Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Peace and Grace

Grace is the vivacious and effusively friendly Mom of my long time customer and friend Donna Bevis, and some years ago she grew  in a big pot a cheap plant of 'Peace' budded onto the Fortuniana rootstock that in Florida tends to be short-lived....look at the floral perfection of that classic rose she achieved! And with no pesticides.

  Sadly, some low-life had the audacity to steal that lovely potted specimen from her own front porch that summer!  They robbed her of a treasure she adored and tended to. As punishment for the scumbag I wish an eternity of threesomes with Dick Cheney and Rodney Dangerfield.

  Enjoy, John

Friday, December 17, 2010

'Seagull' Rambling Rose, 1907

I love this rambling rose as much here in Tampa as I did my monster specimen in my Denver yard. In the late 90's, as I co-hosted the 1997 Heritage Rose Foundation Conference in Denver, Stephen Scanniello suggested that I try 'Seagull'  there. His advice was sound as that plant soon wove up into my west facing cedar tree there at 1684 Willow Street in Denver, each summer spilling out from openings in the cedar's canopy in fragrant white cascades.  Some folks feel it is a Wichuriana Hybrid, others a Multiflora suggested parentage I've seen that has intrigued me for many years is (R. multiflora X General Jacqueminot)...which might explain the high rate of remontant seedlings I get from open-pollinated hips from my Tampa specimen, which gets almost no care yet is very vigorous. Since I have memories of 'Seagull' from England, California, Texas, Colorado, Buschardt Gardens, all cooler climate areas, I love seeing my plant growing beside my Queen Palm!  John

Check out this link at my favorite roses website:

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

rose bouquets

I enjoy most the informal bouquets I make on a whim.  John 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Gratitude Is central to being happy.....

It was not until I endured deep, years long financial duress and seemingly endless winters in Denver, followed by the blessings of coming home to Tampa to a paid for home and no debt, plus good health, friends and the climate that feels "right" to me, the scents of saltwater and citrus blossoms, that I finally knew how to feel deep daily gratitude for my abundances. This concise two part article in 'Psychology Today' is an excellent overview of how to cultivate and make habitual a life posture of gratitude for food in the fridge, a car that runs, being able paying a bill, the scent of flowers in a garden, falling asleep on sheets fresh that day from the clothesline, sharing a meal with a friend, feeling one's hands in rich living soil, an embrace with someone you love....the list is deliciously infinite. Enjoy! John

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Cold Hardy Ramblers from my Denver Yard and Denver Clients' Yards

                                            'Hiawatha' and me

                                              'Cornelia' and Graig and Shanti

                                             'De La Grifferie' and Graig and Shanti

                                            'Ghislaine de Feligonde' and Graig and Shanti

'Ghislaine de Feligonde'

                                    'Hiawatha' and my neighbor Charlene

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A cheap heirloom non-toxic control for bugs, mites and fungi for roses

We’ve all had to deal with fungus problems on roses, old and modern. And we’ve all had aphids, mealy bugs, scale and red spider mites feast on hopeful new green growth and those oh-so promising buds plus the foliage. Growing roses indoors in winter in south windows as a decadent indulgence, and in green houses, requires a new mindset due to the absence of predators. Those funky smelling chemical fungicides and insecticides rarely seem to work for long, and if they do, eating the produce or sniffing the blooms can be pretty scary. Hey, who wants to eat or inhale toxic chemicals when smelling an herb or bloom? Thankfully, for over 100 years, Southern gardeners have relied on a cheap, non-toxic and VERY effective natural alternative they bought in grocery stores, and that thankfully we can now also order toll free or on-line.

What is it? An old-fashioned lye soap called ‘Kirk’s Castile’. Yup, dissolved in hot water this true soap (most “soaps” these days are detergents) is an organic gardener’s dream come true as a non-toxic all purpose garden spray. I was taught this concept in the 70's when I was an idealistic hippie/art major living in Seminole Heights with wise elderly neighbors who’d used it since the 1930's. These women said that back when they were young gardeners it wasn’t called “organic gardening”…. it was just a very cheap, tried-and-true common sense gardening aid…just splash the used dish and laundry water on plants with fungus and bug problems

To make a small batch of soap spray, rub a bar of “Kirk’s Castile” against a cheese grater, then dissolve 1-3 heaping tablespoon of the soap flakes in 1 gallon of very hot tap water in an old plastic milk jug. Let it sit a couple days, shaking the jug daily to dissolve lumps. Then pour the spray into a trigger spray bottle or your garden pump sprayer then spray the affected plants every 7-10 days till they are dripping. Be sure to apply the spray when you don’t plan on watering for a few days so it can cling to the leaves and do its job. Don’t be afraid to experiment with slightly weaker or stronger strengths as it is non-burning unlike some of the dishwashing detergent liquids you may have tried in vain.

