Salvia argentea, silver sage, I added to the garden last spring covered with frost.
Autumn arrived at RDR this morning with a kiss from icy lips. A cold front with rain barreled through the center of the state making the roses shudder and wave their petals about in the swirling winds. This morning is chilly, and the Queens of May like it not. Poor, distressed damsels, they suffered in the hot summers of 2011 and 2012, and they want you to know the level of their discontent.
Rosa ‘Cramoisi Superieur’
Like all mid-life beauties, they want more time.
These salvia still look pretty good because they are in a protected place, but even they are beginning to show signs of a decline.
The tropical plants curled in upon themselves, their foliage black as though burned. Frost spells a chilly death for them. They will soon be dust.
Did you know crapemyrtles turn beautiful colors in the fall?
Oaks, maples, crapemyrtles and other hardwoods sing their beautiful swan song of fare-thee-well. Colored leaves rain upon green grass and make a lovely site as they fall. What to do with all this bounty they shed? Use a leaf mulcher or mower to chop up tough, fibrous leaves like those from our native oaks, returning them to garden beds and borders. Over winter, shredded leaves condition the soil and feed earthworms who pull them down into their homes underground. Fine soil shows up in spring. So do bulbs and other flowers if you plant them now. Don’t forget hellebores. If you have a friend who grows them, you can probably get babies from them. Hellebores are promiscuous creatures and procreate all the time in the right conditions.
My blueberry experiments in containers were successful. I kept them on the deck near the house where they got afternoon shade. I have two different shrubs going well and growing bigger. Did you know blueberries have beautiful fall color? Oh, yes, they do.
Blueberry shrub in fall
Asters and those plants formerly known as asters, along with garden mums bloom on. Do yourself a favor in these waning days. Buy a good garden mum like ‘Will’s Wonderful’ or an aster like ‘October Skies.’ They help the seasons change with less angst.
Chrysanthemum (Dendranthema) ‘Will’s Wonderful’
Symphyotrichum oblongifolium ‘October Skies’
Days shorten and the seasons circle again around the sun as the earth turns. The garden prepares for its winter rest, and I have my greenhouse and bulbs to force so I am not so sad. In late fall and throughout winter, I am thinking of spring, pondering all the combinations I can grow to make rebirth even more beautiful. Autumn’s frosty kiss soon turns to winter’s icy grip. What will you plant before it’s too late?
Some days are diamonds. Others don’t glitter with promise. Instead, they are as jagged as rocks jutting out from a precipice. This summer, with its steady rainfall and cooler than normal temperatures, created beauty and surprise, but not all surprises are welcome. More rain means more weeds. Those I can handle with a tug and pull at their base. On the days I don’t drive to school, I spend early mornings writing and weeding, weeding and writing.
Rose Rosette Disease on ‘Cl. Old Blush.’ I guess sweet autumn clematis did win in the end.
Rose Rosette Disease returned late summer with a vengeance. It staked a claim on the ‘Cl. Old Blush’ on one side of the arbor. I noticed the telltale signs a few days ago. I hope it hasn’t spread to ‘Cl. Old Blush’ on the other side. I can’t remove the sick rose until Clematis terniflora, sweet autumn clematis, finishes blooming. The clematis which was once my nemesis may now become a garden savior as it ambles up the main arbor in the lower garden. For one thing, it is a boon to pollinators. Before all the little flower flies, wasps and bees dream their big sleep, we need to give them nectar. C. terniflora does just that. After the first freeze, I’ll be out there with my shovel and Sawzall to take down a rose I’ve loved as long as my husband, over twenty-four years. More than a small death, it is like losing an old friend. Rose Rosette is consuming my roses one-by-painful-one.
Rose Rosette on ‘Souvenir de Malmaison’
This morning, I saw infested canes on ‘Cl. Souvenir de Malmaison.’ Losing ‘Souvenir’ is especially bittersweet. Being a young and new gardener when I planted her, I made the mistake of buying the climber instead of the floriferous original. It sat there and did nothing much until the last five years. Once as ugly as one of Cinderella’s stepsisters. I would threaten to remove it, and suddenly, one spring, fat buds opened up to this. Oh my . . . .
