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!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Distant Drums Brings Back Memories

For years I have grown a wide variety of modern roses.  While this is true, I have never grown any of Dr. Griffith Buck's roses.  Knowing that ProfessorRoush has had good success with them and feeling like I would like to try something new, this spring I added four roses bred by Dr. Griffith Buck.  As a professor at Iowa State, Dr. Buck developed shrub roses with the aim of increasing disease resistance and winter hardiness through the research foundation of the university.  Of the four Buck roses I added this year, Distant Drums is a rose that has been on my interest list for many years. 
Distant Drums is an often discussed roses because of the unique color of its roses.  Maybe I should have said colors because I have seen it referred to as mauve, tan, pink, orange, and yellowish.  Maybe "A Symphony of Color," is the best description I have seen.  I was hoping for more of the mauve coloring but with the summer sun, I have yet to see it.  Instead, the colors have been a rich mixture of pink and buff on flowers of twenty petals.  I think that the shorter days of fall should give me a few flowers with mauve in them.
While not as tall as the other Buck Roses, Distant Drums is still growing nicely. It is roughly two feet tall and is very free flowering.  With the English Rose, The Yeoman as a parent, Distant Drums inherits the unique fragrance of myrrh.  Its flowers are holding up better to the 100+ degree heat than I had expected.  For some reason, I worried about how it would do in the heat, but so far it is just fine.  Below you get an idea of how its softer color can turn out.  So far I am very happy with Distant Drums and I cannot speak its name without the fond memories of hearing the drums of the Pow Wows late into the evenings when we used to live in Pawnee.  Even now I find myself smiling as I remember tucking Anna and Thomas into bed as the drums carried through the summer air and lulled us all to sleep.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Red Moss Rambler: The Giant in the Neighborhood

Occasionally, when ordering roses, you will be sent something you didn't order.  Sometimes a rose is mislabeled but that is not what happened to me.  This spring when my order from Rogue Valley Roses arrived it had an extra rose in the package.  I was surprised to find a very small plant labeled Red Moss Rambler.  I had ordered another red moss rose, Mel Hulse, and I guess in the process of ordering it they heard me ordering both.  Rogue Valley Roses were very understanding and refunded the cost of the rose and after discussing how I would ship it back to them, Janet Inada asked me if, "I might not keep and grow it instead?"  I hadn't planned on it but I said, "Sure, its a rose.  I'll grow it."  Red Moss Rambler is now the one and only non repeat blooming rose I grow.  As you can see from the photo below Red Moss Rambler is certainly liking its new home. 
The plant you see above arrived here just four months ago (the beginning of April) as the small rooted band you see below.  It is hard to believe that such a quick transformation is possible but here it is.  Without having to put energy in to growing flowers Red Moss Rambler has put its energy into sending out new canes of up to eight feet in length.  I have seen this rose listed as growing twenty feet tall.  It does not have a wall or tree that tall so I will be interested in seeing how it spreads out in coming years. 
Its home is in a new bed filled primarily with English and Buck Roses.  It may end up being a little out of place but what place do you give such a rose?  It should have plenty of space to spread out and it is clear that Red Moss Rambler is going to out growing its neighbors by a long shot. 
Red Moss Rambler is another of Ralph Moore's creative roses which he released in 1990.  It also shares the same seed parent as his ground cover rose Red Cascade.  It shares the same small red flowers but with a light mossing on the outside of the bud and an obviously more upright and vigorous growth habit.  Before it began this amazing growth, I was treated to a half dozen blooms.  While we are far from the end of our growing season, I can hardly wait to see it blooming next year.
In our backyard I put tomato cages around all new roses to protect them from accidentally getting knocked down or broken by our dogs.  Yet as I looked at how Red Moss Rambler is growing and was being held a bit uptight by the cage, I decided that today was the day to take it off and let it spread out more naturally.  It looks a lot more comfortable now.  I can only imagine what it will look like after four years instead of four months.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Red Cascade: A Rose of Another Shape