To make a big batch of concentrate for future use, drop a whole bar into a wide mouth gallon container. Fill that jug with 1 gallon very hot tap water and let sit a week, stirring daily. You’ll end up with 1 gallon of a thick soap concentrate that keeps just about forever in a lidded container. To make a batch of spray, dissolve 1 cup of this concentrate in 1 gallon warm water, shake, then pour it into your sprayer. Thus a cheap bar of soap will make you SIXTEEN GALLONS of a very safe and effective fungicide and insecticide that won’t harm the environment nor make your vegetables and flowers and herbs toxic. For tougher problems try 1 part soap concentrate to 10 parts water for a thicker, more potent soap spray. And there is little worry of leaf burn from harsh summer sun.

How does it work? The soap alkalinizes the leaf surface, but powdery mildew and black spot and sooty mold ( on citrus and gardenias) fungi need an ACIDIC leaf cuticle to grow on…plus as a soap it helps to rinse them off. Spray UP at the undersides of the leaves if you are after blackspot fungus on roses.

What’s cool too is that the coconut oil in the soapy water (true soap is an oil or fat plus lye) help suffocate bad bugs by plugging up their breathing holes and permeating their chitinous exoskeletons. (that’ll teach’em ) Aphids on new growth? Spider mites on leaf undersides? Mealy bugs or scale on the stems on shrubs? White fly on your tomatoes? Just spray the plant thoroughly till it drips. Quite often the wing coverings of our garden allies the ladybugs and lacewings seem to spare them by acting as umbrellas. Adding 1 cup of cheap vegetable oil to that soapy gallon and shaking it thoroughly will let you wipe out vast numbers of scale insects.

Okay, its 2010, not 1976, and I am a little more grounded plus happily middle-aged now, and so I am glad that now more and more folks wish for less toxic ways to grow their garden favorites. A century old secret deserves to be better known and tried before we resort to expensive chemical sprays that can kill many unintended and valuable inhabitants of our yards’ ecosystems and endanger our children and pets while adding to the burden of poisons endured by our own bodies, the groundwater and what remains of this beautiful planetary ecology.



Publix, Albertson’s Kirk’s Natural 1-800-825-4757

'Teasing Georgia' as a pillar rose in Tampa

Let's revisit this post from last spring.....since I shot this video the plant has gotten so much huskier. Soon I will use speaker wire, etc. to train the very stiff lateral canes back to the rebar core. If we continue to have a very dry chilly La Nina winter I think its spring bloom phase will be glorious, IF I give it 5 gallon buckets of kitchen gray water a few times per month. About every 6-8 weeks I give it a deep hose end soaking using a shower type sprinkler head (see the photo)  in this new "drought-as-norm" paradigm in my native Florida. When  soon I bale out the Muscovy ducks' pond they have soiled again with poop, you can be sure that 'Teasing Georgia' will get at least one 5 gallon bucket.   Enjoy, John

Monday, December 6, 2010

Old Rose 'Louise Odier'

In Denver my plant was a towering pillar rose in my west-facing front yard. There it was a very good hip setter. See the HelpMeFind  link for more data. Oh that fragrance!! Enjoy, John

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Cold Hardy Climbing Roses

Here are some photos from a Denver client's climbing roses I chose and planted for them. I believe they are 2 years old in these pics....maybe 3. All are own root and organically grown. Enjoy!   John

Moving Heavy Objects in Your Landscape

Free and easy. John

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Some favorite yellow roses of mine

E. Veyrat Hermanos

Teasing Georgia

Marechal Neil

Lemon Zen, a Noisette I bred (R. moschata X Graham Thomas)

While I am a slut for very dark red, VERY fragrant roses like 'Oklahoma', 'Eugene Furst', 'Alfred Colomb' and 'Will Rogers', I have a weakness for yellow toned roses too. I hope you enjoy these photos from my garden, John.

