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Posts Tagged ‘rose gardening’

4-Therese-Bugnet

Therese Bugnet

Mike and I know our roses fairly well and can predict with some accuracy which will bloom first. Every year I keep track of  these first blooms in my rose journal and expect to see some buds open by the end of May. Below are some of our “first bloomers.”

It was no surprise that Therese Bugnet was the first to bloom in our garden in late May. This extremely winter hardy (to zone 3) hybrid rugosa has been in commerce since 1950. Its popularity continues because this is basically a “fool proof” rose that yields old-fashioned, very fragrant, medium pink flowers on a disease-resistant bush that grows 6’ to 8’ tall and repeats later in the season. She’s planted on the edge of the property and receives no water or fertilizer and definitely needs no winter protection.

1-Clair-Matin

Clair Matin

Historically, Clair Matin, a climbing rose, is another early bloomer in our garden. Introduced in 1960, we planted it over 20 years ago where it grows 10-12’ tall and 8’ wide. The medium pink blooms have a slight hint of fragrance and the June bloom on this large rose is impressive.

3-Scarlet-Sensation

Scarlet Sensation (aka Everblooming Pillar No. 73)

Another climbing rose that’s been a fixture is Scarlet Sensation (aka Everblooming Pillar No. 73), introduced by Dr. Walter Brownell in 1954. The first of our Brownell collection to bloom this year, it has large dark pink, fragrant flowers that bloom in clusters on a bush that grows 8 feet tall. Hardy to zone 5, it also is very disease resistant to black spot. Unfortunately, it is no longer widely available commercially.

2-Prairie-Princess

Prairie Princess

A newer addition to our garden is Prairie Princess, one of Griffith Buck’s winter hardy and disease resistant shrub roses. Mike planted it a few years ago and this year it produced its first blooms of the season on June 1. As you can see from the photo above, it has glowing golden stamens in the center of vibrant pink petals. We have it planted in the midst of chives in our sustainable rose garden.

6-Vanessa-Bell

Vanessa Bell

Last year we planted Vanessa Bell, a 2019 new introduction from David Austin Roses and the first of our Austin Roses to bloom. Vanessa Bell has beautiful, pale yellow many petaled, cup-shaped roses as well as a sweet tea fragrance.

It’s always rewarding to see these “first blooms” early in the season and know that in just a few weeks all the varieties we grow will join them in producing a spectacular June Bloom.

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Lead-Chute's-Garden

Chute’s Garden

For weeks we have been living under the shadow of the corona virus and following the “Stay at Home” orders imposed by our various governors. Days blend into a sameness and each morning when I wake up I have to remind myself what day it is. One day is much the same as the last with scarce entries in my Day Planner that once was filled with appointments, meetings, flower show appearances and lectures — all cancelled or postponed.

So it’s no wonder that Mother’s Day — May 10 — was off my radar until I began receiving reminders from numerous stores that Mother’s Day is right around the corner. Which reminded me that our books — Roses for New England: A Guide to Sustainable Rose Gardening and Rose Gardening Season by Season: A Journal for Passionate Gardeners make perfect gifts for Mother’s Day.

1-Roses-for-NERoses for New England: A Guide to Sustainable Rose Gardening ($21.95) is the first “how-to” book published by New England rose gardeners for New England rose gardeners. It explains everything you need to know to grow wonderful roses whether you’re a novice or a seasoned rose gardener. It includes six easy steps to growing roses in New England and how to select the right varieties for your garden. There is also a section covering planting and pruning, both bare root and potted roses, in great detail which is helpful this time of year. In addition, Roses for New England  lists over 150 sustainable rose varieties and includes many color photographs.

 

2-Rose-JournalRose Gardening Season by Season: A Journal for Passionate Gardeners (19.95) is a journal that’s more than a notebook to jot down what’s happening in your gardens. Besides pages to record monthly events, there’s a seasonal “To Do” list that tells you when to do what gardening tasks. There are lists of shade tolerant, fragrant roses, companion plants and our 25 favorite roses, mail order sources for roses and garden supplies. Tips for growing roses are scattered throughout the journal as well. Your Mom doesn’t have to be a rose gardener to enjoy this journal since it can be used by anyone who wants to keep track of interesting and/or unusual events. Every Christmas I give a copy of this  Journal to my brother-in-law who does not grow roses but likes to keep a record of yearly outdoor tasks.

