Monday, May 30, 2011

The Star of Saturday's Open Garden Event ... American Pillar

Visitors to my garden on Saturday were treated to one of my favorite roses in full, glorious bloom.  American Pillar, a rose introduced by Dr. Walter Van Fleet in 1902, is a rambler rose that I have planted as a feature at the end of the Rambler Fence with hopes that it will climb into the adjacent cedar tree. 

This plant has been in this location for four years.  A couple of times during the year, I take canes and guide them toward the tree ... tying them in place where I can, hoping that they will continue to grow into the tree.  Because the tree is green, and the canes are green, I cannot tell how successful I have been until the rose is blooming.

This year, I am overjoyed at the progress.

Do you see the pink flowers WAY up in the tree?  Those canes have snaked through the branches seeking the sun, exactly the way they were supposed to.  I had no idea that the rose had reached such heights already!  This is so exciting!!

See how beautiful American Pillar is against the rough structure of the cedar tree?

Saturday, Mother Nature treated us to beautiful weather ... warm temperatures with a slight overcast throughout the day provided a perfect atmosphere to view and smell and photograph the roses.  Many visitors brought their cameras with them, and I hope them left with photos they can be proud of.

Isn't American Pillar stunning???  These flowers are about 2 inches in diameter, and there are probably thousands of them on the plant.

Most of the visitors came with a shopping list, having visited the nursery web site ahead of time to weigh the pros and cons of the roses that I have in stock.  Even with this type of thorough advance preparation, more than a few folks were tempted by American Pillar, and quite a few American Pillars left here on their way to new homes with beaming new owners.

There's a new cane coming emerging from the top of the pile!  As soon as it gets a little longer, you can be assured that I will tie it to the tree so it can continue its journey to the top.


Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sunday Snapshot ... A Dose of Kittens

Adding Alice and Dorothy to our household last summer was the best decision EVER.  We were not in the market for a cat at that time (or 'cats', as happened in this case).   These little ladies, sitting in their PetsMart cat cage that day, made quite an impression, and that little voice in my gut could not be ignored.  These kittens were meant to be OUR kittens ... all we had to do was sign the papers and write the check.

They're not exactly KITTENS anymore, having turned a year old some time in April.  They still have kitten BRAINS, however ... which is a daily delight.  It has been a while since Alice and Dorothy were here on the blog, so I will share my favorite images of them from last week.

Alice, napping on the couch in the family room.

Dorothy, enjoying a sunshine puddle in the dining room.

The two of them together, just as sisters should be, helping me unpack an order of roses.

I hope you have the company of someone YOU love this weekend.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, May 28, 2011


I enlisted the aid of The Husband yesterday afternoon ... to be my wingman while I took a photo of the baby Mockingbirds.  His job was to stand directly behind me, wave his arms, and warn me if one of the parent birds made a dive.  As I peered into the nest, I saw this ...

Nothing but rose petals. 

Two days ago when I took the last photo, the babies looked like they were getting pretty close to fledging, so I imagine that's what happened.  They must have been pretty close by, because the parents were still in their protective posture, squawking and warning us to stay away.  I think they read yesterday's letter I wrote to them, because neither of them actually dove at my head ... and we can go in the garden without too much fear.

So I won't need to use the yellow 'Caution' tape that I bought at Lowe's yesterday to rope off the yard to warn our visitors who come to today's Open Garden.  As much as I loved the humor factor of roping off part of the yard with neon yellow crime-scene-type tape, I'm glad that I don't need to worry about someone being frightened or hurt by the birds.  Neither of them ever made contact with us or the cat ... but it sure looked like they wanted to.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Mockingbird,

Your overly-protective style of parenting is completely unnecessary.  Before your babies hatched, you would sit on your wire and hiss and squawk at me ... warning me to stay away.  I was okay with that.


After the babies hatched, your defense methods took on a much more menacing tone.  This is my yard and I don't appreciate having birds dive at my head.  I was only working in my rose bed.  I know it's your babies' bed, too, but I wasn't anywhere near the bush where they were sleeping.


As your babies have grown, so has your defensive attitude.  At first, I couldn't get near the flowerbed where the nest was.  Then, you took possession of that whole corner of the front yard ... hovering over my head and warning me of imminent blindness if I didn't back off.  At least I have a second or two every couple of days to snap baby pictures while you two are off hunting bugs.


Now that you have taken complete possession of most of the north half of the front yard, I must ask that you cease and desist.  It has gotten to the point where our whole family must endure your Shock and Awe tactics whenever we go over to a car that is parked on that side of the driveway.  Flying at our daughter the way you did yesterday, when her only crime was coming out the front door, was beyond the call of duty.


Because of your psycho protectiveness, and for the safety of visitors during tomorrow's Open Garden event, I am going to have to rope off a large portion of the front garden.  Hopefully, you will allow us to enjoy the roses from a distance.