Rooting Rose Cuttings in Plastic Cookie Jugs

Seems to be working! John

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Cemetery Roses

I wrote this article in April 2007, but forget if it was published in either 'Colorado Gardener' or The Rocky Mountain News. Enjoy, John


Old cemeteries would seem to be unlikely havens for hope and beauty, but in between those old weathered headstones stirs the perennial allure of "Cemetery Roses". Long extinct in home gardens, these living treasures have been preserved in cemeteries to be found, catalogued, given "study names" as work unfolds to discover their true identities, and propagated by rosarians to insure their survival for generations to come.

A great many of the Old Roses we see in catalogs and cherish in our gardens were discovered in cemeteries dating to the 19th and early 20th centuries. In my dozen years of work at Denver’s Fairmount Cemetery, which opened in 1890, I found and catalogued 77 varieties of Old Roses, with only thirteen being identified. The rest continue to bear their "study names" like "Fairmount Red" and "Fairmount Proserpine" and "Austin Pink Damask", which a few of are in commerce at High Country Roses in Utah.

"Cemetery Roses" endure many decades of neglect and abuse, testaments to their toughness and will to live, making them perfect choices for modern, low-care, water-wise landscapes. And since they grow on their own roots vs. being grafted onto a foreign rootstock as are most modern roses we see for sale, they will bounce back from hard freezes, severe droughts, or over-jealous weed eaters. Most are shrub roses though some are climbers and ramblers perfect for swathing a fence or arbor in fragrant Victorian decadence.

Hungry eyes will eat up their sultry reds and magentas, plus a whole spectrum of pinks and even a few pristine whites. And an eager nose will relish a Whitman’s Sampler of spicy perfumes, the classic "Old Rose" scent, plus ones reminiscent of pine needles, tea, or violets. Most "Cemetery Roses" are once-blooming Gallicas, Albas, Damasks and Hybrid Chinas that glory in late spring or early summer, but the Teas, Chinas, Noisettes, Bourbons, and Hybrid Perpetuals that were found in a great many Gold Rush era California cemeteries, bloom repeatedly from spring through autumn, and even in winter in mild regions like Florida.

Sadly, as many old cemeteries are being bought up by large corporations eager for profits at the expense of cultural heritage, these wonderful roses and perennials are being destroyed purposefully with herbicides to "reduce overhead" by leaving only sod alive. Since many Old Roses found in cemeteries and now in commerce once again were introduced as long ago as 1100 AD, right up through the Middle Ages and the birth of America, why not give them welcome homes in our 21st century landscapes to help insure their survival for many more generations to come?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

art print for sale of the Climbing Tea 'E. Veyrat Hermanos'

This is one of my very favorite roses....little perfume but stunning coloration. This digital print is on low acid paper measuring 15.5 X 12.5 inches, signed by me in the white border. The price is $195 with free shipping. Please use the PayPal button at the bottom of the blog to make your payment and provide me your name and shipping address. Thank you in advance for inviting my photograph of this lovely Old Rose into your office or home. Click on the HelpMeFind link below to learn more about this stunner. John

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Best Roses Web Site and Research Tool

Most rosarians and rose breeders agree...... is THE best roses site out there. See below the link to the page I got by typing 'Duchesse de Brabant' into the plant search tool. Free site though a donation allows one to access higher, more rarified functions. I have relied on Steve and Clara's grand creation for many years now. John

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Rose Hips from 1684 Willow Street

My wonderful ex-neighbor of fifteen years in Denver, Cherrie, e-mailed me to offer to pick a bunch of rose hips from my old Denver yard with the permission of the guy now renting there. He said "yes" and she picked me a BUNCH. Sure they are just open-pollinated, and sure, any seedlings are very apt to not like Florida since the parent roses thrive on neglect in Colorado. But I love to experiment, so why not? After all, this Tampa yard and my Denver yard both boasted thriving roses that experts said "can't live there". Just like Cherrie to do a favor for me out of the blue. John

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

2005 article from my old Rocky Mountain News column (relevant to cold climate regions)

by John Starnes

Roses are a real pain to grow……….everybody knows THAT! Be they purchased as cheap bare-root roses, or as expensive gorgeous potted specimens in full bloom, they promise colorful fragrance but usually deliver disappointment and guilt. We’re told they demand systemic insecticides and fungal sprays and powders (more guilt as we poison the environment) so we comply only to once again end up with sickly twigs whose only color is the perky plastic label hanging on long after all the leaves fall off. Each and every summer, roses prove you are a plant murderer with a "brown thumb". Roses are "expensive annuals"………..everybody knows THAT!
And I agree with all this….about GRAFTED roses, which until recently was all the public could buy.