There were several roses I took cuttings from last Fall and put them in my cutting bed.  Having a growing success at getting cuttings to start, I took four small cuttings from Red Cascade hoping to get one or two to start new plants.  Red Cascade has helped me to increase my batting average because all four cuttings took.  On Mother's Day I took the two strongest ones to my mother's house and planted them in a planter around her gas light in front of her house.  Later I potted up the next one while the smallest of them I moved to this slightly raised bed in our back yard. 
Red Cascade is a miniature rose bred by Ralph Moore but miniature only applies to the size of its petals and leaves.  The bush actually grows to be quite big, or should I say quite wide.  It is described as growing a foot tall and ten feet wide - the rose equivalent of an inch deep and a mile wide.  This spreading nature makes it very useful as a ground cover, something most people would never think of in a rose.  As such it stands out as another remarkable example of Ralph Moore's creativity.  It was through the use of Rosa Wichurana on both sides of the family tree that this trait was brought to bear in Red Cascade.  As its name indicates, Red Cascade is also another great rose to use in a raised bed where its growth can be allowed to spill over and down the side of the bed.  While mine is still only a few months old, it has already reached the edge on one side of its new home.
The small flowers are also nice, being somewhat old fashion in shape and opening flat. I have been impressed with its vigor, both in growing new roots and its ability to spread quickly. I suspect that both are related, and I wonder if in a couple of years I will wish that I had given it more space than I did.  We will worry about that later.  As for now I am just enjoying its spreading habit. 

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Prague Rose Garden Club Update

Despite the intense heat of the past week, the roses in the Prague Rose Garden have been growing quite nicely.  The seated arch has been the focal point of the garden but there were no roses growing up the arch.  Last spring I planted a Lavender Lassie on each side and I think by summer's end they will grow to meet at the top of the arch.  They are flanked on either side by some form of Knock Out
The bed below is where I started my work in the Prague Rose Garden.  This bed sat idle with grass over two feet tall.  I thought, "With no roses and the city crew unable to get their John Deer equipment into it, surely no one will be offended if I clean it out and put a few roses in."  Being closest to the road the three tall minis in back and the row of The Fairy in front add some nice color to passers by.  Eventually the two English Roses I planted last fall in the center (Heritage and St. Swithun) will add some heighth and fill out the display.  Hopefully it might even attract a few people to stop and, well, smell the roses. 
Last year I turned some attention to the other end of the garden where a lone purple hybrid tea that is very winter tender was making a home.  I had less of a plan on this one and lots of cuttings and suckers that had taken, so I began to fill it in.  Up front you have two plants of Popcorn on either side of the water hydrant.  On each of the corners are yellow roses: in the back are two of the English Rose Graham Thomas and in front are the miniflora Autumn Splendor and an unknown yellow florabunda.  I took the cutting sometime ago but didn't write down what it was from and forgot.  I'll figure it out in time to label it when I get around to putting markers of each of them.  When I do this, I was thinking that I would put the variety, class and year.  What do you think?  Does it need more information or does more mean people read less?  Flanking the hybrid tea are Reine des Violettes and Precious Dream and behind is DayDream.
I took a step back so you can get a sense of the size of the garden.  It's not so large as to make the upkeep too difficult yet large enough to make a statement.  I think its elongated design, running diagonally across the corner of the park, works nicely for the maximum display.
I would like to mention that the Prague Rose Garden wouldn't be here if it weren't for two very special people - Milo & Norma Foreman.  Norma was the first president of the Prague Rose Garden Club.  She tells me that it was really Milo who put the garden in and took care of the roses.  Milo is now in his 90's and I get the priviledge of spending Sunday mornings with them, as Norma is the pianist at the Prague United Methodist Church which I also have the joy of serving.  One last thing, Milo did a fabulous job making sure that the garden had a very rich and friable soil.  The ground is incredibly easy to work.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Why Can't I Grow Roses?