Rosa Cl. ‘Souvenir de Malmaison’ When the weather is just right, she is quite the beauty, a beauty gone too soon.
I then realized why people wrote odes to it like this one by Peter Schneider, “an exquisitely beautiful confection of pearl and cream, with short petals quartered in a perfectly symmetrical arrangement.” Unfortunately, ‘Souvenir’ is placed very close to my favorite rose, ‘Carefree Beauty.’
‘Carefree Beauty’ in 2013. Her blooms are smaller, and there aren’t as many of them.
All summer, I’ve anxiously watched ‘Carefree Beauty’ because she hasn’t been well. You just know your plants when you’ve lived with them so long, and it’s as if a cancer is hiding somewhere within her stately canes. Her blooms are “off,” and she is no longer the robust lass who frolicked all summer. She and ‘Souvenir’ were bedding mates for a long time, and it will be sad to see the garden without either of them. Pardon me while I go into the corner and have a cry.
I am as weary of Rose Rosette as these old chairs.
While there are other beautiful things in the garden, roses were once its backbone, the very essence of its Englishness in the Oklahoma countryside. Without them, it grows wilder everyday. While I like wild, I love the scent of roses too, and their essence is evaporating in the dusk of a long summer day.
Ornamental millet ‘Purple Majesty’ with three colors of Gomphrena globosa, globe amaranth, and Stachytarpheta frantzii, pink false vervain. I grew the millet and gomphrena from seed, and I bought the false vervain in three colors from Bustani.
There are some who will say the garden is returning to itself and becoming one more in tune with its surroundings. Perhaps, but that doesn’t make me feel any better. Today is not a diamond. It is a stone, and not a smooth one.
Here’s the tricky thing about working with and loving plants . . . no matter how good you become at recognizing subtle signs and making changes based upon observation and soil tests, nature nearly always throws you a curve ball. Rose Rosette is one I will never hit out of the park. There’s a lesson here, but today I am grieving too much about the roses to think anymore about it. I know diversity is the key to everything whether we are talking about gardening, our careers or even life.
Red Gomphrena globosa, globe amaranth, with ‘Haight Ashbury’ hibiscus. This hibiscus doesn’t overwinter in my climate so I’m going to bring both plants into the greenhouse.
Things aren’t as simple as they seem either. Another sneaky trick is the grasshopper population. My word, those little creeps are still eating my cannas down to the nubbins.
Zinnias. Part of the beauty in this shot is the zinnia bending its head. Sometimes weakness is strength.
I have noticed they favor the dark cannas like ‘Australia’ and ‘Black Knight’ over variegated green and gold leafed cannas such as ‘Bengal Tiger.’ How nice of me to plant so many dark beauties for them. The grasshoppers are getting slower though. Nolo bait is taking a toll, but it is a slow process. In addition to the cannas, grasshoppers are gorging themselves upon my ornamental grasses, dahlias, the banana tree and ‘Purple Majesty’ and ‘Jester’ millets. They like ‘Jester’ best here. It is so wrong that the dahlias bloomed early because of the mild temperatures, and the grasshoppers ate them. Nothing I grew turned out quite the way I planned it.
Sunflowers nodding their heads at the end of the season.
Some things turned out better though. Planting seeds of three varieties of Gomphrena globosa, globe amaranth, made me deliriously happy, and the garage garden is as seductive as ever. By starting three different colors of seed and carefully labeling them, I could plant drifts in various colors, and I had more control over how they look in the garden. Next year, I’m going to try sowing seeds of the Audray series. I read great things about them. I tried starting seed for ‘Fireworks’ gomphrena, but it didn’t germinate very well. You can buy ‘Fireworks’ from Bustani Plant Farm next spring if he doesn’t sell out again. A hint: order early.
Don’t worry. The garden and I are okay. I harvested loads of veggies out of the vegetable patch and potager. We ate like kings.
Swallowtail on ‘Bright Eyes’ Phlox paniculata
Much of the garden is glorious from all the rain, and butterflies are starting to visit in a flurry of whispered wing. Each year the garden and I face challenges, but I also learn new things. What other hobby/passion/obsession can inspire us to work so hard I wonder?
