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1998: This spring, another chunk of my lawn bit the dust as I put in yet another rose garden. The selections in the catalogs (Jackson & Perkins and Wayside Gardens) were just too tempting! The varieties that I selected were: Fragrant Cloud, Fragrant Lace, Louise Odier, Melody Parfumee, Moon Shadow, Out of Yesteryear, Pat Austin, and Rose Sachet. Louise Odier is an old garden rose bred in 1851, and joined Zephirine Drouhin (1868) as I doubled my number of antique roses.
What follows are pictures that were scanned in from the catalogs. Photos of the actual roses are posted on the appropriate pages, and it's interesting (at least to me) to compare what the catalog showed to what grew in the real world.
Out of Yesteryear
If that's not enough, I was in Home Depot and they had their Jackson & Perkins boxed roses set out on display. Lagerfeld (grandiflora with lavender blooms that are very fragrant) proved irresistible, so the new rose garden actually wound up with 9 new roses. All grew quite well during their first year, with some passing six feet in height. All of them were intensely fragrant, as advertised. Though the new catalogs are quite tempting, the only way to add new roses would be to remove old roses, and that is something that I can't bring myself to do.
1999: The first rose of 1999 has bloomed! Contrary to expectations, it was not Louise Odier, but rather Golden Showers! Louise Odier was the runner-up, with Chrysler Imperial coming in third and Zephirine Drouhin in fourth. It looks as though 1999 will be a great rose year!
It's now mid-September -- the roses survived the great 1999 drought in fine fashion, and we're once again in the middle of a major flush. Many of the individual rose pages have been updated with photos of the late-summer crop. At a time of year when the only colors you can usually look forward to are the yellows and reds of autumn, the roses are very welcome indeed!
Mid-November -- the trees have shed their leaves, and even the leaves on the roses are turning yellow as they prepare to fall. Yet, we still have roses! I've posted a number of photos, the last of 1999 -- we'll be back in the spring!
2000: It's April, and despite the care given it last year, Taboo did not survive. In its place I have planted Touch of Class. It appears that all of the other roses survived this past winter in fine form, though the mini roses are taking their time leafing out and I may well replace them if I see some interesting varieties at the nursery.
Mid-April -- Alas, the minis, which had lasted for a few years, did not make it through the winter, and I have ordered four replacements from Jackson & Perkins.
Announcing the first rose of 2000! Zephirine Drouhin takes the honor of producing the first bloom in the millennial year. Golden Showers comes in at number two, having been beaten by only a few hours. As was the case last year, Louise Odier has literally hundreds of buds beginning to open their sepals, but other roses beat it to the punch. Forty-eight hours later, Louise Odier bloomed, coming in at number three. Surprisingly, Red Ribbons came in fourth.
Mid-May -- The spring flush has begun in earnest. Those above, plus Chrysler Imperial, Moon Shadow, Gertrude Jekyll, Peace, Tropicana, Electron, and Winchester Cathedral are all in bloom, with the rest about to follow.
October -- A number of you have written asking why I stopped posting pictures of the roses this season. Stop worrying -- the roses were just fine! I have a problem with my Kodak digital camera that has prevented me from taking outdoor close-ups. I will have a new camera by spring (and you can bet that it won't be a Kodak), and the 2001 growing season will hopefully not only be floriferous, but "pictiferous" as well!
Mid-October, 2000 -- I just couldn't wait, got a new digital camera, and have posted some photos of the last of the 2000 roses.
2001: It's the end of April, and the first rose buds have formed, this year on Louise Odier. Here's a photo of the first. Based on this, I expect to have the first roses within one to two weeks. All of the rose bushes appear to have weathered our more-typical winter here in New Jersey (lots of snow and cold temperatures), though it appears that I've lost three of the four mini roses that I planted last year.
