Monday, March 29, 2010

The UPS Guy Should Wear a Santa Hat.

I have thought this for a long time.  I've even told him so, since it always feels like Christmas when he brings me stuff.  He has been especially generous recently. 

I came home on Friday afternoon and found this.  It's my rose order from Pickering Nursery in Canada. 

They're very well packaged.  (For some reason, I always unpack things in the kitchen.) 

The roses are nice and green and healthy looking, ready to go into the garden ... as soon as it stops raining. For now, they're soaking in a bucket in the garage.

Today, my daughter comes in and says, "Mom, there's a huge box on the front porch for you."

This one is even better than Friday's box of roses!!  I've been searching for one of these since last year.  I drag my prize into the house, and to the kitchen to unpack it.

Daniel said, "Is there anything in that box for me, Mom?"

Can you tell what it is yet?

It's a Mantis Spray Mate sprayer!!

This wonderful contraption will make maintaining the roses so much less time-consuming from now on. One of the biggest chores of spray day for me has been continually refilling my 3-gallon sprayer, to get all 700+ roses sprayed.  This new sprayer will hold up to 12 gallons ... which will seriously reduce the amount of time it takes to spray.

Here it is all assembled!!

Mantis doesn't make this sprayer anymore, so I had to search the second-hand market to find it.  One afternoon a couple of weeks ago, I found the ad for this sprayer on Craig's List in Maine.  I emailed the seller ... and the rest is history.  I'm so excited!!!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Saturday Morning Photoshoot ... Just Me and My Egg.

Camilla (from Bloom) and Carolyn (from Rose Notes) are at it again.  We all had so much fun with their photo workshop last fall, that we're signed up for another round.

Assignment #1, play with exposure and make a supermodel out of an egg.

Hmmm.  Okay.

My egg and I burned a lot of pixels trying to do something imaginative.  Here's the part of the assignment where we were supposed to play with light and black and white backgrounds.

I put a sun flare on this in PhotoShop, to spice it up a bit.

I liked playing with the harsh shadows in my south-facing dining room window.  It started to remind me of going on a school field trip to the planetarium.

Then the egg and I went outside to see what was blooming ... this is mostly a garden blog, after all.

The grass is certainly greening up ... and those old-fashioned Butter and Eggs daffodils are my absolute favorites.

I took this last photo in direct sunshine, with the egg at the bottom of a round crystal vase.  I love how the reflections and shadows blur the boundaries of the egg.

If you want to see some really creative people playing with their own eggs, head over to C & C Photography.  I'm going there myself right now, to see what everyone else has done.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Flowers on Friday ... Lynchburg's Old City Cemetery

Some of you already know this, and I'll tell the rest of you now ... I am one of the speakers at this year's Garden Symposium at the Old City Cemetery in Lynchburg, Virginia.  It was a complete surprise when they contacted me and asked me to do their rose program.  I already had a 'Roses 101' presentation in the works, so the timing couldn't have been more perfect.

If you've been around here at all, you already know how much I love cemeteries.  Lynchburg's cemetery is owned by the city, but maintained by a non-profit organization that cares for the plantings, runs a museum and gift shop, and puts on garden programs and other events throughout the year.  Their Rose Festival is one of their biggest events.

Baronne Prevost


Unlike the roses in many cemeteries, the roses in Lynchburg are well cared for by a volunteers and a small staff.  There are historic roses growing on the sunny side of the brick wall that borders the Confederate section of the cemetery.  There are also roses planted on graves ... many of which have roses carved on their headstones.

Old Blush

Old Blush

Autumn Damask

These photos were taken when I was visiting the cemetery with my husband in November 2007.  It was well after the first hard frost of the year, and I loved the look of the freeze-dried blossoms.

Roger Lambelin

Stanwell Perpetual

Old Blush

It was a chilly, clear day, with a bright blue sky and brilliant sunshine.

St. Francis

Chestnut Rose


The bees were working overtime on the asters, and they barely noticed our presence.

Whenever we are there, we have to visit with Arthur, the Cemetery's resident cat.

If you are interested in joining us, the presentations are Wednesday and Thursday, May 5th and 6th.  The annual rose sale is Saturday, May 8th.  Visit the Cemetery's web site for all the details, and a schedule of other activities this year.

This is the brochure for the Garden Symposium, that I just got today:
(click to enlarge)

(written by Hartwood Roses.  Hartwood Roses blog.)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Stocking Up on Supplies

It's time to start potting some of the baby roses into their big-boy pots, and I don't have any potting mix.  This means that it is time for my annual trip to Ebenezer Heights Greenhouses in Culpeper (Virginia) to fill the truck with bales of ProMix ... and to see what other wonderful things they have that I can't live without.

The nursery is on the grounds of a brick Colonial Revival house, around a hairpin turn and up a hill from downtown Culpeper. 