What curve balls did nature throw you this year? How did you deal with them? Do you have Rose Rosette? If you had special happinesses this year, I’d love to hear about those too. Misery is fleeting. Life is about growth, and gardens are full of metaphor. No wonder Jesus talked about fig trees and mustard seeds so much.
It’s a soggy Bloom Day here in Oklahoma. I can’t believe I just wrote those words. The last three years have been nothing but drought, but this year is a whole different animal. I hear from my friends in Seattle that they want their cool rainy season back. I promise we’ll only use it a little while. From the forecast, I think this will be the last of the rain for several weeks.
Pilea microphylla (artillery fern), Supertunia Sangria Charm, Pentas lanceolata ‘Starburst’, Shock Wave Deep Purple Petunia (actually pinkish) and a purple alternanthera.
How about some containers for Bloom Day? Helen Weis from Unique by Design told me to take pictures because I rarely do. I guess I always see my containers in a state of flux, and I am never very pleased with them except at their beginnings and their finale. When Helen visited last week, she also gave me a few pruning tips for containers. Basically, you must prune some things to give other stuff sunlight to grow. Why didn’t I think of that?
Unknown coleus, red petunias, apricot calibrachoa (don’t know the name) and ‘Silver Falls’ dichondra. Tap is sitting on the deck enjoying the sunshine after the rain.
For the containers, I did everything in shades of red, hot pink, silver and blue this summer. I’m also growing three blueberry plants in containers with flowers too. I’m trying a raspberry. It’s not too happy so far. The hanging basket above wasn’t either when I returned from San Francisco. My drip irrigation system for the pots went on strike while I was gone. So, I lost a few plants and clipped back others. Bill and I fixed the system, and I went sale shopping. I added a few things here and there where stuff died. It will take the season to catch up, but that’s okay.
Dahlia, supposed to be ‘Boom Boom Red’ and not munched so far. Pennisetum ‘Fireworks’ is planted behind.
That’s the thing about gardening. Grasshoppers munch your dahlias. Your lilies aren’t as big this year as last. The expensive daylilies rot where they’re planted while the cheap ones bloom forever. Life happens. You can’t get too wrapped up in this plant or that. Unless you paid a ton of money for a tree or shrub, remember that plants are pretty much disposable–especially if they’re annuals or short-lived perennials like Gaillardias. It took me years to get this so I understand if you’re not with me.
Plants are living things, and sometimes, no matter what you do, they die.
Hemerocallis ‘Blue Pink Beauty’ with maiden grass and Tightwad Red crapemyrtle is a good place to look.
It’s okay. Really. Just look to another part of the landscape and enjoy it while you rehab the affected area.
‘Becky’ shasta daisy with Rainbow Knockout rose and Black Lace sambucus.
There are years I’m grateful anything blooms. This summer, so far, has been quite wonderful and nothing like the last two years. Plants are so robust they are muscling each other out of the way.
Hemerocallis ‘Concorde Nelson’, a new daylily to my garden.
Daylilies are having wonderful rebloom, and some of the reds are just now starting to really get going. My reds tend to be on the late side. I wish the daylily club could have visited last week when all of the daylilies were blooming themselves silly. Daylilies are wonderful plants for the south. I wouldn’t grow them in a cool climate because they would have trouble opening, but in my hot one, they outperform a lot of other plants. They are also quite happy with grasses, perennials, trees and shrubs, native or not. My garden is a mix of what works here. It’s not like anyone else’s garden, and yours shouldn’t be either. Ignore fashion. Grow what you like.
Hibiscus ‘Moy Grande’ was nearly eaten to the ground last year by grasshoppers. With the rainier weather, it’s come back strong. I like the center of this bloom. Pollinators do too. They enjoy it like a landing strip. This photo wasn’t enhanced. It looks exactly like this on a cloudy day.
I like perennial hibiscus. Life is too short for drudgery. Have fun.
Last summer I found a little green frog hanging onto a bloom of Hemerocallis ‘North Wind Dancer.’
How could you not like Hemerocallis ‘North Wind Dancer?’ It truly dances in the wind, and the little green frogs love the protection of daylily blooms. I find them every morning resting there.