For the ease and profit margin of big growers in frost free regions of southern Texas and southern California, "grafted roses" are mass-produced by surgically attaching (grafting) pieces of a desirable rose variety ( say ‘Peace’ or ‘Baronne Prevost’ or ‘Graham Thomas’) onto the root system of an easily grown primitive rose, usually ‘Dr. Huey’, which is the lanky red rose that comes up where you KNOW you planted a rose of a different color! Shipped as dormant bare root plants to Colorado in early spring then quickly grown to enticing perfection in cozy greenhouses in time for the "Spring Fever Shopping Frenzy" we all plunge into like salmon in a stream, grafted roses are like all those shiny new 1972 Vegas that broke down a few miles from the dealership….pretty enough to buy but hardly designed to be a lasting value.

But "Own Root Roses", like our grandmothers grew from cuttings they rooted under jars, while small and unimpressive initially, are the Toyotas of the rose world. We’ve all seen them thriving every summer in quaint neighborhoods, old cemeteries and private gardens. Due to their reliability and longevity, "Own Root Roses" are being planted in great numbers at the Denver Zoo by Director of Horticulture Merle Moore, who also has been director of the Denver Botanic Gardens…he knows his stuff!

Choose a full sun location, and plant your own root rose deeply in a big hole improved with a lot of compost and a couple handfuls of superphosphate or bone meal. Cover it all with a couple inches of the heavy clay soil you removed when digging the hole, apply a few inches of mulch, water deeply, then get on with your busy life. So planted, an own-root rose will barely protrude above the soil line and hence look a little silly, but it will spend that first season developing an admirable root system. Like all woody perennials, own root roses are slow at first but mature in their third year in the garden, hence the charming turn-of-the-century truism about them…"First year they sleep, second year they creep, third year they leap!"

All they need is a lot of sunshine, a pruning late each April to remove winter damage, a late April feeding of organics (I like 1 cup each of kelp meal, Ringer Lawn Restore, epsom salts, alfalfa pellets, fresh horse poop plus one cup of ‘Calf Manna’ from a feedstore) and 3-4 deep waterings per month. My favorite mulch for them is the chipped branches from a tree trimming service A simple soap spray made from a bar of ‘Kirk’s Castile’ or "Octagon Soap’ is the only pesticide I use to control aphids and blackspot and mildew in my clients’ rose gardens, or my own collection of approximately 130 varieties of own root roses, so the petals and hips are safe to use in the kitchen. Not weakened by being grafted onto a foreign root system, they will settle in for decades of life in your landscape, blessing you with the fragrant charm and grace only roses can offer the eye, nose and heart.

Until recently, "own root roses" were very hard to acquire unless one, like me, was an obsessed rosarian who’d scoured the U.S. for obscure little catalogs. But widespread disdain for grafted roses, and the growing, glowing reputation of easy-to-grow "Own Root Roses", has happily resulted in several Colorado nurseries offering over 200 varieties of Old-Fashioned and Modern Roses on their own roots this spring! So ignore the big flashy "Elvis" roses grafted onto their platform shoes for extra height, and treat yourself to the reliable, smaller-at-first "Own Root Roses" that will be a joy to grow, organically, year after year. As you improve with age, so will they!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Reve d'Or

This vigorous climbing Tea Noisette is likely my favorite yellow climbing rose for Florida and other mild climate regions.

Monday, September 6, 2010

China Rose 'Cramoisi Superieur'

Mom and Dad's specimen

A photo I took at the Marie Shelby Botanic Gardens

I have never been able to root this tough lovely Old Rose that LOVES Florida after many years of trying, yet my non-rosarian Dad just gave me FIVE husky plants of it he rooted cuttings of from the plant I gave him and Mom years ago! Dad rooted them in a pot of soil in full sun, no greenhouse type cover like so many folks do. So I took cuttings from his plant to try that approach, though I am concerned the cuttings MAY have gotten too cold on the bottom shelf of my fridge. Enjoy! John

Friday, September 3, 2010

"No passion so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear."

