It’s true, rain or shine, I’m not gonna whine. It’s all good. Because of the rain, we have areas that are more beautiful than ever before at this time of year and areas that have been stunted.
The area hardest hit by the “wet” was the herb garden. I plant a lot of seeds in the herb garden and it was very late when I got them out and they are quite small. I believe that all of them, with the exception of the sweet peas will be fine. It might be too hot for the sweet peas before they get to be their best selves. Last year the zinnias were twice as tall or maybe 3 times as tall as they are this year but no worries there. They will be monsters soon enough.
Speaking of zinnias, I planted several varieties that I had not planted before — Enchantress (they don’t look like double giants yet ), Apricot Blush, and Blue Point. So excited to see how they do. Last year my California Giants did so well that they blocked more than one path through the garden — beautifully, I might add. 🙂 And, the pink ones (I don’t remember the variety.) were so “healthy” that they smashed out several of their neighbors before I got them staked.🙄
Last night as we were preparing the garden for events this weekend – another storm came, taking many blooms with it. This morning I see that it also brought many fresh new blooms – so “rain or shine, I’m not gonna wine.” Now if it rains on Saturday and our guests can’t tour the garden. I might whine a bit.
BIGGEST UPSIDE OF RAINY WEATHER
Very little, if any, hand watering. While I love the process of hand watering and getting up close and personal with my plants, my garden has grown to the size that it certainly takes some time to get that job accomplished.
BLOOM THYME THIS WEEK
There were so many things blooming this week that I told myself no more than 10 pictures. So, of course I’ll give you 13 plus a video. Sorry, couldn’t help myself.
Rosa Mundi and neighbors
If you need me, I’m in the garden deadheading the roses, so they can be their best selves for our guests tomorrow.🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹
Today I want to tell you about two mentors who had so much to do with teaching me and inspiring me in the world of roses although I never met them.
This week as the temps plummeted into the minus category and Spring seemed so far off, I found myself in my Potting Shed/Garden Office going through old things — mostly articles I saved.
I don’t keep everything, in fact, sometimes I am accused of casting out too many things, but I am absolutely thrilled that the things I am going tell you about today, I still have. I know so much is being said and done as people are inspired by Marie Kondo to “tidy up.” I want to encourage you to save some things. In full disclosure — when it comes to the garden, let’s just say things get a bit “crowded” and I might have toooo many things. Is there such a thing as too many plants?
Back to my story….
In the late 80s and early 90s, I was a creative garden-loving, rose-loving young mother of the sweetest two kids on the planet and I loved them dearly. But, occasionally I had to get out and do my thing. And, since I had the most supportive husband on the planet, Mr. G took care of things and kiddies so I could spend an entire day learning more about gardening and in particular, roses. I spent many of those days in a book store drinking coffee and doing research. (Remember when there were Barnes and Nobles everywhere!?!?) Some of those times away I went to a pretty hotel and spent all day and night researching, making lists and drawing up plans.
All of this of course without the benefit of the internet. How did I do it!
I was armed with books, magazines, garden catalogs and a newsletter that I subscribed to … Bev Dobson’s Rose Letter. Bev taught me much about the different types of roses and rose care, she reviewed books about roses, rose hybridization and from Bev I first learned of rose viruses and an indexing program that Jackson & Perkins had started. OF HUGE NOTE, now that I am looking back, I see that she told me in 1992 that the prestigious Jane Righter Rose Medal was awarded to Stephen C. Scanniello and his team of volunteers for their work at the Cranford Memorial Rose Garden. I never ever thought then that I would one day call Stephen a friend. I can tell you with certainty that Stephen deserved that award and deserves an award every year for all of his contributions to the world of roses.
Those newsletters were a treasure trove of information and included names that now pop into my world on a regular basis.
Thank you Bev for making me a better and more informed rose gardener.
Mentoring from Far, Far Away….
One of my “research projects” was David Austin Roses. Believe it or not, information was so hard to come by. I first saw these roses in a Wayside Garden Catalog and it was love at first sight. At that time I was growing both modern roses and old garden roses and thought that perfection would lie in putting them together… and thought that will never happen. I knew nothing of hybridization. Then I read interviews in a couple of magazines that showcased Mr. Austin’s work of doing just that and I was smitten from that day forward. Of course, he was a quiet Englishman, who loved roses, was weaving together the old and the new roses and wore a tweed jacket. Who wouldn’t be!?! 😉 … A not so secret crush as Mr. G would point out from time to time.
One of those magazines was VICTORIA who published an article that I kept in my “special box’ … A Shropshire Nurseryman Refashions THE ROSES OF YESTERYEAR by Thomas Christopher (who wrote In Search of Lost Roses). The article deals with the fact that at that time growing roses in the US was still an adventure with our diverse growing climates. Mr. Christopher ended his article with a quote from Mr.Austin in regard to his roses defying the conventions of roses at that time on whether or not English roses were too diverse to be classed as a single group. Roses shouldn’t conform — roses should be an adventure.” And to that Mr. Christopher said, His roses certainly are.
I’m grateful his roses were accepted as one big beautiful class – The English Rose.
I loved reading about Mr. Austin, the process of bringing these roses to light and having his roses in my garden. I still enjoy his story. A quiet man with an incredible vision. His story and his work entertained me and encouraged me while bringing so much pleasure to my garden experience. I had always dreamed I would meet him one day. I have met Michael Marriott, (technical manager and senior rosarian of David Austin Roses), and have the pleasure of calling him friend, that is rose dream worthy too.
