Sunday, July 31, 2011

Bare Root Roses from the EuroDesert Collection

EuroDesert Roses, one of my favorite mail-order nurseries, closed earlier this year.  Health issues have now forced Cliff, the owner, to dismantle his garden and sell his amazing collection of mother plants to rose gardeners throughout the country.  His collection of over 4000 plants is one of the largest private rose collections in the world!  Many of his roses were imported from Europe, and he is the only US source.  Others are rare American roses that would have been lost to commerce without his efforts. 

So far, fourteen of Cliff's roses have made the trip from the desert of California to my garden here in central Virginia ... the most recent of which arrived via USPS earlier this week. 

The variety names, Betty and Dorothy Peach, are written on the box.

To prepare the roses for their journey, two helpers in Cliff's garden cut the roses almost to the ground, dig them up, and wash almost every bit of soil from their roots. 

The roses in this box are carefully packaged, so they make their cross-country trip without damage.

Bare-root roses are usually dug and shipped while they are dormant, in the fall or early spring. 

Each rose is packaged in its own heavy-duty bag.

With Cliff's roses, they are being dug and shipped as they are sold ... regardless of the weather.  Extreme care is taken with preparation and packaging to insure that the roses arrive at their new homes in good condition.

The roots of each rose are bagged in a draw-string kitchen bag, and the canes on top are wrapped in wet newsprint.

One would think that such treatment would damage the roses, but roses in excellent condition in the garden (like they were in Cliff's garden) can handle the stress.

Look how huge the root systems are on these roses!!

After the roses are dug and washed, they receive a quick dip in a dilute bleach solution to discourage mold growth which can happen in the hot, damp environment of their shipping box.  It works, because there was no mold at all on these beauties.

The rose on the right even started to grow new little roots!

I have no place in the garden prepared to receive these new roses, so I am planting each of them in pots for now ... BIG pots.

This pot is 18 inches across, and the rootball barely fit into it.

The pots will stay in the shade for a few weeks, until they grow some new roots, to protect them from the heat and humidity of our Virginia summer.

The roses in their new pots begin to grow pretty quickly.  This is Black Ice, which arrived here in late June.  It started to grow almost immediately after being potted, and now it's covered with buds!

Two of the roses I received in June  (Butterfly Wings and Arpeggio) were a bit slower to begin to grow again.  The canes were still green, so I knew they were alive, and I kept them watered and shaded and I waited ... new canes sprouted on them last week, and they are now growing very nicely. 

Guess what arrived yesterday?

There is a part of me that wishes I could hire a moving van and go to California and bring home a whole truckload of Cliff's roses.  The idea of splitting up and parting out his amazing garden is painful to think about.  What helps is knowing that each of the roses is going to a loving home (like mine!), and that Cliff's garden is not truly lost.  It is being spread across the country for other rose lovers to appreciate.

Thank you, Cliff.  Though you and I have never met in person, I feel as if I know you.  I treasure the roses I have received from you, and each of them has a special place in my rose collection.

If you would like to sign up to receive Cliff's email updates, which feature lists and photos of roses that are currently available, click HERE.

I'm going outside now, to unpack Bonnie Jean and get her settled into her new pot!

Happy Sunday!

(Each highlighted rose name is a link to the description page for that rose on Help Me Find Roses ... the BEST rose reference site.)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Lions, and Tigers, and Bears ... without the Lions and Tigers

I'm fairly certain that this pile I found yesterday in the Rose Field is bear poop. 

I have my game camera set up outside now.  (I had been using it to spy on our dogs in the family room.) 

Jim, next door at Hartwood Winery, will go out later today to see if there is any trace of bear activity in his vineyard.  If there is, we will move the camera to his place to see if we can get pictures.

