Saturday, May 30, 2015

The Garden.....2 years later

It's been awhile.
A few weeks ago, while the garden was still in the depth of winter sleep, I had a landscaper come and discuss ripping it all out and putting in a few shrubs and more grass. As we get older and jobs continue to take up all of our time and energy, I thought it was time to strip out the roses and plant something that took less upkeep.

While I was contemplating the thousands of dollars it would take to destroy the garden I had worked on for years, spring flush hit last week.

White Iceberg still waiting to bloom 

Quietness as lovely as ever

 Easy Does It never disappoints...

So, I have changed my mind and will be keeping the garden. But making some changes. I will be shovel pruning all of my hybrid teas. Yes, even you Mr. Lincoln with your gorgeous red, as big as my head, fragrant blooms.

The side garden has gotten really bad with the last few winters. I'll only be keeping a few of these babies. The boxwood have been thriving and really need to be cut back over here. I have big plans for this side of the garden and will keep you posted.

This side garden in 2013 for reference:

Note the Dr. Huey that has overtaken this one...

If you want a rose that will stay glorious with complete neglect, horrid winters, blackspot craziness and summer droughts, pick Heaven on Earth. The name is fitting. I will be keeping her.

2 years ago we planted the little front David Austin garden and I have to say, it is doing really well. If you've ever considered The Alnwick Rose or Princess Alexandria of Kent, run and buy them. They are looking fantastic this year. It really does take 3 years to see the fruits of your labor. I'm going to assume that next year will be outstanding for this bed.

 In 2013....for reference

 Princess Alexandria of Kent huge, fragrant pink blooms:

The Alnwick Rose. Cupped, large blooms, the bush stands upright and growing tall. Like this habit versus the sprawling...

Last weekend we mulched and tried to clean up the side of the garden by the garage and the back garden. At one point, I had planted tuleps, dahlias, then a bunch of perennials over here. But now, it's just peonies that still haven't bloomed (hello, it's well past Memorial Day!) and a Dark Lady David Austin rose that seems to love it here. I've transplanted her several times and never thought she would like it next to the beast (climbing hydrangea) but she does, she'll stay where she is.

The back bed of David Austins has been declining over the last few years and we pulled a few that didn't make it through this last winter, including all of the beautiful Abraham Darbys that the winter killed. Now it's just 2 Golden Celebrations that need some love and a Christopher Marlowe. We planted three quick fire hydrangeas behind them to fill up the space. We'll see how it goes. I have a few empty holes that need to be filled...will think about that.

Here's what I have learned...wait to fertilize! I waited this year because I basically forgot and fertilized about 4 weeks before bloom, so first weekend in May. Roses were green and had buds so thought is was too late. Nope. Prune around this same time. I think I had been doing both way too early for my zone. Pull out the roses that are looking sickly so you have room for the healthy, vigorous ones like Quietness and Easy Does It. And....although everyone says it and I just hadn't listened.....Hybrid Tea roses have a shelf life (at least in my zone). Plant them, enjoy them for awhile and then shovel prune. And don't feel guilty doing it!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

I guess I should call it summer flush now versus spring's 90 degrees here already at 9AM and the roses are finally in bloom. With the heat and the late rain this year, I didn't get a breather from blackspot even during the first flush. It is running rampant through my side rose bed already. So, this post will show what's doing well in this terrible weather, what's looking not so great, and the parts that just aren't doing well at all.

This is the overall of the front garden.

When you walk out the front door...

Of course, Easy Does It takes first prize this year. I planted 6 plants to flank the front garden on both sides and it is a blooming machine. The leaves are dark green and not a hint of black spot.

Also in the front garden, Graham Thomas has decided to be a full blown climber and is now climbing up the Iceberg. He's looking good this year.

Gertrude Jekyll didn't let me down this year and is blooming and lovely. A little bit of black spot, but manageable.

I planted a Veilchenblau in this bed which I know seems crazy since it's a rambler, but I have a plan...I'm hoping it will fill up the empty spaces and eventually grow around the window. It's one of my healthiest plants so far. What a beauty!

Quietness is keeping the peace in the back of the bed and as gorgeous as ever.

The new garden is doing well so far and of course the two Gertrude Jekyll's I planted in this bed are the first to bloom (no surprise).

The back Austen bed is still a mess. The Golden Celebration, Christopher Marlowe and Abraham Darby that I didn't move have long octopus arms that are impossible to keep in place. Of course the fragrance back here is wonderful.

The roses that I transplanted to the left are still struggling. But not dead, so I'm remaining hopeful.

The new peony bed is doing well and in bloom. I threw some mulch over the bed last weekend to help keep this bed cool. It gets just morning sun, but it's so hot, the leaves are wilting a bit.

My side rose bed gets the prize for ugly this year. This bed is around the corner from the front bed...