This year I will be even more excited to welcome back after the winter thaw the amazing climbing rose ‘The Generous Gardener’ along with my other Austins. If I could recommend only one David Austin to you, it would be ‘The Generous Gardener.’ She is amazing … so amazing I ordered another one to come in April!
Thank you David Austin for mentoring me from a land far away. I would not be the gardener I am today without you.
I just love this picture in Victoria Magazine from around the year 2000 of David Austin with his son.
Shhhhh. Just between us good friends, (Don’t tell Marie K) but I have Victoria magazines that date back to 1988. Stacks of them. Maybe you shouldn’t tell my children either.
NOTE TO SELF and an encouragement to you… anytime we get the opportunity to mentor … to teach … to share with someone else our passion, TAKE IT!
The front left rose is THE GENEROUS GARDENER… her neighbors are Quietness and Music Box.
Thank you so much for joining me on this trip down memory lane. I’d love to hear your stories too if you’d like to share them!
I love Christmas trees. I love most evergreens. I particularly love boxwoods. I know. I know. There are two kinds of people in the world — those who love boxwood and those who don’t. But, I do. Can’t remember without looking if I shared with you my boxwood horror this year. For about 6 years we have had a boxwood hedge around our patio. They did not make it through the winter. I thought it was “winter kill” but I now suspect from the look of things, it was blight. They had to be taken out — all 15 of them! Mr. G was my hero as he took them out one by one. He put up with my tears and was very sweet about it. What a guy!
Back to the original subject, Christmas Trees, I love them. Fresh ones. Filled to the brim with ornaments and twinkle lights!
This year due to so much travel, we decided not to have a tree but we have twinkle lights everywhere!
CHRISTMAS TREE TRIVIA
The first recorded Christmas tree can be found on the keystone sculpture of a private home in Alsace in 1576. German Protestants are often credited with the first circulation of the Christmas Tree, using them to decorate their houses. Protestant Christian reformer Martin Luther is said to have added the first lighted candles to an evergreen tree. The inspired decoration came out of admiration of the snow glistening from the trees on his walk home Christmas Eve.From Meg Bucker’s The History and Meaning of the Christmas Tree
Wooster, a small country town located in north-central Ohio, claims to have hosted the first Christmas Tree in America in 1847. German immigrant August Imgard might be the first to decorate the tree with candy canes; “Imgard cut a blue spruce tree from a woods outside town, had the Wooster village tinsmith construct a star, and placed the tree in his house, decorating it with paper ornaments, gilded nuts and kuchen.” From Meg Bucker’s The History and Meaning of the Christmas Tree
Artificial Christmas trees have outsold real ones since 1991.
In Poland, spiders or spider webs are common Christmas tree decorations because according to legend, a spider wove a blanket for Baby Jesus. In fact, Polish people consider spiders to be symbols of goodness and prosperity at Christmas. (Almost makes me like them. 😳 Almost. )
MY 2018 CHRISTMAS TREE…
Lucky for me I still have many boxwoods around the garden. Plenty for making boxwood trees. Such a fun project. When I was a florist I made so many of them and never tired of the project!
David Austin roses in my garden…
The Ingenious Mr. Fairchild
The Generous Gardener
Olivia Rose Austin
This week we lost one of the giants of the rose world – David Austin Snr. Mr. G says I have had a secret crush on him for 30 years. That might be true. When I was putting my first real rose garden together, I was feverishly researching all types of roses (without the benefit of the internet) and happened on the “something and someone new” in the rose world – Mr. Austin. He was a pioneer that followed his heart and used his gifts to bring us the beautiful Engish roses by blending historical roses (for form and fragrance) with modern roses (for repeat blooming and additional colors). I never had the privilege of meeting him, but he was very well represented by Michael Marriott who worked with him for more than 30 years and shares how special he was.
Thank you Mr. Austin for all the beauty you shared with our world. Well done, Sir.
Whew, that was a long post. If you made it to the end— Thank You!
Merry Christmas friends. Wishing you a holiday filled with joy, peace, love and plenty of twinkle lights!
Bathsheba is said to be a well-behaved climber (to 9′ or so) with beauty, fragrance and disease resistance. All the things I want to hear.
Right from the start my new small plant began to take off and start growing strong — even though I didn’t plant it in the most perfect of locations. (I feared it would not get enough sun.) I have been rewarded with adorable buds and breathtaking blooms. Only 4-5 blooms so far but enough to know that this one captures my attention and heart.
LISTEN FOR MORE INFORMATION…
To hear the charming Michael Marriott with the lovely voice and incredible rose knowledge talk about this rose and the other new introductions, listen to the Rose Chat Podcast here…
If you are growing this rose, let me know what you think and if you have questions, I’m happy to help! Leave me a note in the comment section below.
SPEAKING OF BUZZ….
Did you see the acrobatic bee in my herb garden that I posted on Instagram? He’s my inspiration. I want to have as much fun as he is having as I work in the garden. And I DO have some work to do–all the roses need dead heading! LOL
As I write this morning, my view from my potting shed is one that makes me happy all the time but especially today as we are getting a MOST and I mean MOST needed rain. No one fulfills the needs of the garden OR the gardener like the Creator…
LEMONS TO LEMONADE…
There’s been a lot going on in the garden the past two weeks–some good and some bad. 😳 I’ll have a report on Bloom Thyme Friday!