Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Photos of some favorite Tea Roses

Monsieur Tillier

Mrs. B. R. Cant

Mlle. Franziska Kruger

Duchesse de Brabant

E. Veyrat Hermanos

Mme. Lombard

Souvenir de Mme. Leonie Viennot

Even though I learned of the Tea Roses while living in Denver in 1989 or so, they were among my first loves and back then I grew them under glass in homemade hotframes to use in my Tampa clients' landscapes while I was here on work trips each winter. Back then there were NO watering restrictions and they utterly thrived. When I bought my Tampa retirement home in 1998 I began planning and planting my Tea Rose collection, and for the years we had all the hurricanes they thrived once again. But once the drought settled in, the hurricanes eased, and the watering restrictions became among the most stringent in the U.S. I began to lose them. It was heartbreaking to lose favorites like 'Monsieur Tillier', 'Mrs. B. R. Cant' and 'Perle des Jardins'. But in a state and a world with scant and shrinking supply of fresh water I was not and am not comfortable using SO much water to grow a flower when food needs to be grown. Plus as a food self sufficiency gardener, if I have to choose between watering my crops and a flower I love, the food wins.

So for the last few years my rose passions, including rose breeding, faded quite a bit, as roses, especially Tea Roses, are very thirsty plants. But I am now recreating at great expense my formerly grand roses collection (170 before the drought) by planting them in the Water Wise Container Gardens I "accidentally" invented while trying to figure out why so many of my St. Pete Times readers and others had such poor results with their pricey "Earth Boxes". These container gardens have proven to be SUCH a total game-changer I am in the process of making and burying hundreds of them (to protect the plastic from the sun's UV since I plan on living here the rest of my life) in 4, 5, 18 and 55 gallon sizes all over the front and back yards......which is a LOT of work. But my reliance on them has cut my water use dramatically...last June my water use bill for this whole urban farm was just $1.35!!

I hope you enjoy the photos of some Tea Roses I love, some taken before the drought set in years ago, some taken after I began phasing in my drainage-restricted Water Wise Container Gardens that are even letting me grow Hybrid Perpetual and Bourbon Roses I grew in Denver that supposedly "can't grow in Tampa, especially on their own roots and all organic"!


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