We have had a very wet spring. It has rained twice a week or more, everything at Hollywood shows the effects. Earlier, spring flush of flowers was glorious. Now, the damp conditions are taking a toll on some of the roses that are susceptible to it ... at least that's what I THINK is happening to some of them.
Let's take 'Archduke Charles' as an example.
There are two bushes of this rose that I know of in the cemetery. One of them has lots of lush spring growth, and its taller outer branches are on the ground ... laid flat by hard rainstorms.
Look carefully and you can see that it is already putting out new canes in response to the increased sunlight in the center of the plant. Those flattened canes can be pruned off and the bush will be as good as new.
The other 'Archduke Charles' looked like this in October 2011 ... it was nice and leafy in May of this year, too, but I don't have a photo of it from that day to show you.
Now, for some reason, it is almost completely leafless. Dampness and saturated soil in its shady location perhaps? Other than its lack of leaves, the plant itself looks great. We will keep an eye on it to see how well it refoliates itself.
Other China Roses were leafless, too. This is the one I call "Coulbourne China", since we don't yet know the real name of it. There was one fairly nice cluster of flowers left on it, toward the bottom of the plant. .. but almost no leaves.
The "Gemmell Rose" is a pink China ... you guessed it, almost leafless. It was putting out new growth and lots of buds, though. This is another one that will have those flattened outer branches pruned off.
The cemetery has two very large 'Spray Cecile Brunner' bushes. Storms flattened some of their branches, too. The bushes themselves, though, look fantastic. The first flush of flowers has finished, and both of them are covered in buds as they prepare to do it all over again.
I found a rose that we missed putting on our rose map earlier in the year. I have no idea how this one got overlooked. It is a lovely example of 'Alba Odorata', a plant that I have visited and photographed a number of times in the past. Right now, it is just beginning to flower. It would be good to get the invasive vines and the volunteer maple tree out of it.
Speaking of vines, there is a wild grape vine clambering over the rose on the Larus plot. The rose itself looks great ... with one spray of flowers left on this once-bloomer. Based on the way it grows, I'm wondering if this is a rambler. There are a number of ramblers in the cemetery (Tausendschoen and Crimson Rambler and others) that grow as large, lax, free-standing plants.
I will finish up with one of my favorite plants in the cemetery, the Brandt rose. I think this is a Noisette, but I'm not positive. It grows as a huge, fat, gorgeous shrub ... planted outside the plot's granite curb, very close to the road. You can see how gorgeous it is in this photo that I took a few weeks ago in early May.
This week, though, it looked quite different. Someone has pruned off many of the lower limbs, leaving the plant about one-quarter of its former size. They did a good job of it, but it was still quite a shock to see it in this state.
I asked Donald, the grounds supervisor, and he told me that his crew did not do this. Perhaps it was the contract lawn service, or maybe a member of the Brandt family (who are the actual owners of the rose, so they would have a right to do what they want to it). I hope we can find out who did it. It's okay, though, in this case. This rose is healthy and vigorous, and you can see that it is already putting up new canes at the bottom of the plant, to replace those that were removed.
This is a fairly graphic example of the challenges of working with Hollywood Cemetery. If I give instructions to the cemetery's crew, they are very good at following what I ask them to do. The lawn crew are contract workers, though, and the ones manning the string trimmers can a lot of damage if they get too close to the roses ... I had some polite words with two of these young men this week, asking them to please leave a larger margin around the roses while they were trimming. (They apologized and agreed ... we will see how long it lasts.)
Happy Friday, Everyone!!