Sunday, May 31, 2009

Catching up on Last Week.

Last week was a blur. This blog is a little bit stale because of it, and I'm sorry. Too much time spent entertaining visitors and working in the garden, and almost no time sitting here at the computer.

My calendar was completely full:

Saturday, the 23rd, my friend Robert and I went to Maryland for a rose day. We had lunch with Stephen Scanniello and half a dozen other garden nuts at a cute little Caribbean restaurant … I ordered curried goat, at Robert’s suggestion, and it was really good. After lunch, we went to Behnke’s Nursery to hear Stephen speak about his new book. From the nursery, we visited Nick Weber at the Heritage Rosarium. Nick is my inspiration for growing roses the way I do, though I can only hope to approach his level of experience and expertise. I am awed by what he has created.

Nick's Garden

Nick's Garden

Nick's Garden

Monday, Memorial Day, we had a gathering here for our Garden Web friends. It was a chance to get acquainted in person and put a name (or, in this case a User ID) to a face, and make real friends out of cyber friends.

Storms on Monday night and Tuesday flattened a lot of the roses. The ones that didn’t get knocked over had most of their petals beaten off. The resulting wet conditions made an ideal environment for boytrytis … there are a lot of balled, brown, rotten flowers out there. Banshee, Clotilde Soupert, and many of the fuller-flowered antique Hybrid Teas are suffering the worst.

Tuesday was my first Greenhouse Management class. I’ll be in class all day every Tuesday until the first week of July. (This is probably something I should have done before I built my greenhouse.) Hopefully, class will teach me a bit about how to avoid some of last winter's problems. I know it already has me wanting a larger greenhouse. Maybe one day …

Wednesday was a full day of garden touring. The day began at Edible Landscaping in Afton, Virginia. They have a huge assortment of edible plants … I left with 2 new figs for my collection, and plans to return for a mulberry and a pomegranate. (I intentionally drove the Jeep, so I had limited cargo room to help keep my plant-buying to a minimum.) We went from Edible Landscaping to the garden and estate of Courtnay Daniels. She has created the most spectacular garden EVER. There is room after room of perennials and shrubs and evergreens and trees in the garden, all carefully designed and impecably maintained. It was a rare treat to visit there. (Click HERE to see the article about her garden, published in the Wall Street Journal last fall.) There is no way photos can adequately capture the views and the details of Mrs. Daniels’ garden, but here are a couple so you can get a taste of the place.

Daniels' Grass Garden

Daniels' Garden

The day ended here, with tour of my garden and lots of questions. Visitors headed for home as the sun was setting … it was a very long, very wonderful day.

Thursday and Friday were work days. The weather so far this spring hasn’t been very cooperative, and Thursday was the first day this year I could get fungicide applied to the whole garden. Some of the roses are really suffering because of it. Mme. Pierre Oger and Purple Tiger are probably not going to be here much longer … neither of them has many leaves left, and those that remain are yellow and blotchy. I have too many other roses to plant … I can’t waste time coddling roses that displease me.

Yesterday, we hosted the Richmond Rose Society’s annual picnic. 40-or-so visitors descended at lunch time, each bringing a covered dish for pot-luck lunch. I answered so many questions about the house and its history, and everything about the garden. The French ramblers on the fence are at their peak now, and they were the perfect back-drop for the day’s activities.

Leontine Gervais

Each set of visitors has helped me prepare for the Grand Opening on Saturday …. that’s only 6 day away …. Oh no!


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