Saturday, July 31, 2010

Flowers on Friday (okay, Saturday) ... Weeds are Flowers, Too

Anyone who knows me well will not be at all surprised that I have been outside photographing weeds.  I'm constantly amazed at the ability of these plants to thrive in the harshest conditions.

We have had very little rain since early June, and temperatures that regularly approach the upper 90's (and even surpassing 100 degrees some days), making conditions miserable for garden plants and the gardener ... and the weeds grow unabated.

These weeds are taking up valuable space in the garden, smothering and stunting some of my roses, and I want them gone.

Before I kill them, though, I thought I'd capture a few portraits for posterity.

The weather here today is glorious.  I'm going to spend the morning outside taking cuttings.

Have a nice weekend.

(written by Hartwood Roses.  Hartwood Roses blog.)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Weeds in the Rose Field ... an Update

I had my point-and-shoot Canon Elph in my pocket this morning, as I made my pilgrimage to the barn with last night's mouse.  (Notice that I now have a Mouse Counter on the sidebar, in case anyone wants to follow my progress.) 

The herbicide I sprayed the other week has done an amazing job of killing most of the weeds ... in the HALF of the field that I sprayed.  I had to stop at that point, and I never got back to the job. 

Dead and dying weeds are a good thing.

I turned around 180 degrees, snapped another photo, and this is what I have left to deal with.  How can the roses struggle so much in the horrible heat and drought we have had this summer, while weeds thrive?

Believe it or not, there's a gravel path under this mat of fluffy weeds.

The Damasks and Gallicas are happy and are growing big and tall and wide ... a bit too wide, so they'll need to be trimmed a bit.  Uh oh, there's more of that fluffy mat of weeds.  There are other weeds here, too, but not too bad.

Morning Glories are trying to regain their foothold in the row of Chinas.  This is easily controlled by pulling them out, and spraying the remains with herbicide.

I'm seeing far fewer Japanese Beetles now.  The worst of the season definitely seems to be behind us.

I found this beautiful cluster of flowers on 'Dancing Doll'.  This rose is really super in every way.

Bees like her, too.

I was surprised to find this cluster of flowers on 'Blairii No. 1'.  It's supposed to be a once-bloomer, and it has never repeated for me here.  The flowers are fried and WAY past peak, but I'm thrilled with them anyway.

'Summer Snow' doesn't seem to mind the heat much at all.

'Friends Forever' is putting out another set of flowers.  I planted this rose last fall, having heard good things about it from a rose friend of mine.  I like what it's doing so far.

When anyone asks me how my garden is doing, my answer lately is, "It looks like crap."  In truth, there are parts of it that really do look like crap, but this morning's walk-around shows that there's almost as much positive out there as negative.  It's nice to put it into perspective.

If you'll excuse me, I have some more weeds to kill.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


The battle to control the inevitable onslaught of mice in this old house gets pretty tiring.  There must be SO many places where the little rodents can squeeze inside.  As we find the suspected entry points, we do what we can to close them up ... and the mice keep coming.

Cute, isn't it?

For the past few weeks, the mice are stealing cat food.  (We keep the cat dish in the master bathroom so the dogs can't get it.)  The mice are running off with pieces of cat food, and are stashing them in our shoes. 

I'll bet you're asking yourself, "Hey, Connie, what about your cats?"

You mean these cats?

This one is deaf, so she's never been a hunter ...

... and this one is a bum.

Kimba says that she'd take care of the problem for me, but she doesn't go in the house.

So, I am the designated mouse catcher ... and the have-a-heart-style tip trap is my weapon of choice.  I don't have the stomach for snap traps, I don't even want to think about glue traps, and poison is out of the question with all the other animals in the house.  I set the traps along the baseboard outside the door to the bathroom, baited with a tiny blob of peanut butter.  For the past week, I have caught one mouse per night.