Your Landlord

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

White Roses on Wednesday

I am overwhelmed with garden work and wedding preparations lately.  Instead of applying myself to my never-ending To Do list, I find myself wandering in the garden with my camera in hand, to see what new things I can find to photograph.  Yesterday, the white roses were especially beautiful.

This is Alba Meideland, a climber with huge clusters of small white flowers and bulletproof foliage.

Madame Plantier is one of my best white roses.  She blooms once in late spring ... but WHAT a bloom she has!

Glenn Dale is a graceful rambler with these beautiful, delicate flowers.  It is exceptionally rare, and I am thrilled to have it in the garden here.

White Pet is another superstar.  It's a compact bush with dark green foliage, and it's preparing to burst  with hundreds of buds in upright clusters.

Puerto Rico is a rose that doesn't mind hot summers.

I was in the greenhouse when I took this photo of a flower on Little Eskimo.

Here's a second shot, with a pencil eraser for perspective, to show you just now tiny this flower is.  Man, I love miniatures!!

With the current state of part of some of my gardens, a post about white flowers wouldn't be complete without a view of one of the weeds that's putting on a show right now.  I don't know its name, but it sure is photogenic.

This morning will be spent in the greenhouse, planting a ton of cuttings that have arrived in the mail in the past few days.  After I finish with this, I have a list of wedding details to attend to.

I hope your day is a pleasant one!

I'm going to share this post with the folks at Faded Charm for this week's White Wednesday.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

There Are No Words

Yesterday evening, Kat from Low Tide High Style published a blog post about her visit here last Friday.  Kat is a wonderful photographer and a very gifted writer, and I was beset by so many emotions as I saw her images and read her words.  (all of the photos in this post are Kat's.)

I knew from watching Kat on Friday that I would love her images.  I was totally unprepared, however, for the genuine magic that she captured with her camera.

I was also unprepared for the the glowing words she used to praise me personally and to describe the gardens that I have created here.  I am a very humble person, and most of the time I am uncomfortable with compliments and recognition.

I cannot accurately describe the depth of my reaction to what Kat wrote.

I smiled,

I nodded my head,

I laughed,

and I tried not to cry.

I'm still a little bit weepy about it, sitting here playing with her images and trying to put my feelings into writing.  How can I adequately thank her for making me feel so admired and appreciated?

I sent Kat an email after I read her post, thanking her for making me feel so special.  Because of her, I will now look at my gardens ... my creations ... in a very different way.  I design these gardens to please MYSELF and to beautify my environment ... I had no idea that they would have such an emotional effect on others.

or that hearing about these emotions would have such an effect on ME.

I will state this here ... now ... and quite publicly:

Thank you, dear Kat, for your friendship, your support,
and for being who you are.
My life is a better place because I have you in it.

While Kat was here, she and I talked about giving a rose, and other rosy things, to a lucky reader of her blog.  Please use THIS LINK to go to her blog to read the whole post she wrote and see the rest of her amazing photos.  Follow the instructions at the end of the post, and you may be the lucky winner.

I already feel like a winner!

Monday, May 23, 2011

A Visit from a Dear Friend

When Kat came to visit me last Friday, we spent most of her time here wandering the gardens and snapping photos.  (There was quite a bit of conversation going on, too, because we are both VERY chatty.) 

La Belle Sultane.  (gallica)

The weather was beautiful!  The temperature was warm, but not too warm, and the sun wasn't blazing ... so it was a perfect afternoon to spend in the garden with cameras.

Barbararosa.  (climber)

I always enjoy watching other people move through my garden.  I'm here all the time, so I'm almost used to the rose overload, and I love to watch how others react.

Variegata di Bologna.  (hybrid perpetual)

It was also very interesting to see how my style of garden photography differs from Kat's.  I aim for 'catalog quality' shots that I can share here or use on my nursery web site.  It looked to me like she was capturing things as they are ... blackspot and spent flowers and all.

Elegant Gallica.  (gallica)

In the spirit of full disclosure, here is MY blackspot photo.  This rose is one of my best repeating hybrid perpetuals, but it is very susceptible to blackspot.  (Regular application of fungicide keeps this at bay, but I haven't sprayed it yet this year.)

Ulrich Brunner Fils.  (hybrid perpetual)

Speaking of spraying, it's time for me to get outside and see how much I can get done.  The weather this morning is perfect, and I am aiming to get the whole garden done.  Wish me luck.

I'm gonna go wordless to share the best of the rest of my photos from Friday.