Edmund Burke

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Old Blush

This charming rose is an historical wonder, having brought the genes for remontancy to western roses around 1750.....possibly MUCH earlier. It has many names including....'Parson's Pink', 'Monthly Rose' and 'Pallida'. European breeders immediately started interplanting it with their centuries old Mosses and Albas and Gallicas and Damasks to let nature take its course...(they did not know about/had not yet thought up controlled breeding). It was SUCH a potent parent, both as Mom AND Dad, that it soon came to be known as "The Stud Rose of China"!

Within a few years the 'Hybrid Chinas' came about from these random crosses by wind and bee.....this catchall term embraces a GREAT many roses (like one of my favorites, 'Great Western'), most once blooming and lusciously scented (their seedlings however COULD be remontant due to recessive genes from 'Old Blush' surfacing). Other roses from China, like 'Slater's Crimson' and 'Park's Yellow Tea Scented China' soon arrived on the scene and led to many new classes of repeat blooming roses, including the Damask Perpetuals, Portlands, Bourbons, Teas, Polyanthas and Poly-Teas, Hybrid Perpetuals, Pernetianas and, finally, the modern Hybrid Tea. So us lovers of the rose owe a lot to this "studly" great-great-great-great-great-great Grand Daddy.

Here is a photo of a honeybee visiting a bloom on my plant some years ago. You can order a husky, own root plant of this living treasure from the good folks at The Antique Rose Emporium, whom I've been happily buying from and dealing since 1989 when I lived in Denver. This rose loves Florida but is VERY tough and adaptable, and you can rely on The Antique Rose Emporium to let you know if it should do well where you live. Owner Mike Shoup is a fine rosarian and a great guy, and it shows in the respect his business gives to roses and his customers. You can reach them at: 1-800-441-0002
'Old Blush' has the classic "China Rose" perfume....very fruity with a touch of "Old Rose". It is a good hip setter too. But I don't like the taste...too astringent and bitter for me unlike the fruity sweetness of frost-touched hips of 'The Dog Rose' (Rosa canina) that I ate thousands of in Denver from the plants along the High Line Canal east of Fairmount Cemetery, and in the cemetery itself.


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Woo Hoo! Happy Birthday to Me!

I turned 57 today. Will celebrate by weeding, rooting cuttings, cleaning house, then eating my body weight in seafood and sushi at my beloved Tampa Buffet at Britton Plaza. I will concern myself with losing that last 12 pounds beginning tomorrow! When I was deeply depressed and closeted in my teens and twenties, I could have never imagined that by my forties I'd be so damned happy. And folks back then were fifties have been a blast! John

Thursday, August 12, 2010

"Fairmount Proserpine"

Photo by Michael Mowry

Photo by Michael Mowry

By the autumn of 2001, 78 varieties of Old Roses and Mystery Roses had been discovered in Denver’s 111 year old, 260 acre Fairmount Cemetery. "Fairmount Proserpine" is the study name I gave to a singularly beautiful, repeat blooming Mystery Rose first I first noticed in the fall of 1999. Perhaps planted by a loved one by that headstone, this charmer is very likely an early Bourbon rose, quite possibly the rare cultivar ‘Proserpine’ from the year 1841. In Greek mythology Proserpine was the wife of Pluto, god of the underworld…how fitting to find it in a cemetery! I found the rose while one of my Denver Botanic Gardens students and I searched Fairmount that fall day for the widely scattered repeat-bloomers I’d noticed each autumn prior. It was a thrill to find, and that night I curled up with Brent C. Dickerson’s ‘Old Rose Advisor’ and based on the bamboo-like canes, leafy bud sepals and bloom form and color I hesitantly but excitedly concluded that "Fairmount Proserpine" might be a very apt study name. To this day I feel that is the best guess.

Displaying the red new growth, fruity overtones of fragrance, and repeat bloom of a China Rose but possessing the leafy sepals, hooked prickles, cold hardiness and rich Old Rose background scent of the Damask roses, "Fairmount Proserpine" is intermediate between the two groups and thus offers the best of both. The narrow upright shrub will fit into even small gardens, reaching 5 feet in height and just 4 feet across. From June through October in Denver it offers a complex Old Rose form, highlighted by a charming "knob" of unopened petals in the center of each unfurling blossom. If one is lucky, it will open right before your eyes, or if touched by a finger to prompt it like a Jack-in-the-box! At that moment the perfume is startlingly intense. By autumn these blooms have transformed into small, oblong, bright orange hips for a final color feast.