Here is my attempt at better plant symmetry. I must confess symmetry often eludes me, but I try. This path is getting better. I love the arbors painted green and the chairs painted purple. I am no longer afraid of color, and I am glad.
My attempts at symmetry are varied in the garden. I am trying for the main path though by planting similar things on either side. I should’ve planted another Pink Knockout rose opposite, but at the time, I planted it somewhere else. Something to consider for next year.
I’ll leave you with a shot of Hydrangea paniculata Pinky Winky which has never been very pink. However, it is lovely where it sits, and I don’t care about the color. It took years to get established because it was a small trial plant.
Hydrangea paniculata Pinky Winky
Now that I finally got my bloom day post up and running, I want to thank Carol from May Dreams Gardens for continuing this wonderful exercise the 15th of each month. It’s fun to see plants in others’ gardens and wonderful to see year-to-year what’s blooming in mine. Happy Bloom Day!
The entire garden is dancing a spring jig for the rains have come again to much of Oklahoma. Because it is Oklahoma, we are getting too much of course–everything in extremes is our motto–but for most of us, the water is still a blessing. All but the most western edges of the state are no longer in drought, and the central part of the state already exceeded its yearly total. The large pond behind my house beyond the lower pasture is full again. It was very low the last two years.
The back garden in June 2013.
Last night, another storm hit with a mighty wind. Most of my sunflowers that line the vegetable garden are down, but I over-planted on purpose. A lot of creatures like to eat sunflowers, so I always do a staggered planting. I’m glad they weren’t blooming, or I would have mourned their loss more. I had to also prop up the cannas, and that’s never happened. Keep around various staking materials. You never know when you’ll need them. Also, since the ground is so wet, go ahead and pull up all over the overachievers–those plants that want to make their garden only theirs. They come up easily when the ground is soaked.
Sad little sunflowers blown over by the storm last night.
Everything is growing in abundance especially the weeds and small saplings near the pond’s edge. We will need to pull those out as soon as possible. Because spring was so cold, the roses are just now finishing up their first bloom cycle. No, I’m not complaining. It’s nice to see them bloom so long and with such intense color.
Rosa ‘Mutabilis’ is having a very good year.
I spent several years trying to make ‘Mutabilis’ happy here, and I couldn’t understand why she suffered so. She grew like a monster for other gardeners, but she wearied of our cold winters. She nearly died three times in my garden. I finally found a place where she is sheltered between a dwarf crapemyrtle and another tough shrub rose, ‘Cliffs of Dover.’ Here, she has thrived, but never grows over-large.
Rosa ‘About Face’ and ‘Carefree Sunshine’ and a view of the garage garden.
I displayed the photo, above, for a couple of reasons. I wanted you to see the garage border from below so you can view how it relates to the tiered borders beneath it. See how my garden is on an incline. Also, look at the antennae on top of the garage. That’s how I’m able to read your posts and share mine. Kind of an eyesore, so I usually keep it out of photos. I am very grateful for it though. There was a time I had no Internet out here. This morning, after the storm, I revisited that time. We lost our connection, and I understand, many in the central part of the state also lost power. Sheesh . . . what a spring it’s been.
This is my belated garden bloggers bloom post so on to some closeups of new things.
Hemerocallis ‘Hold Your Horses’ (Trimmer 2004) is new to the garden. R. ‘Cliffs of Dover’ is behind.
At Fairegarden’s suggestion, I added a lot of lilies to my garden this year. I started with the lovely Orienpet Hybrid ‘Black Beauty’ and have now added a lot of other Orienpet, Oriental hybrids, Easter-Asiatics hybrids and a few Asiatics. If you want to grow lilies in the south, it’s a good idea to stick with Asiatics. They are the easiest, but if you’re daring, try some of the others too. Make sure they have plenty of drainage and for any other than the stubby Asiatics, you’ll need to stake them. Dahlias are the same way. Just place the stakes when you plant the bulbs unless you don’t want to see them sticking up out of the ground. Mine are painted dark green so they don’t show so much. Brown would work too.
