Sweet cool rain brings even sweeter flowers.
As I step out on the deck every morning to drink hot tea and survey the back garden, mingled scents of rose and Japanese honeysuckle drift toward me on the very cool breeze. Our weather this spring is much, much cooler than normal, but the plants are grateful for the respite from our regularly scheduled hot and humid May weather.
Yes, Japanese honeysuckle, Lonicera japonica, one of the most hated and beloved vines in our area and much of the south grows on a latticework panel. When I was in Raleigh for the GWA symposium, I saw miles and miles of the stuff choking out native vegetation. I almost feel like I should apologize for its presence in my yard. However, before my mea culpa, I want you to know I didn’t plant this beastie, and yet, it hangs out on the back deck and in the middle of our oldest lilac. It belonged to Bill’s grandmother and was transported here thirty-five years ago when he moved a piece of the lilac to his new home. Japanese honeysuckle is made of stronger stuff than iron, and I can attest that even the much maligned Roundup will not eradicate it. I’ve dug out huge chunks of this honeysuckle when it grew by the fence where Rosa ‘Cecile Bruner’ now clambers over the white iron arbor, but I missed a couple of sprigs under the deck where I couldn’t reach them. I still can’t get to the roots, so I’ve learned to live with it and try my best to stop it from further spreading.
The moral of this story? If someone tries to give you a piece, please say no thanks. If you want the intoxicating honeysuckle fragrance, plant one of the many new cultivars, but buy it blooming and make sure it has scent before you leave the nursery. Or, you can grow the native Lonicera sempervirens which is also beautiful.
Because we had no late freeze and almost no thrips this spring, R. ‘Cl. Souvenir de la Malmaison’ is making a rare appearance this year. Many times, I’ve nearly pulled this shrub because of the aforementioned problems, but so far I’ve given it a reprieve because it doesn’t cause me much trouble beneath R. ‘Carefree Beauty’ who shelters the famous Souvenir. I’ve heard the shrub form is a much better rose than the climber. I would hope so.
The peonies are nearly finished, but they had a good run before the rain. Supertunia®
Vista Bubblegum is starting to make a show underneath the daylilies in the pink and yellow bridal path, but the rain ruined the blooms for photos. On the other hand Supertunia® Pretty Much Picasso, as a hanging container, almost can’t take a bad photo.
Speaking of brides, I saw a very beautiful one last night, my niece, Lauren, married my nephew, Coleman, at Our Lady’s Cathedral in Oklahoma City. The bride was beautiful as all brides are, and she carried cala lilies next to her creamy white dress. She also wore one in her dark hair. I’m sorry, I don’t have a picture. It was mass.
Here, the yellow roses recently joined the pink ones. R. ‘Buff Beauty’ is giving R. ‘Graham Thomas’ a run for his money. These two rose are similar in bloom type, but their growth habit is very different. ‘Buff Beauty’ grows outward while ‘Graham Thomas’ is always reaching for the sky.
Speaking of reaching for the sky, R. Winner’s Circle™, a rose hybridized by William Radler of Knockout fame, is doing wonderful in the garden. From its tag, I see I planted this climber in 2008, and look at it already. Can’t wait to see what it will do in coming years.
The rose border to the left of the house is covered in red right now with R. ‘Altissimo’ and R. ‘Skyrocket’ joining Winner’s Circle in reaching for the sky.
Then, there is also R. Home Run™ (another Radler rose) and Double Knockout and regular Knockout.
Once upon a time this bed also had R. ‘Golden Showers’ climbers, but eventually, they all died out. I didn’t replace them because they weren’t happy living here. In a couple of weeks, the red roses will be joined with pink R. ‘Footloose’ and ‘Country Dancer’ along with orange and yellow R. ‘Golden Slippers’. GS is already blooming, but the hard winter killed a lot of its canes. I cut it back severely (it’s on its own root), and I believe it will recover. The ‘Rio Samba’ Hybrid Teas finally gave up the fight last winter. I won’t replant them because harder winters always sapped their strength. They are beautiful roses, and I loved the color combination, but they aren’t right for my garden where roses must be extra tough.
Easy Elegance® Sweet Fragrance also blooms in this bed. Since last year was her first, she is just now settling in and blooming. We’ll see what she does in 2010. I will say this, the foliage is rock steady and nearly blackspot free.
R. ‘Carefree Beauty’ is still blooming her heart out. Everyone knows how much I love this shrub rose which also goes under the found name of Katy Road Pink. Absolutely carefree, with a bit of deadheading, she will bloom all summer long.
R. ‘Jefferson’, another foundling, has lived in my garden for about fifteen years. He is very happy this spring and is showing off. A small shrub, he will bloom throughout summer as will R. ‘Cliffs of Dover’ and R. ‘Mutabilis’.
These are all older roses in my garden, but I added a few new ones in 2009. I’ll feature them in another post. I did buy one rose this year too, but only one, ‘Dame de Coeur’. I’ve been adding reds the last few years, and I couldn’t help myself when I found it at Sunshine Nursery in Clinton.
The Byzantine glads I planted a couple of years ago surprised me this week by blooming. They never bloomed before. I don’t know if the photo captures their particular beauty, but it’s the best I can do.
Penstemon smallii ‘Violet Dusk’ is blooming profusely, but unlike last spring, it is not covered with pollinators. In fact, I’ve seen almost no insects in the garden this year except the rose slugworms and an occasional ladybug, butterfly or bumblebee. I think the cold winter killed off many insects, and the cool spring is making it difficult for the others to waken. This makes me sad. I’m ready for the hum of happy insects doing their thing. Perhaps, things will get back to normal in summer.
‘Dark Towers’ and ‘Husker Red’ are also starting to bloom, but ‘Violet Dusk’ outshines them for now.
I’m not going to bore you any further, but a lot is blooming in the garden. I just wish it warm up. My feet are cold.
For more Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day action, please visit our hostess, Carol, at May Dreams Gardens.