There's never a dull moment living in out in the country!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Butterfly Bait

For the past two days, we have had a bit of a break from the crippling heat and humidity that we endured last week and over the weekend.  I took advantage of the more comfortable working conditions, and I got a lot accomplished.  More of my pots are tidied up ... I have been spot-spraying Round-Up to keep the Austin Garden and the Rambler Fence from getting overgrown ... and I have begun to make a path through the horribly weed-filled Rose Field.  (No photos of any of this.  Sorry.)

As I walked to the Austin Garden, past the weeds in the Rose Field, one weed in particular caught my eye ... a giant thistle.  This thing is taller than I am.  Honestly, it's difficult to gather the motivation to deal with this thistle when the butterflies love it so much. 

I'm torn.  This is the only thistle, but I know that the seeds on this one plant have the potential to make thousands of plants next year.  The nature lover in me is looking at the benefit of this plant, as a source for nectar now and seeds for birds (especially Goldfinches) later.  I should chop it down and spray the remains with Round-Up ... but I don't always do what I SHOULD do.  We'll see.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

DC Big Flea, Part 2 ... What I Collect

My husband and I have spent many hours during our marriage hunting for treasure at antique shops, thrift stores, and flea markets.  When we were first married, this was a wonderful way to feather our new nest with objects that had character and meaning.  We learned a lot about each other by the items that each of us are attracted to.  After 31 years of marriage, our home is full of the fruits of our collecting.

While I was at the DC Big Flea on Saturday, I saw lots of really nice things that would have fit perfectly into our collections.  Here are a few examples:

LuRay Pastels Dinnerware.
I have always been attracted to the restful colors of these dishes.  They were introduced in 1938 by Taylor Smith & Taylor to compete with Homer Laughlin's hugely popular Fiesta, and they continued to be manufactured into the early 1960s.  The Husband and I started buying these dishes a piece or two at a time, as we could afford it, in the mid 1980s.  Occasionally, we would find a box-lot and end up with some great pieces for a good price.  As of now, we could probably adequately feed a whole banquet hall full of people using our china.  (We still haven't unpacked most of what we have from when we moved here four years ago.)

We keep a controlled number of pieces on display in the cherry cupboard in our dining room.

This is a stitched photo showing two of the cabinets in our kitchen, with pieces that we use all the time ... we served pasta using the soup plates at dinner yesterday evening.

The pieces this dealer had at the DC Big Flea were very reasonably priced.  Now that I see this again, I probably should have bought the green creamer and sugar bowl ... I don't have these pieces in green.

Trunks and Chests.
I have a thing for antique trunks.  There was at least one trunk in every room of our last house.  In this house, I haven't really decorated all the rooms yet ... but you can rest assured that trunks will figure into the plan.

This trunk is in our unfinished living room, and it holds yarn.

This pine 6-board chest at the foot of our bed stores sheets and blankets.

A stack of trunks is stored in the attic of our garage, waiting for a place in the house.

This little trunk at the DC Big Flea is the type that I go for ...

... this kind, too ...

... and these are the ones that I walk right past.

Miniature Stoves.
I don't know when we bought our first miniature stove ... it must have been in the late 1980s.  Over time, we collected six of them in varying sizes.  In one of our houses, we displayed them in our kitchen on a Victorian corner what-not shelf with the smallest stove on the top shelf, the largest on the bottom, and the others in order of increasing size.  We haven't decided on a place in this house to display them, so they are still packed away.  (No photos of our stoves this time, sorry.)

This little stove at the DC Big Flea is actually a pencil sharpener.  It was only about 3 inches high.

These little stoves were reproduced in huge quantities, and most of the ones you see on the market are reproductions.  You can tell a reproduction at a glance because most of them are put together with Phillips-head screws.

It's a shame that this one was in such awful condition, because I have never seen a six-burner stove before.

Watering Cans.
In our last house, we kept our collection of antique watering cans displayed on our screened porch.  It's the same story here with the watering cans as it is with the mini stoves and trunks ... no place yet to put them.  Right now, they're stored on the workbench in the garage with much of our other cool garden stuff.  One day we will have everything organized and displayed ... she says optimistically.