We offer Free Shipping within the continental United States when books are ordered on our web site RoseSolutions. Payments are made through PayPal or your credit card. We can even include a “Happy Mother’s Day” transcription of your choice and ship directly to your gift recipient. Just include this information when you order.

During this time when we can’t dine out or shop in our favorite retail stores and social distancing is the norm, you can still make Mother’s Day special by remembering Mom by sending her our books as a special gift.

Happy Mother’s Day!

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1-Pruning-Climber

Pruning Clair Matin

April is a fickle month in New England, often starting off as winter and ending as spring. But other than these typical weather variations, springtime in New England is predictable.

The daffodils and forsythia have bloomed right on schedule and the garden roses are waking up, stretching and yawning after a five-month snooze, right on schedule.

But spring this year is dramatically different from any previous spring. The corona virus has fundamentally altered how we live including, among many other things, providing us with a bounty of unwelcome free time. Since the objective for all of us to stay healthy is to stay at home, Angelina and I are making the best use of this unexpected windfall of time.

I began with my usual early spring garden cleanups in late March, a special time when the air is crisp and sharp and the garden is flooded with sunshine before the surrounding trees have leafed out. The annual heavy pruning ritual follows and that normally takes a week. I started with the climbers — spending an entire afternoon on each of the big guys — cutting and lopping, sawing and snipping, then re-pegging them on their trellises after they were blown about all winter. This year, by design, it’s taking longer — a lot longer.  No problem, I’ve got time.

2-Pruning-bush-rose

Pruning off canker

Then comes the bush roses. Angelina and I check out each occupant, deciding who stays, who gets moved, and who gets the boot. I spend a day on each bed. No problem, I’ve got time. Planting comes next. We have a few new varieties in mind but wonder if our usual rose sources will be open.

Meanwhile, despite a concentrated effort to keep deer out of the gardens even with all our fencing, they manage to find a way in. I discovered hoof prints in the soft garden soil a few weeks ago. I channeled my best Daniel Boone and tracked the critters who had hopped over a neighbor’s fence, walked all the way around the fenced perimeter, along the street, up our driveway and through the one remaining open space into the garden area. On a recent midnight raid, they browsed on emerging daylilies, chives, irises, and tulips. So construction of a six-foot gate gets added to the To-Do list. No problem, I’ve got time.

3-Begonias

Begonias in bags

Along with roses, we grow an assortment of other plants to dress up our summer patio. We will soon buy a flat of begonias and fill a couple of plastic bags to hang in front of the patio. They quickly fill-out, leaving a mass of color that lasts all summer, hiding the bags they grow in.

5-Patio-ColeusAnother patio plant we like are coleus. We get the flashiest, most flamboyant varieties we can find and make topiaries out of them. Once potted up, we pinch out lower stems as they grow. Keeping them neat and symmetrical requires constant primping. No problem, we’ve got time.

4-Coleus-TopiaryWe’ve divided our daylilies — it’s amazing how hefty the clumps have grown — and will re-plant them along with other non-rose species among our roses as we start a cottage garden. This will takes some doing. No problem, we’ve got time.

And so it goes, on and on. After all, right now we’ve got nothing but time (and a little red wine).

We would like to hear how you are doing in other parts of the US. In Great Britain. In France. In The Netherlands. In Ireland. In Finland.

How are you spending your free time?

 

Happy Easter.

Mike & Angelina

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1 David_Austins_US_handbook_2019_cover_tn

Photo by David Austin Roses

If you’ve received David Austin’s Handbook of Roses for 2020, you have already seen the introductions available this spring for US and Canadian gardeners. If you haven’t received the handbook, you can read about Austin’s 3 new varieties:  ‘Tottering-by-Gently’, ‘Emily Brontë’,  and ‘The Mill on the Floss’ below.

 

Tottering-by-Gently

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Photo by David Austin Roses

When we visited David Austin Roses this past summer, ‘Tottering-by-Gently’, a cheery yellow single rose, caught our eye, but we knew it would not be available in the US until 2020. While Austin roses are better known for dense, many-petaled roses, this is their first yellow single rose. And it is stunning. It has masses of flowers growing in large sprays. Its five petals surround golden stamens that attract beneficial insects as well as pollinators. This shrub has a musk fragrance and grows about 4 feet by 4 feet. Another benefit is it can produce orange-red hips if not deadheaded. ‘Tottering-by-Gently’ was named in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the cartoon of the same name, created by Annie Tempest, that was first published in “Country Life” magazine.

