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.