Roses of Memory

Zepherine Droughin and Cl. Old Blush
Cl. 'Old Blush' (background) and 'Zephirine Droughin' (foreground)

Jim from Buffalo pointed out in my fences and arbors post that I didn’t have any pictures of arbors. I then realized I’d only shown a closeup of the gated French arbor. I apologize. I’ve posted the arbors in winter before, but I’ve never shown them festooned in roses.

I don’t know about the picture quality. I had to go back to 2005 to find a spring photograph. This is from my oldest digital camera, an Olympus Camedia with 3.2 megapixels. I remember when 3.2 was a lot. For those who aren’t into digital cameras, my baby point and shoot Sony has six megapixels, and my new Nikon has ten.

The rose on the arbor in the foreground is ‘Zephirine Drouhin’, a bourbon, dating from 1868. Like many bourbons, it can be grown as either a large shrub or as a climber. I often see it listed in magazines as blackspot resistant. It is a beautiful, gloriously scented rose, but it is not blackspot resistant in central Oklahoma. In the spring, I start with picking off the affected leaves. By mid-summer, I am spraying. As many other bloggers say, I’m keeping it real, so I’m not going to tell you I never spray. I use different disease control sprays, from fully organic to chemical, which I can outline in a later post if you want. I do wear a mask and long sleeves for some protection, and I only spray if I must.

Another interesting fact about this rose is that Agatha Christie featured Z.D. as part of the plot in Sad Cypress. Does anyone know how? I’m not going to give it away.

Jackmanii Clematis
'Jackmanii' Clematis

The rose on the arbor in the back is ‘Cl. Old Blush,’ a china. The climbing form is a sport of the old garden rose, ‘Old Blush.’ ‘Old Blush’ was a very popular rose in the south, and made its way across the country with the pioneers. Because of this, it is also known by other names including Common Monthly and Parson’s Pink China. Like all china roses, as the blooms fade, they become darker instead of lighter. The blossoms on ‘Old Blush’ look like crumpled up, light pink tissues. It doesn’t have the form of Z.D., but it does bloom more than any of my other climbing roses. This photo was probably taken in late April or early May because the arbors are completely covered. I have two bushes of ‘Old Blush,’ and it blooms so frequently that I hardly notice it after the first month or two. They are my first two roses to bloom in spring and the last to close out the season in fall. The arbor in the back was the entrance to my garden when it was a kitchen garden and the doorway to the original footprint. When we doubled the size of the garden by making a mirror image, we added the second arbor and another one in the center at the end. It is the one encased by ‘New Dawn‘.  The first two arbors were made by our welder friend. They were sprayed with black paint upon arrival. Maybe you can see the color in this photograph taken in May, 2006. It is a closeup of ‘Jackmanii’ clematis, which is very beautiful, but prone to verticillium and fusarium wilt. I spray it too. Good thing it clambers up into the Z.D. rose.

Green Thumb Sunday: Fences and Arbors

Front Gate Yesterday, the gates and fences bordering both my garden and the six and a half acres surrounding it stuck my fancy. The line “‘Good fences make good neighbors'” from the poem, Mending Wall, by Robert Frost came to mind. Later, I reread the poem and saw new meaning in it. I think Frost was poking gentle fun at his neighbor and all of us. Now, I know that Frost was speaking of emotional fences , not literal ones, but after living in the country for nineteen years, I find I support the neighbor’s point of view.

Here, fences do make all of us, both human and animals, good neighbors. Although my barriers aren’t herculean, they give everyone, including the wild dog packs which roam, boundaries. A word to the wise: if you tire of your dog, you are not doing your animal any favor by dropping it here. Before we had the wire, which lines the split rail fence, the dogs constantly harassed my animals. We used to keep horses, and the dogs loved to chase them. The wire barrier and my dogs stopped most of that.

Further, the fences and arbors I’ve placed around my main garden aren’t just for show. They stop the bunnies from eating all my lettuces, daylilies and other edible plants. Also, the deer seem to avoid the enclosed garden. The thorny, climbing roses and native grasses I’ve placed in strategic areas also seem to help. That way, they’re free to go ravage my fruit trees, but that’s another post.Split Rail Fence

As to humans, on three different occasions, including one New Year’s Eve, folks drove too fast around the corner at the edge of our property and crashed through the gate and split rail fence shown here. Later, the same fence slowed one woman’s car as it rolled three times through it, landing in the lower pasture instead of the lake. The highway patrolman said the fence probably saved her life.

Arbor DetailLet’s move on to arbors. I am in love and have been since I saw one in a magazine twelve years ago. When I first wanted one, a welder friend of ours made two for my garden because they couldn’t be found here. Now, I think they are being shipped in from Mexico, and the ones I bought last year are fabulous. I don’t know how available they are in other parts of the country, but if you love the cottage look, and can find one, snag it for yourself. I’ve collected several, and if I could think of a way to include more, I would. They provide architectural interest, and there is something about walking through a gated arbor which makes me pause and release my breath in a sigh. They are the doorways to sacred garden space. How they are placed, and what adorns them, reflects the gardener’s personality. Most of mine have roses climbing up the sides. I used to place the same rose on each side, but I’ve decided with my newest acquisition to plant completely different varieties. I also like the classic clematis/rose combination so often shown in magazines. The French inspired arbor on the left is in shade, so I don’t know if I will grow anything on it. It is fairly complicated, so it is interesting in itself. However, if anyone has a suggestion for a climbing plant that likes shade and hot weather, please let me know.