       Every week someone will tell me, "I just can't grow roses", or they will ask me, "Why can't I grow roses, Rev?"  Almost always the answer comes down to one or more of the following issues.  When you follow these simple rules, growing roses is easy.
Select the Right Roses
       For years people have been trying to grow the long stem hybrid tea roses they get at the florist, but these are the very worst type of rose for the casual gardener to grow.  The hybrid tea became so popular that some people can hardly recognize an old fashion type of rose as a rose.  In response to the trouble they have had with hybrid teas, they have either given up on growing roses, or they have chosen the ever popular Knock Out series of roses.  Knock Outs are almost bullet proof in terms of disease and toughness, but they leave much to be desired in my mind.  First, they are not pretty and, second they have no fragrance.  There are just so many better options than, "All or Knock Out."  Knock Out did make the list Texas A&M has produced of disease and drought resistant roses which they call Earth-Kind Roses.  I think this list is a great place to start when looking to be successful growing roses.  I have also designated some roses I grow as Rev Recommends.  These are roses that I have found to be pretty easy to grow and have something special to offer to your garden.  You will find these roses at the nurseries that I have listed below and to the right under Favorite Rose Resources
Grow on the Right Roots
       For roses that will be long lived and winter hardy you need to grow roses grown on their own roots.  This (and the rule above) will rule out almost every rose you can buy at your local nursery.  For ease of production the large rose growers in this country graft all their roses on to the rootstock of another variety.  When planted, the rose on top blooms while the rose on bottom grows the roots for the rose on top.  Then, when a cold winter kills the rose above ground, only the root stock is left, and it produces an undesirable flower.  Roses grown on their own roots are roses that have been taken from a cutting and allowed to grow its own roots.  These plants come smaller than their Frankenstein grafted cousins, but in a few years they will surpass the others in production.  Also, when you order from the companies I have listed you can call them if you are concerned about ordering online and they will usually get you your roses in one or two weeks.  That really isn't very long when you should really be out in the garden getting ready for your new rose.
Grow in a Rich Soil
       One of the best pieces of advice I have followed when growing roses came from an old adage, "I would rather plant a two dollar bush in a ten dollar hole, than than a ten dollar bush in a two dollar hole."  Add to that another adage, "If you feed the soil the soil will feed you."  This means when you plant your roses, dig your hole until you think it is far too big and add in compost and other soil amendments to create a rich growing environment.  I often add a cup alfalfa pellets and a cup of dry dog food along with the compost from my compost pile.  Saturday we had a work day at the church and I was helping my wife, Angie, plants several rose at the church.  Once I had dug the first hole someone said, "I thought we were having a work day, not a funeral."  To me, that was the perfect compliment that I had dug a big enough hole.
Selecting the Right Amount of Sun
       Roses need sunlight to thrive.  Most roses need at least six hours of full sun and most will be better with more.  Consider this when selecting the location for your roses.  If you are in an area that regularly gets to 100 degrees, also think about if this is morning light or afternoon light.  In places like Oklahoma (where I live) it is often advantageous to allow for late afternoon shade from the most intense heat of the summer sun. 
An Inch of Water Each Week
       To successfully grow roses you need to make sure they have an inch of water each week.  This is particularly true of the growing season but roses, like all plants, need steady water even during the winter.  Rain is always better than a hose or sprinkler, but if nature does not help out you need to.  A true lady in one of my early churches told me, "A rose is like a lady, she likes a stiff drink, but doesn't like to get her feet wet."  Keep the soil moist but not soggy. 
       Most of this list involves early work before you put your roses in the garden.  If you do the early prep work, you to can grow beautiful roses.  If you take short cuts, don't be surprised if you continue to find it difficult to grow roses.

Monday, April 30, 2012

The Fence Line

This is the last post on our tour of the roses and they follow the fence line along the north end of the property.  The planting is not at all creative but together these roses make a very nice display and add some privacy to the backyard.  The fence makes a good support for the climbers and lax growers in the bunch.  I am beginning with my unabashed advocacy for Twister.  I think Twister is overlooked and under grown. As it begins its third year Twister has grown as tall as or taller than the four foot tall chain link fence.  This Ralph Moore creation is classified as a climbing miniature and it certainly fits this category, but it also grows well as a stand alone shrub where its growth spreads nicely.  Its flowers are also very full old fashion formed, very fragrant, and open flat to 2 1/2" wide.   Once they start blooming in the spring, there will not be a day until November that I cannot go out and take a couple of flowers for a vase.
Planted on either side of Twister are two larger striped roses, Scentimental and Moore's Striped Rugosa.  I really like to plant Twister in groupings of three as seen here.  This is the second time I've done this the first was in 1999 when it was first introduced. 
This row of roses is held down in the middle by the older roses and has expanded each direction with new additions each year.  From the top is the newest and just off camera is William Shakespeare 2000, Carlin's Rhythm, Abraham Darby, Climbing Rainbow's End, Ballerina, Linda Campbell, St. Swithun, Scentimental, Twister, Moore's Striped Rugosa, Heritage, Dublin Bay, Dragon's Blood, Belinda's Dream, and Flower Carpet Red.  This was not my most thought out arrangement but I like it.
This is the start of Cl. Rainbow's End's second season which began as a cutting from my mother's plant. 
Below we have two of Moore's rugosa hybrids flowing off the edge of the picture (Linda Campbell left and Moore's Striped Rugosa right).  Linda Campbell is quickly joining my list of favorite roses.  Two of my other favorites, St. Swithun and Twister, are also pictured here.
While still a tiny plant, Carlin's Rhythm is beginning its first full season by producing huge (4-5") single and very fragrant blossoms.  Kim Rupert says that the blooms never get this big in California where he created it, but it has never been smaller than 4" here in Oklahoma.  I may be looking forward to what this rose does this year more than any other rose.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Welcoming Roses

