About carla

Writer, blogger, photographer, breast cancer survivor. I write about whatever strikes my fancy as I meander through life.

yes, more roses.

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Benjamin Britten Rose courtesy of David Austin Roses

I don’t know if it was joining a local rose society (Philadelphia Rose Society)  that did it (I am already a many year member of the American Rose Society), or re-writing my rose growing article to reflect how I garden today that did it, but deer or no deer, woods or no woods, I just need more roses.

Roses are my first gardening love. So once again, I have stopped fighting it.  When I evaluated my existing roses it was still winter.  But even then I could see which ones I had lost completely.  And another which had been weakened by black spot. So I ordered two more David Austin‘s own-root bare root which are already planted and starting to sprout growth – Benjamin Britten and England’s Rose.

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England’s Rose courtesy of David Austin Roses

I also decided I wanted rugosas. People think of them as beach roses. You can see them all over, especially New England. They are salt resistant and wind resistant and winter hardy.

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Blanc Double de Coubert.

Now they are among the thorniest of roses and I might well curse them vigorously as they grow BUT hey, they are also naturally vigorously disease resistant (less chemicals yay!)

The prickliness of rugosa roses makes them deer resistant yet friendly to birds and small wildlife.

Rugosa roses are also known for their magnificent rose hips. And people make jam from them.  Rugosas have smaller, more wrinkled and almost leather-like leaves. Native to the coasts of Japan and Korea, I have decided they would fit with some of my other Asian lineage plants in this garden.

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Bayse’s Purple Rose

I decided to go to Heirloom Roses for rugosas. They are located in Oregon. I ordered from them years ago. I don’t think the company is owned by the same people any longer, so I will hope for the best.  I have bought a white rugosa I owned years ago, Blanc Double de Coubert. The second one is Bayse’s Purple Rose.

But always a glutton for punishment, I decided to check out another favorite rose source from days gone by – Antique Rose Emporium.

From Antique Rose Emproium I have bought two more roses. The first is another rugosa named Mary Manners. They describe her thusly:

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Mary Manners

‘Mary Manners’ originated as a white sport of ‘Sarah van Fleet’. It is much more than just another sport though. It’s one of the whitest roses out there and as a Rugosa, you can count on it being a tough landscape shrub. Try using it in place of ‘Iceberg if you have lots of black spot in your area.

They had me at “if you have lots of black spot.”

The other rose sourced from Antique Rose Emporium is a found rose.  Found roses are so much fun.  They are often lost roses discovered by people.  I literally had this book in my garden book library for years called In Search of Lost Roses by Thomas Christopher.  This is about the search for “old roses”–the original breed which all but vanished after 1867, when roses were hybridized.  Not of interest to most people, but I loved it.  I recently found a used copy of the book and am happily reading it again.

So back to the found rose.  It’s from Antique Rose Emporium and is called Caldwell Pink:

caldwell_pink2This everblooming rose, “Caldwell Pink”, is one of the most popular roses with landscape designers in our area. Its double, lilac-pink flowers form clusters that can be seen at a distance, and the compact bush fills out nicely with a minimum of pruning and maintenance. It is not very particular about soil conditions, but prefers a sunny open space. Some rosarians have suggested that this is the old China rose, ‘Pink Pet’, but we feel that it shows traces of wichuraiana or multiflora heritage and fits more naturally in the Polyantha class. The study name comes from a neighboring town, Caldwell, Texas, where this rose was found

I have a bed along the driveway where I am going to rearrange and add in the rugosas. Caldwell Pink will go in a front bed after a bit of rearranging there.

Rearranging. That is all about garden evolution.  As your garden grows, so may your vision of it. So has the case with mine with my roses.  I love my David Austins and I have a monster Queen Elizabeth who was rustled by me a few years ago when a nursery was closing.  They were just going to toss her out. Queen Elizabeth is a Grandiflora and she is a beautiful tall and fragrant pink rose.

I have decided to experiment with found and rugosa roses because of the disease resistance and although super throny, that is a benefit in keeping deer off of them.  But especially with the rugosas they are a rose that as they grow birds love to nest in them and little critters nest below because of the very thorny nature.

My garden is a layered cottage style in front especially, so I need to start experimenting with roses which can be more self-sufficient. And do not require tons of pruning.  Rugosas grow glorious hips so it is a rose you do not have to completely dead head if you so choose. You can allow the spent blooms to go to hips.

In other garden news, black haw viburnums arrived today along with my shag bark hicory seedlings.  I ordered them from GoNative Tree Farm in Lancaster, PA.  They sent me a black gum tree as a present. Black Gums are new to me, so I will have to learn about them and into the rear of the woods it will go.

The last word today are some more current garden photos of my garden. I will note the sky at present is a stark contrast of shades of steely gray with the new green of trees leafing out.  We are definitely getting some weather later.

