Monthly Archives: June 2012

Roses Are Not Only Red

Roses Are Not Only Red

Previously, I had little interest in growing roses. Oh yes, take time to admire and smell them, I think I have always allowed time to sniff their fragrance. But, caring for them in a garden, I considered quite a difficult matter.

Just the mere thought of feeding and applying disease protection at regular intervals, seemed over-whelming. Investing in Peroxide, Neosporin and the First Aid Kit with an assortment of bandages for skin pricks and painful rips in my, all too sensitive skin, made growing roses less than appealing.

Recently, due to moving, I inherited eleven bushes and what do I do now? Somehow this precipitated a need to purchase another variety.

The proud owner and caregiver for hybrids, climbers, long stems, miniatures and shrub roses, I’ve discovered the care is no big deal!

Thriving in the front yard, the backyard and on the sides of the house, a small handful or two of Fertilome Rose and Flower Food with systemic insecticide once a month causes an abundant flourish. Daconil fungicide twice a month or when idleness sets in and you are in the mood to deadhead anyway, include a mist to keep them happy.

Being from the old school, I was paying close attention to the first cluster of five leaves beneath the spent bloom. No need, the newer rule of green thumb is ignore the notion. Shrub roses and Knockouts can be pruned to almost any shape and size until April 15. Severe pruning is left until fall.

Recently presented with several suggestions on pruning, tier in three or four levels, short in front, medium height in the middle and taller in the back; it seems sensible. 

Additionally, a platter shape or oval is most desirable and offers the plants much needed air-flow. I think you will be happy with the results. Of course, I am referring to hybrids, not climbers. Those need to be left to climb.  

I am pretty content as an inexperienced gardener of roses. Yellow, salmon, pink and red, each petal is gentle as a kiss. It’s never too late, an occasional poke, a prickly stick—reminders of the beauty I nearly missed.

Roses Are Not Only Red

Previously, I had little interest in growing roses. Oh yes, take time to admire and smell them, I think I have always allowed time to sniff their fragrance. But, caring for them in a garden, I considered quite a difficult matter.

Just the mere thought of feeding and applying disease protection at regular intervals, seemed over-whelming. Investing in Peroxide, Neosporin and the First Aid Kit with an assortment of bandages for skin pricks and painful rips in my, all too sensitive skin, made growing roses less than appealing.

Recently, due to moving, I inherited eleven bushes and what do I do now? Somehow this precipitated a need to purchase another variety.

The proud owner and caregiver for hybrids, climbers, long stems, miniatures and shrub roses, I’ve discovered the care is no big deal!

Thriving in the front yard, the backyard and on the sides of the house, a small handful or two of Fertilome Rose and Flower Food with systemic insecticide once a month causes an abundant flourish. Daconil fungicide twice a month or when idleness sets in and you are in the mood to deadhead anyway, include a mist to keep them happy.

Being from the old school, I was paying close attention to the first cluster of five leaves beneath the spent bloom. No need, the newer rule of green thumb is ignore the notion. Shrub roses and Knockouts can be pruned to almost any shape and size until April 15. Severe pruning is left until fall.

Recently presented with several suggestions on pruning, tier in three or four levels, short in front, medium height in the middle and taller in the back; it seems sensible.  

Additionally, a platter shape or oval is most desirable and offers the plants much needed air-flow. I think you will be happy with the results. Of course, I am referring to hybrids, not climbers. Those need to be left to climb. 

I am pretty content as an inexperienced gardener of roses. Yellow, salmon, pink and red, each petal is gentle as a kiss. It’s never too late, an occasional poke, a prickly stick—reminders of the beauty I nearly missed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But I Didn’t Know I Wanted One!

“Please cut that atrocity down,” I pleaded with my husband Tony. We were taking a survey of our new yard and gardens. This was the sixth house we had either purchased or contracted to have built in our forty-seven years of marriage.“It hides the AC perfectly,” he countered, “and it certainly isn’t without character and interest.”

“What is it, do you suppose?”

“I have no clue. I’m glad your gardening friend plans to visit later today, though. I bet she knows.”

Mary and I circled the property late in the afternoon. I spouted off about all the plant varieties that I could identify and she graciously offered her knowledge and experience on valuable tips and care. 

