I have had two flushes of booms and with the warm, dry weather, I have been watering potted every day and in ground roses every other day. I feel like a full-time gardener. Not a bad thing since that means I can deadhead at my leisure after the mid day sun. My ministure roses are putting on quite a show in spite of the near 80* F temps. Top pink rose is ‘Joy’. The Second photo is ‘Erin Alonso’ and bottom photo is ‘Jeanne LaJoie’.
The big news is that I have been thinking about putting in a new rose bed for three years and finally took steps to make it happen! There are so many large roses I want to grow, but had no ground to plant so it was grass reduction time! As you can see by the grass in the photo, western Washington has a dry summer. The weather people are saying we have had no rain here for 36 days and counting. I water veggies and roses, not the grass. That is a common attitude of gardeners in my county. The rain will return in September and hang around for nine months, grass returns and needs mowing.
My action plan is to dig out the mature asparagus, now in the fern stage, then get four yards of good garden soil to mix with the existing very sandy, native soil. In early September, I expect to plant a few large roses currently in containers but most of the planting will be in March 2018.
The excitement is building now that the holidays are behind us. The 2017 Northwest Flower and Garden Show will be here before we realize it. This is the traditional kick off to spring in Seattle. Speakers and vendors crowd the convention center for a jam packed five days of garden glory. I love the display gardens to get inspired for the growing season. This year I will be speaking about roses on Saturday to kick off the the bare root rose growing season. I am so excited I can hardly wait. My program is finished and gets tweeked every week.
This gardening season I have been thinking about my rose growing hobby a lot. I like rose horticulture exhibiting, making arrangements and growing the miniature and miniflora roses and I am moderately successful, especially since the move from the short growing season in Minnesota to western Washington. To do really well, a person needs some type of florist frig or other not frost-free frig that will stay at 36* F to hold roses for a week or so before a show. It will keep a perfect bloom in that state for days until needed. All the really good rose exhibitors have a special frig. I do not have such a frig. The frig really only needs to be using electricity for a month or so in June then a month in Sept. to cover all the rose shows in the Pacific Northwest. So I have been wondering, do I want to get such a frig? Do I want to continue showing roses at this level? How many more years would I really want to be showing roses? Would it be worth the effort? What do I really get out of all this? Heaven knows I don’t need more trophies and stuff. I like the recognition and thrill of getting on the head table. I only need one up there for it to be a success. I like being with rose people and judging. Judging is where the real action is, IMHO. So I am conflicted. I like my humble shrub roses with their full fluffy variety of colors. They are not show roses for the most part. Dr. Buck and David Austin are well represented in my rose collection. I am also trying a few of the Kordes varieties this year because of their reputation for disease resistance. So where does this bring me? I will probably continue life without a frig, but I would take one if it magically appeared.
Top row L to R:Honey Perfume, April Moon, Joy a miniature show rose on its second flush, Lena, a cute shrub born in Minnesota.
Bottom: Serendipity and Aunt Honey by Griffin Buck.
Six years ago, Orion Roses in Minnesota had a going out business sale and I purchased several roses thinking this one was ‘Celestial’. It is not pink or ‘Celestial’ but since they business is gone, I have no idea what the identity of the rose is. It is quite large, drops it’s petals cleanly and forms oval hips and fills a space but I wanted a re-blooming rose in this location. Do you recognize this rose?
Being outside in the fresh air and sunshine is my time to think. This year I have been thinking that my roses are blooming ahead of schedule but actually that is not the case it is just that last year my garden suffered through a nasty period of downy mildew and I had to do a second spring pruning to get rid of the diseased leaves and canes, so it felt that my roses bloomed late in 2015 and now early in 2016. They are looking fabulous now during my first flush. The roses below from top left are ‘Darcey Bussel’ ‘Boscobel’ bottom: ‘Prairie Sunrise’ ‘Show Stopper’ and ‘Mutabalis’.
Robert Burns said it best.
A Red, Red Rose
by Robert Burns
My love is like a red, red rose
That’s newly sprung in June :
My love is like the melody
That’s sweetly played in tune.
As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in love am I :
And I will love thee still, my dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry.
Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi’ the sun :
And I will love thee still, my dear,
While the sands o’ life shall run.
And fare thee weel, my only love,
And fare thee weel a while !
And I will come again, my love,
Thou’ it were ten thousand mile.