I think miniature roses serve as a warm welcome to any home.  I might think this because my mother had and still has a nice row of miniature roses that greet you as you come in the front door.  Most of her roses were planted in the early 70's and were always there in my memories.  Ours do well despite being on the west side of the house and exposed to the greatest heat of the summer sun, but hey, that's where the front door is.  The minis are Autumn Splendor, Tattooed Lady, Sorcerer, and Vi's Violet.  The bed also includes three English Roses: Heritage, Mary Rose, and St. Swithun.
The entry was so sad when we moved here.  We moved in June of 2009 and I put the bed in and had it planted by July 4th that summer.  It didn't look too much better on that day of celebration but it was full of potential.  I over planted it and have since moved two roses out, Gertrude Jekyll moved to the back and Seattle Scentsation moved to the park.  Both are much happier in their new locations. 
This year's new bed pulls together what had been a grouping of day lillies, peonies, and what my Dad called Naked Ladies with a couple of Easter Lillies left over at the church with four new roses.  The two roses on the back side of the fence are Pam's Choice on the left and Cinderella on the right.  Cinderella is a start from one of my mother's miniature roses at her house.  It was planted there when my brother was born in 1970. 
From the front side are Queen Bee and Penelope.  This bed gets several hours of afternoon shade, ideal for our hot summer afternoons.  In the back yard you can see in the left corner of the picture what I think is Blaze Improved, one of three roses that were here when we moved. 
Jack joins me in looking across the backyard to see Blaze Improved, Gertrude Jekyll, and a group of blackberries growing on the back fence line.  The retaining wall around the back porch was added last year to keep water out of the storm cellar and what started as small fire pit has led to a growing expansion of the back porch.
Some of the men in the church built this new shed for the parsonage and Gertrude Jekyll, Unconditional Love, and Snow White decorate this side while The Fairy (not seen) is on the other side.
Since these are not the most beautiful pictures, let me share one close up bloom of Pam's Choice.  I'm really looking forward to watching this rose mature.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Surrounded by Roses

Last week I took a few steps back to show you the development of our rose garden.  From that southeast corner of the house in the backyard we're going to work our way around to the front this week and then work our way around the rest of the house finishing full circle in a couple of weeks.  This section south of our house is an area about twenty four feet by forty feet and as you walk through you have roses all around you.  Here Graham Thomas is in full bloom, reaching up at the beginning of its third year.
Reine des Viollette resides of the other side of this area between Ebb Tide and Lavender Lassie.  You can see Ebb Tide's dark blossoms on the left.  Reine des Viollette is always good for a great spring showing with just a few flowers coming off and on through the summer.  I had decided several years ago that while there are many wonderful once blooming roses, I was going to focus on growing repeat flowering roses.  RDV fit least into this plan until this spring.  With my order from Rogue Valley Roses there was a rose sent that I had not ordered, Ralph Moore's Red Moss Rambler.  The good people at Rogue Valley Roses refunded the cost of the rose and asked if I would planted it if I kept it.  I said, "It's a rose - sure I will."  While not pictured and in a different area I needed to introduce him sometime.
Taken before the roses were blooming much and after a nice rain you see this area from the front yard.  On the right just in front of Jeri Jennings is my cuttings bed and on the left behind the Iris are Vineyard Song and Precious Dream.
You met our Italian Greyhound, Jack last week.  With him today is our Siberian Husky, Dusty.  She is twelve and beginning to slow down some.  In her younger days she might trample a rose or dig one up but these days she likes to lay underneath them if she can find a spot to get comfortable. 
Here is Vineyard Song and Precious Dream on the south side of the house moving to the front.  They are shaded from the worst heat of the day by the Oak tree to the west.  Remember none of these beds or plants were here when we moved in June of 2009. This section was all put in and planted in the spring of 2010.
I really like Vineyard Song's graceful shape and beautiful flowers.  Vineyard Song is classified as a Shrub but to me it fits in very nicely with the Polyantha Roses.  Its canes arch out from its center making a plant that is five or six feet wide and two to three feet tall. 
I passed over Abraham Darby which shares the fence with Graham Thomas, Pat Austin, Jeri Jennings and others but I took this really nice picture of Abe and just had to stick it in here.  After putting the Iris in last year they will need to be thinned out and spread around this year.
Just a week later this section in the backyard is really beginning to show its colors.