I loved this watering can because it shows wonderful signs of having been used.  Look at the shiny spot on the handle where the finish is worn.

I laughed at the label on this can.  After what happened to my '66 Mustang last fall, I probably could use one of these.  (Click the link if you don't know what happened to the Mustang.)

Stuff with Roses on it.
It seems perfectly natural, since I have a huge rose garden and own a rose nursery, that I would also collect and display things that have roses on them. 

My mother-in-law recently gave me these two old TV trays.

I love these amateur rose paintings.  These three will soon hang in my sewing room.

This one at the DC Big Flea was a bit TOO amateur ... even for me.

This dealer was selling pages from an old Victorian-style photo album individually.  Each of them had wonderful floral designs.

It's been a while since I have seen a nice floral theorem painting like this one.  Now that I look at it again, I think the flowers may be peonies.

Maps and Prints.
I am a sucker for most things that represent places where we have lived.  Fredericksburg (where we live now) is a very historic town, and there have been many prints and post cards printed depicting its most historic features.  I graduated from high school in Heidelberg, Germany, and images of its castle and old bridge can be found on all sorts of things. 

Over the years, I have collected seven Currier and Ives prints of historic Fredericksburg sites.  This one is Kenmore, the home of George Washington's sister.

For a while, I collected and displayed old postcards of Fredericksburg.  I am not sure if I have the space to display them at this house.

I bought this map at an antique mall last week.  Though it's a map of the next county to the north of us, it shows the part of Stafford County where we live. 

This cross-stitch of the Heidelberg Castle is one of my favorite pieces.

This dealer at the DC Big Flea had a set of three lithographs of Fredericksburg landmarks.  This one is the Hugh Mercer Apothecary Shop.

This watercolor of the Heidelberg Castle was dated 1945.

Greyhound Stuff.
When we adopted Emma in 1999, I discovered that there are some wonderful items out there that depict greyhounds.  After all these years of collecting, we have great greyhound items in just about every room of our house. 

This is the gallery wall in our home office.  (I see I have to get in there and straighten things after our cleaning lady dusted the other day.)

A dealer at the DC Big Flea had this set of greyhound figurines for sale.  The seated one, with the missing front leg, reminded me of my friend Kim's dog TJ.  (We celebrated the one-year anniversary of TJs amputation surgery on July 2. If it seems odd to you to celebrate something like this, remember that one year survival is above average for a dog diagnosed with bone cancer ... this survival is indeed a cause for celebration.  TJ is a happy, happy boy!!)

As I sorted through my photos, and composed my words for this post, I was constantly aware that the collections we have in our home were gathered by my husband and I together.  It is especially appropriate today to be thinking about what we have collected and accomplished ... because today is our 31st anniversary.

Happy Anniversary.
I Love You!!

What did I bring home from the DC Big Flea, you ask?  Not a single thing.  I loved walking the aisles, looking at all the items, and there wasn't anything that I loved enough to buy.  It was enough for me to just be there and browse ... and take photos to remind me of my finds.  I hope you enjoyed the show with me.

Now that you have seen what we collect, go visit Privet and Holly to find out what other folks say about their collections.

Monday, July 25, 2011

DC Big Flea, Part 1 ... Stuff That Inspires

I went by myself to the DC Big Flea on Saturday.  A few blog readers and friends contacted me, most saying that they'd love to come along but couldn't.  Going alone turned out to be a blessing in disguise ... I could blare my music in the car without deafening anyone but myself, race through the show at my own pace, and just enjoy the alone time.

This show is HUGE, with hundreds of dealers offering everything from fine antiques to jewelry to country collectibles to reproduction craft items.  The crowd was ALSO huge, and I shuffled my way through most of the show trying not to step on people.  I assure you, it was really difficult to get photos of my favorite things, because there was almost always a person in my way and I had to snap quickly whenever I got the opportunity.  (Because of this, please forgive the quality of some of these photos.)

