Friday, May 31, 2013

Add Another One to the Collection

I love old trunks.  My very first antique purchase in 1979 was an embossed tin camel-back trunk.  I still have it.  My most recent is this doll trunk ... found at Goodwill a few weeks ago.

It looks like someone tried to use it as a stepstool, by the way the top is cracked.

The bargain-basement price of $6.99 won me over, and I tucked it under my arm and headed for the check-out station.

It was only once I had paid for it and was in the car that I realized what a treasure this little trunk turned out to be.  It still has its original fitted tray, though the bottom of the tray needs to be reattached.



Underneath the tray was a collection of someone's doll clothes.

These are about the right size for an 18" doll, and they were obviously made at different times.  First, we have an eyelet slip.  The waistband and seams appear to have been done at one time, and the slip was hemmed by someone else at a different time ... perhaps someone who doesn't sew well (a child?), judging by the all-over-the-place stitches.


This pink dress is probably the oldest and most-well-loved piece in the trunk.  It is made with very tight pin-tucks, and it shows a lot of mending and repair.



This little cotton shift and slip are smaller than the previous pieces.  They are cotton, well made, and well loved.


The last piece in the trunk was this dress.  It looks to be a lot newer than any of the other pieces, still handmade, though.  The fabric is different, the snaps look newer ... it is well made but it doesn't have the same detail that the other pieces do.


The last thing in the trunk was this key, but not the key to the lock on the trunk, though.  Just some random key ... perhaps used as a toy.

I'm kind of torn as to whether I should repair this trunk or leave it as it is.  I think I'm going to do both, if that makes sense.  One of the pieces of cracked fiberboard on the top of the trunk is loose, and I should glue that down so I don't lose it.  I should also replace the missing nails to reattach the hinges, and tack the loose piece of molding on the lid back into place.  I think that's where I'm going to stop, though.  This little trunk will certainly be displayed up high on a shelf, perhaps in my sewing room, so having a cracked top won't matter.

The doll clothes could use washing, but I am not going to do that.  They are what they are, and they will stay stored in this little trunk ... just like I imagine they were for little girls who played with them long ago.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Peekaboo, I See You

As I was sitting here in my usual spot yesterday morning, I look out the window just in time to see the tail end of a deer as it slipped into our line of cedar trees back by the Rose Field.  I quickly put on shoes, snapped the long lens onto my camera, and I went out to 'shoot' it.

The deer was almost immediately aware of my presence, and it watched intently as I stood behind some roses, focused my camera and shot photos of him/her through the fence.

Deer around here are very wary.  As I stepped from my hiding place to get a clearer look, the deer turned and sprang away ... its white tail raised in alarm.  He/she stopped at the fence by the back of our barn, and turned to look at me.
This deer was a big one!  I see no sign of antlers, so I think it's a doe.  Bucks should be starting to grow this year's set of antlers by now.  (Antlers are deciduous.  They are shed naturally in winter after breeding season and they regrow in the spring.)
I left the deer alone at this point, and I didn't follow it any farther.  Last I saw it, it walked toward the woods at the back of the property and was gone.
As I opened Blogger this morning, I saw that yesterday's post was #800!  Hard to believe that I've had 800 different things to say over the past four-and-a-half years ... 801 things now.
Thank you to those of you who have stuck with me for so many years, and welcome to everyone who is just arriving.  Sit and stay for a while.  I promise you won't get bored.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Ruby and Roses

Every year, there is always a place in the garden that becomes the perfect photo spot.  It's not something I plan or stage ... it just happens.  This year, 'Pink Pillar' and 'Parade' fell forward and mingled their blossoms to create a great background for a garden photo session with Ruby.

Ruby is really unsure so far about being an only dog.  She came into our family last year and had Daniel here to show her the way and give her clues about strangers and new situations.  Now that Daniel is gone, it's my job to teach her that she can rely on me to lead her and keep both of us safe.   (Her half-herding-dog genetics will still probably cause her to be a bit wary at first, but I hope to overcome this as much as I can ... and bring out more of the Labrador in her.)
Yesterday's open garden was to have been a good way for her to get used to lots of different people, as visitors came and went and wandered around in HER yard.  There was one flaw in my plan ... very few people showed up.  Don't know why  ... doesn't really matter why, to tell the truth ... it was just a fact. 
Ruby greeted the first guests just as I knew she would, by barking.  She very quickly warmed up, though, and was following along and schmoozing as I showed them around the garden.  That was enough for her for one day, so I ended her training session on this positive note and she spent the rest of the day inside napping on the sofa.
At first, I was very disappointed to have so few visitors.  Looking on the bright side now, the folks who did come had a perfect day.  The roses are the best they have ever been, the weather was cool and sunny and breezy, I had the opportunity to chat with everyone, and Mr. and Mrs. Mockingbird behaved themselves.
The garden will be open again next Sunday, June 2.  If more people come, that will be great.  If not, that's okay, too.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Mockingbird, 2013

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Mockingbird,

I am flattered that you find my roses to be a favorable place to set up housekeeping and raise your family.  The 'Schoener's Nutkana' you chose this year is strong and dense, and should provide good protection for you and your babies. 