Well, here's a surprise for you! I have my first rose of 2001 -- 10 May, and it's Gertrude Jekyll! Louise Odier has hundreds of buds, which are just starting to open, but it will be a few more days before it blooms. As it turns out, Zephirine Drouhin bloomed second, Heritage bloomed third, and the buds on Louise Odier finally began opening to give it fourth place this year. Chrysler Imperial opened three glorious blossoms to take fifth.
October -- I'm slowly putting the roses to bed for the winter, though our Indian summer has them actually trying to put out new growth. There are some spectacular hips! All in all, it was a good rose season, though I have resolved that in late winter/early spring I am going to shovel prune Out of Yesteryear, the first rose that I will actually lose of my own accord. It is parsimonious in bloom (to say the least), has a growth habit that keeps it forever in the shade of the other bushes, and just seems to be out of place in the rose bed.
2002: April 15 -- Income tax day, and would you believe, the first rose buds of 2002?! Louise Odier is covered with tiny well-formed rose buds. Offhand, I think that this is the earliest I've ever had buds. And the weather (it was 83 degrees today) is really helping them along!
The seventh of May, and I have my first roses. To my surprise, it's the mini rose Hugs n'Kisses that has bloomed first! A few days later, Gertrude Jekyll and Zephirine Drouhin have tied for second to bloom.
Christmas -- We had a few warm(ish) days and I pruned what I could, especially the standards so that they would have a better chance in the event of ice storms. I also ran out of patience with Out of Yesteryear -- it's become the first rose that I have ever shovel pruned. I'll decide what to plant in its place in the spring, probably a new hybrid tea.
2003: It's mid-April. The roses seem to have survived the winter intact and most are breaking bud, though I am worried about the roses in the pots on the deck. Today I put in a boxed rose from J&P, White Lightning, to replace Out of Yesteryear -- I did want another white rose and the description of this grandiflora is appealing. We'll see what develops as the year progresses.
Late-May: None of the roses in the deck pots survived the winter, including the hybrid tea Touch of Class, so I will have to decide what to put in their place. Rose Sachet died back almost back to the bud union but is growing back nicely. Moon Shadow also had a tough time of it, with the bud union and only one short cane remaining, and most of the others had more dead canes than has been usual over the last some years. Golden Showers, unfortunately, has departed us. White Lightning has broken bud and is putting out some nice growth. Today (17 May), Gertrude Jekyll once again takes the honor of bearing the first bloom of the year, for the third year in a row. After this past winter, the exquisite fragrance is most welcome!
One week later, Winchester Cathedral took second place with a cluster of four beautiful blooms. Two days later, Red Ribbons opened its first bloom to take third.
It's the last day of May and I've purchased two new potted mini roses to take the place of those that did not survive the winter. One is Small Miracles, a pretty snow-white; the other is Petite Perfection, a lovely red with yellow reverse. I've planted them in their containers and have to admit that there's a certain satisfaction in having an already blooming rose in each container.
What a strange year! It's the second of November, it's 75 degrees outside, and I have a bumper crop of roses. I've just posted eighteen new photographs that I took today.
2004: This past winter was very long, very cold, very windy, very snowy, and a disaster for the rose garden. It's now late April and based on how things appear thus far, we've lost Electron, Brigadoon, White Lightning, Rose Sachet, Moon Shadow, Chrysler Imperial, and both mini roses. Several others are anything but a picture of health and may yet succumb. In the ten years that I've had the house and have been growing roses, this has been the worst setback for the garden. Just about the only happy note is that Louise Odier has its first bud!
It's mid-May and the first rose of the year is, as expected, Louise Odier! That's the good news. The bad news is that the tree roses French Perfume and Tropicana have also succumbed to the damage of this past winter and the tree rose Sheer Bliss doesn't look good..
