Friday, May 4, 2012

'Blue Angel' Clematis

Clematis 'Blue Angel'

I have only two clematis in my garden. A shame I know and something I plan to change. Many people are afraid of them for some reason, many believing them to be difficult to grow. That isn't the reason I only have two, I just hadn't gotten around to buying more. I do think that some may be a little slower to get going than other varieties but I wouldn't say difficult. I think the whole type 1 2 3 things makes people nervous but really it very hard...really it isn't. The other thing that is a must with clematis is keeping there roots shaded and the blooms inthe sun.

'Blue Angel' has sky blue blooms and my picture really does not capture her color well at all. Really I shouldn't have planted her on this arbor swing in full sun. She is already a pale sky blue color and the southern sun just fades her, well not really fades but she just doesn't stand out as well. I got her on sale from Bluestone Perennials a couple of years ago and thought she would be really pretty along side 'Buff Beauty' climbing up the other side of the arbor. I plan to plant a darker blue or purple clematis with it.

'Blue Angel' grows 8-12 ft, blooms early summer- early fall (though here in my zone things tend to bloom sooner then what they are supposed to), and is type 3 pruning.

I think vines make a wonderful addition to any garden. There are so many different kinds to choose from to suit your taste and climate as well as sizes to fit your garden, while some grow huge others can be kept in pots. I have added a few vines this year to my garden, 2 Confederate Jasmine (a.k.a Star Jasmine), 2 Moonflower vines (which I am super excited about!), and a Hyacinth Bean Vine. As I mentioned I really want to add some more clematis this year to intertwine among my roses. My wish list includes 'Jackmanii''Polish Spirit', 'Rouge Cardinal', and 'Vyvyan Pennell'.  If you have any suggestion I would love to hear them.

Some other pictures I have to share today are a group of larkspur and the update on new plantings along the back of my privacy fence.

This isn't the entire shot, what you don't see is another fruit tree and two more knockouts and another trellis. This entire area along my back fence was such an eye sore! I never knew just what I wanted to do with it and for 5 years just fought weeds and grass and ugly. This year I was not going to let another year go by if I could help it and was determined to do something about it. What I planted was red knockouts (which I don't like red in my garden but I really don't consider them red but a dark pink), fruit trees, two black trellises with Moon vines on each one (thanks to a friend who started them and gave me a couple). Further down you can see the Confederate Jasmine or Star Vine (which ever you prefer), to climb up that big ol pine tree (which I see you can't really see in that picture but it's there) and then 3 purple azaleas (they should fill out that area really nice). I can't wait to see how the entire back fence looks like once it is filled out. I chose these plants for them being carefree for the most part. I didn't want to fuss over it and I wanted it to be a nice back drop for the rest of my garden. 

Another thing I have been busy doing is laying soaker hoses through out my garden. I am tired of hand watering and my water bills going through the roof in summer. Not only that but the plants were not getting consistent watering and I think most of the time more water was evaporated then actually getting down deep to the roots. Soaker hoses are very cheap and they do the job. I still have the entire back fence beds and rose bed to do and I am done!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Two Peas in a Pod

I don't usually blog about my pets other than my chickens but my daughter took these pictures and I thought them too cute not to share.
Meet Toby and Patriot
Patriot, the sleepy one, is my 4 year old chocolate lab that I have had since he was 5 weeks old. He is a handful as I know most lab owners can relate. His two favorite things are catching his big yellow squeaky tennis ball and eating. It is a good thing he likes to fetch, which is like nonstop, because his love for food whether it be in the form of actual food or things like wooden spoons, rubber spatulas and icing bags full of icing (yup the entire thing tip and all) he certainly needs the exercises. I just can't keep up with him sometimes. No, make that most of the time! I thought I wanted a dog who was active to help me to be active but it just didn't work. Then Toby came along and rescued me. Toby is a pit mix we found this past December. After trying everything we could to find his owner with no luck we adopted him. He has to be the most lovable affectionate dog I know. He instantly won over my heart as well as everyone who meets him. The wonderful thing is Toby and Patriot get along beautifully! They really are like two peas in a pod. They play together and keep each other company. They are a perfect match!

Ah, he's awake. Aren't they adorable!

I mean seriously can you get any cuter?

This is Patriot and my friends yellow lab Trooper. As you can see they are all set for a ride in the van.

My daughter is the one who took these pictures. She takes hundreds of pictures of these two and one day if her computer crashes I will know why!  The picture below is one she tried for months to get. She has some of the funniest and cutest poses of him on her computer. She actually placed him in that position and told him to stay and then snapped the photo. lol

Toby is not quite there yet, but look at that face!

