On the Ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, nine ladies dancing. Just as people can dance and move, certain plants possess rhythm and music in their movements. When a breeze sweeps by they may swing and sway. Some have a pattern and repetition just like the steps in a dance. Other plants seem to be decked out in costume, lighting up the stage with their tulle and taffeta. I watched the Nutcracker Ballet this season and during the Waltz of the Flowers the costumes were so beautiful, light and shimmering in pastel colors that I was lost in field of flowers during the dance. They transformed the dancers into petals floating on the breeze. Twirling and whirling on a soft summer day. I think that plants enjoy this dance as well. The delicate petals falling on moss surprise me with their random design. The pattern of bark exposed on a bare winter tree reminds me of a belly dance. The Japanese Maples with their delicate and artistic structure, yet possessing great strength, could be the ballet dancers. Why not let the horsetail perform the riverdance? Growing in moist places, straight and true. The spirals of the wisteria vine and the topiary are doing the Twist. Curling their way upward. The witchhazel plants are reaching out to each other, like two partners in a waltz. Taking turns leading. One day yellow leads out with its sparkly flowers, the next red takes over. The blueberries are in the midst of a folkdance. Moving through the patterns of ripeness, from green to perfect blue. The beautiful trees, in fresh flower and leaf are definitely doing the swing, as they wave to me in the breeze. The tree with its roots exposed is a hip-hop dancer, showing off its flexibility and power. Just look around, you’ll see that plants are not frozen in place. They cavort, they jump and leap, they twist and twirl, they whirl, spin and prance. Yes, plants can dance! Do you have any dancing plants?
On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me, Seven Swans a Swimming. These swans remind me of beautiful white plants. Plants that are elegant and royal, like the Mallorn tree, the treasured elven tree described by JRR Tolkien. “Its bark was silver and smooth, and its boughs somewhat upswept after the manner of the beech; but it never grew save with a single trunk. Its leaves, like those of the beech but greater, were pale green above and beneath were silver, glistering in the sun; in the autumn they did not fall, but turned to pale gold. In the spring it bore golden blossom in clusters like a cherry, which bloomed on during the summer; and as soon as the flowers opened the leaves fell, so that through spring and summer a grove of malinorni was carpeted and roofed with gold, but its pillars were of grey silver. Its fruit was a nut with a silver shale.” Unfortunately, no Mallorn was available for the photo gallery, but I found a few fair plants that ‘glister’ in their own right.
A quick trip to Seattle’s Woodland Park Rose garden showed that the June gloom was not beneficial to organically grown roses in 2012. There were fungal diseases and sparse foliage on display. Valiantly the roses showed their colors, still a delight even in their struggle against time and weather. One exception to the insufficient shrubs was the new introduction Sunshine Daydream. Leaves glossy, green, full, lush and plentiful. Flowers bright yellow. I’ve also watched it over the season at the nursery, and it stands out there as well. It appears very strong and disease resistant. Gold medal to Sunshine Daydream for the top rose of July!
The first letter was dated June 3, 2011 and was from my friend Pany in London. It was a card with those Irresistibly Sweet strawberries on the cover. When I received it last summer, I was new to blogging and hadn’t a clue what to do with it, so I threw it in the pile (don’t deny it, we all have the same pile). The second bright green Versatile letter came on January 25, 2012 from my friend Cathy in Bavaria. I was busy writing about Tree Socks, and thought I would get to her letter soon, but threw it in the pile. Finally this week I received a letter filled with sunshine from my friend Kevin in New York. As it was about to be tossed into the pile as well, I paused. Three seems to be a magical number, 1, 2, 3, ready, set, go, triple play. I decided it was time to open my mail, time for some spring cleaning.
I gratefully, thankfully and humbly accept these three awards from my fellow-bloggers and will try and follow the rules. Writing and reading and connecting with other people all around the world who have similar interests is an amazing experience. It’s fun to see whose crocus is blooming first and who has the worst spring weather (I nominate the Northwest). I love reading everyone’s words, laughing at your humor and learning from your experience. And always finding inspiration from your garden-talk. So Thank You, Danke and Grazie to Pany at pany123.wordpress.com, Cathy at wordsandherbs.wordpress.com, Kevin at nittygrittydirtman.wordpress.com and WordPress for giving all of us our voice.
1. Include the Logo in my Post
2. Link back and thank those that nominated me
3. Answer 10 questions about myself and/or tell seven random facts
4. Nominate 10 other bloggers and link them to the award in their comment section
1. What is your favorite color? Blue! Like the color of the ocean and the color of the sky (a perfect backdrop for plant pictures).
2. What is your favorite animal? The elephant, I saw one today at the Woodland Park Zoo! So intelligent, how cool would it be tho have a trunk?