Asiatic lily ‘Lionheart’
Try the North American Lily Society for more information about lily classification and culture. You might even want to join. Garden clubs are some of the best resources we have for particular plants. We should join them.
One of the Flemish Antique Peony Poppies I sowed seeds for in February. Check out that white edge.
The annual Flemish antique poppies and delphiniums are having a good run this spring too. Sometimes, it’s so hot that they quickly fade, but this year, we are unseasonably cool except for last week. I’ve enjoyed their soft and tender beauty awhile longer, and I am glad. I threw down seeds in mid-February and watched for the gray green foliage of each. I then moved the delphiniums where I wanted them, and I thinned many of the poppies. So many came up everywhere. They are just now blooming. Oddly, one of the dahlias has started blooming too. Poppies are normally mid-spring here, with dahlias much later. Everything is jumbled into one glorious mess this year, you don’t hear any complaints from me.
Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’ surrounding the newly painted arbor. We still have a bit to paint so the yellow ladder is behind it.
The garden is so happy I can’t show you everything. It’s all a jumble, but I love June. Happy Bloom Day my friends. I’ll see some of you soon at the Garden Bloggers Fling. I also want to thank Carol from May Dreams Gardens for sponsoring Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day.
There was a time when I feared vibrant color. Although I painted during college, I worried about adding color accents to my garden. So many rules about what goes with what. No fuchsia. No orange. No school bus yellow. No fun.
Gaillardia, the state wildflower of Oklahoma
I have an English-styled country garden, but it is in rural Oklahoma. As a young gardener, I read a lot of English gardening advice. I cut my horticultural teeth on the works of Vita Sackville-West and Gertrude Jekyll. I now know much of their ideas formed from experience in a maritime climate with moderate weather compared to ours. Cloudy skies change how we see color. I’m not saying England doesn’t have sunny days. It does. They seem to fall in June and July between showers. In Oklahoma, we are sunny much of the year. It is rarely cloudy unless a storm is on the horizon. You might not realize this from the tornadic weather we’ve had this spring, but it’s true. Storms blow in, and then move on south or east. February is our cloudiest month, and it’s nearly too much for me. I could never live in Seattle or Portland.
Rosa ‘Betty Prior’ (Left) and R. ‘Blush Knockout’ play supporting roles for Hemerocallis ‘English Cameo.’ This is my subtle bed, and ‘Betty Prior’ is long gone.
Clear blue skies, almost white in summer, call for bright and bold measures. Our sun twists out subtle pastels like a wringer washer. I have a section of the garden with pastel flowers like light pink Rosa ‘Radyod’ (Blushing Knockout), but by July, it is white instead of light pink. I sometimes envy the serenity of a garden full of subtle hues, but then I remember my climate and accept where I’m planted.
Several years ago, I discovered Christopher Lloyd’s book, Colour for Adventurous Gardeners. Here was an English garden authority who said it was okay to love color. Although my garden will never compare to Great Dixter, I finally felt justified in my plant and accent choices. About the same time, I saw Gail at Clay and Limestone and Pam Penick at Digging were using color with abandon. Their blogs and Lloyd’s book set me on the path of rich color. I no longer fear it, but I’m careful not to use too many colors at once, or it could become a floral circus.
Back garden with art and Rosa ‘April Moon’ and R. ‘Cramoisi Supérieur’
A lot of my garden became fixed as it matured over the years. Some of the beds are twenty years or older now. Others were dug only a few years ago. I also changed as I’ve matured. I now tend to like red . . . a lot, so I’m using more red and yellow roses in the lower garden these days. My love of red started when I couldn’t find the blue pot I wanted for a fountain. I found red instead, and it changed my life.
I’ve removed a few roses, and that changed the way the garden looks too. Some of the older roses succumbed to Rose Rosette Disease. Since I can’t plant a rose in the same hole due to diseased root fragments, I replaced two ‘New Dawn’ roses at the end of the lower garden with Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ last summer. These are dwarf oakleaf hydrangeas, but they will still fill the space. To enhance their red stems and aging blooms–starting out white and aging to a lovely rosy red–I planted four Berberis thunbergii ‘Orange Rocket’ nearby. There is nothing subtle about these colors, but they work with the glass art, shown above, I added to the garden a couple of seasons ago. I placed it to highlight Acer palmatum ’Sango-kaku’ growing in the shady section of the garden. Red for its hot pink stems in winter, and green to echo green leaves and bark in summer. You should see it in fall when the leaves change to golden amber. This September, I’ll take a photo and show you.