When I catch a mouse, usually some time in the middle of the night, I get up and empty him into this bucket (which we refer to as the 'mouse bucket').  This frees the trap to potentially catch another mouse, and lets me get back to sleep ... because a mouse in the trap walks back and forth, clicking the trap on the floor as it tips back and forth, keeping me awake.  I have a paper towel in the bucket so the mouse (sometimes, mice) can hide until morning.

Last Wednesday night, I got a two-fer.

Each morning, after I've had breakfast and sent the grandson to daycare, I take my mouse bucket and head for the barn.

Outside the barn, I open the bucket and the mouse usually runs right over and scoots inside.  It's amazing how they can fit into tiny little openings.

Okay ... this is scary, he says.

I have rationalized that it's okay for the mice to live in the barn ... even though I know that they are much better suited to live in houses with humans.  It's 200 yards from the house to the barn, and I assume that this is too far for mice to go to come back to the house.  There are quite a few predators between here and there, so the chances of them returning may be slim ... I hope.

I caught Mouse #7 last night, and he's upstairs in the bucket awaiting his trip to the barn. 

(written by Hartwood Roses.  Hartwood Roses blog)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Flowers on Friday ... Think Pink!

This week's edition of Friday Flowers features some roses from the nursery in a lovely shade of PINK.  Most of these photos were taken this past spring.  With the heat and drought we have had for the past few weeks, the flowers in the garden now are a bit small, and the bushes themselves are a little threadbare ... and it's been too hot for this photographer to spend much time outside.

Rambler, introduced in 1921

If you've read this blog for any time at all, you know how much I love growing ramblers!  They are easy care roses, that cover a lot of territory in a short amount of time ... and they produce a profusion of flowers in the spring that is without equal.  Did I mention the fragrance?

"Cato's Cluster"
Noisette, found rose

Found roses are another category that is very dear to me.  There's something romantic and thrilling about a unknown, beautiful rose discovered abandoned and neglected.  These survivor roses are a joy to have in the garden.

"Grandmother's Hat"
Hybrid Perpetual, found rose

This is another found rose that does well here.  When these roses are collected, they are given a study name to be used until the true identity is discovered.  Sometimes (as with this rose) no match can be found among known roses, so the study name sticks. 

"Natchitoches Noisette"
Noisette, found rose

This is the last of our found roses for this morning.  I love the shading and veins in the flowers of "Natchitoches Noisette"!  It usually send up shoots with loose clusters of these distinctive flowers.

Hybrid Musk, introduced in 1925

Cornelia is a well-mannered smaller climber, with fragrant, soft pink flowers, and few thorns.  This photo shows that Cornelia is lovely, even laying on the ground after a storm.

Jeanne Lajoie
Climbing Miniature, introduced in 1976

I love this rose!!  In spring, it is completely covered with clusters of these perfect petite pink flowers, and it continues to bloom off and on throughout the summer.  Mine grows free-standing beside the fence, and it has formed a graceful, arching shrub about 6 feet high. 

Here is a photo of what Jeanne Lajoie looked like this spring while we were replacing the boards on our fence.

Paul Transon
Rambler, introduced in 1900

This is another great rambler!  (I may be a bit biased, because I think they're ALL great.)  Paul Transon's canes are very flexible, making him particularly easy to train along a fence.  Remember, the more horizontal the canes, the more flowers they produce.

New Dawn
Climber, introduced in 1930

New Dawn is one of the most popular roses in history ... a distinction that it very much deserves.  If you have room in your garden for a disease-resistant climber, that blooms all the time, with fragrant flowers, New Dawn is a rose you should consider. 

Pink Gruss an Aachen
Floribunda, introduced in 1929

Pink Gruss, as I call her for short, is a lovely, rounded, short-ish shrub that looks good in the landscape ... with glossy, dark green leaves and clusters of these distinctive pink flowers.  They almost remind me of a combination of rose, a dahlia, and a camellia. 

Marchesa Boccella
Hybrid Perpetual, introduced in 1842

Marchesa Boccella (also known as Jacques Cartier) has it all!  Compact size?  Check.  Fabulous flowers?  Check.  Fragrance?  Double Check!

