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Archive for the ‘Clair Matin Rose’ Category

1-Web-Lead-Photo-Clair-MatiWhile it’s been over a month since spring has officially begun, here in Southern New England it has finally warmed up enough to actually feel like spring. The daffodils and azaleas are blooming as well as the forsythia which means we can get out into our gardens and prune our roses.

Blooming forsythia in April is a sure signal that dormancy is over and the chance of any additional hard frosts unlikely. After the annual spring clean-ups are finished, it’s time for spring pruning. Mike looks forward each season to this early spring ritual, especially the yearly pruning of the climbing roses.

Generally, climbers possess amazing longevity often outliving those who planted them. All of our climbers are big, mature bushes that have been in the garden for 19 years or longer and, while bush roses come and go, the climbers are treated as part of the family, each with its own quirks and idiosyncrasies. Pruning them is something Mike really enjoys and he will spend an entire afternoon on just one.

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Clair Matin Before Pruning

He started with Clair Matin. He prunes in stages, starting with the removal of dead or damaged wood followed by re-tying the canes along the trellis, then making minor adjustments as the rose starts to send out new growth. Our Clair Matin, at 10 feet by 10 feet, has already leafed out nicely and Mike will decide if more pruning is necessary.

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Clair Matin Leafed Out After Pruning

This year our Brownell climbers, especially Rhode Island Red, a very robust everbloomimg pillar, which we have had for 22 years, needed major surgery.

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Rhode Island Red Before Pruning

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Mike had to saw out most of the long, thick, older canes which had grown gnarly and had lost their vigor. This extreme removal, while seemingly radical, will stimulate new growth at the base of the plant that otherwise would remain dormant.

 

I took some “before pruning” and “after pruning” photos of Rhode Island Red and you can see where the canes were pruned out. Pruning sometimes seems harsh but it is the only way to encourage fresh new growth, particularly with climbers.

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Rhode Island Red After Pruning

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The McCartney Rose

The McCartney Rose

A few days ago we returned from our trip to Seattle and Vancouver where we visited some fantastic gardens (posts about them to come later). The climate in the Pacific Northwest is milder than ours here in southern New England and those gardens, while not at peak, displayed more color than we had when we left home in late May. At that time, nothing was in bloom in our gardens except a few irises and we were curious about what we’d find when we returned home. We weren’t disappointed. The gardens were in fantastic shape thanks to the cool, rainy weather and the care of our brother-in-law Ray who watered while we were away.

Garlic

Garlic

Garlic Scapes

Garlic Scapes

The garlic had grown by inches and put out its curly scapes and our sky blue delphinium had flowered. Most importantly, our roses were on the cusp of blooming with swollen buds that were cracking color and ready to burst – some of which we hoped would wait for our Rose Show in two weeks.

Clair Matin

Clair Matin

It was no surprise to find that big Clair Matin was in full bloom since it’s always the first to bloom. We also expected to see Super Hero in bloom, although I was surprised to see so many flowers.

Super Hero

Super Hero

We were pleased to see that The McCartney Rose (see lead photo), which Mike had pruned quite hard due to significant winter kill, had come back as good as ever with strong new canes and lots of buds.

While I won’t know which rose was the absolute first to bloom this year, I took photos of the garden so I’ll have a record of which roses bloomed while we were away.

As we approach mid-June, our gardens are blooming right on schedule despite last winter’s never-ending bitter cold, snowy, weather. Just as they always do.

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Crocus

After months of bitter cold and snowy weather, winter finally let go and Spring has arrived. As Mike and I waited for the weather to warm up, we kept watching for signs of typical early spring growth in our garden. Finally, in late March it came. Our crocuses bloomed, the garlic we planted last fall broke ground and the buds on our roses have started to swell with the promise of new growth. I had been hoping that our clematis and delphinium made it through this difficult winter and, at last, saw tender shoots pushing their way up this past weekend.

Garlic

Garlic

I keep adding to my Spring To Do List in my “Journal” but know I’ll have to wait a bit longer before I can get outside and start gardening. The soil is still too cold to plant the seeds we bought last month and there’s still a strong chance of frost. While we patiently wait for forsythia to bloom, a reliable signal to start spring pruning, we have begun garden clean-ups and removal of any heavily damaged rose canes. While the snow cover from this winter provided good insulation from the cold, it also resulted in quite a few broken canes.

Damaged rose canes

Damaged rose canes

Another spring task is the annual “potting-up” that takes a week, depending on the weather. Mike first pots up the ‘maidens’ from last year’s budding – he bud grafts approximately 70 roses each year, concentrating mainly on Brownell roses and other favorite varieties that are out of patent and hard to find. Then he pots up the rootstock which just arrived a few days ago from Canada. Lastly, he prunes and re-pots all the roses wintered over in the crib. He enjoys working in chilly early spring weather, sunlight shining brightly before nearby trees cast shade over the garden. This annual ritual is his first activity in the garden since before Christmas. Which reminds me that I haven’t entered potting up on our To-Do List yet.

Rootstock

Rootstock

One of our projects we will begin this month is redesigning our mature rose garden. We plan to do it in stages and Mike has been anxious to start by rebuilding the rose bed where Clair Matin has been growing splendidly for 18 years.

Clair Matin, Climbing Rose

Clair Matin, Climbing Rose

All the rose beds in this garden are currently raised but we have decided in the redesign to replace them with flat beds except for the two end beds of climbing roses that anchor our “garden room” on each side. Since shade from the tall maple trees we once had is no longer a factor, some of the beds will be reconfigured, totally rebuilt and hardscape added. I’d love to have a moon gate as an entrance to our newly designed garden – like the one I saw at the Boston Flower Show this year – but I will settle for an arbor instead.5.-Moon-Gate

Happy Spring!

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Clair Matin

Clair Matin

Roses seem to bloom overnight when no one is watching. So it’s sometimes a surprise to go out in the morning and see the wonderful flowers that were only buds the day before. Over the holiday weekend, Mike was cutting roses so I could fill some vases before our company arrived. He slowly walked around the garden, selected a few stems of Graham Thomas, that was finishing its second bloom cycle, as well as some super fresh Hot Cocoas and a flashy Tropical Sunset.Clair-Matin bush

Clair Matin Spray

Clair Matin Spray

Then he discovered a spectacular spray of Clair Matin hiding in the back of the bush. This soft pink climber with bright yellow centers typically blooms in great clusters and is always the first rose to bloom for us each spring. Introduced in 1960 in France by Meilland, it is disease-resistant as well as shade tolerant, hardy to Zone 5 and easily grows to 10 feet. We’ve had it in our garden for 16 years and recommend it in our book Roses for New England: A Guide to Sustainable Rose Gardening.

The stem hat Mike cut, more like a raceme than a typical cluster, stands 20” tall and displays 7 open blooms with a half dozen buds ready to pop. We were so gob smacked by this specimen of Clair Matin that we stopped everything to take pictures so we could share them on our blog. This is the kind of spray a rosarian hopes to find the day before a Rose Show. No luck there – but who needs a rose show when we can sit and admire this garden treasure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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