 

Emily Brontë

2 Emily-Bronte_index_crop__tn

Photo by David Austin Roses

What a charming rose Emily Brontë is with soft pink blooms of 100 petals. The soft pink is accentuated with pale apricot inner petals that surround a button eye. It is described by Michael Marriott, technical director and senior rosarian of David Austin Roses, as having flowers that “open with a fine tea fragrance” that changes in mid-bloom when “the tea fragrance wanes and old rose fragrance comes on strong.”  The growth habit is about 4 feet tall by 3.5 feet wide. It is named for Emily Brontë, well-known author of Wuthering Heights.

 

The Mill on the Floss

3 The Mill on the Floss

Photo by David Austin Roses

Unique coloration is distinctive of ‘The Mill on the Floss’. The deeply cupped blooms present as medium pink, but as they open further the pink becomes lighter and the petals develop a carmine-red outline. The rose blooms in clusters of 100 petals or so and have a nodding habit, characteristic of many Austin varieties. This rose, named for the novel by English writer George Elliot, has a sweet and fruity fragrance. Growth habit is 4.5 feet tall by 4 feet wide, but in warmer climates, it may grow larger.

 

These new introductions can be ordered as bare root roses from davidaustinroses.com. They will not be available at garden centers in the US until Spring 2021.

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1-Lady-Elsie-May-Transplant

Lady Elsie May

Fall is the ideal time to transplant, as well as plant, roses in New England. We wait until the garden roses have gone dormant — when growth, both above and below ground is temporarily suspended. In most of New England this occurs between mid-October through mid-March. Once dormant, roses are safe to move.

2-Rose-to-be-Transplanted

Lady Elsie May before being transplanted

While it’s possible to transplant rose bushes any time during the dormancy period, we move them from one place to another in our gardens around Thanksgiving when we’re certain that dormancy has been established and the ground is not yet frozen. We plant new roses around this time, too. Planting and transplanting in the fall gives roses four months to settle in, become established and ready to grow along with the rest of the garden in March.

We recently transplanted Lady Elsie May, a rose we could see from the kitchen window. It had grown so tall and wide, we could no longer see the roses behind it, so we decided to relocate it.

3-Digging-New-Planting-Hole

Digging New Planting Hole

But before transplanting, there were a few things we had to do. On the day before transplanting, we pruned the rose back by half and watered it well. We also pre-dug and amended the new hole and had a tarp near by.

4-Root-Ball

Root Ball

We dug up the rose by first loosening the soil in a circle at least 12 inches or more from the center of the plant. Once this was done, we inserted the shovel under the root ball and carefully lifted it, keeping as much of the soil around the root ball as possible. We then slid the rose onto the tarp and dragged it to the new hole.

5-Transplanting-the-Rose

Planting Transplanted Rose

Then we re-planted it.

We watered it well and added winter protection by hilling up the base of the plant 10 inches or so with manure (soil or compost would do just as well).

7-Transplanted-Rose-Hilled-

Transplanted Rose Hilled Up

Done.

The following June Lady Elsie May was in its full, glorious bloom.

8-Lady-Elsie-May-June-bloom

Lady Elsie May’s June Bloom

If you need detailed step-by-step instructions on planting and transplanting roses, go to Chapter 9 in our book Roses for New England to read all about planting and transplanting roses. Or visit our website (www.rosesolutions.net) and read Mike’s article “How to Plant Roses.”

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1 The-McCartney-Rose

The McCartney Rose – Hybrid Tea, strong spice fragrance

David Austin, founder of David Austin Roses in Albrighton, England, was once quoted as saying that a rose without fragrance is only half a rose. What a perfect way to describe a characteristic so essential to the identity of America’s national floral emblem.

While the delicious, delightful, slightly mysterious and often fickle quality of floral fragrance is now considered a highly desirable trait most prized by rose lovers, it wasn’t always so. This quality was willingly sacrificed by rose breeders in the nineteenth into twentieth centuries. Why? Rose hybridizing is a game of compromise with one trait willingly forfeited to gain another. Fragrance was often the victim of hybridizing choices that placed higher value on superior floral form, unique and vibrant colors, increased winter hardiness and stronger disease resistance.

