Tuesday, May 12, 2009


first rose of the season

I have gotten the garden ready for the visitors from the Collingswood House and Garden tour this coming Sunday. The anticipation is for as many as eight hundred people touring the houses, but weather does not look promising. I received a few plants (4 roses) that I intended to use in the backyard to replace a rose l loved very much (Martine Guillot). It had perished and did not seem to be coming out of any dormancy. I also intended to replace a few others that were weak wooded and did not ever seem to flourish. Looking over the terrain, I discovered the weak wooded ones were returning with more vigor and should be given maybe another year. Regardless the neighboring vegetation was covering for them. The dead rose has miraculously, like Lazarus, come back from the dead. A new shoot, now about six inches popped up from the root where I had removed old plant.

The surprise will be whether it was on its own root or some other hybrid root stock. Roses, for those who do not know, are typically grown on root stock of a certain hardiness that promote plant growth and health {Somewhat like fruit trees which are,(apples, cherries, pears, peaches, plums) in the Rosaceae family and thereby overgrown roses!} and the flowering part is grafted on to that root stock. The union of these is called the basal union. When you get new plants they always tell you to cover or not to cover the basal union depending on where you get your roses. Now-a-days many rose growers prefer to grow new plants from cuttings and to do not graft them (a timely and costly process). The results, if a plant dies for whatever reason the part that is below the ground may grow a new stem from the original plant material. In a grafted plant, the growth could come from the root stock (that can also bloom), that is different from the flowering stock. So, if I have not confused you, I am hoping that my rose will grow to be a Martine Guillot as opposed to something else. Only time will tell.

So, I got these plants to replace bad roses, but when I looked around there was little space to fit anyone in and expect it to grow. Looking for possibilities I ended up in the front yard which in reality gets very little attention due to its very low maintenance liriope massing. I decided that some plants up there needed sprucing and I cut out some holes in the liriope and planted all four roses up front to make a strong statement. Only time will tell about those too. I tried a great rugosa roses up front that is about as uncomplicated roses as is possible. It did well for awhile and then petered out to small shrub with few flowers. My front yard has more sand and is therefore less nutritious soil than my back swamp where the roses thrive. I have already applied some heavy applications of my compost into the new holes to help the roses along. I will need to keep this up if they are to thrive.

I called today's posting leftovers, because there are bits and pieces that I have thought about and photographed and I wanted to put them out there for your enjoyment but were not linked to a particular storyline or theme. Some are more fun than others, as with everything!
Liriope filling in nicely. In another week the process of molting will have taken place completely. Notice all new blades are emerald where as the old ones look more faded.

Liquidambar seeds (Sweetgum) I described last week. Here is an assortment provided by the rain splattered on the sidewalk. The old seeds from last year are the larger spiky ones. The yellow bundles of balls are how they start and then take a year to develop into the spiky brown balls. Each bundle may have as many as twenty balls. Thanks to the rain thousands of seeds have been removed from the tree, but many hundreds still remain.

Another beauty in the garden already blooming is Viburnum plicatum tomentosum "shasta". A mouthful indeed, but when it blooms it stops you in your tracks. This plant about eight feet tall appears as though doves had landed on it.

This Azalea Exbury 'Gibraltar' is a bit of a loud whore that contrasts nicely with the buildup of purples from the Irises elsewhere in the garden. Although over the top, and we all need something over the top, it passes by too quickly.
A little more of the purples with the giant tree peony.

A patch of purple irises in a neighbor's yard worth noting.

I anticipate the return of this beauty. Photographed last year at Cornell University in Ithaca New York, I have a small plant that I have nurtured since its introduction into my garden last August.

Easter Eggs, anyone? These fun, very over the top azalea massing make me think of Fabergé Eggs. They are in a Haddon Township, a neighboring community.

Just across the street from me. This Cercis canadensis (redbud) tree is so loaded with flowers that it even manages cover parts of its trunks with bloom. The Borough of Collingswood planted these smallish trees as they lie directly under the electric wires. They will never need to be hideously deformed by the utility crews as they will not get taller than twenty feet or so.

Another view of my Chinese Peonies. Sorry to bore you. I get so few flowers each year that I need to photograph them a lot.

Finally, a beautiful place to have lunch if you work in the City of Philadelphia. Located in historic Pennsylvania Hospital, this courtyard has possibly thrilled many a figure since its founding by Benjamin Franklin more than 250 years ago.

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