Sad to Say

With my health continuing to go downhill, I’ve been unable to care for the roses. I can’t get down and plant new ones since I would need someone to help me get up again. Pruning is very difficult — I have surgery upcoming on my right hand to try to restore some usefulness to it. It was diagnosed with severe carpal tunnel syndrome. So … the rose garden in the side yard is now gone, just lawn remains. The same holds true for the rose garden in the back yard. Sic transit gloria mundi.

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There will be few if any daylilies this year.  The plants are very healthy but something browsed on the buds! And, for the very first time in the 25 years since I had the house built, I caught the culprit in flagrante delicto. If you would have told me that I would find one of THESE in my back yard, I'd have laughed at you, as I would expect the chance to be about this same as finding one in Brooklyn, where I grew up. But, seeing is believing.

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Change to Site

I know, I know, I haven't updated things in just about forever.  My interests seem to have changed, and it just doesn't seem that important to me any more.  However, I have made a change to the site.  The old Guest Book (that hasn't had an entry made in years) fell prey to russian spammers and over the last few weeks I've had to delete over a hundred bogus entries.  Rather than bother from now on, I've simply deleted the Guest Book.  Sic Transit Gloria Mundi.

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Decisions, Decisions

In totaling up the damage, I find myself becoming depressed and I'm left with a few decisions.  The backyard rose garden has only Heritage left alive.  Do I plant new roses in the spring or just rip out that entire garden and return the backyard to grass?  In the side yard rose garden,  do I plant more old garden roses as they seem to do well there?  Do I plant new roses in the front yard rose garden or do I give up trying to grow roses facing dead north?  Or, after twenty-plus years, do I just give up on roses?  Here's the tally:

  • Comte de Chambord — never really did well and is now dead
  • Double Delight — both trees bloomed nicely and appear healthy
  • Dr. Huey — bloomed nicely and appears healthy
  • Falstaff — bloomed and then up and died
  • Fisherman's Friend — dead
  • Fragrant Lace — dead
  • Garden Party — dead
  • Gertrude Jekyll — dead
  • Graham Thomas — dead
  • Heritage — bloomed nicely and appears to be thriving
  • Lagerfeld — dead
  • Louise Odier — bloomed nicely but needed heavy pruning to remove dead wood
  • Melody Parfumee — bloomed nicely but seems to going downhill
  • Mme. Isaac Pereire — bloomed nicely and appears healthy
  • Pat Austin — bloomed nicely and appears to be thriving
  • Peace (tree) — dead
  • Pierre de Ronsard — succumbed to rose rosette virus and died
  • Queen Elizabeth — bloomed nicely but seems to be going downhill
  • Red Ribbons — bloomed nicely and appears to be thriving
  • Smooth Velvet — bloomed nicely and appears to be thriving
  • Sweet Juliet — succumbed to rose rosette virus and died
  • Tropicana — chary as always with the blooms but appears healthy
  • Winchester Cathedral — bloomed one flower and died
  • Zephirine Drouhin — succumbed to rose rosette virus and died
Posted in Roses | Comments Off on Decisions, Decisions

Where Things Stand

Yes, I know I haven't posted the pictures yet.  Soon, soon.  Meantime, here is where things stand after the last two years.  In terms of the roses:

Comte de Chambord — iffy at best

Double Delight — both trees survived and are in bloom

Dr. Huey — alive and soon to bloom

Falstaff — alive, damaged, no buds yet

Fisherman's Friend — dead 

Fragrant Lace — iffy at best

Garden Party — as good as dead

Gertrude Jekyll — dead

Graham Thomas — dead

Heritage — alive and soon to bloom 

Lagerfeld — dead

Louise Odier — alive and in bloom

Melody Parfumee — alive but no buds yet

Mme. Isaac Pereire — alive and soon to bloom

Pat Austin — alive and soon to bloom

Peace (tree) — dead 

Pierre de Ronsard — alive, damaged, but getting ready to bloom 

Queen Elizabeth — alive, damaged, but holding her own with buds 

Red Ribbons — alive and soon to bloom 

Smooth Velvet — alive and soon to bloom

Sweet Juliet — as good as dead

Tropicana — alive but no buds yet

Winchester Cathedral — as good as dead

Zephirine Drouhin — dead

The Mystery Rose — alive and in bloom.  The mystery rose sprang up from the rootstock of the Peace tree that died.  The blossoms are small, fragrant, and pink, and my suspicion is that it's either a variety of R. Multiflora or R. Manetti, but I can't be sure.  I'll get some photos posted soon and perhaps someone will be able to positively identify it.

As you can see, the past two harsh winters have been very unkind to me and my roses. In terms of the other denizens in the garden, much to my surprise, the Crepe Myrtle woke up, with lots of new growth low on the bush/tree, and I will have to prune away a lot of dead wood from the upper areas.  Of the recently planted Delaware Valley White Azaleas, only one of the three has survived.  The old one I had has also died.  A good portion of the very old red azalea (that predates the house) is now dead, but the remaining part put on a nice show.  One of the Peegee Hydrangeas has died, but the other is doing fine.  Of the two recently planted China Girl hollies, one died.  Most of the bulbs that were planted back in 1998 have now expired, though a few continue to soldier on year after year.  I've decided that I will do no planting this year; rather, after removing the old dead plants and filling the holes with topsoil, will allow those spots to lie fallow for a year, hopefully allowing any pathogens (like the rose rosette virus) to die away.  There will be time to plant things next year after what will hopefully be a less harsh winter.