‘Rocket Orange’ barberry in the lower garden with blue cornflower, native milkweed, ‘Bengal Tiger’ cannas, purple pentas (left) and Profusion zinnias.
Changing these colors in the garden made me realize that beneath a shy exterior–I am truly shy–I promise–I have a vibrant interior life.
I’m in the process of painting all of the arbors light green to help them blend into the space, but I left the chairs in the lower garden French blue because of the blue pots on the back deck. I painted the lattice surrounding the deck a darker blue. It helps the lattice-work to fade into the shadows in the afternoon and is a lovely backdrop to Lycoris radiata every fall. Purple and lemon yellow daylilies are also beautiful against this blue.
Lycoris radiata against blue lattice fence below deck.
After six years of blogging, I find the blog category, color, is one I often highlight. My garden is my palette and my canvas. I work hard to bring all of it life every spring. In winter, I say goodbye to vivid expression, but then I see the garden in sepia tones. It is an old photograph which will come to life again the following spring.
Wake up to color. If you like pastels, great. There are wonderful choices in pastel colorations too. However, as I’ve gotten over my inherent shyness, I now express myself in bold strokes, and that’s a wonderful thing. Color, like blogging, changed my life. Perhaps, it will change yours too.
Brrr . . . it’s cold outside, isn’t it? Yesterday, I wore flip flops and a sleeveless shirt, and today, it’s jeans, a sweatshirt and wool socks. Good grief, it’s April 10, not January!
Frozen garden on April 10, 2013
The weather this spring has been weird, but never fear, things will improve. If, like me, you already planted some of your annuals, you’ll want to cover them tonight unless replacement is your plan. I’ll cover my favorites, but I’m waiting for the rain/freezing rain to end. The ground is so warm it’s not sticking here in north central Oklahoma, but things could change. Below is the same view last April 9th. Weather is a funny thing.
Lower garden April 9, 2013. Remember how hot everything got in summer though.
Because I’m stalling on an article I’m not sure how to approach, I’ve been bidding on daylilies, my June favorites. Going through my photos of springs in former years is dangerous. To spread the love and warm you up, I’ll share photos of my garden last summer. We can’t change the weather, but we can change our attitudes, right? So, let’s return to last June and enjoy ourselves. Maybe I’ll tempt you to buy a few daylilies too.
Back garden with art and Rosa ‘April Moon’ and R. ‘Cramoisi Supérieur’
Wait, those are roses. Two that don’t need much care, and a favorite shot of the garden in early June. Rosa ‘April Moon’ is a Griffith Buck rose, and R. ‘Cramoisi Supérieur’ is an even older beauty. See, things will improve. How about a shot of the tiered beds from mid-June?
The tiered garden from the side.
With daylilies and roses, you have so many choices in color, texture and form. Find ones that work well for you. For a walk on the dark side, try evening purple shades. Yes, daylilies eventually melt in our heat, but I’ve had great luck with Hemerocallis ‘Bela Lugosi,’ ‘Ninja Storm,’ and ‘Killer.’ Those dark purples have such funny names.
Hemerocallis ‘Bella Lugosi’ from the side.
Or, how about ‘Brooklyn Twist?’ What a great plant it is. I am partial to the purples and reds in daylily love, but sometimes, you need other colors too.
H. ‘A Green Desire’ would be a good spacer between red and pink or apricot.
Green daylilies are great neutrals to place between contrasting shades of pink and apricot for instance. They are also beautiful by themselves if they have great form like this one.
H. ‘Brooklyn Twist’
If you don’t like purple or red though, how about pink?
Hemerocallis ‘South Sea Enchantment’ is an older daylily, but old doesn’t mean bad. It’s a great one.
Pink daylilies that have a blue cast are very beautiful in the morning sun. By afternoon, though, they become more orange/pink in appearance. Daylilies are composed mostly of water so they change in color as the blooms age.