It's blackspot city over here. I have a feeling I might have to shovel prune a lot of these roses. All three of the Moondances got hit so bad, there's hardly a leaf on them. They have a few blooms right now, so will keep them through the flush. Dick Clark got pulled as well as What a Peach. They were right in the middle of the bed, so now I have a hole.

Playboys are doing okay, not as good as usual.

I'm going to order some Kordes roses for next year for this bed. As much as I love my hybrid teas, they just don't do well here. I'll take some close up shots once the sun goes down a bit. It's too bright out here!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Spring is here...finally!!

So, I think winter may be finally over here (knock on wood!)...and while it was miserable and cold for way too long, the garden absolutely loved it. I've never seen lusher growth in mid-May. Buds abound on rose bushes, peonies are getting ready to burst and perennials that I haven't seen for years are showing up all of a sudden. It's going to be an exciting June around here. Here's what the front garden is looking like now, on the brink of bloom.

Pink Lupines.....

The side rose bed is looking pretty good so far. I lost a few over the winter including one large shrub right in the middle, but it's okay, makes room for the others. That Mr. Lincoln is getting crazy tall again and he's only in his second year. I even pruned it down just a month or two ago and it shot right back up.

I moved a Quadra red rose over to grow up the Beast (a.k.a. climbing white Iceberg) and it loves it's new home. So now, in this area will be the Beast, Quadra, Graham Thomas and two different types of clematis (purple Jackman and red Niobe). Should be pretty spectacular if all goes according to plan. Take a look at those day lilies in the front. They were just little weeds last year....

Giant poppies! How I love them....I planted this one last year and saw only one bloom. I don't remember which one this is and can't wait to see all of these buds pop. I forgot to order more poppies from Annie's this year and so regretting it after seeing this guy....

We've also been hard at work on the former hydrangea bed, planting new boxwoods and new David Austins. This bed will be pinks and reds. Inside are Gertrude Jekyll, The Alnwick Rose, Princess Alexandra of Kent, William Shakespeare, Heritage and Lady Salisbury, planted in groupings of three. I like that this bed will be very orderly like the bed on the side of the house and the one in the middle will be more cottagey.

Third time is the charm for the potted roses that I want desperately to climb up the pillars behind this bed. This year I'm going to give Aloha climbers a try...we'll see. I kept them in root pouches inside the planters and so far they seem happy.

On the side of the garage, I have finally committed to something and have planted Sarah Bernhardt and Karl Rosenfield peonies. I wanted to buy from Peony Envy here in NJ but was too late for this year. I'm going to pick out some of their beautiful tree peonies in the Fall.  We're not that far from their farm in Bernardsville, so I'm hoping David and I can go for a visit this year. The tulips that I planted 3 years ago are just about all gone, David will mow the remains for me so we have more room for the peonies. I also transplanted a David Austin Dark Lady over here because she had gotten way to huge for the back Austin bed. Looks kind of random over here now...but seems to love it, so I hate to move her again. Looks like a mess over here right now...but once the tulips are removed, will look better.

I finally summoned the courage to spread out some of my favorite Abraham Darby's and Golden Celebrations to separate them a bit back in early April. I was nervous the whole time and even now, it makes me a bit sick to look at what once was my favorite rosebed. Abraham did not like being moved and looks sickly and worrisome, same with the one Golden Celebration that I moved. You can see the difference in this shot....

....sickly and miserable on the left, growing and happy on the right. Uggh. I'm really hoping the transplanted are just in shock and will come back soon...this bed will now only be yellows, oranges and apricots: Golden Celebration, Christopher Marlowe, Abraham Darby and Lady of Shalott. Poor David has been working on the brick path but almost took out his thumb the other day, so needless to say, he's taking a break from this project. Much more to come as we finally have a few days over 60 degrees....

Saturday, February 9, 2013


What a crazy dump of snow. We got about 2 feet. Nothing really compares to Sandy so this was just another snow storm. Here is what it's looking like outside this morning....

This is the backyard. The little barbecue is always a good gauge of how much snow we got. The poor roses that I had put into root pouches on the patio are almost completely covered.

This is a side view of the front garden. I can't get to the side rose garden to see how it is doing....snow's too deep.

Good day to stay in and read which is exactly what I'll be doing today. Stay warm out there!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Hearts and chocolates

With Valentine's Day around the corner, another little feather tree goes up. This one is ivory and covered in silver and red vintage glass beads. The wind is howling as I'm putting up the tree..we're supposed to have a cold snap soon. Here's the finished tree.

I like the little chocolates...

I placed my last rose order for this year. Focusing on David Austin's for the most part and leaving the Hybrid Teas out of my order. I just ordered 3 Sally Holmes climbers for the porch pillars. We'll see how they do....I needed something that could handle the shade. It's a shame about Pickering's. Disappointing that they can no longer ship to the U.S. Hope this changes. They were my favorite rose supplier. Now ordering from Regan's for Bare Roots. Only a month to go before the new roses start to arrive....sigh. January is soooo long.