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!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Approaching Full Bloom.

I find I have to walk the garden at least twice a day, or I might miss something. Many of the roses are in full bloom. Others, the fence ramblers for instance, are covered with hundreds of buds … showing the promise of quite a show in a week or two.

Bella Donna
(Bella Donna)

Here is a slideshow of 125 photos of what was blooming here on Wednesday.

Slide Show

It’s hard to get good photos in the middle of the day. The yellows and whites can either look radiant and etherial or harsh and washed out.

Madame Hardy
(Madame Plantier)

The reds …. they are completely oversaturated and electric. (I’ll have to get better photos of them in lower light.)

Rose de Rescht
(Rose de Rescht)

Pinks are usually pretty easy.

Sunny South
(Sunny South)

Plan to come visit us for our opening on June 6th, and see the roses in person.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Hartwood Roses in the Paper!!

I received an email from a friend this morning, congratulating me on my upcoming opening. He saw it on the Business Page of today’s Free Lance-Star, the Fredericksburg newspaper.


So much for my quiet little opening. This is really exciting!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Mislabeled Roses in the Garden.

This is something that all gardeners have had happen to them at least once. We order a named variety of a plant from a vendor (in my case, roses) and the plant we receive isn’t the one we ordered. Most of the time with roses, we don’t find out that it’s the wrong one until the thing blooms the next year.

Here are a few of mine:

This is definitely not 'Mrs. Aaron Ward'. What I expected to be an apricot Hybrid Tea is more of a dark pink sprawler. I’ll move it to the rose field and see if I can get it to climb, and put a real Hybrid Tea in its place.

Not Mrs. Aaron Ward

Not Mrs. Aaron Ward

What I ordered was "Hoag House Cream", a creamy white found Hybrid Tea. What I received was Reveille Dijonnais, a red and yellow blend climber. ???? Needless to say, it can’t stay in the bed of antique Hybrid Teas.

Reveille Dijonnais

This is not 'September Morn'. 'September Morn' is a light pink Hybrid Tea. This isn’t light pink. I have no idea what it really is.

Not September Morn

This one was supposed to be Schultheis’ American Beauty, an obscure Hybrid Tea. It’s actually Schoener’s Nutkana … a really nice, large, arching shrub, with huge, dark pink flowers. I’m pretty pleased with this mistake.

Schoener's Nutkana

The tag in the pot this rose came in said 'Mme. Berard', which is an apricot tea climber. Does this look like an apricot tea climber to you? It’s definitely not the Madame, though it seems like it's a nice rose. What’s interesting about it is that this rose is completely thornless … smooth as a baby’s you-know-what.

Not Madame Berard

All but one of these came from Sequoia Nursery in California, which closed last year. Some day, I will re-order the roses I originally wanted, from another source. In the meantime, I will try to identify the ones I have. If you have any ideas, let me know.

I am going to try as hard as I can to make sure that this doesn’t happen to any of you when you buy roses here. If there’s a tag on the rose, you can feel confident that the rose in the pot is the same as the name on the tag. If I’m not sure of the name, I’ll tell you … it’s as simple as that.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Robert's Fabulous Garden!

My husband and I spent part of yesterday visiting my dear friend Robert. His garden is in full, glorious bloom ... and it's the most beautiful garden I have probably ever seen. His use of color, and vertical space, and his imaginative combination of roses and companions is incredible. I just can't think of enough superlative adjectives to describe what he has accomplished.

Robert's Barn and Mme. Gregoire Staechlin

Here is a slideshow with a taste of a few of his roses. I had to leave before I photographed the whole garden .... I'll be back later this week to finish the job.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Introducing … Hartwood Wine.

Hartwood Wine

This is a very promising Hybrid Perpetual seedling from my batch in 2008. The flowers open a dark pink/maroon color, they blue a bit as they age, revealing nice yellow stamens. It wintered over as a tiny little thing in the Rose Field, and it’s already over a foot tall with 12 (yes, 12!) buds on it. I hope to have a limited number of these available for the 2010 season.

Hartwood Wine

… and it’s FRAGRANT!!

I named this in honor of Hartwood Winery, my next door neighbor. They are celebrating their 20th anniversary with a festival on June 6th … the same weekend as my opening. Go to their web site ( for details.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

And in the Beginning . . .

. . . there are the Chinas.

Spring is definitely here now, and the roses are beginning their sequence of bloom. First up are the Chinas … my second favorite type of rose (after the ramblers, of course).



Mableton Rouletii
"Mableton Rouletii"


Climbing Rouletii
'Climbing Rouletii'

Old Blush has almost finished its first flush, and Reuter China, Jean Bach Sisley, and St. Thomas China will probably have flowers in the next couple of days.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Fun with Google Maps.

There’s a Google Map of our location on the Contact Us page of the Hartwood Roses web site. Recently, Google upgraded the resolution of the satellite image of our area …. it’s really crisp and the detail is amazing. (You can even see one of the neighbor’s horses in our back field.)

Here’s an overview, so you can get the lay of the land . . . our property is inside the red line.

If you zoom in on the image, you can see what it looked like around here about 3 years ago.

I think the photo was taken in early spring. Things are beginning to green up, and the angle of the sun is very low … notice the shadows of the oak trees in the front yard.

The new garage was under construction ... you can see piles of materials all over the driveway. The little building on the right is the workshop.

The barn was in its ‘unrestored’ state, with all the overgrowth and the rotten fence surrounding the barnyard.

The rose field was covered in brambles and honeysuckle. What a difference a few years, a lot of work, and some heavy equipment can make. (Ignore the red A ... it's a Google thing.)

Click HERE to play with the map yourself.

Come visit us on June 6th for our grand opening to see all of this from ‘ground level’.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Roses in Hollywood Cemetery

Some of the buds on the roses in the garden here in Hartwood are just beginning to show color. An hour south, on the James River in Richmond, many of the Hollywood Cemetery roses are already in full bloom.


Click Here for a slideshow of the photos I took while I was there on Saturday.


Sunday, May 3, 2009

Preparations for the Grand Opening.

There’s nothing like the threat of having company to kick one’s motivation into high gear. With the nursery opening in a few weeks, and 3 garden events leading up to the opening, I still have a ton of things to do to get the gardens into shape.

It looks like spring is finally here to stay (nevermind the summer-like temperatures of the last week – we still haven’t quite reached our average last-frost date). It’s too early to put out tender annuals, but it’s fine for acclimating the roses to life outside the greenhouse. They’ve been subjected to the full high and low temperatures for a few weeks now, and everyone is looking pretty good … if I do say so myself.

As soon as I finish my inventory, I’ll know exactly what’s available for sale this year. (I’ll publish the list on the web site on June 1.) There are more than a hundred different varieties … but only a few of each.

When you visit this summer, I have no doubt that you will find at least one rose that you can’t live without. We’ll be open on Saturdays, from 10 am to 3 pm, starting on June 6.
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