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april 15, 2019: the day notre dame de paris burned

Photo courtesy of my sister, who literally visited Notre Dame a few short weeks ago.

I was 14 when I saw Notre Dame. A visit to Paris at the end of a summer trip to Strasbourg through I a local historical society- I think at the time it was a historical society in Valley Forge but it has been so many years.

Photo courtesy of my friend Jane

On this trip it was teenagers with chaperones and while in Strasbourg we lived with families. That is how I made my life long friend, Marie Claude.

Photo courtesy of my friend John

When in Paris, we stayed in an old but respectable hotel near Gare De L’Ouest and my friend blew the fuses when she plugged in a hair dryer. They were definitely not luxury accommodations but to a bunch of kids it was cool!

Photo courtesy of my friend Jane

Now here is a personal fact you wouldn’t expect from me I think: I may be well read, but I am not necessarily well traveled. I have not been to Europe since I was a teenager. Life has just not happened that way.

Photo courtesy of my sister and taken March, 2019

I do remember being in Paris and being overwhelmed because it was so big and busy. I remember doing things like stopping in a grocery for a baguette and cheese and fruit with my friend Lizzie and seeing Notre Dame and part of Versailles.

Photo courtesy of my friend Jane

I do have a bucket list of places I would like to see now that I’m older, but I hadn’t put Paris on it. Maybe I should now. A great deal of my bucket list surrounds the United Kingdom. I want to visit all the gardens I’ve read about and been inspired by over the years, and I want to go to wild places like the Shetland Isles, visit the Highlands of Scotland, see Haverfordwest and parts of Wales, and visit Ireland.

Photo courtesy of my friend John

Notre Dame is indeed a structure and a place which has figured prominently in a sense over the lives of so many people. The centuries of history and what Notre Dame has seen and survived, art history classes, the very symbol of it if you are Catholic.

Notre Dame is just iconic.

Photo courtesy of my friend John

Yesterday to most in the US was just another tax day. Well, maybe not just another tax day because thanks to our current president’s great “tax incentives, tax plans” it was kind of chaotic. And miserable. But that’s not for this post.

I remember I was standing in my kitchen and I had asked Alexa what the news was. I literally dropped a glass in the sink when I heard Notre Dame de Paris was burning.

Photo courtesy of my friend John

When I first turned on the TV all the US channels of major networks had game shows and the equivalent on air. So I turned to the BBC channel for news and pretty much remained riveted there for hours.

BBC: Notre-Dame: Massive fire ravages Paris cathedral

Notre Dame has survived centuries of war. Only on April 15, 2019 it has nearly burned to the ground. The news this morning is good, and already money is being raised for her restoration and rebuilding. But I can’t help but wonder all that has been lost while I marvel at the miracle of what was saved.

BBC: Notre-Dame fire: Millions pledged to rebuild cathedral

Here we are in one of the holiest weeks of the year. Are we supposed to learn the lesson that with endings there are new beginnings once again? I don’t know. But I have photos taken by my sister and my friends Jane and John to share with all of you. Enjoy the majesty that is Notre Dame de Paris and say a prayer for her restoration.

Photo courtesy of my friend John

going back to my rose basics

I was out in the garden again this afternoon.

Remember what I said about patience in the garden this morning? I have lost patience with a David Austin rose I planted a few years ago. But it has been plagued by black spot and borers and I think it’s time for it to go.

I got to thinking about the old forms of roses I used to grow years ago. Many of them are very hardy and disease resistant. They are just hard to find.

I decided I want rugosas. People think of them as beach roses. You can see them all over, especially New England. They are salt resistant and wind resistant and winter hardy.

Now they are among the thorniest of roses and I might well curse them vigorously as they grow BUT hey, they are also naturally vigorously disease resistant (less chemicals yay!)

The prickliness of rugosa roses makes them deer resistant yet friendly to birds and small wildlife.

Rugosa roses are also known for their magnificent rose hips. And people make jam from them.

Rugosas also have smaller, more wrinkled and almost leather-like leaves. Native to the coasts of Japan and Korea, I have decided they would fit with some of my other Asian lineage plants in this garden.

I decided to go to Heirloom Roses for rugosas. They are located in Oregon. I ordered from them years ago. I don’t think the company is owned by the same people any longer, so I will hope for the best. I also like Antique Rose Emporium.

Heirloom Roses is a favorite of Fine Gardening Magazine based upon this article. They sell own root roses, which is what I prefer now having run into problems with grafted roses. I have rambling rootstock that still pops up.

I have bought a white rugosa I owned years ago, Blanc Double de Coubert. The second one is Bayse’s Purple Rose.

Hopefully these roses won’t test my patience. And just as life often comes full circle, so apparently do plants in my gardens.

to garden, you need patience and to just try, not a crystal ball

I run a large gardening group. I founded it, I created it, I nurture it. But it means there are a lot of people and a lot of different personalities.

