Saturday, June 27, 2015

Another Story ... With Four Snaps This Time

Winnie's favorite place to be is on the sofa, snuggled onto the down throw that I keep out for her year-round.  (It used to be a winter-only item for use by chilly humans ... stored away during warm months.)  She gets onto the sofa via a set of pet steps given to her by her Auntie Susan.  

In the beginning, it only took about five minutes and some delicious treats to teach Winnie to use the steps, and now she scampers up and down them easily to get on and off the sofa ... most of the time.  Every once in a while, it appears that she decides that she has forgotten how to use them or it may seem easier to her to resort to begging to be picked up.

I tell Winnie that she is very lucky to have been adopted into a family that spoils her, instead of babying her ... though I don't think Winnie understands the difference.  During this little exchange, Winnie made multiple trips back and forth between half-hearted attempts at the steps and begging to be picked up.

If this behavior doesn't get her what she wants, it rarely takes more than a few minutes for Winnie to resign herself to the fact that she has to use the steps to get onto the sofa by herself if she's going to get there at all ...

... and, soon, she was fast asleep.

P.S.  Here's a extra gratuitous Winnie photo for you ... because she's just so darned adorable.

This tiny little dog has a huge piece of my heart!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Three Quick Snaps Tell a Story

A few minutes ago, as I was sitting here on a bar stool, at the peninsula counter between the kitchen and the dining room, I noticed some movement.  It was Maggie, being silly, biting and kicking a dog toy that Ruby dropped there earlier this morning.  I picked up my iPad, which was sitting on the counter next to me, to photograph and document the silliness.

must . kill . this

Ruby, who was in the other room, must have noticed what Maggie was doing at about the same time as I did.  Almost as soon as I snapped that first photo, nosy Ruby was in here checking to see what was going on. 

"Exactly what are you doing with my toy?"

It only took that quick look for Ruby to be satisfied that this was not something where she could participate, and she returned to the family room.  Ruby's interruption broke the spell, and Maggie acted as if nothing had happened ... and she quickly settled in to take a little nap, using the toy as a pillow.


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

A Little DIY Shoe Transformation

I bought these shoes at Target on clearance last year for a ridiculously-low price.  It's rare for me to find cute shoes I like that are large enough for these size 11 feet of mine ... finding a pair on sale like this was even more unusual.  The rope-covered wedge heel on these is a great height, high enough to be stylish and low enough to be comfortable.  I love the big gold zippers ... but the linen color of the cloth upper part of the shoe wasn't my favorite.  I could learn to love that, too, or so I thought.

These shoes have been tucked away in my closet ever since I brought them home.  Every once in a while, I would try them on and admire them, decide that they I still probably didn't have anything to wear them with, and back into the closet they would go.

Recently, Goth Gardener posted about a pair of shoes that she bought under similar circumstances.  Her solution was to use paint to make the shoes into something that was a better fit with her personality and her wardrobe ... and now you see where I'm going with the DIY portion of this post.

No turning back now.

I used regular black acrylic craft paint and a small angled paint brush, working carefully so I didn't get paint on the rope-covered wedge part of the shoe, and thinning the paint slightly so it flowed into the grain of the fabric.

Halfway finished ... One down, one more to go.

When the paint was dry, I buffed it off of the zipper with an old toothbrush.

... and here is the finished product.  All it took was a bit of paint (that I already had) and some time (while I was hiding in the a/c because it was too hot outside to work) and I now have a pair of shoes that are perfectly ME.

Before:  Cute clearance-sale impulse-purchase shoes, good for a nice spring outfit, but not exactly my style.

After:  Black shoes, totally my style, with that fantastic funky gold zipper, that I probably would have bought even if they had been full price.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I must admit that I still haven't worn these yet.  Now that they're black, and I love them more than I dare to admit, I imagine that they will come out of the closet and into regular rotation in my wardrobe very soon.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

An Additional Tactic in the War Against Japanese Beetles

While I was outside yesterday morning drowning Japanese Beetles with my Death Bucket of soapy water, I realized it looks like this will probably be a bumper-crop year for those nasty creatures.  Some of my roses were unaffected so far, but it's still very early in the season.  Many other roses, especially my most fragrant ones, were already acting as bait, food, and love nests for the beetles.

