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.