Sunday, January 31, 2010

Snow Day!

It snowed all day yesterday, finishing around 2:00 this morning.  Everything outside is all bright and sparkly.

After I shoveled the porch and front steps, I grabbed my camera and went to see if I could capture some nice snowy images.

From the what I can see on top of the brick pillars at the end of the driveway, we probably got about 8 inches or more.  The wind was blowing the snow into drifts, so it's tough to find somewhere in the yard to get an accurate measurement.

The plow came and did a pass at clearing the road at about mid morning.  There's been plenty of SUV traffic on this snow-packed surface.

Doesn't this fence post look like you should draw eyes on it and tie a bow around it's 'neck'?

These are some of the pots of roses that I still have to plant.  I think they look like a bunch of snowcones.

The snow blower makes quick work of clearing our driveway.

Everything in the greenhouse is warm and toasty.

Artsy icicle photo.

Here's the view past the Arcade, toward the Barn.

I wasn't the only creature making tracks in the snow.

All of the roses in the rose field, and elsewhere in the garden, are safely tucked under their blanket of snow.

(written by Hartwood Roses.  Hartwood Roses blog.)

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Flowers on Friday ... Saturday Edition.

It started snowing here in Hartwood at about 6:30 this morning, and we have about 2 inches on the ground so far.  It's pretty and peaceful ... a perfect setting for dreaming about the roses of summer.

After working in the greenhouse tending cuttings all day earlier this week, I've been thinking about all the really rare roses that grow here.  It's the type that I'm most attracted to ... ones that have virtually disappeared from gardens and commerce, that come here to be preserved. 

Today, I'll concentrate on some of the rarest early Hybrid Tea roses in my collection.  Before you get your hopes up, let me tell you that I don't expect to have any of these available in inventory this season.  Most of them are very hesitant to grow roots, and the few rooted cuttings I do have will be used for back-up plants in the garden ... to make sure that I don't lose the variety if something happens to my original plant.

Los Angeles

If you read American rose literature from 1916 to 1920-or-so, this rose is highly praised for its unusual color.  They also say that it is prone to blackspot (which it is), that it performs better on rootstock rather than on its own roots, and that is almost impossible to propagate from cuttings (which I have found to be true).  I hope to bud this rose onto multiflora rootstock this summer to see how a budded specimen will perform.

Feu Joseph Looymans

In the early 20th Century, many rose hybridizers were trying to produce a yellow hybrid tea rose that grew well and was not plagued by disease.  Feu Joseph Looymans was introduced in 1920 by a Dutch company to compete with the 'yellow' roses that were coming from Pernet in France.  None of these are what we would consider yellow, but they were revolutionary for their time.

Lyon Rose

Introduced in 1907 by Joseph Pernet-Ducher, the hybridizer of Soleil d'Or, the first yellow hybrid tea.  Lyon Rose descends from Soleil d'Or, and it improves a bit on its parent's disease resistance and garden suitablilty. 


Introduced in 1919 by Walter Easlea, an English hybridizer.  Lulu has the most beautiful long, pointed buds ...which open to loosely semi-double flowers that show gracefully on a fairly open shrub. 

Old Gold

This rose was introduced in 1913 by Samuel McGredy in Ireland.  You can see that the quest for a yellow hybrid tea rose was taking place all over the world at this time.  McGredy came pretty close with Old Gold.  the orange buds open to an apricot-orange-gold, and the flower fades to yellow.

Shades of Autumn

This was introduced in 1943 by Robert Brownell, an American hybridizer (and one of my favorites).  This rose opens with dark coral petals, backed in bright yellow, and fades to a soft coral pink.  The flowers are facinating from every angle.

Nellie E. Hillock

Introduced the US in 1934 by Verne Hillock.  This is a stout, upright rose, with leathery foliage and huge flowers.  The flowers are the perfect shade of warm pink, and it's fragrant.  I would be happier with this rose if it bloomed more.  My plant is still fairly small, so perhaps I will get more flowers once it is more mature and established.