It is natural for you to assume that your eggs were in danger while I was checking on them and taking their picture the other day.  I guess I should thank you for your restraint, since you only swooped down on me and flapped the back of my head with your wings.  Once would have been sufficient to get your message across ... doing it twice was not necessary.
I am expecting a lot of visitors in the garden this afternoon.  There will certainly be some of them who stop to admire your rose bush, since it is such a lovely, unusual thing.  They will be warned in advance of your nest and it is perfectly acceptable for you to watch them and issue warning cries from your perch on the power line overhead. Remember, though, that it is the roses that my guests are interested in, not your eggs, and please do not flap any of them in the head.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

A Deal is a Deal

You may (or may not) remember when I told you about freezing my tail off in February as part of a garden club crew digging up the plants to rescue a fellow member's garden from certain destruction.  (Click HERE to see that post if you missed it.)  One of the plants I came home with that day was a rose, 'Rook', a relatively new Hybrid Gallica (once-bloomer) from Paul Barden.  I was given this rose in exchange for sharing photos of it when it flowered in the spring.  A deal is a deal, and here they are:

'Rook' is still in its pot (no surprise to those of you who know me well).  In spite of this, it is flowering profusely.  Each flower is magenta-grape-burgundy-purple, and the fragrance is heavenly!
I took one of the flowers with me last weekend, to show it to the rose friends that I was visiting.  All were amazed that it was a new hybrid.  ('Charles de Mills' x 'Chianti').
If its performance in the pot is any indication, 'Rook' is a winner!  I have already chosen its spot in the garden, and I hope to have it planted in the ground very soon.
(Thank you, Mark!)

Friday, May 24, 2013

Friday Flowers

I have been working in the garden all week.  I like to think of it as therapy ... getting all sweaty and dirty and working hard is a great way to lighten one's mood.  At times, though, it's been difficult to keep my attention on the task at hand.  There are SO many roses in bloom! 

Back in the olden days when I was a fairly new blogger, I used to post flowers every Friday.  I got away from that a couple of years ago ... I don't know why.  Too much other stuff to talk about, I guess.  I'm in the mood to revive the tradition, so sit back and let me show you some things that caught my eye this week.  (Highlighted rose names are links to the rose's description page on Help Me Find, the BEST rose reference site on the planet.)

First up is 'Carolyn's Passion', a miniflora rose that I haven't brought out of the greenhouse yet.  (I love these through-the-window shots!)

The label I have on this next rose says "Not Anemone".  It was given to me by a dear friend, who received it as 'Anemone', which it isn't.  While we don't know exactly which rose this IS, we do know that it is a lovely setigera rambler, and I am thrilled to have it ... as a good garden plant AND as a token of a great friendship.
One of the rarer roses I grow is this one, 'Lyon Rose'.  Nowadays, we are accustomed to having roses in almost all colors of the rainbow.  This wasn't always the case.  When this rose was developed in 1907, rose breeders were working to bring a good yellow hybrid tea rose to market.  Early attempts like this one had some yellow in them, but they were mostly orange or coral with yellow highlights.
Speaking of yellow ... how about this one?  'Marechal Niel' was the darling of the flower trade in late-19th Century Europe .... with whole greenhouses devoted to producing these yellow beauties.  The plant itself is tender and persknickety, barely worth the ground it occupies here in Virginia.  Every year, though, I get at least one flower like this.  (I brought it in so I could enjoy it, and so it wouldn't get spoiled by last night's rain.)
Our final rose for today is 'Kathleen', a Hybrid musk bred by Rev. Pemberton in 1922.  'Kathleen' is a mannerly climber for me, and I have her trained onto the fence at the back of my mixed rose border in the front yard.  Right now, the plant is covered with these perfect single, fragrant flowers.  If 'Kathleen' had a down-side, it would be that she only blooms in the spring ... but this is merely a technicality, because she balances her lack of repeat bloom by producing an enormous crop of beautiful orange hips in the fall.  (I recommend this rose to most anyone who wants to grow roses for their hips.)
Now it's your turn ... what's catching your eye in the garden this week?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Spring Open Garden Dates

The roses certainly took their sweet time this spring!  For the past two years, everything was way ahead of normal.  This year, the roses are lagging behind their normal time table by at least a week.  I walked through the garden yesterday, assessing things, and I am pleased to say that it is finally time to invite visitors to come share the roses with me!