Basye's Purple Rose.  (hybrid rugosa)

Maid Marion.  (hybrid musk)

"Tidewater Trail" (a found Hybrid China)

Inspiration.  (climber)

While I'm outside, I plan to take a photo or two of the baby Mockingbirds.  I've discovered that I can sneak in and sneak back out quickly during the short interval while both parents are off hunting for bugs.  I'll let you know how it goes.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sunday Snapshot ... Babies and Roses

I was out in the garden with my camera one day recently ... no surprise in this, I know, considering it's rose season.  As I was taking photos in the front border, a Mockingbird on the wire overhead kept squawking at me ... doing its best to be scary.  There HAD to be a nest nearby.

I found it pretty quickly.  Inside a perfectly round masterpiece of twigs and grass, in one of my climbers on the front fence, were five blue and brown speckled eggs.  From her perch on the wire, Mama Mockingbird (or was it Papa?  I can't tell them apart.) squawked and flapped to warn me to keep my distance.  I snapped a couple of photos and quietly left the bird to tend her eggs. 

Those photos of the eggs are on the memory card that the cats stole.

Fast forward to Friday, while Kat was visiting.  As we were talking and snapping photos, the Mockingbird was sitting on the wire again, but this time it was VERY aggressive and menacing.  The babies have hatched, I thought.  I told Kat to watch my back while I went in.  (I was flapped in the head by a Mockingbird last summer, while I was trimming the rambler fence.  I didn't want THAT to happen again.)

There they were ... five perfect little babies.  I had time to take ONE photo before Mrs. Mockingbird made her dive and sent me scurrying.  Mr. Mockingbird was on the tree, preparing to be the second wave ... I wasn't going to push my luck to try to get another shot.

You know me, though.  You can guarantee that I will be out there every day or two with my camera, taking my life in my hands to document these babies as they grow.

Have a happy Sunday!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Flowers on Friday ... Full Bloom in a Friend's Garden

My friend Robert, my dearest garden buddy, fellow rose addict, and all-around partner in crime, lives only 10 minutes away from the place where I picked up my fabulous dental cabinet earlier this week.  I made sure to take my camera along with me, so I could make a stop in his garden to take a peek ... and snap a few photos if the light was good.  (It was!)

My, my, my.  His garden is certainly a place of wonder!  Unlike my garden, Robert's garden isn't all about roses ... but the roses are definitely the star of the show right now.

This is the view I saw to my left as I pulled into his driveway. 

The large roses on the arch are Alberic Barbier (white) and an unknown red climber. 

Here is the view of this arch from the other side.

Robert and I have tried for years to identify the red rose ... and we have been unsuccessful so far.  It was given to Sherando Roses as cuttings of 'Jaune Desprez' by the folks at the Lynchburg City Cemetery.  ('Jaune Desprez' is an apricot Noisette, so that's not it.)  This rose is fragrant and healthy, and it blooms like crazy.  One day, we'll figure out what it is.

There are beautiful views everywhere you look in Robert's garden!  This is what you see looking toward the barn from his back terrace.

Look a little to the left, and you get this view.

1.  Climbing Clotilde Soupert
2.  Paul Transon
3.  The Alexandra Rose

Speaking of the barn .... that's where Robert keeps his alpacas!  I want some of these so badly!!  (Later.)  The Husband assures me that I can have my own alpacas once we clear a few things off our To Do list.  I can hardly wait!

Russelliana, a beautiful purple rambler, grows on the fence in front of the alpaca yard.

(wide shot)

(close up)

To the right of the barn is this circular garden. 

The concrete table, with umbrella, is surrounded by raised beds with rebar arches that contain alternating purple and white climbing roses.  'Violette', a purple rambler, was particularly photogenic!

This vignette is beside Robert's chicken house.  He bought this rooster sculpture when he and I went to the Maymont Flower and Garden Show in February, and I love how he is displaying it on top of an old rusty axle from a piece of farm equipment.

'A Shropshire Lass' is a David Austin English rose Robert grows that I have never seen before.

One of my favorite roses is 'Banshee'.  Robert's was blooming when I was there.  I'm still waiting for the first flower of the year on mine.

Beside Robert's greenhouse is a great example of growing roses into trees.

1.  Veilchenblau
2.  Darlow's Enigma
3.  Tess of the D'urberbilles

Darlow's Enigma is planted on a rebar tripod beside Tess of the D'urbervilles.  Darlow is trying to swallow poor Tess, and looks to be determined to escape up into the holly tree, which already contains Rosa fortuniana (not visible in this photo) and the lovely purple 'Veilchenblau'.

My favorite view of the afternoon was this one I saw on 'Ghislaine de Feligonde'  I love how the soft apricot yellow of the roses perfectly contrasts with the brilliant purple of the clematis.

I have to stop now, so I can get ready for a very special visitor.  Kat from Low Tide High Style is coming over this afternoon!!  She and I are going to eat, and visit, and spend time with our cameras in the garden.  Speaking of cameras ... I have to go pop my camera battery into the charger.

Bye for now!
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