Toby says thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Roses...the stars of my garden

Roses I must say are my favorite garden plant.

Of all the roses in my garden the Noisettes and the Knockouts are my favorite. I want a garden full of them! They never quit blooming and are by far the healthiest of all my roses. The scent from all my Noisettes are so strong and sweet and just simply wonderful!! They fill my garden with such delightful smells and draw me to them to bury my nose in their blooms. The Noisettes and Knockouts are by far the fastest growing roses I have ever seen! Today I have Noisettes, Knockouts, and Hybrid Musk and despite the thripes they still  shine.


~Alister Stella Gray~

~Buff Beauty~

~The Pink Knockout~

Heavy rains expected today and this weekend so I don't know how they will hold up after the rain but I am certainly enjoying them in the mean time. The Charlestonian, Climbing Pinkie, and Blush Noisette are about to start their flush so stay tuned hopefully to their spring debut!

Friday, April 13, 2012

A few plants that give so much yet require very little...

Well despite the thripes I do have some pretty rose blooms to show off on this lovely crisp spring Friday morning!

I spent the other day doing another round of dead heading and went to spray a horticultural oil on the unopened buds that didn't show signs of thripes to see if it would help. I filled up my pump sprayer only to find the wand is nowhere to be found. So oh well. Maybe the cool weather we have had this week will slow them down? I still have a few roses that haven't even started to bloom yet in fact many of my plants are just starting including the larkspur. I just love larkspur don't you?! Purple must be a dominate color in plants because though they started from the mixed variety I think the purple shades are really the only ones that come up anymore. Well that's just as well and only fitting I suppose in my garden.

This little beauty is 'Souv. d'un Ami', a tea rose dating back to 1846, is light to medium pink. This is a rose I don't really mention a whole lot and I don't know why as she is such a pretty healthy little thing. Very good repeat bloomer, healthy, and never asks for much and yet rewards me with such beautiful blooms. Ami

Here we have 'Peggy Martin',  a found rose that can reach 12-15 ft though I believe she can easily get much larger. This rose is named after the woman whose rose garden was destroyed after the storm surge that hit during Katrina, this rose was the only one to survive! To read about the complete story click here.
This rose absolutely amazes me and I can see how it survived. I have had this rose as well as 4 others sitting in the original pots since last spring. They are waiting to be planted in a spot along where our new fence is going up and I wanted to wait to plant them till then. 'Peggy Martin' is the only one doing well in fact so well she has exploded out of her container! Look at those long arching canes on her! Those are from last year and now the new ones sticking straight up from the container! The other 3 roses well let's just say I can't even compare. The others have a lot of die back and look sickly so much so that I'm afraid they might not make it if I don't do something soon. I have this rose sitting in my herb bed for now (the others in sitting in another bed), I have to pull up a chair to lay her canes on just to keep them off the ground. I can't wait to get this rose in the ground and have her climbing along my new picket fence coming next month!! Did I mention she is nearly thornless?!

Here we have those common but beautiful pink Knockout roses. I cut these back hard early spring this year to about 18". You don't have to but the 3 in the middle were a bit spindly and so I cut them all back to promote new stronger canes from the base and it worked. I have Nepta 'Walkers Low' planted in front and 'Becky' Shasta Daisies between. This is one rose that I never worry about thripes ruining.

This is one of my favorite plants. The picture doesn't do it justice. I saw this plant from someone on the gardenweb and knew I had to have it in my garden. This is Verbena Bonariensis or 'Verbena on a Stick', it grows pretty tall about 3-4 ft, very airy so it blends very nicely with other plants. It grows in zones 6-9 and is long blooming, mine bloom from spring till fall here in my zone 8 garden. There is another variety called Verbena Buenos Aires that grows a little shorter with the blooms closer to the foliage. I started this plant from 1 teeny tiny little seed which was all I had left in a packet that I had sown the year before but for some reason they never took. Last spring I found one seed left in the packet and through it in the soil saying "oh well" and forgot about it. Well that one little seed took! I now have about 10 plants this year all from that one little (and they are tiny seeds) seed! They reseed so nicely without being invasive. I just moved the plants around the garden to spread them around. The butterflies and humming birds love them too!

Well I am afraid that is all for today! For all you folks out there wanting to grow roses but are afraid you'll kill them you need to try 'Peggy Martin', next to Knockouts I really don't think you can hurt this rose. She is one outstanding rose! I plan to take cuttings of her and fill my garden with her!