One curious but charming trait is that new growth tips and unopened glandular buds, when rubbed with one’s fingers, release that savory pine needle scent of the Moss Roses!

Even young plants are eager to bloom in Denver, and very free of disease and pest issues if grown in full sun, kept deeply mulched and fed fish meal or fish emulsion liquid fertilizer in the spring. Picking bouquets frequently encourages even more blooms. I am having fair results with it here in Tampa IF I grow it in a drainage-restricted Water Wise Container Garden.
This rare treasure is now growing in the gardens of two of the world’s greatest rosarians, Fred Boutin and Brent C. Dickerson, as they seek to confirm its true identity. Until then, it is available in limited quantities as a Mystery Rose that will bring heart-stirring beauty to your garden. It is my hope that more rosarians will grow this lovely Old Rose, not only to help preserve it, but also to add to the effort to secure an accurate ID for it.
High Country Roses Jensen, Utah 1-800-552-2082

Friday, August 6, 2010

High Contrast Bouquets

I love mixing roses, perennials and annuals into big informal bouquets. In Denver I especially loved making arrangements that relied on the rich contrasts between blues, purples and yellows. Here are some pics with 'Persian Yellow' (Rosa foetida) being the yellow rose of choice. I forget which, but one was chosen to be on the cover of 'Colorado Gardener', but we just could not get the data density high enough to look good. Enjoy! John

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Breeding Red Roses

'Oklahoma' own root in Tampa

"Fairmount Red" in Denver, photo by Michael Mowry

"Fairmount Red" own root in Tampa, Spring 2010

Today I picked a fat hip of ("Fairmount Red" X 'Oklahoma'). Since both are doing fine for me own root and all-organic in Water Wise Container Gardens even though this is Tampa, I can't but be hopeful about any seedlings that result. I just hope I GET seedlings....the last couple of years I've been cursed by miserable germination rates. IF these seeds sprout, I may see first blooms on seedlings in 2013 since "Fairmount Red" is a once bloomer. I'd love it if the best traits of rich color and intense perfume of both parents end up in a vigorous rose that thrives here. If "Fairmount Red" is what I have long suspected it is, 25% of the seedlings could be repeat bloomers. And because of this parentage, any desirable seedling resulting from this cross could be very cold hardy in snowy winter regions as "Fairmount Red" was totally immune to Denver winters.
Enjoy, John

Saturday, July 31, 2010

"Restricted Drainage Container Gardening"

I am still making and using new versions of an early progenitor to my Water Wise Container Gardens.......Restricted Drainage Container Gardens. They are easy and a tightwad's dream.....scavenge large used commercial black plastic tree pots, draw a rolled up used plastic grocery bag, half way, through each and every drainage hole so that half of each extends outside the pot. Set it in place, pile mulch around the base to hide the bags, then fill the pot with the soil/compost mix of your choosing. Soak it DEEPLY by hand, repeat an hour later, apply 2 inches of free chipped tree trimming mulch, then plant, then hand water again. This approach DOES allow the soil to drain, but SLOWLY. The large soil surface allows for good oxygen flow to the roots, especially if you bury a few handfuls of dry dog or cat food then add some red wriggler earthworms. This approach has allowed me to grow Old Roses, broccoli, hot peppers, okra and more despite south Tampa's perennial lack of sufficient rain. I also like to pee in them plus give them kitchen graywater as sources of both water AND nutrients. John

Peek and You Shall Find

A few years back I found this charming metal birdhouse that just needed a minor roof leak repair and some spray paint, plus that large mechanized bird feeder that was pristine while dumpster diving/curbside scavenging. For years I've kept a Universe Wish List on my fridge door of things I want to see happen or for me to acquire....and more often than not, The Alley God, via dumpsters, curbsides and a fortunate life, blesses me with those wishes come true.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Roses From Seeds

I've been breeding roses since 1994 and am pleased to have a few, like 'Sarasota Spice' and 'Four Inch Heels' and 'Gold Blush' in limited commerce. I have a fun form of ADDHD and so am surprised at my patience with the process.....months for the hips to form after the hand-pollination, many months or even years of refrigeration before they sprout (I had to wait seven years to see the first bloom on my Hybrid Alba 'Brenda Mowery'), then waiting for the first bloom. It is a THRILL to see that first teensy bud forming on an often TEENSY rose seedlings just 1-2 months old (if it is a repeat-bloomer). Here are some pics of some of my "kids" when they were very young indeed. John