Saturday, June 27, 2009


I used this set-up to propagate the roses we have for sale this year.

Mist Rack

It holds 12 flats under a mist line, and it was easy to find a sheltered spot for it outside. This year, I have to propagate at least twice as many roses as I did last year, so this even close to large enough to do the job.

After a bit of brainstorming, I came up with this:

Propagation Bench

20 concrete blocks for the legs (free, via an ad on Craigslist), 4 sturdy shipping pallets for the top (Craigslist, again), hoops of flexible PVC pipe, held in place with screw-in pipe clamps, ½” electrical conduit to hold the mist line, a handful of cable ties … and we now have a propagation bench that can hold WAY more than last year … maximum capacity is 36 flats with 36 pots in each flat ... which equals a whole lot of cuttings! And it was almost free, which is the best price I know.

I have already been taking cuttings of everyone’s Wish List roses. Look on the web site for the list of roses in the garden to see what we grow here. There just might be one that you’re dying to have … let me know what it is, and I’ll add it to my propagation list. Leave me a message here, or send an email via the web site.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Soon-To-Be Nursery Office.

The little cinderblock building beside the barn is the perfect location for the nursery’s office. It’s 10 feet by 20 feet, divided down the middle into two rooms, with a perfect southern exposure. With a bit of work, and some imagination, it’s going to be incredibly cute.

Here it is before we did anything to it:

This is what it looks like now, with its new roof:
Tack Shed New Roof
(Isn’t the barn fantastic now?)

It’s going to be painted these colors:
Cottage Colors

The yellow is for the body of the building. The trim on the eaves, the doors, and the windows will be white. The windows themselves will be blue, and the door will be purple. These colors look really, really good next to the red barn.

I'm replacing original broken, rotten windows with some of my old, scrounged windows. These two-pane ones fit the openings perfectly, and they add to the cottage-ey feeling that I’m going for. They need a bit of work, though.

Windows, Before

Window, During

Window, After

(only 4 more to go)

The original door was built from two layers of tongue-and-groove pine. The frame was rotten, the door itself had seen WAY too much target practice from previous owners, and I’m going to buy a new one. I found the one I want at Lowes … ¾ glass, with two raised panels at the bottom. A lot like this one:

Tack Shed Door

(Now picture it painted purple.)

We have been calling this building the Tack Shed, because that’s what the previous owners called it. I see it as a cottage, and I’ve been trying to think of a better name for it … “The ??? Cottage”… I haven’t come up with a name that I like yet. Any ideas?

The Coolest Tool for Tying Climbing Roses.

We have LOTS of climbing and rambling roses here. Tying these roses to the fences and arches and pillars could be a full-time job if I did it with twine.

I was talking to my neighbor next door at the winery last summer, and he showed me the tool that they use to trellis their grape vines in the vineyard. It’s called a Max Tapener, and it’s the slickest thing I’ve just about ever seen. With it, I can attach a rose cane to its support using one hand!


Our rose fences all have strands of wire on them to use for attaching the roses.
Wire on Post

All it takes are three simple steps:

Click the tool to draw up the tape.

Stretch it across the rose cane and wire (or trellis bar, or arch).
Step 2

Close it like a stapler. The tool staples the tape and cuts it off. Step 3

Cool, huh?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

To Spray or Not To Spray …

I spray my roses. When I tell people this, I imagine that they are picturing me out in the garden wearing a haz-mat suit, carrying a pump sprayer with a skull and crossbones on the side of it. There are rose gardeners who want to kill every bug and fungus in their garden … but that’s not me. I just want my roses to have leaves in the summer.

Blackspot, and other fungal diseases, are a huge problem here. Without fungicide, my roses will lose their leaves. The rose would then have to expend its energy reserve to replace those leaves. Without leaves, the rose loses its ability to produce carbohydrates for growth and flowering. I want my roses to grow and flower, not sit there and struggle to grow leaves.