Posted in Misc, Other Garden, Roses | Comments Off on Where Things Stand

Has It Really Been Three Years?

Has it really been three years since I last posted here?  It seems that way.  As you can read in my other blog, I haven't been well.  And, given the harshness of the winter of 2013-2014, with so many plants dying, I didn't have the heart to comment on it last year.  I have the photos for 2013 and 2014 and may some day get around to posting them.  This past winter, 2014-2015, was much worse than the previous, which was bad enough.  Profuse snow, bitterly cold, with biting dry winds.  What had managed to survive the previous winter pretty much up and died this year.  I have very few roses left — most died, including, sadly, Zephirine Drouhin, which had contracted rose rosette virus toward the end of last year.  The Crepe Myrtle, bred to take our climate, couldn't deal with this past winter and also died.  I think I have, perhaps, six roses left.  I don't know that I will plant any this year, letting the beds lie fallow and giving them a chance to regenerate; also giving any pathogens a chance to die off.  I thought, honestly, that winter would never go away.  It finally did and I've been out and about, tallying up the damage.  My Lilac is in bloom, and the blooms on the Cherry Trees are starting to fade. I will try to get photos up on my main Roses web site sometime this coming week.  Well, at least the photos from this year; the past few years will have to wait a bit.

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A New Look

The Garden Journal has a new look!  Turns out that when WordPress upgraded to a new version, the old default theme stopped working properly, so I took the opportunity to apply a new theme and spruce things up a bit.  For recent entries and from now on, clicking on a photo will bring up a lightbox with the photo full-size from my web site.  Also, the photo thumbnails here on the blog are now larger. Enjoy!

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Web Site Updated

Just a quick note that my web site has been updated with all of the photos that I've taken so far this (very early) spring, more than one hundred of them.  You can always find the latest updates to the web site on the What's New page.

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Spring Has Sprung!

I've been terribly remiss about keeping up the journal but have just had other things to keep me occupied these last few months.  I thought it was about time that I caught up, so this will cover a lot of ground.  This past winter, if you can even call it that, was very mild.  Other than a snowstorm for Halloween, there was no snow to speak of though there was a good deal of rain.  Spring came at least a month early, with temperatures hitting the 80s on a few days!  The garden woke up a good six weeks earlier than usual and the spring blooms were quite beautiful.  I'll be posting lots of photos to the web site as I've shot a few hundred since things started to grow.  The What's New page will direct you to them.  On 20 March (!) I had the first rosebud.  As ever, it was on Louise Odier.  But, as is so often the case, she wasn't the first to open a blossom.  That honor was taken by both Double Delight and Zephirine Drouhin this year; they both opened up a single bloom on 19 April.  With both the first bud and the first blooms, they were a good month earlier than usual this year.  For the last few months, we've been in something of a drought after the wet winter, but that ended today with an all-day soaking rain that is expected to intensify tonight.  It was much needed; I actually had the sprinkler system turned on last week.  Here are photos of the first rosebud and the first blooms of 2012.  (Click on a photo to enlarge it.) First is the bud on Louise Odier.

2012 Louise Odier

Next is Double Delight.

2012 Double Delight

Finally, here's Zephirine Drouhin.

2012 Zephirine Drouhin

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Thus far, summer has been mild with lots of rain (one might say, too much rain).  All of the roses have bloomed, with Garden Party and Tropicana being the last.  I've been following my spraying regimen for the roses of alternating Banner Maxx, Immunox, and Funginex, and I've been able to keep the black spot fungus to a minimum.  Where I noted an outbreak (Melody Parfumee is particularly vulnerable), I added in Mancozeb and that got rid of it.  All of the roses have done very well as you can see in the hundreds of photos on the web site.  The clearly non-dwarf blue spruce at the junction of the front and side yard gardens was taken down (it was already taller than the house) and a crepe myrtle was put in its place.  The daylilies and Asiatic lilies have done well, though a varmint browsed on the yellow Asiatic lily buds before I had a chance to put down varmint repellant so it won't bloom this year.  The new daylily, Indian Giver, has lots of scapes and should be quite spectacular.  The daylily Plum Perfect had its first bloom yesterday though since it rained all day I wasn't able to get out to photograph it.  Here are some photos to whet your appetite.  Hundreds more are on the web site.  (Click on a photo to enlarge it.)  The first is the new crepe myrtle.

2011 crepe myrtle

Next is the daylily Double Cutie.

2011 double cutie daylily

Next is the daylily Leebea Orange Crush.

2011 leebea orange crush daylily

Here's the first of the Asiatic lilies.

2011 asiatic lily

The second.

2011 asiatic lily

And the third and last, planted way back in 1998!

2011 asiatic lily

Posted in Misc, Other Garden, Roses | Comments Off on Summertime!