Friday, March 21, 2008

Joseph's Coat Climbing Rose

Back in 2006 when we first planted the Knockout roses, we also planted three climbing roses behind each Graham Blandy to add a little more color to the right front bed. You can't really see them in this photo, but I swear they are there.

knock out roses august 2007

We purchased the plants from Home Depot (of all places). They were pretty crappy roses and cost like $2.50 each because it was the end of the planting season for roses and they were on sale. Big spender! Yes, I was naive back in those days and didn't know Home Depot sold crappy plants. FYI - In my new found wisdom, I do not advocate the purchase of roses from Home Depot. All that aside, we bought two yellow Casino Climbers and one White Dawn climber. I thought yellow and white would help add a little more contrast to the green and red motif we currently had going on.

The yellow Casino Climbers have performed beautifully, faithfully producing huge blooms of a fragrant butter color all season long. They have branched out wonderfully and I expect some gorgeous blooms from them again this year.

The White Dawn climber has not performed so well. I think it is more suited as a rambling rose, to be positioned on a fence or possibly allowed to grow along the ground, because its canes are very flimsy, and it has not appreciated my attempts to make it grow upright.

I regretted buying these roses the first time I saw a Joseph's Coat climbing rose in a rose catalogue. I often have "buyer's regret" when I see something better, but this time it was almost uncontrollable, and I felt like a dork for buying roses from Home Depot. LOL. I am becoming a plant snob.

When I read how the Joseph's Coat transitioned from red to gold to yellow, and I imagined how lovely they would look against the deep red brick of the house intermingled with the cherry red Knockout roses, I just knew I had to have at least one! I resisted the urge to buy them though, because I can be a bit of a hasty spender. I was very proud of myself. However, now that I have given the White Dawn climber a reasonable amount of time to prove itself, and it has pretty much spit in my face, I gave myself permission to get the rose I really want! Woo-hoo!

I remember from a seminar I attended at the North Carolina Arboretum that one of the speakers liked the website, so I surfed on over to that site to see if they carried the rose I wanted, and in fact, they did. I ordered one, and it arrived last week. This company sells only "own-root" roses, which means they are not grafted onto a hardier variety of rose, but growing from their own roots. They claim there are numerous benefits for growing "own-root" roses over grafted plants, but I have little experience with grafted roses, so I cannot really comment. My Knockout roses are own-root and have performed awesomely, and my currently climbers are grafted, and 2/3 have performed well. So, I really cannot give an educated opinion on the matter at this point.

I was prepared for a small plant, so I wasn't disappointed when it arrived. They sent it at the perfect planting time, and I put it in the ground the same day it came.

joseph's coat climbing rose

I added a good bit of manure to the soil to jump start its growth and watered it in very generously. I think it will do well. The plant is healthy and the site is perfect.

I did have a bit of a challenge planting it, because I needed to work between a Graham Blandy and a Knockout rose. Roses have thorns - painful thorns that can penetrate jeans and thick shirts! As you can see from this picture, there was no avoiding the prickles while working in this area.

roses and graham blandy

So I got the bright idea to cover the Knockout rose instead of trying to layer myself with enough clothes to deter the thorns. I doubled up an old sheet, draped it over the bush, and all was well. I didn't get stabbed once. So, there's a little tip for you when working in a rose bed - just cover the roses up with an old sheet, and it'll keep the thorns out of your rear-end! LOL!

We have just one more month of planting time for roses, so if you're thinking of adding a new rose to your garden, you better get in gear, and fast!

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Spring in Bloom

Yesterday was the first day of Spring. Hooray! It's finally here! I have many lovely blooms in full force to welcome Spring's arrival.

This Alpine Snowcap from Bluestone Perennials was planted in the Fall of 2006. Mine doesn't look as good as their picture, but they probably don't have a naughty little Pug that pees on theirs every morning either.

alpine snowcap in bloom

Bluestone Perennials sells most of their plants in sets of three, and although the plants they ship are very small, they grow incredibly fast. When we first planted this plant, it was only this big.

alpine snowcap

But it reached this size in less than a year.

alpine snowcap

They are also very good about honoring their guarantee. I have replaced plants with them in the past, and they are very friendly about it, and the plants arrived quickly. Bluestone Perennials is my #1 pick for ordering perennials on-line.

My daffodils are also in beautiful bloom!

path of daffodils

The blooms have lasted longer this year than previous years, and I am happy about that. I purchased these bulbs from Jesse Israel over the course of two years. This spot gets a lot of sun, not enough water, and honestly is too heavy with clay, but most of the bulbs have been persistent about returning each year. I love daffodils. In another two years, this strip should be overflowing with bulbs since they multiply so rapidly.

Although I do love the yellow flowers, this white and yellow one is my favorite.


I like buying the mixed sets so I am surprised every year at the varieties that pop up. I guess I always forget that they're mixed until they start blooming! LOL!

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Wascally Wabbit!