I use Bayer Advanced Disease Control fungicide. NOT the Bayer product with insecticide and fertilizer, and NOT the one you mix and pour on the soil. The concentrate in the blue bottle … for some reason, it’s only available at Lowes and some specialty nurseries. It’s good stuff, reasonably priced (around $15.00), and it’s worth the effort to find it.

Spray Day this year has been every other Thursday. It takes me about 2 ½ hours. My sprayer is a 2-gallon pump sprayer.
Large Sprayer and Fungicide

With 600+ garden roses here to care for, and the 400-or-so Inventory Roses, I have to fill the sprayer 5 or 6 times. With a garden this spread out, going back and forth to the faucet to refill the sprayer gets pretty tiresome. I will soon be on the hunt for a new sprayer with a larger capacity … probably an electric one on wheels that I can pull around.

What should you do if you have only a few roses to spray? How about a little half-gallon sprayer like this:
Small Sprayer

It's available in the garden department of just about any big box store, and it only costs a few dollars.

I’m a big fan of the concept of Integrated Pest Management (IPM). This is a fancy way of saying that I only treat the pests and problems that are beyond my tolerance. Aphids? I let the birds and good bugs get them. Japanese Beetles? Sometimes I knock them into a bucket of soapy water. Sometimes I see how far I can flick them. I taught my grandson to flick them ... sometimes we have contests to see who can flick one the farthest. Mostly, I just ignore them. Thrips? These have been terrible this year, and they are destroying a majority of my buds, so I may have to resort to something to salvage any flowers at all. So far, I have just ignored the thrips, too.

The most important part of pest control is to identify the pest you are trying to control, whether it’s a fungus or an insect pest. Don’t ever throw pesticides at an unknown problem hoping to eliminate it. It’s bad for the rose, it’s bad for you, and it’s bad for the environment.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Propagation Workshop.

I answer a lot of questions when I talk to people about roses. One of the most common questions is, “How do you root roses?” (Another question is, “What do I do about Japanese Beetles?” We’ll talk about that some other time.) If you’d like to learn propagate roses yourself, join us on June 27th, at 9:00 am, for our first Propagation Workshop. The cost is $20.00, and all materials and supplies are included.

Participants will learn exactly how to take cuttings. (Jeanne Lajoie, a miniature climber by the front fence, must move to another bed, so we are going to use her for our example.)

Jeanne Lajoie

You’ll learn how and where the roots form. We’ll discuss rooting hormones and planting media. AND you will leave here with cuttings in a pot, ready to grow their own roots. Hands-on learning is best, I believe.

If you want to trade cuttings with other rose growers, especially by mail, I’ll show you how to package your cuttings so they arrive safely.

Registration for this workshop is limited to 12 people. This is probably all I can handle by myself and still give everyone individual attention. The registration form is on the web site ( Judging by the response I have already received just by telling people about this, I expect the class to fill up quickly.

Gotta go. We’re open today … I have to make the place look presentable.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Opening Day.

Our Sign on Opening Day!

Our weather yesterday was glorious! Cool and cloudy weather in the morning changed to clear and sunny by lunch time. It was perfect to tour the garden, and made nice working conditions for my volunteers.

Speaking of volunteers, there was no way I could have pulled this off without them. The day ran perfectly, our customers were very well cared for, and I wasn’t a frazzled mess at the end of it all. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

We met the kindest, loveliest people yesterday. Some came by because they had been following our house renovation in the newpaper articles over the years. Others came specifically for the roses and gardens, having seen notice of our opening online or in newspaper ads. Still more came, late in the afternoon, wandering over from the wine festival next door. Almost everyone left carrying pots of baby roses to add to their gardens.

Many people came with a list in hand. Some had printed my availability list from the web site … others had hand-written lists. Everyone asked lots of questions.

We sold out of more roses than I expected … and some of them surprised me. Francois Juranville, a lovely, lanky, pink rambler, was one of the first to go. Others, like Paul Neyron, Swan Lake, and Grandmother’s Hat, are particularly lovely and very hard to resist. At the end of the day, Steve updated the Roses for Sale list on the web site to show the ones that we no longer have … in fact, he will be completely redesigning that page in the next week or so.

