HelpMeFind Roses, Clematis and Peonies
Roses, Clematis and Peonies
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Jeff Britt
 
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12 MAY 09
Public
I bought a plant of Ebb Tide today It's growing on its own roots so perhaps it will not be as slow to establish as folks commenting in HMF have found. What a great color that flower is! And the fragrance is strong and spicy. I'm going to plant in between Antike and Gertrude Jekyll. It's a nice sunny spot, so we'll see how the flowers tolerate all day sun. Hope they won't brown out! Anyway, it's nice to have a new rose for the garden this year. I'll need a shoehorn to plant another.
7 MAY 09
Public
I spent four hours in the garden today, most of the time dead-heading roses and tidying up leaves and petals from the rains. We had four days of what my mother calls a "garden rain" -- very light, but very steady rain. When it wasn't raining a heavy, misting shower, it was incredibly humid and warm. The consequences were devastating to the roses that had started to bloom in mass. All open flowers were ruined -- petals turned to spotted parchment, moldy clumps or squishy wads. They all had to be removed before botrytis ran rampant. I filled a garbage can with the debris.

Some roses, all of them HTs, have lost their first flush of blooms already -- Double Delight, Savoy Hotel, Valencia, Special Occasion. But the others are carrying on, some of the later ones to get started blooming totally unfazed by the late rains. The Austins are all flowering their fool heads off and looking really beautiful. Perdita, Geoff Hamilton, Graham Thomas, Eglantyne, Fair Bianca, Crown Princess Margareta, Gertrude Jekyll and Abraham Darby are smothered in flowers. Anyone who wonders why anyone would grow an Austin rose would be answered instantly by a walk through my garden today. The scent and shear number of blooms in spring would make any future problems seem acceptable. They are just too beautiful! Also, Westerland, Dubling Bay, Radox Bouquet, Buff Beauty, Sombreuil and Cecil Brunner are in full spring flush and looking damn good. The whole affect is amazing. If only garden tours weren't such a pain in the rear end! I would love to open the garden again. Maybe next year.

The clematis are coming along nicely -- its going to be a great year for them. They have grown VERY vigorously this year, so the blooming should be exceptional. Crystal Fountain is already on the downward side of its spring flush. Polish Spirit is just getting going and the sieboldianas are in a riot of bloom. I'm very glad I have mostly type 3's.

It's going to be deadheading, deadheading, deadheading for the next several weeks. Rose slugs seem to be much fewer than the past two years (they couldn't be worse!) so spraying won't be needed (yet). Blackspot is minimal (so far). Perhaps we'll have a great rose year. If it just won't rain again until November!
5 MAY 09
Public
This is my first jounal entry on HMF. I have been keeping a garden journal for many years in series of "composition books", but have decided to use HMF to supplement my continued scribblings on paper. I will try to focus on roses and clematis here, leaving the other genera to my hand written journal.

We've just had four days of rather unusual wet weather in early May. The results are disheartening to say the least. All the roses, with the exception of English Garden and Antike, had begun to bloom and the rain has left any open blooms soggy and ruined. This is a regular event in the life of most rose gardeners, but in California we are very spoiled. We count on no rain from late April until mid November and are undone when we get it our of season. Sombreuil, which had begun to bloom in mass is not a total mess -- is now a tangle of wads of soggy, wet kleenex tissues on the end of each flowering stem. I can see the mildew, botrytis and grey molds growing in my mind and have a couple of hours of dead-heading to look forward to tomorrow.

All the same, there are many more buds to come than flowers spoilt, so the spring flush will carry on and the garden will look great again in a day or two. I guess I'm like every other rose gardener -- I live for the spring flush. Nothing gives me greater pleasure than walking around my garden and seeing and smelling the very best flowers of the whole year. That will be my reward for cleaning up the mess from the unusual May rains.
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