I love the little carriage house/garage/storage building.

It's still early in the season, so most of the greenhouses were filled with annuals and vegetables freshly potted out of plug trays ... too small for sale just yet.

I don't have time to plant or care for annuals, but I want some hanging baskets for my front porch.  How about pansies?

or geraniums.

The porch on our old house needs something traditional, so I decided to get two ferns ...

and two baskets of mixed foliage plants ...

I'll repot the mixed baskets into larger containers, and add a yellow calabracoa and a hot pink zonal geranium ... for some splashes of color.

(the geraniums I chose aren't blooming yet.)

I paid for my plants and Promix, loaded the Expedition, and headed for home.

Isn't this lovely?

With all of my new supplies, you can be sure that I will be doing a LOT of potting in the next few days. I am really excited to have my hands in dirt again!

(written by Hartwood Roses.  Hartwood Roses blog)

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Perfect End to the Whirlwind Weekend

My 'date' yesterday with Kat (from Low Tide, High Style) was such a wonderful day.

I left bright and early, with the claw foot tub from my basement bathroom safely tucked into the bed of my husband's truck.  My nervousness about tackling the bridge over the Potomac River was unfounded. The weather was clear and there was no wind to push me around on that tall, tall bridge ... so, no white knuckles  were necessary.

Kat's directions to her house were good, and I found my way right there without any problem.  (It's very unusual for me to go anywhere without making at least one u-turn.)  We greeted each other like old friends, and she showed me around her lovely home ... it's as pretty in person as it is on her blog.

First stop, Vintage Source.  I'd never been there before, and it was everything Kat says it is.  I couldn't leave without this General Store made by a local craftsman from salvaged materials.  I knew it would be perfect on top of the pie safe in my dining room.

(here it is in the store)

(and this a bad photo to show what it looks like in my still-too-naked dining room)

When Kat found out how much I love cemeteries, she took me to a really old one in St. Mary's.  We found one rose while we were there ... it's in pretty bad shape.

Here's another rose, on one of the old tombstones.

I had a wonderful, wonderful day ... and I can't wait till we can get together again.  This was definitely the first of many days she and I will spend together. 

Kat, my friend, you are a keeper.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A Whirlwind Weekend ... and it's not over yet.

I have known for weeks now that this weekend had the potential to wear me out ... in a good way.  Based on what I've done so far, I should be earning frequent-flier miles in my Jeep.

Friday, I was a guest at a luncheon at the home of friends Jim and Dan in Knoxville, Maryland.  (94.2 miles from home)  The occasion was a visit from Sean Hogan of Cistus Nursery, and the guests included all manner of horticultural individuals.  This is always the smartest group of plant people I have ever seen, and I am thrilled that they welcome a rosarian like myself into their fold.  (It was nice to visit with two fellow bloggers while I was there ... Jim of My Virtual Maryland Garden and Chris of 1003 Gardens)  The food is always delicious, and the conversation flows easily ... with botanical names of plants flying in all directions.  Every so often, I have to raise my hand and ask for an English translation.  (I'm a rosarian, remember?)

Jim and Dan (mostly Jim) are plant collectors.  There's something wonderful to see in their garden in every direction.  This was the first time that I had been to their home in spring, so I was excited to finally get to see the colonies of hellebores in bloom.  Beautiful.

One never leaves there empty handed, and I came away with a bulb of some sort ... I have totally forgotten what it is.  All I remember is that Jim said that it's like a crinum on steroids.  It will be good for semi-shade, which is perfect for my most recent bed of shady things around our Tiki Hut. 

another hellebore

After saying my goodbyes at Jim and Dan's, I started down I-81 to the Colonial District (American Rose Society) Pre-Spring Meeting in Staunton, Virginia.  (125 miles)  It was much easier for me to go down on Friday evening and stay in the event hotel, to be there ready for action when the meeting started at 8:30 am on Saturday. 

I love these meetings!  We listen to speakers, eat good food, and share experiences with other rosarians from the 4-state area covered by the Colonial District (Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware)  No matter how much we think we know, we all come away knowing more. 

After dinner at Mrs. Rowe's Family Restaurant (go there, if you're ever in the area), I headed for home.  (117 miles)  The mountain and valley views from I-64 at sundown are spectacular.  I stopped at one of the scenic overlooks outside of Charlottesville to stretch my legs and snap some photos.

I was really happy to see my husband when I got home, and it was great to sleep in my own bed.

Today, I head to southern Maryland to finally meet Kat of Low Tide, High Style.  (72 miles)  She and I met through our blogs (my version of Internet dating), and we hit it off instantly.  I'm so excited to have the opportunity to spend the day with her.  Excited enough, in fact, to drive my husband's enormous King Ranch F-150 (carrying cargo that I'm sure she'll show you later) across the infamous Rt. 301 bridge over the Potomac.  Yikes!

... to be continued.

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