All of the roses you see here this morning are available in the nursery, for you to add to your own garden if you want.

I rarely mention nursery sales here, because I try as hard as I can to keep my blog and my business somewhat separate.  (I REALLY don't want you to come here and feel like I'm trying to sell you something ... that's a pretty serious turn-off.)  Right now, though, sales here are really slow ... as they are with everything, I know.  Most of us have limited resources, and roses are not really considered a necessary purchase.  While my own roses in the garden are struggling in the heat, the potted roses for sale in the nursery look amazing.  I work hard to make sure that they are healthy, and that they look their best to go to their new homes. 

Please take a minute to visit a couple of friends of mine.  Kat from Low Tide High Style is caring for an elderly dear friend, and Di, our favorite Blue Ridge Gal, said goodbye yesterday to her beloved Rottweiler, Missy.  Each of these lovely ladies could use a little bit of company and encouragement.

(written by Hartwood Roses.  Hartwood Roses blog.)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

One of My Favorite Stores!

At least once a month, I have to stop at Class and Trash, on Route 1 north of Richmond.  It is probably the best antique/junk/salvage store I know.

The treasures lined up along the front of the store are only a taste of the wonderful variety you'll find when you step inside!

Class and Trash is owned by Ken and Lisa Waldrop.  It is usually Lisa who rings up your purchases, and Ken who helps load them into your car.

Look at this wonderful cane settee!  With $49 on the price tag, I think it would be easy to look past its two small holes and bright red paint.  See the claw foot tubs in the background?

Here on the side of the building, I saw the usual stacks of doors and columns, and an iron bed frame.  There are stacks of wooden shutters off to the side that you can't see in this photo.

The last time I was here, I found this long wooden store counter right inside the front door. 

On top of the counter was this duck decoy, a wooden box, an old wheel, an antler-handled carving set, and this fabulous collection of crocks.

I fell in love with the shape of this green sofa.

This pie safe is perfect!

I thought these Empire side tables, placed back to back, would make the perfect base for a dining table!

There are treasures stacked on top of treasures.  How about these Victorian side chairs?

There's a jelly cupboard and a wide variety of small items reflected in the mirror of this oak dresser.

More decoys, a collection of hose nozzles, and old soda crates are among the items in the hutch on top of this primitive table.  Did you see the cute little stool and the wicker basket full of quilts?

This pair of old lockers almost came home with me ... they were only $75!!

Here's another primitive table, along with this wonderful wooden tool chest.

I have this 'thing' for trunks and chests.  This one was also calling to me, but I left it behind.

How about this little toy kitchen hutch, with it's tiny canister set?

Here's a perfect pile of old suitcases, in beautiful condition.

In the interest of full disclosure, I have to admit to you that I have NEVER left this store without buying something.  There is always at least one item that I cannot seem to live without. 

On this particular trip, I had to have this old wedding photo.  I love the fact that all of the women are holding huge bouquets of roses.  On the back of the photo, in perfect block printing, it says:

Wedding Picture
Louis F. Luedtke -- Ethel Bader
June 17, 1913

L. R. Cora Luedtke, Herbert Bader, Ruth Bader, James Carlton, & Matilda Penner

It bothers me that this photo was sitting in a shop.  I wonder why no one in the family kept it.  The names of the folks in the photo are unusual enough ... I bet I can track them down.  (I did this once before with a wedding certificate I found in a shop.)

I also bought this fabulous little trunk!  Here it is in its new home, underneath the walnut end table in our family room.  I told you earlier, I have this 'thing' for trunks.

Class and Trash has a little bit of something for everyone.  The prices are super, and the store is full of new things every time I visit.  If you heading up Route 1, just north of Virginia Center Commons, be sure to stop in and check it out for yourself.  You just might see me there.

(written by Hartwood Roses.  Hartwood Roses blog.)
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