Flash forward 100 years and the rose buying public now long for highly scented roses and commercial rose growers know it. While fragrance is an inherited trait, the gene for fragrance is recessive and crossing two fragrant varieties doesn’t necessarily produce fragrant offspring. Due to this unpredictability of rose genetics, contemporary rose hybridizers continuously search for the right genetic combinations that will add fragrance to other desirable characteristics. Since it takes eight to ten years from pollination to retail introduction, restoring a characteristic as elusive as fragrance has taken decades.

4-American-Beauty

American Beauty

Fragrance is produced by oils in the petals of the bloom with different oils creating distinctive fragrances. The American Rose Society lists twenty-four fragrances, the most well-known is the classic ‘rose’ scent. This intoxicating old rose or damask scent can be found in many red and pink roses like the old garden rose American Beauty, David Austin’s Mary Rose, Mr. Lincoln, and Chrysler Imperial.

5-Ebb-Tide

Ebb Tide

Other essential oils are responsible for the spicy, clove-like scent in the floribunda Ebb Tide. Sniffing Graham Thomas yields the light and delicate tea fragrance while Julia Child imparts a strong anise or licorice scent.

3-Graham-Thomas

Graham Thomas

2-Julia-Child

Julia Child

But fragrance can be subjective because everyone’s nose is different. Two people may smell the same rose and each will offer different descriptions. Fragrance also is influenced by temperature, humidity and the rose’s stage of bloom. A fully open bloom will have more scent than a flower that is partially open; the intensity ebbs as the bloom goes by. A blossom may have a strong scent on a warm, sunny day; take the same bloom on a cool, cloudy, breezy day and the scent will be subdued.

Time of day also impacts a rose’s fragrance. The highest concentration of oils are found in early morning which is why roses grown for their attar of roses (oils extracted from rose petals) are harvested then. (Our experience has been that every fresh rose bloom exudes some detectable scent, however subtle, under ideal conditions.)

Clearly, rose fragrance is highly desirable and has become its own reward. The presence of discernable fragrance, or the lack of it, often determines whether a variety gets introduced or not. Each hybridizer of the genus rosa has their personal hybridizing objectives. Each is looking for that unique, exceptional variety. Each is prepared to spend a professional lifetime searching for that one perfect and fragrant rose, the magnum opus of a career.

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1.-Winter-Protection

Rose Beds Hilled Up in Chutes’ Rose Garden

Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone (it was early this year) and we’ve experienced some below freezing temperatures, it’s time to add winter protection to help our roses survive our New England winters.

The goal of winter protection is to keep roses dormant — not to keep them warm. What we want to do is just the opposite: make sure the rose bushes stay cold and not be fooled into thinking spring has arrived when we experience those warm days in late January when temperatures go up to the 40’s and mid 50’s.

2-Planting

Plant roses with bud union 2″ below soil level in southern New England

Adding winter protection to roses is easy but there are 2 factors to be aware of if you want your roses to come through the winter with little winter kill: First, make sure your roses are zone appropriate for your area. If they’re not, they don’t have a good chance of surviving the winter freeze and thaw cycles. Second, plant them properly. In southern New England budded roses need to be planted at least 2” below the soil in order to protect the bud union. In colder climates they should be planted deeper and in warmer climates higher.

If your roses are winter hardy and planted properly, follow these easy steps:

  1. Wait until after the first hard frost before adding winter protection.
  2. Give roses a light pruning and secure long canes so they will not be tossed around by winter storms and damage the bush.
  3. Rake up garden litter to prevent diseases from wintering over in fallen foliage.
  4. This is a good time to apply lime, if necessary.
  5. Using soil, manure, compost or seaweed, hill up the base of each rose to about 12 inches.
3-Hilled-Up-Bush

Winter Protection at base of rose bush

If you want to know more about planting roses and winter protection, you can find more detailed information in our book Roses for New England: A Guide for Sustainable Rose Gardening which can be purchased on our website: RoseSolutions.net

 

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4-Imogen

Imogen (Photo by David Austin Roses)

We recently received the annual news release from David Austin Roses announcing their new introductions for 2018. These three varieties will  be available to U.S. and Canadian gardeners in the spring of 2018 through the David Austin web site.  Since Austin roses are so popular with our blog followers, we thought we would share the news about these beautiful roses.

