any case, the group draws upon a wide variety of lines while at the same time finding a unity that holds the class together.  To my eye, Jeri Jennings would have (and does) easily fit in with the early roses in the class. 

Maybe it is Rev. Pemberton's vocation as a pastor and avocation as a rosarian that draws me to the Hybrid Musk roses or maybe this gives me a deeper appreciation for these roses, but I find a special joy in these lovely, graceful, refined roses.  Jeri Jennings is a very welcome addition to the group.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Hot Days in the Garden

We just finished the hottest June in recorded history here in Oklahoma.  Today we hit 110 degrees and our 20th day of triple digit temps.  When it gets this hot there are few roses that can stand up to the heat.
This morning I took a few photos in the garden.  Here is Graham Thomas with a few roses fried by the sun and one that opened over night. Below is the same cluster of roses just eight hours later.

While many of my roses enter a summer semi-dormancy, usually this comes a month later than it has this year.  When you see how the Summer heat affects the flowers you understand why.  Still others seem to flourish in this heat.  Here are a few others that got caught in the sun today. 

 This is Braveheart and it actually holds up somewhat better than many other red roses.

Here is St. Swithun surviving the day.

This flower of Twister made it through unscathed.

The heat turned out to be too much for Tradescant.  I'm praying for rain and cooler days - the forecast has 107 for tomorrow but we will cool off to 101 on Tuesday. 

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Today we are treated to a fully opened blossom of Moore's Striped Rugosa.  This rose is the third striped rose in our current garden.  I have grown several others over the years.  Compared to Twister's precise petal formation and Scentimental's rounded and cupped blooms, Moore's Striped Rugosa's flowers are loose and carefree in form but no less beautiful.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Stripes for the 4th of July!

Striped roses were not created to celebrate the Fourth of July but there couldn't be a better time for these roses.  I currently grow three varieties Twister (three plants), Scentimential, and Moore's Striped Rugosa.  Here are a few pictures to celebrate the Fourth!
Twister is a wonderful "climbing miniature" rose.  It grows to a height of four feet and is more upright than spreading.  Ralph Moore called these "climbing," because he had a group of miniature roses which had miniature flowers and leaves but grew much taller.  So, as a marketing strategy, he called them "climbing."
Modern striped roses go back to Ralph Moore's work with the hybrid perpetual/bourbon,  Ferdinand Pichard, and can be found in every modern class of rose now.  Twister's flowers (above) are filled with petals and are very fragrant.  It also is one of the roses I can always find a flower on when I go out in the yard.  Twister's vigorous, upright growth is always healthy and this is one rose I will not go without growing in my garden.
This is Scentimental, a floribunda rose bred by Tom Carruth in 1997, with large loose flowers and a wonderful spicy fragrance.  I'm withholding judgement for now because I love its flowers and it blooms regularly, but it has a bit of a problem with blackspot.  It is also shorter than I expected, but I will give it some time to grow up.  If not then it may have a different use than I had been thinking.  
As you probably have noticed from the above pictures, part of the fun of striped roses is that from flower to flower they will move from one color being dominant to the other.  Scentimental's flowers are red and white striped, however, sometimes the white can be pink.
Here is my first bloom and photo of Moore's Striped Rugosa as it begins to open.  This was just this afternoon, July 2nd, wanting to make a statement before the Fourth.  For some reason I am really drawn to its crinkly rugosa foliage.  I have also noticed, putting this post together, that I find mostly white roses with red strips to be most attractive.  How could you not like this rose? 

Just one more picture of Twister because it is such a photogenic rose.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

2011's New Roses Update (2-3 months after planting)

My last post on St. Swithun received a few comments about how big it was in just its second season.  That got me thinking that I should update this year's new roses a couple of times over the growing season.  I will start you out with a flower because there aren't very many in this entry.  You may wonder why I use the tomato cages.  It is simple, we have two Siberian Huskies who would unintentionally crush them before they got a good start.  Last year I had to cut a couple of cages up in order to remove them because the rose had grown up so much that I couldn't remove the cage without damaging the rose.
This is Siren's Keep, a shrub rose from Paul Barden.  As you can see, the color is a bit faded by our long 100+ degree days.  Still the flower has held up better than Tradescant, its grandparent's flowers which burn in the extreme heat.  So many of the Austin roses can't stand up to our summer sun and heat, so this is a hopeful sign to me. 

This is Linda Campbell a last minute addition to my Spring orders after reading Professor Roush's blog entry about the Ralph Moore Hybrid Rugosa.  If he was that excited about it I had to give it a try.  She was added to my order of Moore's Striped Rugosa which was still a couple of weeks from being ready to ship.  She looks happy and has sent out two new canes. 

Here is Moore's Striped Rugosa.  I am enjoying the crinkly rugosa leaves which are new to my gardening.  I have enjoyed seeing these leaves on plants but have never grown any rugosas until this Spring.
This young plant is from a cutting of Dublin Bay I took last year from my mother's plant.  I have always had high hopes for Dublin Bay but her plant never really turned into what I thought it would.  Maybe this one will do better.

This sprawling young plant is DayDream.  It has such a spreading habit which is one of the reasons I think of it as a Hybrid Musk.  It has sent out the longest growth of this year's new roses.

Here is another picture of Siren's Keep.  I am looking forward to seeing this one in the Fall when the sunlight is not quite so intense. 

I'm calling this one Lena's Gift.  Lena is a member of the church and she saw this rose while checking out at K Mart and just had to buy one for me and one for her.  Like so many miniature roses set up for impulse buys, it bore no name and had three very young plants in a small pot.  I separated the three plants, planted one at home and the other two at the Prague Rose Garden.  It has small pink/magenta flowers with 10-15 petals.  If you know what this rose might be, please, do tell.

This is Winsome, also a pink/magenta miniature rose but with larger fuller flowers.  I grew Winsome 20 years ago and it was a tall vigorous plant and was always in bloom.  We moved and I didn't replace it until this spring.

Here is Jude the Obscure.  I have always been drawn to pictures of this rose but have not grown it until now.  It is really taking off and I think this time next year will have built up to a good size. 

Last is the English Rose Charles Rennie Mackintosh and maybe the one I am most looking forward to.  It has the reverse breeding of St. Swithun so I am curious to figure out what similarities and differences the two have with each other.

Look for an update on all of these roses in another three months.