A rabbit has been munching on my tulips.

rabbit eaten tulip

How do I know it was a rabbit? He left his calling card.

rabbit poop

There's no denying who those pellets belong to. This really ticks me off, because I bought these tulip bulbs for their unique foliage. See that super awesome white line running up the side of the leaves? Pretty cool, eh? Well, it would be cool if a rabbit hadn't gnawed the leaf half off. I hate rabbits. If they get near my veg, I will get a shotgun.

So now I'm looking for rabbit deterrents that do not involve ammunition, because Ian says I am not allowed to buy a gun. What a buzz kill. I have found the following recommended solutions:
  • mothballs
  • plant green onions among the plants
  • place a fake hawk or owl around the yard
  • sprinkle red pepper spray on the ground (how do you sprinkle a spray?)
Of course the most recommended solution is a fence, but I'm not going to construct fences around all my flower beds. That would be silly. If only I had a staff, I would bop those rabbits on the head and move on with life, but alas, I have no staff. I never should have stopped playing World of Warcraft.

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Monday, March 17, 2008

Slow Germination

I have been beside myself with grief lately over the slow germination of my tomatoes and eggplant. I'm afraid the whole lot is just ruined! I know this is silly, but it makes me literally sick to my stomach that after 9 days I have just 4 tomato seedlings poking up out of 55 total peat pods. At this time last year, all the seedlings were fully sprouted and hitting the lid on the seed bed container. I really think there is something wrong with these seeds. There is no way I could have messed up 51 peat pods, especially after the great success I had last year - almost 100% success last year. The seeds are from Park's Seeds just like last year, and one of the varieties is even the same - Marcellino! I think the seeds must have been exposed to extreme heat during shipping. I re-sowed them this morning, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they germinate this time. Please send happy germination vibes my way :( I feel like a total failure. I was so good at this last year!!

My 60+ perennial seeds are all sprouted and growing just fine! What's wrong with this silly veg???

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

One To Go

We have just one garden bed left to dig out! I have tried two weeks in a row to dig in this garden bed with little success. It has just been too wet, and the ground is a little frozen! Trying to separate soil from grass and weeds in a muddy mess is no easy task, especially in this overgrown bed.

garden beds in early morning

We purchased the 2" x 8" x 10' planks this weekend for building the garden beds. I wanted to get them built this weekend so I can sow lettuce, spinach and peas next weekend, but that didn't happen. After we bought the wood, we found that it would not fit in our SUV! We called everyone we know with a truck, but no one was home. At one point we decided to pay Lowe's $60 to deliver it, but then backed out. Finally we decided to leave the wood there and pick it up later when a friend was available to loan us his truck. This was also a fiasco that involved us having to return the wood and buy it all over again, but in the end, we got the supplies home.

Now that we have an extra hour of daylight, we plan to work on building the garden beds an hour a day every day after work. Yeah, we'll see how that goes! It's easy to make a plan like that when lying on the couch watching TV at 9pm on a Sunday night - not so easy to actually do after a long day of work though!

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Friday, March 07, 2008

I Think the Fern is Going to be OK

I repotted my Boston Fern about a month ago, and I have been worrying about him ever since. His fronds have been unhealthily brittle and he has been dropping a lot of foliage. I was sad to admit that he didn't seem to be making it through the whole repotting experience.

Thankfully, he has taken a turn for the better recently, as new growth is emerging from his root ball! Hooray! Look at this happy little frond uncurling to meet the world!

new fern growth uncurling

I think he is going to make it after all!

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The Smell of Spring

I sowed 75 perennial and annual flower seeds over the past two weeks in peat pods and plastic trays. I know last year I said I would never try annuals again after my pitiful attempt with petunias, angelonia and other stubborn seeds, but I often say things I don't mean! LOL! Also, I am too perseverant (ie; hard-headed) to give up so easily.

Here is the uncovered tray. This is my smallest tray that holds 25 peat pods. My other tray holds 55 peat pods. Both trays have a clear plastic cover that sits on top of the tray to create a miniature greenhouse. My camera battery died as I was taking pictures, and this is all I ended up with.

sowing seeds indoors

I love to uncover the trays in the morning and breathe in the smell of the damp peat. Oh yum! It's one of my favorite smells ever!

Here is the list of seeds I sowed:

Blushing Susie Vine
Shasta Daisy
Evening Primrose
Ruber (Jupiter's Beard)

I check their progress several times a day, because you never know when a seedling is going to emerge. I'm sure I should leave them alone, but I can't help myself!

I have to buy another tray set this weekend from Jesse Israel for sowing the vegetable seeds. I got a little over ambitious with the flower seeds, and now there is no room for veg! We can't be having that!

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Have a Little Taste of Spring

I planted these miniature Irises in the Fall of 2006. I was so delighted to walk out of the house the other morning and see them in full bloom. They are so beautiful, and encouraging, reassuring me that Spring is on its way!

miniature iris in spring

What a nice surprise!

miniature iris in spring

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