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Big Picture

I have grown roses for over twenty years but for most of those years, I have simply grown roses.  I would acquire one here and one there and plant them in the next available spot.  When we moved to Prague three years ago I decided I would grow a rose garden.  That may sound like a subtle difference but it is one that is noticeable when comparing my current garden to places I have lived before.  
All of these roses were planted in the past two years (either last spring or the spring before that) with the oldest just starting their third year.  That reminds me of a conversation I had with a Korean friend about how old we are.  We were born just days apart but he always said we were a year older than I counted.  The difference came from my thinking that you are a year old a year after you are born and he said you enter year one when you are born.  To him you are one when you are born and two once your first year is over.  This year will be the year that we begin to see the garden mature I think.  For the most part the roses are just about to start blooming.  Some of course, have been going at it for a little while.  In the picture below you will see the red-fuchsia blooms of Siren's Keep on the right and the very lavender color or Lavender Crystal just left of the gate.
The tall bush at the corner of the house is the Hybrid Musk Lavender Lassie.  This bush was significantly affected by Rose Rosette Disease/Virus at the beginning of last Spring.  I cut each of the effected canes all the way off at the very base of the plant.  I thought that I had managed to save the plant because I had no other symptoms on the bush last year.  However, this spring I had a new basal breaking cane that showed all the typical signs of infection.  It is hard to believe because the rest of the plant seems totally uneffected.  I'm going to let it go through its spring blossoming and then I expect to take it out.  I do have a year old replacement plant growing from a cutting of this bush.  I hate to take it out but I don't think it is possible to save it at this point.
The roses in this area of the garden cover the range from red (Braveheart) to purple (Rhapsody in Blue) to white and cream (Popcorn and Jude the Obscure).  Popcorn is in the foreground of the photo below I have also moved some purple Iris into this area that used to live in the back of our yard. 
Just beyond the fence are Treasure Trail, Abraham Darby, Pat Austin, Graham Thomas (the tall one in the middle), Golden Buddha, and Jeri Jennings.  Beyond Jeri Jennings is my cuttings bed.  The section of the garden obviously moves between the yellow and orange themes with some pink and salmon mixed in.  This area wouldn't even grow weeds before we moved here.  It was just bare ground.  It has come so far when we moved here. 
Siren's Keep is just starting its second year.  It is proving to be a prolific and early bloomer.  Its flowers have about 40 large petals loosely filling 4-5" blossoms.  The color is somewhere between red-fuchsia-pink and its blooms are a real eye catcher.  Behind Siren's Keep is DayDream. Planted at the same time one has grown more upward while the other is more spreading while Lavender Lassie overlooks them both.
I wanted to get a picture of Rhapsody in Blue with the purple Iris blooming just beside it.  I think the colors go pretty well together.  Just to the left is Jude the Obscure and it is still a long way from blooming.  It felt like Jude's color would provide a nice complementary color.  And just in front of both is Jack, our Italian Greyhound.  Jack just can't resist getting in on the action.  Unless it's cold or wet, he is my constant companion when working in the garden.   
The longer I work in the garden, the more I find myself taking a step back and seeing the big picture.  This takes you through a good section of half of my roses.  I will take you through the other sections in the next two posts.