Saturday, January 28, 2012

Overlooked Photos

I was looking through my file of rose pictures that didn't make the cut the first time around.  Usually they get overlooked because the photo was a wide view but the better image is a cropped one.  So for whatever reason they stayed in the file titled "extras".  Now that they have caught my eye I am sharing them with you.
Jeri Jennings, Hybrid Musk
Heritage, English Rose
Unconditional Love, Moss
Popcorn, Miniature Rose
Reine des Violettes, Hybrid Perpetual
Tattooed Lady, Miniature Rose

Friday, January 20, 2012

Separation Anxiety

You might remember an entry I made last year about how roses can sucker.  Suckering is when a rose sends out lateral growth underground that emerges away from the mother plant.  This growth will also send out new roots to support the plant.
Precious Dream is one of my roses that has sent out such growth.  I had been debating whether I wanted to separate this new growth from the mother plant to create a new bush and decided that I would do it this winter.  Precious Dream is in a sheltered area and in this mild winter its dormancy hasn't even caused it to loose its leaves.  To prepare the plant for this separation I have been watering it this past week to make sure it was well hydrated.
Next I dug up the lateral growth to make sure it in fact had developed roots and to track down where it connected to the mother plant.  I even found a new shoot coming from this same lateral growth.  The lateral was shallower than I had expected it to be. 
Then came the hard part, actually taking the shears and severing the plants from one another.  Not that it is physically hard, just the wondering if it is really ready to be on its own.  (Do I sound like a parent with two kids in college.)  This is made easier by knowing that dormancy and being well hydrated keeps the stress levels down on the plants and that now each will be able to recover more easily.  After separating the two plants I added some new soil on top of the uncovered lateral and roots, pulled the mulch back over, and then watered them again.  Now I will wait until March to move the new plant to its new location at the Prague Rose Garden. 
I also, much less delicately, separated a sucker on Reine de Violettes with a shovel placed very near the mother plant and then simple plunged the shovel all the way into the soil and withdrew the shovel without disturbing the soil.  I prepared this plant with some light pruning a week before and keeping it well watered.  It will also be moved to the park in March.  This photo was taken a week after I had separated the connection between the mother and child plants.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Soaker Hoses in the Park

Last summer's heat and drought took a real toll on many gardens in Oklahoma.  My roses at home did fine because I could easily water them on a regular basis.  The roses in the Prague Rose Garden at the park had a harder time.  Angie (my wife and best volunteer) and I walk in the park several time a week on the half mile trail, so we often would take a hose and sprinkler to water the roses as we walked.  We would stop and move the sprinkler every couple of laps.  This kept most of the roses alive; although, we did lose a few of them.  Instead of remembering to take the hose to the park, then carrying it there, moving it around while we walk, and taking it back home, I decided that we could do better this coming year if I were to put in soaker hoses to take advantage of the three water spigots that are conveniently located in the garden.  So I picked up a soaker hose from the hardware store and 5 gallon bucket of gardening tools and started installing the soaker hoses this weekend.  Once they are all installed we will be able to water the garden much more simply and effectively while we are on our walks. 
The soaker hose goes down easily by digging a trench a few inches of deep in the mulch for the hose to lay in.  You can find soaker hoses at Harbor Freight and here are some coupons for Harbor Freight.  Eventually, the hose should settle in right at the surface of the garden.  I only got one of the two small sections put in, and I can tell that it is going to take a lot more hose than I expected but this is a good start. 
Something to remember if you decide to work in a public garden - learn to let go.  Below is the growth of Abraham Darby that was broken off at ground level.  This happened when people were decorating the park for Christmas and someone stepped on the small band sized rose I planted there only a few months earlier.  When laying the hose in the garden, I had to dig up what was left of the rose to find out where to route the hose.  It looks like it will survive just fine but this could easily be very frustrating.  Instead of being upset, I am going to adopt my friend Delbert's philosophy. 

Years ago, Delbert was serving an inner city church that had an empty lot next to it.  He decided to plant a vegetable garden in the empty lot and planted a tall row of sunflowers on the back row.  Since poverty and hunger were issues in the community why shouldn't this land be used to grow food.  The garden grew up beautifully with the sunflowers standing as a beautiful symbol of hope in a despairing neighborhood.  People would tell Delbert, "You know they will steal everything in the garden."  Delbert would say, "No they won't."  "Oh yes they will," his detractor would answer.  Delbert would respond, "No, I won't let them."  Sure of their position they would point out, "You live miles away and when you are gone they will come in and steal the vegetables, watermelon, and anything else that grows in it." Delbert persisted saying, "It is impossible for them to steal anything from the garden.  I'm growing it for them so it is already theirs."  Delbert always helped me to be less tied to the things in my life and more connected to the people.
As you can see, one section down and miles of hose to go.  Next week I will finish the other small section at the other end of the garden and sometime latter I will tackle the much bigger center section.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Rose Foliage? I Must Be Mad!

I have been surprised with my growing interest in the leaves on the roses I grow.  Of course the first thing that draws us to roses are the beautiful flowers.  Then after some time of tending the plants these beautiful flowers grow on, I began to pay more attention to the plant's form and architecture.  Now I find myself looking deeper into the rose and noticing beauty and differences in the foliage of the roses I grow.  This fall I have found myself taking pictures of rose leaves.  They can change color and give a display in union with the trees.  And have you ever noticed the different textures these leaves can have.  Below are a few pictures of Moore's Striped Rugosa with its crinkly leaves in typical rugosa fashion.  
I currently only grow two hybrid rugosas (Moore's Striped Rugosa and Linda Campbell).  The more familiar I become with the class (which frankly very few are grown in Oklahoma) the more I am drawn to them.  Both show a true hybrid leaf that is somewhere between the more crinkled rugosas and the smooth leaves of the modern roses they have been crossed with.
Below is my Climbing Rainbow's End sporting some gorgeously colored fall foliage.  The smooth shiny leaves are just about as different from the rugosa leaves above as they could be.  Both offer nice color to the garden even after the flowers quit blooming.
The final picture shows some bright red leaves on the young growth of Lavender Lassie.  As new growth I think the sugar content must have been high and caused the richer color than normal.
If you find yourself uninterested in this post - don't worry.  It will always be the flower that draws us to roses.  However, if you find yourself more and more interested in things like plant structure, leaves, thorns, and who knows what else - don't worry.  You have just fallen hopelessly in love with the whole rose.