Bloom Day: The Roses Think It’s All About Them

A butterfly in the catmint is busy about her business.
A butterfly in the catmint is busy about her business.

But it’s not.

They are the stars of the May beauty parade though with their big, beautiful blooms, and their as of now, mostly clean foliage.  Like all good Divas, who could blame them for wanting all of the spotlight for themselves.

Rosa 'Valentine'
Rosa 'Valentine'

At the OHS meeting with Mike Shoup, a woman behind me said I should absolutely own ‘Valentine.’  I think she was right.  I ordered one this year, and of the three new roses, I bought, ‘Valentine’ is doing the best.  You can see just the smallest amount of blackspot at the bottom of her leaves, but well, that’s life.

Coral bells and variegated Hostas surround Mary
Coral bells and variegated Hostas surround Mary

I think this is one of the prettiest parts of the garden.   The Heucheras and hostas were already there, but this year I added the black mondo grass to the mix.  I like the way the blooms of the Coral bells echo off of the black of the grass.  This area gets morning sun.  I hope it won’t be too hot for everything I’ve planted.

Oh, here come the roses again.  My blooms aren’t as good as last year.  I believe this is due to the cooler temperatures we’ve had.  The roses just don’t want to open yet.  They think it’s April at best.

Rosa 'Carefree Delight' backs up 'Basye's Blueberry'
Rosa 'Carefree Delight' backs up 'Basye's Blueberry'

However, this is the best year ‘Basye’s Blueberry’ ever had.  It’s been stupendous loaded with blooms.  Perhaps, it likes cold weather.

Rosa 'Baronne Prevost'
Rosa 'Baronne Prevost'

The good Baronne is one of the oldest roses growing in my garden, both in the historical sense (1842) and length of time planted here.  He dates from a time when every good Lord or Lady was supporting a hybridizer and having a rose named after them.  The scent is somewhere between old roses and strawberries.  I kid you not.

Below, is another rose from the same time in history.  I don’t know who the Marchessa was, but this rose is very pretty and smells divine.  Like ‘Valentine’, this is her first year in the garden.

Rosa 'Marchessa Boccella'
Rosa 'Marchessa Boccella' with my shadow over her

Although it is a beautiful shrub, I don’t think Sambucus nigra ‘Eva’, a/k/a Black Lace takes a good photo, but I wanted you to see that she has grown tremendously and now surrounds the ‘Miss Kim’ lilac planted next to her. This amazes me because she almost died three times.  I believe it was because the soil was too rich.  I moved her until I found this spot of unamended, sandy soil where she is very happy.

This bed is just below the one with the black mondo grass, and the two play nicely off of each other.  Her flowers are the softest shade of pink, and new growth is green, swiftly turning to dark purple.

Black Lace Elderberry
Black Lace Elderberry

I’ll leave you with this photo.  It shows one of the four lower beds in the English garden that is my Rosehaven.  I planted this with native and prairie flowers, and on the right you can see one of my tomato support structures.  In the center, is an orange Penstemon I bought last year from Bustani Plant Farm.  Steve had a purple/blue one this year, and it is planted nearby, but you can’t really see it yet.  The pink mystery rose is on the fence, and poppies seeded themselves.  Also in front is a purple Penstemon ‘Violet Dusk’ I bought last year.   The bees think it’s the best thing ever. Penstemons are wonderful for attracting all kinds of pollinators.  I have several blooming now in the garden, but I think this is all your browsers can handle for one day.

UPDATE:  I was in such a hurry to get this post up later that I forgot to mention that Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day was created by Carol of May Dreams Gardens.  Head on over to her place to see who else is participating.  Mea Culpa, Carol.

A view of the lower garden with the dock and lake behind it
A view of the lower garden with the dock and lake behind it

GTS and Sunday Stroll: Perseverance and the Thawing Process

Viola 'Lemon Sorbet'
Viola x wittrockiana 'Yellow Delight,' part of the Sorbet Series

I saw this tiny viola while I was out, and it occurred to me that we could learn a thing or two from it and its larger cousin, the pansy.  Only two days ago, it appeared crushed by the biting wind, precipitation and cold.  In fact, I was dismayed when I saw all of my pansies and violas lying prone, their leaves upon the ground as if in surrender.  What I didn’t realize until today was that they were simply holding themselves together and saving their energy for the first warm day.

This is that day.  It’s the first we’ve had in awhile, and I went outside to see what might be surviving our crazy up and down weather.   Surprised that so much was available, I nearly threw myself upon the ground in gratitude.  However, it was damp and squishy underfoot so I didn’t.

Phlox divaricata, woodland phlox
Phlox divaricata, Woodland Phlox

I am in awe of my little viola and other plants whose roots are still pushing through the soil and growing in spite of winter.  This Woodland Phlox, a/k/a Wild Sweet William is green and has used the winter to grow and multiply.  In early spring, I’ll be graced with violet and blue blooms, and the cycle will renew itself once again.

Dianthus 'Dr. Dirt'
Dianthus 'Dr. Dirt'

So has this ‘Dr. Dirt’ Dianthus I bought from Bustani Plant Farm last spring.  It grew tenfold, and not all of that was during the summer.  It appears to be evergreen in the present climate, and won’t it look great when it blooms mid-spring?

Which begs the question:  Is spring an abundant bursting forth which suddenly occurs, or is it a series of small steps, and we only notice it when it is most evident?

Since writing this blog, I believe it is the latter.

It's just the beginning.
Only the beginning

That’s not to say that we won’t have a lot more cold weather.  We will, but I see the beginnings of a thaw.  Just ask my iris and daylilies who are peeking out of the soil.  Spring will come again.

However, I wish these roses would quit spouting leaves.  It’s early days yet.

Silly roses
Silly roses

Aisling of the Quiet Country House is the instigator of all our Sunday Strolls.  For more strolling, head on over to her blog.  You can find all of the Green Thumb Sunday participants by clicking on the GTS page above.