Golden Ophelia

Ophelia, a parent of Golden Ophelia, was one of the most popular florist roses of its day.  People found that it also performed very well in the garden, which is unusual for roses bred for greenhouse production of cut flowers.  Golden Ophelia has Ophelia's graceful shape and lovely foliage, in beautiful ivory yellow.

(Written by Hartwood Roses.  Hartwood Roses blog)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Looking for Friday Flowers?

If you've come looking for my usual Friday Flowers feature, I'll have it here tomorrow.  I haven't taken the time to put it together yet.  Today is an early-dismissal day at school, and the little guy will be here pretty soon.

See you tomorrow.

(Here is Amy, peacefully sleeping on the windowsill, to tide you over.)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Let's Check on the Stuff in the Greenhouse.

My thermometer on the back deck says that it's 45 degrees outside ... but it's 75 degrees inside the greenhouse.  (almost T-shirt weather)

This is the time when I begin to find out whether the cuttings in the greenhouse are going to root or not.  They've been sitting on the bench under the mist line since October or November.

I check the cuttings once a week, culling the dead ones, moving the ones that have rooted, and rearranging the ones that don't yet show roots.  I'm averaging about a 50% success rate right now ... not too bad, considering it's winter. 

(Madame Plantier)

There are some varieties that I haven't been able root at all.  Other varieties grow roots on every cutting I stick.  Most are somewhere in the middle.

(Portland from Glendora)

I root my cuttings in 2 1/2" clear orchid pots.  This allows me to see the roots as they form, instead of having to guess whether a cutting has rooted

(Rose de Rescht)

I have read that roots need darkness in order to grow.  This is obviously not true, because I have rooted thousands of cuttings in these pots.

(Cato's Cluster)

After I finished sorting the cuttings, I made an up-to-date inventory of all the roses that have rooted.  This will help me get a head start on the photos and descriptions for the web site this spring.

(Cl. Pompon de Paris)

There are a lot of things that can go wrong with propagation ... and I am always amazed that one can take a green stick, convince it to grow roots and become a rose bush. 

(written by Hartwood Roses.  Hartwood Roses blog)

Monday, January 25, 2010

It's Time to Work on the Basement Bathroom.

Since it's winter, and the weather has been cold and wet, I haven't spent any time working outside ... and there's really nothing garden-related to update.  The roses are sleeping, the deer are eating them, and I'm itching to get out there and start pruning. 

This house has 5 full bathrooms ... three on the top floor and one on the main floor (built in the 1960's), and one in the basement (which was built in the late 1920's or early 1930's as a small one-story addition.)  All of the bathrooms need to be renovated.  We started on the basement bathroom this weekend.

Here is what it looked like before we started.

The absolute only thing in this room worth saving is the floor ... which is quite sound and completely fabulous.  Everything else in the room is being replaced. 

I know there are some of you who are gasping in horror at the idea that we are removing a claw foot tub.  This tub is not original to the bathroom (it was added by the previous owner), and I plan to build really cool old-school cabinetry in the space it occupies to provide some much-needed storage.

It was quite satisfying to put the hammer to the walls and rip out the old, water-damaged sheetrock. We discovered that this space had been remodeled somewhat during the construction of the 1960's addition to the house. See that electrical box in the wall? We found that the wires were already cut off, so there was no danger. (We find all sorts of scary things whenever we open up walls around here.)

Once the sheetrock on the walls was removed, it was time to disconnect and remove the pedestal sink. The top of the sink is porcelain cast iron, with the finish worn through in spots from years and years of dripping faucets. The base is ceramic, and it has packaging tape wrapped around it to repair a crack.


The window looks out into the garage, which was built around the bathroom during the 1960's construction. We're not sure yet whether we are keeping the window or removing it. If we remove it, I'll have more room to build a better cabinet ... but we'll lose what little natural light we have in this part of the basement. 

The radiator pipes ran outside the wall. After heating season is over, we can shut down the boiler and re-run the pipes inside the wall ... and renovate the radiator at the same time. The clawfoot tub is full of insulation from the ceiling.