Hemerocallis ‘Blue Pink Beauty’ looks good against the fence and grass behind her.
A special shout-out to the Guthrie Jonquil Club and the Logan County Master Gardeners. . . I loved talking meeting and talking with all of you. Here’s hoping I got your motors running. Now, go cover those plants.
Oklahoma gardening is complicated. The climate is classified as part of the central south, USDA Zones 6a to 8a, but anyone who lives here would tell you there’s much more to the story. We are hills and plains, forested and bare. The sun scalds our land in summer, yet we have cold stretches in winter that try our souls.There are times I wish Oklahoma was the true south, all magnolias, camellias and mint juleps sipped upon the front porch. Then, I consider the high cost of all that humidity for my hair and rose foliage. Other times, I wish I lived near my friend, Layanee, so I could walk with her along a wintry path. I’d have snow cover to support rose roots to alleviate the heaving that surely comes every winter during our freeze/thaw cycles, but, then I shiver thinking about how cold it is.
Rosa ‘White Meidiland,’ a shrub rose from France, that is extremely easy to grow. It has arching canes that would respond well to the practice of pegging. Taken October 10, 2012
At least we aren’t so cold from late October through December. We get most freezing termpatures in January, February and March once the sun retreats ever further into his lofty sky.
Our biggest enemy is summer heat. I’ve written extensively about heat, and how it compromises roses and rose blooms. Even with all of these challenges, there are still roses you can successfully grow here, and in April, May and June, they bring a certain magic to the landscape no other plant can.
My requirements to dig any hole for a rose in my garden are:
Robust growth. No sissy roses get to live in the rural countryside. I gave up on Hybrid Teas a long time ago.
Excellent disease resistance. I don’t spray.
Hardiness for both cold and heat.
Beautiful and bountiful flowers. What good is a rose if it rarely blooms?
Scent. This is really icing on the rose cake, but it’s good icing.
Rosa ‘Darcey Bussell,’ one of the best David Austin, English roses out there hands down.
With those requirements in mind, here are my five top picks:
Rosa‘Carefree Beauty’ I write regularly about this pink rose. It reminds me of a clear-eyed maiden. It never needs spraying and is rock solid. I wish I had more places to grow it. It is sweetly scented.
At the center is ‘Carefree Beauty’ and the light pink to her left is ‘Cl. Souvenir de la Malmaison.’ Souvenir was a terrible rose for years, but suddenly in the last three, she has hit her stride. She is also one of my oldest roses in the garden. By contrast ‘Carefree Beauty’ is only ten or so.
R. ’Meicoublan,’ sold in the U.S. as White Meidiland. It is a shrub rose that blooms bright white and is difficult to photograph, but very beautiful in person. I haven’t noticed any scent. The arching canes are quite wonderful and would make it great for the practice of pegging.
R. ’Darcey Bussell’ It’s difficult to find decent, disease-resistant red roses. I love ‘Sombruil’ and ‘Valentine,’ but both are plagued by blackspot. Darcey, however, is an English rose with some great genes. She grows in a lousy place on the east side of my house where she needs more sunshine, and while she gets some blackspot, she isn’t covered in the stuff. I’ve written more about David Austin roses for the south here.
Rosa ‘Baronne Prevost,’ a classic Hybrid Perpetual
R. ‘Baronne Prevost,’ a Hybrid Perpetual and thus an antique, is a survivor in the truest sense. It has graced my garden in this spot for over fifteen years. I planted it at the same time as many other roses in my original garden, and it is the only one left. Still, you say, it gets blackspot, and yes, you’re right. It does, but is not overcome by the disease. It also has complicated and beautiful blooms with a true rose scent.
R. OSO Easy® Paprika is another rose that is super easy to grow. It’s a Proven Winners® plant, and while I do write for Proven Winners®, I liked this rose long before. The entire OSO Easy® line are very disease resistant.
Oso Easy® Paprika rose
Now, I’ve shared five of my favorites. There are so many more which are worthy. Which roses not only cheer your heart and garden, but also don’t need much extra care? I’d love to hear what works where you live.