august and garden chores

David Austin Rose “Mary Rose”

It’s August. August in the garden in general means early mornings, pace yourself, and you can only do so much.

As I get older I have a hard time with humidity. So until this morning I have not been out in the garden very much in the last week or so. The combination of hot and humid has left the garden somewhat bedraggled.

I got out there in the garden early this morning because I had to focus the sprinkler on specific planting beds – because if you don’t get up and do the sprinkler early it’s useless the water just evaporates as the heat of the day sets in.

I also had to check out a Japanese maple which is suffering from heat stress. I can only pray at this point that the plant will make it and it looks so awful because one day it was beautiful red and healthy and the next day the leaves started to look shriveled and shrunken

I had forgotten the Japanese maples in fact have a widespread but fairly shallow root system. I did have a Japanese maple do this decades ago and I thought it was a goner and cut it down and it sent up new shoots from the roots the following spring. So I am going to leave the tree be and see what happens next spring. Hopefully Mother Nature will be kind to me.

Today was also a day to deal with my roses. I love them and always have. Today was the last drench of systemic feed, systemic insecticide, and systemic disease control for the season. Depending on how things go it will also probably not be a bad idea for me to give them a drink with seaweed extract and a little Epsom salts and or pulverized banana peels in a week or so.

People like to get all uptight about chemicals. I am a cancer survivor I use them judiciously. Roses and other shrubs and trees need them once in a while especially now that we have to deal with the spotted lantern fly (which in nymph form does like roses.)

I use the Bayer 3 in 1 Rose and Flower Care on my roses. It contains the three chemicals that are found to kill spotted lantern fly after they ingest it.

Bayer does not compensate me in any way for mentioning this product. I mention it because I use it. In spring when the roses get their first dose I use the granular version. From June forward I use the drench. I will note that I do not really spray for bugs or disease since I use this product.

The seaweed-type fertilizer I use is Irish Organic Fertilizer. It has the sea weed but it also has goodness from Irish peat bogs. Humic Acid and Moor Water blended with organic seaweed. (Read more about it HERE.) I will also note I use this inside with houseplants as well all year round. Orchids in particular love it.

I was a test garden for this Irish Organic Fertilizer when it first was introduced here in the United States a couple of years ago, but I buy it all year round at this point. I buy it off of Amazon.

Back to my roses. All in all, in spite of the weather it has been a lovely year for roses. I have some I thought were dead that I basically put in little corners of my garden where I have plant infirmaries, and today I had to add a rose obelisk to one because it had recovered so nicely!

While I was out with my roses, I not only weeded around the base of all of them, but I did some deadheading and I also did some pruning to remove some canes that were causing issue with airflow in the middle of my rosebushes, and/or didn’t look so hot.

One problem I have a constant battle with in this garden are rose borers. And when I cut a cane I seal the top with one of two things: nail polish or wood glue. Yes nail polish.

David Austin Rose “Benjamin Britton”

My new roses that I planted this spring are all doing really well. The champion grower is the David Austin English Rose Benjamin Britton. It is a vigorous and gorgeous rose!

The rugosa roses I planted which were antique and old garden rugosas are coming along. The one I purchased from Antique Rose Emporium in Texas called Mary Manners is the most vigorous so far. It bloomed once in a couple of spots when it was tiny and now it has sent out a lot of growth and next year will be fabulous. It was a vigorous grower when I had it in my parents’ garden decades ago.

David Austin Rose “James L. Austin”

The other rugosas I planted at the rear of the berm bed that runs down the side of the driveway came from Heirloom Roses in Oregon. Blanc Double de Coubert (another vigorous grower that I had in my parents’ garden years and years ago) and Bayse’s Purple Rose are also growing really nicely and I can’t wait for next year!

I chose old rugosa roses because like most old and antique roses they are very disease-resistant and they are so thorny the deer don’t like them yet they are habitats as they grow for other animals like birds. The berm bed rugosa roses will eventually help me back the rear of the bed and next year I hope to add more old or antique roses at the back of that berm. I have my eye on Madame Hardy and Comte de Chambourd.

A white David Austin rose “Winchester Cathedral”

The found rose I planted from Antique Rose Emporium has also been terrific. I have been getting its name wrong all summer so I looked it up on their website. Caldwell Pink and I highly recommend it. It is an old rose and it has been blooming nonstop all summer. It gets these little button size carnation pink blooms that smell heavenly. It is called a found rose because they’re not really sure where it came from but it was found in a little town called Caldwell, Texas.

I should probably note that the roses I plant are not only bare root they are own root. I have mentioned this before because when you pay to buy own root roses they are not grown on root stock. They are grown and on their own root and might be smaller when they arrive but you will have in my opinion a much healthier vigorous plant as time goes on.

I will admit I kind of ignored my roses as it got really hot except for occasional deadheading. And they survived. They either got watered by torrential downpours or when I set the sprinkler. During the worst of the heat I gave everybody a little bit of Epsom salts. I do that about three times during the growing season but you have to be careful how much you use because you don’t want to upset the mineral balance in your soil.

A lot of people in the US when they plant roses plant them in sort of standalone beds. Often it’s only roses in a particular flower bed. I look at roses a little differently. I plant them in the English and Irish style. In other words, my roses are in among the rest of my plants.

My style of gardening is easiest described as cottage garden with shade and woodland garden beds. I definitely have a layered garden and it is also turning into a very nice four seasons garden.

My favorite kinds of gardens are the ones that hold your interest in the middle of winter just like they do in the middle of June. I don’t know if that makes sense to a lot of people but that’s what I like. I like having something to look at 12 months of the year.

Now that the last leg of summer has arrived I pretty much do maintenance until the fall. I have not religiously deadheaded things like coneflowers (echinaceas) and hostas and even bee balm (monarda). I have done some deadheading but a lot of it I have just let Mother Nature take her course.

As a lot of the hydrangea blooms fade and die I will trim them because that’s the way you keep the bushes in check. That little bit of deadheading you do really helps keep the size of hydrangeas to where you can deal with them. The one exception to that rule are my Oakleaf hydrangeas on the edge of the woods on the far side of the deck. I rarely prune those. I love their wild look on the edge of the woods.

I know a lot of people are feeling discouraged in their garden this time of year. August is tough. And what makes it more difficult is we are experiencing climate change. So the extremes have been really extreme the past couple of summers.

But don’t lose hope, Garden a little bit at a time and soon it will be September and the temperatures will get a little more even.

Thanks for stopping by!

David Austin Rose “England’s Rose”

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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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.