Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Thursday, December 5, 2013
Thursday, November 21, 2013
This rose species, Rosa multiflora, can be invasive in colder U.S. states where many decades ago it was planted on purpose for erosion control....I've met it in my many road trips between Denver and Tampa. I love the simple form of the bloom, and the sweetly sharp fragrance. Today I was blessed with hips of it in the mail! LONG shot in south Tampa between the lack of winter chill and nematodes, but why not at least try? IF they grow here, since it is a once bloomer, I MIGHT get blooms in 2016 for me to work with as a breeder, so I WILL be bugging a certain woman in Missouri next spring to mail me in normal envelope with one stamp a few dozen of the tiny barely opening buds so I can use the pollen on my Teas, Chinas and Noisettes, plus 'Teasing Georgia'.
Monday, November 18, 2013
From two years ago when Pamela Greenewald asked Gene Waering and I and others to give talks at her spring rose festival there at Angel Gardens in north Florida. All of her roses are grown on their own roots and organically vs. on Fortuniana and endlessly sprayed. A shame the 2013 HRF Conference did not take tour goers there for a real eyeful! She is a high energy and delightful person and does SO much with just the help of her husband and with their own funding. Her curiosity about roses is insatiable.
Friday, November 15, 2013
'Cramoisi Superieur' entered commerce around 1834 and once was common in Florida where it thrives. For many years there was a HUGE hedge of it at the south end of the meridian for Bayshore Blvd. so people could enjoy the incredible perfume when they'd use the water fountain. Sadly, when I was in Denver, for some incredible reason the city dug it up!!! In Okeechobee where my Mom and Dad once lived there is a yard with several huge ones that have been thriving for decades, and the last time I was at Marie Selby Botanic Gardens in Sarasota there was a HUGE one growing next to the sidewalk and street, EASILY 8' X 8'! I am growing two here that my Dad rooted from the one I gave him and Mom maybe 20 years ago.....last time I was there to sell his place it still thrived with zero care.
Thursday, November 14, 2013
One of my life missions for my 60s is reminding Floridians that in the late 1900s and early 20th century, Florida landscapes boasted Chinas, Teas and Noisette roses, long before the advent of the Fortuniana root stock and modern chemical fungicides and insecticides. I used to love to curl up on the warm carpeted floor of the Denver Botanic Gardens library on snowy days and savor articles about this in old American Rose Society annuals. For sure, long term drought has very badly impacted rose growing here in central Florida, except for the wealthy and subsidized who can afford gargantuan water bills while plundering a plunging aquifer, but Floridians can grow own root and organically 'Cramoisi Superieur', 'Old Blush', 'Francois Juranville', 'Seagull', 'Leontine Gervais', "Barfield White Climber" and so many more without running up their water bills if they mulch deeply. I pee on my roses both for the water and the dissolved nutrients. Even if one prefers roses budded to R. fortuniana, they are very rarely retailed here. Some advocates of R. fortuniana bud their own as a result, an option not open to Florida gardeners and home owners who just want to enjoy the grace, beauty and fragrances of Old Roses. To me, pesticide-based, high water use rose gardening is not sustainable and discourages people here in Florida or elsewhere to even try roses. My intent is to see the iconic Mystery Rose "Pink Cracker Rose", that was common in Tampa up until the early 80s, once again widely available as it eats nematodes, laughs off fungal attacks, thrives own root and is very long-lived, plus is wonderfully fragrant.
Friday, November 8, 2013
The north side of "Barfield White Climber" is 95% pruned....I can see my fence again and repaint it! Thank goodness this monster is 99.9999% prickle free or I'd be a bloody mess! Hard to believe how LONG the severed canes are! I am almost certainly going to severely prune the south side, which is MUCH less vigorous to get light through for my street beds' winter plantings of nasturtiums, glads, white sweet alyssum and more. Now that 'Marechal Niel' is fully exposed I can that, oddly, it leaned NORTH and hence off the rebar trellis above it. It should not be too hard to prune it lightly then use a rake to push the main canes onto the rebar and lash them with phone lines I dumpster dived tons of brand new ones of at Dollar Tree. This whole project will make my property much tidier looking and the front flower beds MUCH sunnier. Its is going to take some work to turn that huge pile into mulch for the nearby Raja Puri banana but will be worth it.
