It's not fun to admit but it's true. I've been very lazy about keeping up the blog. Over the last months, since that wonderful first-day-of-spring snowstorm, the garden has come alive. The bulbs, what are left of them from the great planting of 1999, have bloomed, as have the forsythia, the cherry trees, the maple tree, etc. The lawn is a brilliant green that won't be duplicated for the rest of the year. It's just a really nice time of year in the garden. Over the next few days, hopefully, I'll get off my duff and post all of the photos I've been taking on the main web site (I've been lazy, but not so lazy that I didn't take photos). One photo is the reason I've finally started to blog again. Today, 11 May 2009, I have my first rose! 🙂 Though Louise Odier produced the first rosebud of the year, as expected, much to my surprise, t'was Gertrude Jekyll that gave me my first incredibly sweet rose of the year. Here she is!
At 7:44 AM EDT this morning, spring arrived. After a thoroughly miserable winter, I thought you'd enjoy seeing what the arrival of spring looks like here in the Garden State. I don't even want to think about the poor daffy daffodils that have been trying to get ready to bloom!
… why do I keep getting hit in the head by cherry pits? That's a rhetorical question, though I did get hit in the head by a cherry pit while walking under the cherry tree in the back yard (I think the resident cardinal has it in for me). It's the middle of July, I've been under the weather, and since I last wrote, much has happened in the garden, much of it not good. The weather has turned very hot and very humid, the damned Japanese beetles arrived to munch away on my roses, and, with the humid weather and me indoors and not spraying, the dreaded blackspot fungus got hold of a number of bushes. I'm convinced that the Japanese beetles spread the fungus spores; wherever I have a bush with skeletonized leaves, I have blackspot nearby. I've started dusting with Sevin to keep the little monsters under control, but seeing my beautiful roses being munched is enough to get me to overcome my distaste for bugs and happily squash them with my fingers. As for the blackspot, I resumed my spraying program today with Banner Maxx, adding a full dose of Mancozeb to help control it where it's run rampant. With Mancozeb added to the weekly systemic sprayings, it should be under control in a few weeks.
In the interim, a patch of ground at the side of the house where I've been unable to grow grass for the last 15 years is now covered with a thick layer of stone as I had the stone path at the side of the house extended. A similar patch under the circle of trees where the side yard merges into the back yard now has a series of large bluestone pavers surrounded by peastone, forming a bridge between the two yards. The beds around the foundation of the house have been renewed with quite a few tons of peastone so things are looking rather nice. After being unable to grow anything green in those two small areas, the hardscape looks quite nice and that's the end of the frustration … and the mud! The roses have done well though, as mentioned above, the two plagues of rose growers, Japanese beetles and blackspot fungus have arrived, as has the hot and humid weather that they love. Everything that I expected to do well this year did and the last of the Daylilies, Plum Perfect, is now bearing its final blossoms (a photo is below). In fact, all of the Daylilies, Asiatic Lilies, and Oriental Lilies did quite well. Most things have grown well, including the new mini-rose that I planted in the deck planter this summer and I was pleased to see Mme. Isaac Pereire repeat flower this past week. I've been taking a photo here and there during this past month (yes, I know I've been remiss in making Journal entries and updating the web site, but when you don't feel well it's hard to feel motivated about these things) and this evening I've posted close to a hundred on the web site.
As it does every year as the roses start to fade from their first flush, the lily patch has erupted into colorful bloom. The daylily Double Cutie was first and now the daylily Leebea Orange Crush (shown below) has, as always, come in second. Next to them, the oriental lily Mona Lisa has also started to bloom with it's lusciously scented large blossoms. It's the second photo below. With the spring flush over, the roses will now bloom sporadically throughout the summer and fall. I've posted a bunch of new photos on the web site.
… none left to bloom, that is! As expected, Garden Party has bloomed, becoming the last of my roses to do so, even though it's been living in the shade of Louise Odier. It's nice to have a year where all of the roses have survived and, yes, even thrived. It's been a very good year for the garden. Zephirine Drouhin has been in continuous bloom for one solid month! Many other roses are in bloom and I've posted a ton of new photos taken over the last week to the web site. The hydrangea (the snowball bush) is getting ready to bloom, with the snowballs just starting to show their blue color (I feed the hydrangea with Miracid, hence the blue color; were I to feed them Miracle Gro and add in some lime, they'd be pink as they react to acid/base in the same manner as litmus paper). The daylily Double Cutie remains in bloom and Leebea Orange Crush is getting ready to bloom. Here's the first bloom of Garden Party.
Today is a carbon copy of yesterday, hazy, hot, and humid, though perhaps a little hotter and more humid. I went out briefly to check on the garden and things aren't yet wilting in the heat, which is a little surprising. Much more surprising is that Garden Party has developed several large fat buds so despite my earlier expectations, the last of my roses should bloom relatively soon. The spring flush of Louise Odier is finally starting to fade, so I should soon be able to prune her back to free up space and, more importantly, light for her neighbors Garden Party and Moon Shadow. In the meantime, Lagerfeld has decided to make up for blooming rather late and is putting on a marvelous show of color and fragrance. While I can't share the fragrance, I can share the color and I've posted a bunch of photos of Lagerfeld and the other roses to the web site. Here's a sample of Lagerfeld.
As expected, Tropicana has bloomed, leaving poor Garden Party as the only rose yet to flower. Comparing this year with last, even though Tropicana is next to last to bloom, it was still a good two weeks sooner than last year. All of the roses are covered with blooms and I've posted a bunch of photos to the web site. Also in bloom for the first time today is Double Cutie, my greenish yellow double daylily — I was quite surprised to find it in bloom as I hadn't noticed that the buds had reached maturity. Today is a 3H day — hazy, hot, and humid — so I didn't spend all that much time in the garden. With high humidity, the 94 degree weather feels more like 105, so it's a day to enjoy the air conditioning indoors rather than the flowers outdoors! Here's the first daylily of the year.
I'm convinced that the roses can hear me! Just four short days ago, I was complaining that eight of them hadn't yet bloomed. Today, Falstaff joined the bloom parade, leaving just Tropicana and Garden Party yet to bloom. And Tropicana already has buds with the sepals pulled back, so it should be blooming in a few days. That will leave Garden Party as the only one yet to bloom. Poor Garden Party! It's totally shaded by its neighbor, Louise Odier, and there's no way that I'm cutting Louise Odier down to size until all the buds have opened and faded (and there are lots more buds that have to open), so I'm afraid it's going to be a while until Garden Party has a chance to grow and flower. In the meantime, we had quite a storm last night and today I discovered that, pretty much as I expected, with so many blooms on so many rose bushes, I will have my work cut out for me tomorrow getting them standing up straight again. Mix lots and lots of rain and wind with lots and lots of roses and you get lots and lots of canes bent down to the ground. Since everything was so soaking wet today that to work on them I'd have needed a wet suit, tomorrow is the designated tying day. Here's the first Falstaff bloom. There are lots more photos on the web site, including a few of all the Sweet Juliet blossoms that opened overnight.
Though I had no intention of adding any more roses this year, I have one remaining large planter on the deck (the two smaller ones had deteriorated and cracked and earlier this spring I disposed of both of them). The planter looked lonely — it hasn't had mini-roses in it since 2006 — so, while at Home Depot, I picked up a nice mini-rose called Caramba and popped it into the planter, which no longer seems quite so lonely! 🙂
Sweet Juliet joined the bloom parade today. Despite myself, while documenting her first few blooms, I managed to shoot a total of twenty photos of gorgeous roses that I've now posted to the web site.