Recent Gardening Journal Entries
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After the Deluge...
The day that the rains came down
Mother earth smiled again
Now the lilacs could bloom
Now the fields could grow greener....
What a difference a few weeks makes. Greeness is back in fashion. The freshly nourished countryside basks in the moisture. There have been recent heavy showers of steady warm rain. The top few centimetres of soil is now wonderfully damp and warm but scratch below the surface and it is dry as dust. It was a mixed year for roses. Usually after first flush of bloom I give the roses a scat of fish blood and bone to help remontant ones re-flower and the once flowers put on good growth for next season. This has to be administered in mid July otherwise if done later it encourages too much sappy growth that can be damaged during winter. I normally feed FB&B in summer then bone meal, lime and a tiny pinch of borax in autumn then in spring more FB&B and my homemade compost mixed with manure as a mulch. My own compost is made in dustbins with holes in their sides to let air in. It is mostly kitchen waste and comfrey, fire ash and sweepings from my paths and steps. Once the bin is a quarter full I start adding almost all the urine I produce each day (I like to encourage my partner and any house guests to do likewise). After a few weeks a black liquid starts oozing out of a hole specially put in so I can tap off this precious elixir. It does not have an unpleasant smell, it smells like a farm yard, but not offensive. I use about 400ML in a 10 litre watering can and there is enough collected so I can feed all my China roses growing in pots, any newly planted roses and anything that needs a little boost. Because of all the nitrogen in the urine the food waste rots down really quickly. I make about five dustbins full each year and they are ready to use on the garden in about three months.
The rain brings a resurgence of dreaded blackspot. The older leaves of 'Variegata di Bologna' turned completely black by the end of June despite hot dry weather but its putting up plenty of new growth with the help of this liquid feed. I grow it like a climber, trained on wires this way I hope the growths are further away from the soil and get better air movement and maybe a touch less blackspot. It is such a leper spreading its disease to nearby 'William Lobb', 'Blau Magenta', 'Débutante' and 'Gertrude Jekyll' which otherwise would be clean and healthy but only the parts of these roses that are nearest to 'Variegata di Bologna' have the disease. 'Duchess of Portland' is quite bad too and since we had some rain 'Rose de Resht' is suddenly speckled with black spots although it's re-flowering quite well. Otherwise due to the warm dry weather everything else is fine and healthy. I'm off out now to pick black berries.
Keep track of GLOSSY & SHINY leaves on OWN-ROOT roses that like alkaline minerals. These are very robust & bloom well in my heavy alkaline clay (pH 7.7): Bolero, Pat Austin, Christopher Marlowe, Poseidon (low-thorn), Kordes Coral Flowercarpet (low-thorn), Barbra Streissand (low-thorn), Savannah, James Galway (low-thorn), Sweet Promise 2007 (low-thorn), Sheila's perfume, Tchaikosky, Evelyn, Betty White, Orchid Romance, Polka, Twilight zone (low-thorn), Neil Diamond, and Anna's promise.
The low-thorn glossy roses need more water & partial shade, such as Barbra Streissand, Poseidon, Kordes Coral-flowercarpet Twilight Zone, James Galway.
From below link, these Austin have glossy foliage: Boscobel, PAK, James Galway, Princess Ann, The Poet's wife, A. S. Lad.
From rose forum, folks report these to have glossy foliage: Francis Meilland, Julia Child, Westerland, Living Easy, Sunsprite, Apricot Vigorosa, Cinderella Fairytale, Lasting Love, Hot Cocoa, Purple Passion, Irish Hope, Elle, Chicago Peace, Moonstone, Rouge Royal and Trumpeter.
From HMF, these roses have shiny & glossy foliage: First Crush, Honey Nectar, Della Reese, Rugelda, Royal sunset, Silver Cloud, Love Potion, Princess de Monaco, Pumpkin Patch, Apple Blossom, Cinco de Mayo, Betty Boop, Souvenir de Marcel Proust, Sweet Arlene, Sundance, Amber Queen, Spice so Nice, Tahitian Sunset, Day breaker, Apricot nectar.
One of the promising 2018 Westerland seedlings. Despite the hot and dry weather, this-one produced a warm bright-colored yellow flower. A bit sun-bitten (in stead of frost-bitten).
Bought this rose twice as own-root from Roses Unlimited. One bloom can perfume the entire room. Except Japanese Beetles love to eat this. First one survived 2 zone 5a winters, then died in dry spring. Second one died in its 1st-dry-spring. Roots are solid & woody but shallow. If I have to do it all over again, I would get my cut-off plastic-containers to form a circular ring around to winter-protect & to hold in moisture & pile up leaves.