In today's Part 1, let's take a look at some of the things that stood out to me.  Most are timeless and inspirational but some represent trends that have seen their popularity and it's time to move on.

This table was beautiful!

If you collect art pottery, this booth had a wonderful selection.

For you lovers of primitive decor, how about this grain bin made of beadboard.

I was sad to see that all of the pieces of this set of Spode china were priced individually ... and priced too high, in my opinion.

I love everything in this vignette!

Whoever chose the fabric to reupholster this antique mahogany sofa was a genius!  The muted color and the modern pattern updated this old beauty and it would now look perfectly at home almost anywhere.

I loved how these antique metal animals were displayed in this soda crate.

Though the glass globes don't appear to be antique, $60 for this light fixture is a DEAL.

This photo of an antique porch railing, with its sawn balusters, is offered as a tease to let you know that there's progress being made on OUR old porch.

The writing on this old iron piggy bank, which says "Invest In Pork", rings particularly true ... at $225, buying this IS an investment.

The size and shape of this old pie safe was super, but the eye-popping blue isn't a color that I really care for.

This 1980s-era Steiff bear looked so perfect sitting in this old green high chair.

It saddens me to see wonderful old photos like this sitting out for sale.  I always wonder who these people are and why their families don't love these photos as much as I do.

Aren't these old concrete flamingos FABULOUS!!!

Why do people do this?  The word 'Biscuit' is clearly spelled correctly on the box ... but it is misspelled on the price card.

I wonder if I have a place where I can use an idea like this.

If I had another bathroom renovation in my near future, I would have snapped up this medicine chest.

Chalkboard paint on these old lockers was a neat idea.

I have a telephone exactly like this pink princess phone, but it doesn't work.  I talked to the dealer and he will repair it for me this fall.

This dealer had a thing for black paint and toile wallpaper.  Not only did she do this table, but she subjected a really nice 19th Century hutch to the same treatment.  I couldn't get a photo of the hutch because there were too many people in the way.  Trust me, it wasn't good.

Here's a hutch that IS good ... along with boxes, and watering cans, and wooden buckets.

I have a 'thing' for redwork pillow shams.

I know these stencilled pillows appeal to a lot of folks, but I don't particularly like them.

I got a skate key just like this off of a nail in my in-laws' basement last month!

Like the teddy bear I showed earlier in this post, Raggedy Ann was perfect sitting in this old baby swing.

Lots of dealers had painted furniture.  Some of it was done well, like this painted dresser ...

... and some of it they should have left alone.  I really don't like imitation distressing on most furniture.

I fell head-over-heels in love with this wedding cake topper!  I'm paring down my collections, so I didn't even THINK about buying it.

Here is a ready-made collection of blue canning jars!

This was the sales table for one dealer.  Isn't it great how she used the quilt top to skirt the underneath?

One thing that I saw over and over were old, refinished work benches.  I love them, but I have no place to use one right now.

I will finish up today by showing you a few things I saw that reminded me of some of you:

I remember Diane (The Blue Ridge Gal)  saying once that she's looking for a laughing Buddha.  This one had loads of personality, and a pricetag to match.  $100 was too much for him.  The dealer tried to tell me that he was hand-carved.  I wasn't falling for it.

Linda (A La Carte), our resident Pyrex collector, would have loved this display ... but not the prices.  She usually gets unbelievable deals on stuff like this.

Doesn't this look like something that Kim (Savvy Southern Style) would do?

These dog figurines remind me of a post that Suzanne (Privet and Holly) did the other day.

Speaking of Suzanne, tomorrow she is hosting a link party.  She is encouraging everyone to visit and show-and-tell their collections.  For Part 2 of my trip to the DC Big Flea, I will share with you some of the things that I found that would fit perfectly into MY collections.

See you tomorrow!
Related Posts with Thumbnails