I couldn’t wait to approach the gnarly growth that shielded the a/c for Tony.

“I really want to get rid of this, Mary!”

“Oh, you really don’t,” she seemed shocked. “This is a Harry Lauder Walking Stick, Carole, a valuable plant, intriguing addition to any garden, and word has it that everyone wants one.”

“Everyone? Not sure about that.”

She was adamant, “You can’t cut it down!”

Weeks later, I attended a Master Gardner’s Garden Tour. Visiting six gardens in a matter of two days, I was surprised to find three Harry’s among the gardens that were each worthy of a spread in “Better Homes and Gardens” magazine. I quickly became educated on the care and notoriety of the treasured plant. 

It is a cultivar of Hazel, but it does not similarly produce nuts. First discovered in the 1800’s English countryside, it became prized for its twisted and entangled branches, its equally impressive gnarled trunk.

Harry Lauder with no clothes

It is far from picky about location, does well in zones 4 through 8, and is also resistant to diseases or pests.  A deciduous shrub, not considered invasive, Harry was trying to win me over.

Otherwise known as Corylus avellana “Contorta,” it can be planted in full sun or shade, acidic or alkaline soil, and requires little or no maintenance. I think I concur with my friend Mary, who wouldn’t want one? Indeed.

In late summer, Harry produces flowers resembling more like pods than blossoms. They are called catkins. If anyone should be the owner of a Harry Lauder Walking Stick, it is this author of a short story collection I titled Kat Tales.

Furnished with the know-how tips on beautifying Harry, I can’t wait to get out my pruning shears this fall. Right now Harry is growing on me, but look-out Harry!

And, by the way, Mr. Harry Lauder Walking Stick of whom I have become so fond, I have decided you could be a useful crutch for me in my old age, so stick around.

Everybody wants one!

Dabling in my Dahlias

What a show stopper! The Dahlia is normally one that needs to be lifted for the winter, the tuber cleaned well and stored at about 50 degrees. I am fortunate in that it obviously was protected by the privacy fence and is the’ Flower of Flowers’ residing in the center of my garden. Yes, it likes the sun but not nercessarily the hottest sun of the day. It comes in a variety of colors and there are small blooms as well as dinnerplate size. Mine delivers  more like salad plate or saucers of lavender to purple hues.

Once thought (1800s) to be edible and even effective for epilepsy, it has been identified as a better decorative flourish.

I have learned that if I want a bushier look  it is best to prune the middle shoot, I have a leggier plant right now, but it is in the mood to spread and offers new buds almost daily. Blooms from April until fall. Little maintenance seems necessary.

If you want a bouquet, cut blooms early in the morning or late in the evening. Place in very hot water to cool gradually.

Flower Power April, May, June, etc

Reminiscing about all the gardens I have started and left behind in this lifetime, I am now back in the garden– deadheading, weeding, feeding, watering, and happy as a lark, I might add. Always yearning for cheerful faces of various flowers, I recall an entire weekend when I was left alone; a lightbulb came on in my head and suddenly I was hungry to create something beautiful in my double garage. Traveling to Michael’s, it took no time for me to gather stencils, brushes, paints in brilliant blues and yellows, greens and grays for shading. I couldn’t return home fast enough. I painted borders on the walls, climbers on the poles, trim on the doors. I even threw in picket fence. It was one of the most therapeutic processes encountered through the love of flowers. Just before Sunday evening I doused with a floral spray. When my husband returned home, he raised the garage door and drove into my over-the- top, but breath-taking garden of Morning Glories. As least, I thought so. Surprise!

Website & Print on Demand

I just commented on JanetBradburns’ blog and it reminded me that I have not posted anything on my own blog in months. I need to get out here, let you know what I am up to. I have had several articles published in the Best Times,the largest senior citizen magazine in the mid-west and Good Old Days magazine out of Indiana.

Please consider subscribing to the Best Times, as they too are feeling the state of the economy. If you are interested in receiving The Best Times and you live in the Johnson county area please notify them for a free subscription. You must be a senior citizen to receive it free. Or, send them $15 for a monthly annual copy and help them through these hard times. Each issue is loaded with helpful information.