As someone who is often short on patience when it comes to human beings, that can be difficult for me. Sometimes when you are trying to articulate a point, because it is social media, people think I and others are being short when what we are doing is answering the question. Sometimes, people don’t like the answer to the questions they ask.

Gardening is a long game. It’s not a short game. There are no magic pills, potions, answers. It’s nature and patience.

You don’t need a crystal ball, you aren’t going to get a gardening crystal ball. You need patience. And knowledge.

Gardeners by nature are helpful people who like to share their knowledge. But the knowledge of a true gardener is gained because they have done the work. They have done the heavy lifting. Reading, learning, trial and error in our own gardens.

Patience is something I have had to learn while gardening. I am not patient all of the time. I am not even patient all the time in my own garden. I have grown impatient with things and ripped plants out and moved them and changed things up. At the end of the day, sometimes that’s all you can do. But for the most part, the majority of the time, I have learned to see the long game of having a garden. Even when it drives me absolutely crazy and I want another result immediately.

Some years are better than others. Last year was incredibly wet, and as a result, entering this gardening season I have plants I lost. I have new tree work that has to be done. I am still not sure what survived in the perennial department, versus what is toast. It’s part and parcel of having a garden. And I don’t say that lightly, because two of the things I lost between the wet of 2018 and the spring of 2019 were favorite roses- two David Austin Abraham Darbys.

But sometimes what I find is trying to explain to people gardening is a long game, they don’t want to really play the long game. They want the instant gratification game. I’m sure you can achieve that, if you have other people to do your gardening for you. If that is how you view gardening, that’s fine, but that is not my view.

People always ask how you get rid of thing sometimes like weeds. There is no magic bullet. I am still trying to eradicate the bishops weed from our property, for example. Every year it’s pulling and digging. There is no other way. Well, you can drop a nuclear bomb of herbicides on your garden but don’t expect other things to live.

And by herbicides, I also count in the homemade remedies that include vinegar which are harmful to humans, nature, domestic pets and so on. Those remedies aren’t organic, they’re caustic. In the garden where I am impatient, it includes these homemade remedies for everything under the sun.

Occasionally there are things, that are old wives tales that are actually helpful – like keeping aphids down by throwing your gray water (dishwater from the sink) out into the garden. Of course that works because gray water has the dish soap in it that is diluted enough that it doesn’t hurt your plants. But on the other hand, I wouldn’t take water out of my dishwasher before it drained after washing my dishes because dishwasher soap is more caustic.

Or critters. People get frustrated by them. Like deer. It is possible to manage deer in your garden and have a garden. There are several organic-based products out there that you can spray and sprinkle in your garden that won’t harm pets, children, other wildlife, or the deer. You can plant plants they don’t like, but every gardener knows if they are hungry enough they will eat just about anything. I have a couple products I like to use and I alternate them. And I use them on a schedule. (Plantskydd and Deer Out.)

I find some of the other critters harder to deal with but I just try. I will fill holes in tunnels with gravel. I do not use things that will poison other wildlife or domestic animals or humans. And when you put out poisonous baits you have to think about where that bait can travel. If someone in your neighborhood puts out mouse or pest poison, the critter might not expire on their property. What if it travels to your property and your cat or dog plays with it? They can get poisoned from that and die before you even know what is wrong.

So again, patience comes into play. And also don’t remove those garter snakes from your garden. Don’t start feeding foxes people food and pet food. Both of those creatures are natural critter control. Work with nature. Sometimes it takes longer, but I think it’s a better way to be.

Other times people need to come up with a plan before they remove things from their garden. They might not like a certain plant, for example, but perhaps it is performing a service in the garden, like keeping the soil stable. That is why I always encourage people to do a little research on their own. More experienced gardeners can always provide information, and we’re glad to do it, but part of learning to garden is the learning component.

And with gardening you learn by doing. Part of the doing includes your own research. Books, magazines, Pinterest, walking around other people’s gardens to see how they’re doing it. It’s not just crowdsourcing. If you don’t try to do some of the learning you will never learn. I am not being mean by saying that. Gardening is tactile. It is a form of Kinesthetic learning. Hands on experience, literally.

And that is the other thing about gardening. It can bring you the greatest of pleasure. It is so rewarding to be able to connect with nature and dig in the dirt. It’s good for your head, literally. When you garden, you do things like reduce your stress, anxiety, counteract depression. There is this tremendous satisfaction of something you have done yourself. It’s literally therapeutic. Gardening is positive.

Gardening is one of the best things I think you can do for yourself. And that’s hard to articulate to people at times. But the benefits of gardening are in the doing. Gardening groups can offer you all sorts of advice and plant ideas, but at the end of the day best thing you can do is get out there and try. So go dig in the dirt a little today before it rains. You’ll be glad you did.