My sign at the road is a bit of a lie now ... that phone is disconnected and I'm not selling roses anymore.
Spring Open Garden dates for 2013 are:
May 26 and June 2
noon to 5pm
rain or shine
(click HERE for address and directions)
I planted these two roses as a tribute to escaped rootstock suckers on grafted roses.  It's supposed to look like the red rose is the rootstock of the yellow one.
Please don't come expecting to find a comfortable Sunday stroll in a manicured display garden ... many parts of the garden are an overgrown mess.  Some parts are worse than others.  The Rose Field is almost completely choked with weeds, with roses sprawling over their neighbors and/or suckering into expansive colonies.  The Rambler Fence looks like a collection of haystacks.  The Hybrid Tea Garden in the front yard looks pretty good, and so does the Van Fleet Fence.
The yellow rose is 'Sunshine Sally' and the red one is 'Cadenza'.
There is a delightful silver lining to the neglected, out-of-control conditions this year ... the roses themselves have never looked better and there are going to be WAY more flowers than ever before.  (overgrown roses do that)  I stood at the edge of the Rose Field yesterday afternoon, and I marveled at how beautiful it is.  Couldn't get close to much of it, though, because it would take a machete to clear the way to walk down most of the paths.
Here are a few words of warning:  This is a country property with country conditions (tall grass, rocks, uneven footing, etc.).  Sensible shoes are a MUST ... and sun screen and bug repellant are recommended.  A tick check after you get home will probably be a good idea, though the ticks haven't been so numerous this year, thank goodness.  (Long pants, too, if you think you may want to brave the Rose Field.)
See the cicada?
Be sure to budget time to visit our next-door neighbors at Hartwood Winery.  (Their wines are excellent, and I have a few roses for you to see over there on the fence between our two properties.)
This is always my favorite time of year!  It's the big show after a long, cold winter, and it's going to be something special.  The whole point of creating a garden like this is to share it and to show people how wonderful these old roses can be.  I love visitors!!
Are you coming?
(If you live north of here and plan to visit, consider avoiding I-95.  The volume of weekend traffic has been absolutely intolerable ... with construction and the occasional accident to snarl things even more.  It's a little bit farther, but you will probably have a much easier trip if you take I-66 west, to the Rt. 234 Bypass south.  Exit onto Route 28 toward Route 17, then take Route 17 south to Hartwood Road.)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

My First Rose Rustle of the Year

Over the weekend, I met up with some rose friends in Harrisonburg, Virginia ... about a two hour drive from here.  When I was about an hour from home, whizzing southbound on Route 29 in Madison County, I saw a flash of pink on the roadside embankment.  My "rosey sense" was tingling big time.


Since I was on the way to a fairly civilized gathering, I didn't stop ... even though I had boots and my rustling kit in the car with me.  It was a ditch, after all, and I didn't to be filthy or wet when I arrived at Dennis's house.  When I got to the party and I told Dennis what I saw, he scolded me for not stopping right then.  (I should have known.)  I promised that I would go back in a day or two, and that I would report my findings to soothe his (and my) curiosity.

Yesterday morning, I put Ruby in the Jeep, and we set out to see which rose this could be.  The shoulder of the road is fairly wide at that point, fortunately, and I could get the Jeep all the way off the road with a bit of room to spare.  Armed with pruners in my pocket, and my camera around my neck, I stepped into the ditch ... after doing a quick survey to check for poison ivy ... none found, thank goodness.

Turns out, this is a rose that I am very familiar with ... I know it as 'Shailer's Provence', and I have collected it at least four times in different locations.  In fact, this rose holds the distinction of being the very first rose I ever rustled (along with 'Dr. W. Van Fleet' on the same property) in either 2004 or 2005.
While light traffic flew past my Jeep parked on the shoulder of the road, I worked quickly.  I snapped these photos for documentation, pruned off two long stems that I could reach without climbing the embankment, tossed the stems into the car, and I drove away.  The whole process lasted a maximum of two or three minutes.
A few miles up the road, I stopped in a parking lot so I could trim the stems and put them in some water (a peanut butter jar).  I cut the stems into proper cuttings when I got home ... wrapped them in a damp paper towel, sealed in a plastic bag, and put the packet into the refrigerator.  I will plant the cuttings in little milk jug/soda bottle greenhouses later this morning.
Two buds from my roadside rustle in an antique baby bottle on my kitchen windowsill this morning.
My original 'Shailer's Provence' on 5/20/2013 (tagged "Lansdowne Road Climber" because that's where I found it.)
Please allow me to shift gears here for a second to thank each of you for your generous words of encouragement and comfort in response to Daniel's death last week.  I am truly humbled by the volume of comments and email that I have received.  Just to let you know, I'm okay.  It helps to know that we had no choice but to let Daniel go when we did ... no doubts, no wondering ... it was time, and I am very grateful to have the ability and immense responsibility to do this for him.
One message I received will always stick with me ...
"Daniel is no longer where he was, he is where you are.  He will live on in your heart and will always be a part of you."
Yes, he will.  Thank you!!
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