Happy Gardening!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Two lovely ladies

First you will have to excuse my lousy pictures. I don't know if it is me or my camera or both. I can never get clear crisp shots of my roses no matter what setting I use when getting distant photos. I try to avoid bright light and wait till just when the sun starts to rise or at the end of the day but still the pictures look as is they were shot in the middle of a sunny day and are washed out. I would love a new camera! Ok, moving on....

I planted two noisette roses along the front of my chicken coop run last year, Mme. Alfred Carriere and Alister Stella Gray. Actually Mme. Alfred Carriere was a transplant. I originally planted this rose several years back next to a fairly young Sweet Gum tree hoping she would climb it. All it did for three years was grow two or three 4 or 5 ft canes and flower here or there and that is it. I wasn't sure what her problem was. When we built the new chicken coop and run I knew I wanted some climbing roses in front of it. So I decided to dig up MAC and try her in another spot before shovel pruning her. When I dug her up I noticed she hardly had any root system to speak of. Then I noticed that I had planted her on top of a pretty good sized root that I didn't realize was there when I first planted her. How I didn't notice that I have no idea.

This is her a few month after I planted her and to be honest I really didn't think she would make it with what she had for roots. Seriously it was like over night she put out growth! This doesn't look like much but if you saw her after I first planted her you would have seen how pitiful she looked.

This is her one year later and boy is she one happy rose! What a difference a year makes huh?

I love this rose. There is nothing I don't like about her. A few years and that fence will be spectacular!

Mme. Alfred Carriere

Alister Stella Gray is another charming, fragrant and healthy noisette rose. I must say that so far I haven't met a noisette rose I didn't love. She still has a lot of buds that haven't opened yet but I thought I would show you again what a difference a little time makes. Though I planted this rose last spring the picture taken below shows how much she had grown by early November. I just could not get over how fast this rose grew and now I am a tad worried that the fence will be swallowed up by these two gang buster roses. At least they will provide shade for the chickens. Did I mention they both smell delicious?!

Here she is today...

Alister Stella Gray

If you live in the south I think these are two "must have" roses you really ought to try! Why even if you don't live in the south they are worth trying! If you would like to read about the interesting story behind this class of rose click here .

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The Good


Dutchess de Brabant
That's about all the good I have right now and that's because of...

The Bad


Sadly I am infested with thripes again this year! They seem to be pretty early this year. Last year I at least got to enjoy the big spring flush from all my roses before they attacked but not this year. Many of my roses Sombreuil, Lamarque, Climbing Pinkie, The Charlestonian, Belinda's Dream, Buff Beauty, Madame Alfred Carrie, Baronne Henriette de Snoy, Souv. d'un Ami and a few others have only just started to bloom. I went out to take a look at what was blooming and noticed Belinda's big beautiful blooms were brown and I knew it had to be for one reason! Those horrid horrid teeny tiny little bugs had infested it! Grrrrrrrr!

The Ugly

Thripe damage to Belinda's Dream
more damage

This is so disappointing and if you have gone through it you know what I'm talking about. One waits all winter for the roses to bloom only to have them ruined by a bug that is pretty much impossible to get rid of as well as difficult to see if you don't know what you are looking for.  I wonder if the warm winter has anything to do with how early and bad it is this year? I inspected the rest of the roses that had blooms and really there wasn't a rose that escaped them. Belinda's Dream had a great deal of blooms on her with a bunch of buds just beginning to open and all with really bad thripes damage. Mrs Dudley Cross and Sombreuil all badly damaged. MAC just starting her flush (which this rose has made such a come back since I moved her and I so badly wanted to see her covered in blooms) has them too. Ooooo those stinking little thripes! So I got a big bucket and dish liquid and filled the bucket with soapy water. Pruners in hand and began the painful task of deadheading all the blooms as well as buds that clearly showed thripe damage and submerged them in the soapy water. The soapy water helps to keep the thripes from flying away and hopefully kill them. Then I will drain the water and throw the buds and blooms in a garbage bag to toss in the trash can for tomorrow's pickup. That is about all I can do unless someone else out there has heard of something else then please tell me.

So for now my spring garden isn't what I was hoping for but you have to go with the flow and I will just keep my eye out for The Good!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wednesday Bloomers ...of the rosey kind

Here are some blooms to enjoy from this mornings stroll.

Mrs B. R. Cant

Opening buds of Mrs B. R. Cant

Mrs Cant again through the fence

Lamarque getting ready to burst with blooms

Dutchess de Brabant