3. What is your favorite number? 16, My birthday, send me a card in May!
4. What is your favorite drink? Agua….refreshing water.
5. Which do you prefer, facebook or twitter? Facebook, although blogging is better than either.
6. What is your passion? Plants, duh!
7. Do you prefer giving or receiving presents? When I think of the perfect gift…giving!
8. What is your favorite pattern? Floral!
9. What is your favorite day of the week? Sunday, I like to remember God and love singing with our choir at church.
10. What is your favorite flower? The rose. I’m happy when I’m near them.
For The Sunshine Award:
1. Pany at Pany123
2. Cathy at Words and Herbs
3. Donna at Gardens Eye View
4. Catmint at Diary of a Suburban Gardener
For The Versatile Blogger Award:
1. Calvin at A Thistle in My Sensitive Area
2. Ellen at Technicolor Lily Pond
3. Jennifer at the Wild Garden
4. Andrea at I Garden Daily
For The Irresistibly Sweet Blogger Award:
1. Amy at Picture Book a Day
2. Masha at A Rose is a Rose
3. Lisa at Click
4. Sara and Janice at Form and Foliage
They are named English Roses, but everyone calls them David Austin Roses. Why are they so unique? What makes them so popular with the rose buying crowd? Who is this man named Mr. David Austin? He was born in England in 1926 and went into the nursery business in the 1960′s. This was the time when hybrid tea roses were the trend, for their new colors and perfect forms. David Austin wanted rose breeding to take a different path. He was looking for roses that would meet the needs of the gardener, remarkably beautiful, yet easy to prune and tend. He began to combine the best characteristics of the old roses (shrubby habit, cupped, rosette flower form and delicious scent) with those of the modern roses (repeat blooming and wider color range). He wanted his roses to mingle well in a mixed border with herbaceous perennials, creating a traditional English cottage garden.
From his beginnings as a humble farmer, David Austin has come a long way. His roses are now sold worldwide and his rose garden at Albrighton in county Shropshire, is home to over 800 varieties of roses. He has introduced many famous roses such as Graham Thomas, Mary Rose and Constance Spry.
David Austin has also collected a number of awards during his life. He won the Victoria Medal of Honour from the Royal Horticultural Society in 2003 for his services to horticulture and the Dean Hole Medal from the Royal National Rose Society. He also received an Honorary MSc from the University of East London for his work on rose breeding. He received the lifetime achievement award from the Garden Centre Association in 2004 and was most recently appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire, which makes him David C.H. Austin OBE.
On this esteemed award he says: ‘I am honored and delighted to be awarded an OBE for services to horticulture in the Queen’s birthday honors list. Every day, I marvel at my good fortune to have been able to make a life out of breeding roses, but of all the many days in my professional life, this is surely the most special. It is always a source of great satisfaction to see the pleasure my roses give to gardeners and rose lovers worldwide’. David Austin 16th June 2007
Long live the beautiful, versatile, elegant, delicious, velvety, radiant rose!
It’s snowing outside right now in Sammamish, Washington. It’s still winter. It’s still February. I’m tired of cold fingers and wet feet. I need a little bit of summer. Remember the sun? Remember the smell of freshly cut grass? Remember the warm breeze against your skin? Remember t-shirts without three extra layers? Remember bright sunlight? Remember sweating? Remember fresh tomatoes? Remember the roses? What do you miss about summer?
For some reason I’ve had this photo waiting to be published since July. Here are the top five reasons why I love this rose:
1.The smooth and creamy buttery yellow color, that changes with time and seasons. Sometimes rich and full, other times translucent and light. Yellow is not my favorite color, it’s closer to the bottom of the list, but this yellow just makes me stare. There must be something in my genetic code that attracts me to this rose. Maybe it’s not the rose, maybe it all comes back to butter.
2. The compact size of this floribunda. It doesn’t get big and gangly, but grows to about three feet. A tidy shrub of perfect proportion.
3. The innumerable blossoms. It started flowering early and just kept on going. In mid-summer I counted 48 buds on Julia Child, which seemed a lot for this compact plant. In December there were two modest flowers, struggling to fully open, yet stubbornly present.
4. The sweet and light rose fragrance. It’s described in the catalogs as spicy, sweet and licorice. I agree with the first two, haven’t detected the licorice yet. A hint of butter, perhaps…
5. Disease resistance. My rose stayed in a container, moved around too much and never had full sun. It did suffer from aphids and black spot, but after a few treatments with neem oil, it rebounded beautifully and sported dark, glossy green leaves most of the year. Truly one of the best.
Which rose is your favorite?
Even though we’ve had temperatures below freezing, this rose just will not stop! She obviously does not want to be left out of the garden party and wants to join the pansies and hellebore. Her foliage is on the decline, but she’s finishing this race like Lance Armstrong…Live Strong!
The following rose care calendar is from the book Growing Roses Organically by Barbara Wilde. These suggestions are for zones 7 and 8. Autumn is a great time for roses. We are still enjoying an abundance of blooms from those hybrid teas and floribundas and hopefully the summer sun has slowed down the spread of black spot. The plants need to start preparing for dormancy to survive the winter, so cut down on cutting as tender new growth is the first to be damaged in those early autumn frosts.
September: Give roses a kelp foliar feeding midmonth, monitor water needs, order new roses.
October: Prepare new beds.
November: Prepare new beds, plant new bareroot roses, trim any long canes that may whip in wind, make sure all climbers are securely tied to supports, rake up and dispose of all rose debris, check to make sure all graft unions are well covered, renew mulch.