The 1960's copper drain across the ceiling joins the 1930's cast iron drain stack. The radiator pipes are the ones that run across the wall and down the left side. The framing on this wall is made of all sorts of left over pieces of lumber, and it's not even attached to the floor or the ceiling. We'll take all this out and reframe it correctly.

We're getting the old plumbing and electric out of the way. The galvanized sink drain will stay. The old galvanized supply pipes aren't being used, but they can stay and be buried in the wall again.


This is the medicine cabinet that we're going to use. I got it at a junk shop years ago, and I've been holding onto it until I had just the right place for it. (It has a beveled mirror in the door, which I had already removed when I took this photo.)

While the husband was playing Captain Destructo demolishing the bathroom itself, I set to work removing the million layers of yucky paint on the medicine cabinet.

If you're working on a project and you're tempted to paint over the hardware .... DON'T DO IT!

My heat gun and a putty knife make quick work of removing the bulk of the paint. I'll come back and use a carbide scraper to smooth things out ... as soon as I remember where I put it.

Someone put a glass knob through the keyhold in the escutcheon. ???

We tried everything we could think of, but we couldn't get the nut holding the knob to budge. The husband broke out the trusty dremel tool, and cut the nut off ... with eye protection, of course.


Let me show you some of the inspiration that I'm using in my design for this bathroom.  Keep in mind that it's in the basement, right inside the back door, so I'm allowing it to have a bit more utilitarian feel to it.

This is my inspiration for the cabinet that I'll build in place of the clawfoot tub ... mine won't have any glass, and it will probably have four doors instead of two, and no drawers.  (I don't remember where I got this photo  ... if it's yours, please let me know and I'll give credit)

I really want a sink like this, set into a wooden top on a painted vanity that coordinates with the built-in cabinet.  I will check with the salvage yards in the area to see if they have one in good condition.

I don't know what colors to use in this bathroom.  Whatever we use has to coordinate with the beige and black basketweave floor and the white fixtures.  I need two colors:  one for the walls and one for the cabinetry.  Right now, I'm thinking that the walls will be some sort of beige (a historic first for me) and the cabinetry will be black ... but I'm not really excited about this. 

Do you have any suggestions?

(written by Hartwood Roses.  Hartwood Roses blog.)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Flowers on Friday ... Shailer's Provence

It's a gloomy, rainy, sleety Friday here in Hartwood.  To brighten things up a bit today, I'll tell you about one of my one of very favorite roses.

Shailer's Provence was the first rose I ever successfully rooted.  The cuttings came from a rose that was growing beside a tree on Lansdowne Road in Spotsylvania County (Virginia), on property that was scheduled to be cleared to make way for new houses.  I couldn't dig up the rose because it was growing out of a thicket of poison ivy ... so I cut as many pieces as I could safely reach, and I hoped that I could convince at least one of the pieces to grow roots.

I grew this rose for three years before I could find anyone to identify it for me.  One day, I showed it to my friend Robert, and he knew instantly what it was.

Shailer's Provence blooms once a year.  It is one of the first roses to begin blooming in spring, and one of the last Old Garden Roses to finish.  You can grow it as a tall arching shrub, or train it as a small climber.  The fragrance is lovely, and it has very few thorns.

I have two of these in the garden ... one of the few roses that I love enough to devote garden space to having duplicates.  The first one is the one I rustled, and it lives beside a huge wild cherry tree in the Front Border.  My second one started as a sucker given to me by Robert on my first visit to his garden.  Shailer's Provence spreads via suckers, so you almost always an extra one or two to share with friends.

Robert got his rose as a sucker from a rose growing on a grave in a churchyard in the Northern Neck.  One day while we were out that way, he took me to show me the mother plant.  This is what we saw:

The rose had been chainsawed almost to the ground, but it was coming back with great enthusiasm.  You have to love a rose that has this kind of will to survive.

Even though the rose on Lansdowne Road no longer exists, and the one in the Northern Neck churchyard cemetery is endangered, Shailer's Provence is safe here, and I brag on it to whoever will listen.

(written by Hartwood Roses.  Hartwood Roses blog)

Related Posts with Thumbnails