I was so tired at the end of the day … but it was a good kind of tired. I’m really surprised how good it felt to share my roses like this. We had a wonderful day, and I’m excited to see what next Saturday will bring.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Final Preparations.

Hartwood Roses officially opens for business tomorrow. I’m almost ready … I think.

It took Steve and some friends almost all day Wednesday, but the top of the oak tree is cut up and stacked next door as firewood. All that's left in the driveway is a bit of saw dust from all the chain sawing.

I bought the first of the roses here in 2002. There was no way I could imagine that the trip with friends to Sherando Roses that day would lead to all of this. Two of those roses, Celestial and Amanda Patenaude, are still here.

Right now, the gardens don’t look as good as I wanted them to. This week’s storms have pounded the petals off many of the roses, and the ground is pretty saturated. Fortunately, we avoided the hail storm on Wednesday. There was hail down at the barn, but none up here by the house …. weird.

Weeds are trying to take over. All the rain we had this week has softened the ground and made it very easy to pull them, but I haven’t been able to put any consistent time into the effort. When you come, you are welcome to pull a weed or two to take home as a souvenir.

All of the roses for sale are neatly tagged and lined up on benches in the driveway. Everything is alphabetized, so it should be fairly easy to find the rose you want. We moved the Pot Ghetto roses into their own area, so no one would get confused and try to buy them.

Some of my friends and family are coming to help, since we have no idea how many people to expect. Kim and Gale will write up sales. Rick and John, ARS certified rosarians, will be here to answer any of your rose-related questions. Steve will direct parking, and Mary Ann will fill in wherever needed … if everything goes as planned.

While you are here, spend a little time getting to know the Hartwood Hounds. Emma and Daniel, and their friend TJ, will meet and greet everyone while working to support their favorite cause, the Greyhound Health and Wellness Program at Ohio State University. Dr. Couto, the director, and his staff are doing the nation’s best research to treat and cure canine cancer. Read more at

I think that’s all. Tomorrow will be here before I know it. I’ve worked for a year and a half to get ready for this …. wish me luck.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

After the Storm.

Last night, around dinnertime, we had a terrific storm blow through. I was outside watering the roses, talking to a friend on my cell phone. My phone died while I was talking, so I sat in the Jeep with my phone plugged into the charger to finish our conversation. While I was there, the wind and rain started.

We have three huge oak trees in our front yard. No one doubts that these trees predate the Civil War, so they have probably been a part of this property since the beginning. The center tree now has no top.

Storm Damage

The wind was frightening. Straight-line winds coming from the northwest, rocking the Jeep, and damaging our trees. I saw it all happen.

Storm Damage

Storm Damage

Steve and a couple of friends are going to get out later this morning, and cut up and remove the debris. I will call a tree company later, to have them tidy up the torn parts of the tree itself.

All the roses (the ones in the garden and the potted ones for sale) are fine. The tree was our only damage.

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Rose List is Posted!

As promised, the list of roses that I have for sale was posted on the web site …. yesterday, instead of today. My dear husband (the brains behind my web site) was off by a day, thinking yesterday was June 1st instead of May 31st. If you are reading this without having seen the list, you'll find it if you click on the web site link at the top of this page. (The list is WAY too long to put here.)

Here are some photos of a few of the available roses, offered to whet your appetite.

Aviateur Bleriot
Hybrid Wichuriana, 1910
Aviateur Bleriot

Bourbon, Bermuda Mystery Rose

Lady Mary Fitzwilliam
Hybrid Tea, 1882
Lady Mary Fitzwilliam

Glenn Dale
Hybrid Wichuriana, 1927
Glenn Dale

Paul Neyron
Hybrid Perpetual, 1869
Paul Neyron

American Pillar
Hybrid Wichuriana, 1902
American Pillar

Come see us for our Grand Opening on Saturday. We’ll have refreshments, garden tours, and Consulting Rosarians here to answer your rose-related questions. (If you come, be sure to tell me that you read this blog.)

Saturday? That’s only 5 days away …. I have to go pull weeds.
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