Friday, November 1, 2013
I became an environmentalist in 1970, a rosarian in 1989....if I had to choose, the former is of far greater to importance to me as the world buckles under the weight of 7 billion human beings plundering its resources and polluting entire ecosystems and wiping out several species daily. As a native Floridian it has been disturbing for me to see my state go from lush wetness in the 60s and 70s to essentially permanent drought beginning in the mid 80s. Water tables have plunged. Watering restrictions are draconian and permanent. But I DO love roses too. As an organic landscaper I've planted hundreds of own root Teas, Chinas, Noisettes, Poly-Teas and Wichuraianas in clients' gardens since 1989 that thrived if kept deeply mulched, fed organically, and given a DEEP watering weekly. But I'll be the first to admit that most modern roses fail own root in Florida, likely due to drought and root knot nematodes...the ONLY two to thrive for my clients or me were 'Don Juan' and 'Abraham Darby', both of which have R. wichuraiana in their lineage. Modern roses on the Dr. Huey rootstock sold at Home Depot, etc. have the well-earned reputation of being little better than annuals unless grown in pots filled with rich compost...even then they hardly thrive. I know of a few lush rose gardens in the area based on the thirsty Fortuniana rootstock: one enjoys academic exemption from the watering restrictions that homeowners must abide by else face very daunting fines, and the others belong to VERY upscale people who can afford the Tier Three water bills they generate monthly with their elaborate watering systems. And they all rely heavily on pesticides that I could not be paid to use. So I am thinking of trying an experiment....I've not done any budding/grafting since the 70s and 80s when I was obsessed with euphorbias and cacti and had fun making chimeras.....I can't help but notice over the last decade or more that 'Seagull', "Pink Cracker Rose", "Barfield White Climber", 'Cramoisi Superieur', R. bracteata and R. laevigata, 'Mermaid' and 'Francois Juranville' all seem utterly immune to the nematodes and years of drought and my VERY scant use of water here. It might be a worthwhile effort to try using THEM as root stocks as see how modern roses budded to them might fare in the drought when not indulged in the lavish amounts of water given to most rose gardens based on R. fortuniana. A shortcoming of R. fortuniana is that it fans out an admirably WIDE root system, but it tends to stay in the top few inches of our sandy soil that holds water so poorly....perhaps those other roses that have laughed at all these years of drought send their roots down deeply? That's part of the fun of roses...always new things to learn and try if we have an open mind and don't succumb to dogma and habit.
Thursday, October 31, 2013
Susan Johnson all those panty hose you gave me to train my rambling roses are coming in very handy.....I use half an entire leg to attach main canes to the rebar, thin strips for thinner canes plus my tomatoes. Thank you! My 'Francois Juranville' is now retrained to its rebar arch using them and scavenged telephone wire.....I'm re-doing it from a young runner that survived after my monster rose 'Mermaid', which was magnificent for ten years, choked out the original and consumed my front yard to the point that I could not get in for two years! In the 90s a Florida rosarian announced that 'Mermaid' does poorly here but his plant was on Fortuniana and given vast amounts of water and chemical input. So in 1999 I planted an own root one here and it took off and for about 6 years it was manageable, a real show stopper that made people hit their brakes when they'd see the vast number of lovely yellow 5-petaled flowers. Then I simply lost control no matter how much/often I pruned due it suckering maniacally. It was useless as a breeder for me whereas 'Francois Juranville' gives me great seedlings so a friend and I used power tools to cut dowm 'Mermaid' and take a few truck loads to a local brush dump. I am still re-creating the front rose gardens ravaged by 'Mermaid, so it does my soul good to see that surviving cane of 'Francois Juranville' back up on that rebar.....attached is a pic of a portion of it before 'Mermaid' began to encroach on it....the salmony pink blooms smell of Granny Smith apple skin and Old Rose. Thank you!
Sunday, October 27, 2013
I've neglected the poor thing for years yet it grows and blooms non-stop, thriving in a buried 4 gallon Water Wise Container Garden in my hot DRY west street bed. But the blooms have gotten much smaller and with far fewer petals. But now that the autumn cool down is here I'll give it a 50% cutback, a lush feeding of fish emulsion, chicken poop and Epsom salts plus a couple of deep waterings per month...by late winter/early spring the blooms should be lovely again. Of course I will try to root cuttings to share as this rose deserves to be in plenty of Florida landscapes. I agree....it really IS a drought resistant Tea Rose.
Thursday, October 24, 2013
"Jo An's Pink Perpetual" from Denver's Fairmount Cemetery is budding up even more, with this new bloom open this morning. The fragrance is intoxicating Old Rose. On one of Fred Boutin's two visits to Denver the parent plant was in bloom.....he agreed with me...best guess on the ID was 'Champion Of The World'. This own root organically grown plant is 5-6 years old in an 18 gallon Water Wise Container Garden on the north side of my home. Lovely Victorian form. I'll be sure to use its pollen on 'Seagull' and 'Dr. Grill' and 'Teasing Georgia' next spring. This and other roses of mine are enjoying the autumn cool down...55 tomorrow night!
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Kim Rupert just e-mailed me that Burbank himself gave plants of 'Burbank' to Thomas Edison and Henry Ford for their Florida homes! This along with Jack Holmes selling for Mother's Day 1933 a pink rose that it time got the nick name "Cracker Rose" could help explain why it was once so common in Florida! Kim likes the idea (as do I) of DNA mapping of 'Santa Rosa', 'Burbank' and "Pink Cracker Rose" to try to sort all this out.
NOW I see why some folks say there is confusion about 'Burbank' and 'Santa Rosa', both of which came from the same hip. BOTH remind me a GREAT deal of "Pink Cracker Rose".