Friday, November 18, 2011

A Short Break

My life is becoming more and more of a whirlwind: I am going to Russia next week for two weeks. I will miss Thanksgiving with my family but hope I will be with them for Christmas.

'Benny Lopez'

I also hope I won't have any  more emergencies, unforeseen trips or anything but a nice quiet holiday time at home. I will miss all my blogging friends, and hope those of you that celebrate Thanksgiving will have a wonderful time.

Elie Beauvilain

Friday, November 11, 2011

Thinking of Winter

Our rainy season has finally arrived with lower temperatures and an overcast sky.

Mexican sage

 Now, remaining rose blooms take forever to open, leaves are falling from my fruit trees, and winter cleanup has begun.

Rosete Delizy

Even though it is a bit early, I've started pruning my roses already. I was afraid that if I waited till December I would not be able to finish by mid-February when some of my earliest blooming roses burst into spring growth.

Lady Hillingdon

I am looking forward to winter and a dramatic change from colorful exuberant growth to minimalist, abstract silhouettes of naked pruned canes.

Winter pruning roses is one of my favorite things to do in the garden, and hopefully I can find enough time to write about it here.

Nandina berries

Friday, November 4, 2011

New Beginnings

I always feel as if I were starting on a new adventure when a box full of new roses arrives at my door.

I know I will need a lot of patience with such young plants, but I can't help thinking about the gorgeous blooms I might, with luck, see in a few years.

Sir Henry Segrave, 1932, at the Heritage

I have become very interested in older hybrid teas and am trying to assemble a modest collection of the rarer varieties.

Lady Mary Fitzwilliam, before 1880, at the Heritage

There is very little information about these roses, so I have always considered them an exciting gamble.

Snowbird, 1936, at the Heritage

 I found very few to be total disasters (Nancy Lee is my worst purchase to date, with constant mildew and delicate blooms with lots of tissue thin petals that never open).

Nancy Lee, 1879, in my garden

Some of my best roses have turned out to be Pernetianas.

Mrs. Arthur Robert Wadell, 1909, at the Heritage

They are notorious for succumbing to blackspot, but at least those few that I grow are quite resistant to mildew and rust. Girona has been a healthy vigorous rose. Etoile de Few blackspotted a little in our cool spring but has retained most of its glossy healthy foliage with no rust and just a bit of late season mildew. Mine is a two year old plant now and has produced consistently good blooms, a terracota orange in spring and a coral pinky orange in the fall.

Etoile de Feu, 1921, in my garden

I am also very excited about "Lykke Dazla", a mystery pernetiana. My plant is very young but bushy and well foliated so far, without any disease.

"Lykke Dazla", unknown, in my garden

My most recent shipment of 8 arrived last week.

My 8 debutantes

I expect to keep most or all of them in large pots. Some older own root hybrid teas are not super vigorous and in my yard at least benefit from being in loose organic potting mix as opposed to heavy rocky clay in the ground. I can't wait to see their first blooms next spring.