6-Roald-Dahl

Roald Dahl (Photo by David Austin Roses)

The first rose is called ‘Roald Dahl’, a shrub rose named after the writer of James and the Giant Peach. According to Michael Marriott, the technical director and senior rosarian of David Austin Roses, the color of this rose is “marvelously, perfectly peach.” The buds open to reveal cupped peach rosettes that grow on a rounded, bushy shrub. An added bonus to this rose is its tea fragrance.  ‘Roald Dahl’ blooms throughout the season and is described as highly disease-resistant.

3.-Imogen

Imogen (Photo by David Austin Roses)

‘Imogen’ is the second variety for 2018 and has soft lemon-colored blooms that fade to a pale cream. If you look closely at the photograph, you can see the petals surround a classic button eye reminiscent of Gallica and Damask roses. The delicate cream color outer petals that surround the softer yellow inner petals create beautiful clusters of roses on an upright shrub.

1-Bathsheba

Bathsheba (Photo by David Austin Roses)

The third introduction is a climbing rose called ‘Bathsheba’ that has a myrrh fragrance. and large apricot blooms.  ‘Bathsheba’ is described as short climber which may make it perfect for a smaller garden. The rosette shaped blooms are a blend of various colors from pale yellow to yellow to apricot with numerous petals that create an overall charming display.

Presently these 3 varieties are only available at www.davidaustin.com  and are sold on a first-come basis. Order early, so you won’t be disappointed. These roses will not be available in U.S. garden centers until the Spring of 2019.

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1-Crested-Moss ChuteAs I was reviewing my rose photographs during our latest snow storm, trying to envision what our garden will look like in just a few more months, I came across some photos of Crested Moss. I had taken these photos when we visited the Giardino delle Rose in Florence, Italy a few years ago and it was the first time I had ever seen a moss rose.

2-Giardino-delle-rose-FloreI recall walking through the rose garden that day and being delighted when I spotted Crested Moss (also known as Chapeau de Napoleon because the moss-covered sepals surrounding the buds are reminiscent of the tri-cornered hat Napoleon wore). Moss roses are unique because of this distinctive moss-like growth around the buds and bases of the flowers. In the photo above, you can see that the terminal bloom is encircled by at least 10 buds with pink petals peeking through what is often described as parsley-like growth. What a photo opportunity!

Moss roses are believed to have originated as sports, or mutations of centifolia roses. The mossy growth has a strong pine or balsamic fragrance most noticeable if the mossy growth is rubbed between your fingers.

2-Crested-Moss-bud-ChuteCrested Moss is a “Found Rose,” discovered in 1827. It has rich, clear pink flowers with a yellow button eye in the center, a damask, spicy fragrance and is known for its disease resistant. It clearly looked disease-free in Florence with its unblemished foliage. It  blooms once in late spring to early summer for several weeks. Our visit to Giardino delle Rose was in late May just as Crested Moss, as well as the rest of the garden, began to bloom.

We have never grown moss roses since we felt that they wouldn’t tolerate the hot, humid mid-summer Rhode Island weather. Now, after seeing the picture of Crested Moss again, I may just give it a try.

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1-february-rose-buds

Swollen Rose Buds

What’s with the heat wave in February? Temperatures went well over 60F for four days last week and actually hit 70F for a few hours the other day and it’s still winter. This is not Miami Beach. We are in New England and it’s supposed to be cold!

3-stone-men-2-27-17I strolled through our rose gardens yesterday, as the snow has melted, and found swollen buds on all bushes, some ready to pop — five weeks too soon.  Even the Stone Men object and want their snow back. This very early retreat from dormancy, reminiscent of last winter, does not bode well for the upcoming growing season. Last year’s week of warm winter weather, followed by a period of plummeting nighttime temperatures, created wide-spread winter kill, requiring severe spring pruning and a whole season for some varieties to recover. The garden roses were not used to such uncertainty and were flummoxed and confused. With a repeat of last year, I fear we may have to bring in a rose therapist to provide counseling.

2-winter-protection

Hilled Up Roses for Winter

While we have long since replaced tender roses with winter hardy varieties, with a few exceptions, we winterized them all last fall anyway as added protection. But some years that’s not enough. With temperatures scheduled to return to seasonal normalcy, even drop below 20F this week, I see a repeat of last year’s carnage.

Nature has become increasingly fickle and there’s nothing we can do about it.

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