A few days later and French Perfume has surprised my by putting forth strong new growth from the bud union atop the stalk, so I'm hoping that it will regrow. Also, Moon Shadow has put forth lots of strong new growth from the bud union so will also probably survive. The same is true for Lagerfeld and Fragrant Lace. Tropicana, sadly, appears to have had the bud union split at the top of the stalk and has departed. Sheer Bliss also suffered a split but one half is still growing strongly. I've purchased three new roses to begin to replace those that were lost: Chicago Peace (if it's anything like the Peace tree it will be a real winner) will replace Rose Sachet, Garden Party (a descendant of Peace) will replace White Lightning, and Shimmering Memory will replace Brigadoon, but further to the front of the bed. They've been given their own pages and, since I purchased them potted and in bloom, there are already photos! The second rose of the year has bloomed -- Zephirine Drouhin. No surprise that the first two to bloom and the ones to best survive the horrendous winter are the two Old Garden Roses that grow on their own roots, now is it?
I took out the dead stalk of Tropicana and found that the bud union was infested with carpenter ants. Whether they moved in after it died or they were responsible I can't say, but they're gone. Wonder of wonders, Chrysler Imperial lives! It has put forth new growth from the bud union (since it's behind the fence I was unable to see it). I cleared away overgrowth from the neighboring forsythia, pruned out the dead wood, and it's getting ready to bloom!
It's now October and the days are shorter and cooler as the fall settles in. It was a very wet, very cool summer as such things go. The roses did well, all things considered, though neither Lagerfeld nor Moon Shadow provided any blooms this year. It remains to be see if the growth that they've produced this year can survive the upcoming winter. I never did get around to planting any mini roses this year. ::sigh::
2005: Beginning this year, given that file storage is no longer a concern, I will resize the garden photos to 640 pixels wide (the same as my train photos) rather than the previously used 400 pixels.
On a not so happy note, the only tree rose to break bud thus far is Double Delight; French Perfume, Sheer Bliss, and, surprisingly, Peace, have not yet done so and I am worried about them. Chicago Peace and Shimmering Memory have also failed to break bud thus far, and I am eyeing some old garden roses at the Home Depot as possible replacements. I will be really, really upset if Peace has passed.
It's May. Sad to say, the only tree rose remaining is Double Delight -- French Perfume, Sheer Bliss, and, alas, Peace, all succumbed to the miserable winter. I'm starting to wonder if the tree roses have a finite lifetime that is shorter than that of the ordinary shrubs. It also looks as though Chicago Peace and Shimmering Memory did not survive. All of the other roses have broken bud. I've purchased four new roses to replace some of those that died. Shimmering Memory has been replaced by Sunbright. Chicago Peace's replacement is Showbiz, my first Floribunda. I've also purchased Falstaff, a David Austin English rose, which has gone into the ground near where French Perfume grew. It will probably be no surprise that I now have a Peace bush to replace the Peace tree. And, having been without it for a year, I now also have a Tropicana bush, which will live near where Sheer Bliss resided. That's a total of five new roses planted this year. I hope they do well!
No surprise - Louise Odier has given us our first rose and it's a beauty as you can see on her page. If only the Internet allowed you to smell it as well -- ah, such delight! Winchester Cathedral gave us its first bloom two days later to become the second to bloom.
2006: It's now late April. We had only a few casualties this winter -- the Double Delight tree rose did not survive the winter, nor did the Peace shrub planted last year. To replace them, I've ordered a new Double Delight tree and a new Peace tree from Jackson and Perkins. I also have a new English Rose, Abraham Darby, coming in from J&P (my preferred rose supplier) to fill a void in the backyard rose garden that was left when L.D. Braithwaite died some years ago. The first rose buds of the year have appeared; no surprise, they're on Zephirine Drouhin and Louise Odier.
6 May 2006 and a total surprise awaited me in the garden -- as you can see on her page, Zephirine Drouhin has opened the first rose of the year, just about a month earlier than usual! Two days later and we have another stunning blossom and, as well, Gertrude Jekyll has become the second rose to bloom early with a beautiful blossom.
I've started keeping a Garden Journal (a blog) to keep track of what's going on in the garden. Chances are that it will supplant this Rose News page in the future.
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