Along with my two-part approach to Japanese Beetle control that I told you about in yesterday's POST, I am adding a more-drastic measure this year ... removal of all of the flowers and buds throughout the garden.  It's not like I'm really losing anything, because the beetles aren't going to let me have any decent flowers while they're here anyway.

'Prospero', before.

'Prospero', after.

I started yesterday morning by working in the English Garden.  It's a relatively small garden (by my standards) 30-feet wide and 40-feet long, with 40 roses in it ... perfectly realistic to expect that I could start and finish the job there relatively quickly.

English Garden, before.

English Garden, after.

As I worked, I dropped the trimmings into a five-gallon bucket.  Whenever the bucket was full, I emptied it into the dump-bed of my golf cart ... then I tossed it all into hedgerow tree line dumping spot at the back of our property.

Bye bye for now, Teasing Georgia.

This is about halfway through the job.  I liked how the few intact flowers ended up on top of the pile.

To be honest, removing the flowers and buds like this isn't really as drastic as it sounds.  I had planned to be in the garden anyway, because most of my roses could use a bit of a trim and deadheading of spent flowers, to tidy them up and keep the garden looking as nice as possible.  Even without beetles, summer heat makes many of the roses slow down and flower sporadically or not at all.  By the time the beetles are gone in a few weeks, the roses will have recharged, grown new buds, and they will be almost ready for their bloom time to start again for the late summer and fall.

I'm still going to have to keep the beetle trap bags changed as they get full, and continue my morning walks in the garden with my Death Bucket to drown any beetles that I find.  Beetles eat rose foliage, in addition to flowers, and they're a whole lot easier to find and catch if I don't have to dig through the flowers to get them into the bucket.  

I will spare you the photo of beetles in my bucket ... you're welcome.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Japanese Beetle Season

They're here, dammit.  Japanese Beetles.  I spotted this year's first beetle on Open Garden Day, and I'm finding more and more of them each day since then.  It's time to start dealing with the problem.

This is the second beetle that I found, last Monday, on a flower of 'Paul Ecke, Jr.'

Japanese Beetles exist to do only two things:  they eat and they mate to make more beetles for next year, and they can usually be found doing both things at once.  Roses are a favorite meal for them, as are the grape vines next door at Hartwood Winery.

When I do rose presentations for garden groups, my most frequently asked question is about how to deal with the annual plague of Japanese Beetles.  I don't use insecticides of any type in my garden ... and beetle control for me is a two-level process that takes a bit of effort ... I know this is a disappointment to the quick-fix type of folks.  (They tend to want a magic bullet, one-time thing.  Sorry, there's not one for these nasty pests.)

Step One is to place beetle traps.  I know what some of you are thinking ... we've been led to believe that beetle traps attract more beetles than they catch.  This may be true to some extent, but my plan is to remove as many of these nasty creatures as I can from the available pool of eligible mating partners.   The beetles that are lured to their deaths by the traps (a) won't be eating my roses and (b) aren't contributing to the population of next year's brood.

Step Two is to hand pick any beetles that I find on the roses.  I walk the garden with a small bucket of soapy water in the early morning, when it's cool and the beetles are sluggish, dropping any beetles I find into the bucket ... no beneficial insects are harmed in the process.  Later in the day, I dump the dead beetles and rinse the bucket.

If there is an up-side to this, it's that Beetle Season only lasts for a few weeks in the heat of summer when the roses aren't at their best anyway.  I do what I can to keep up with it, trimming off dead and damaged flowers and foliage.  Before I know it, the beetles and the summer heat are gone, and the roses get back to doing what they do best ... producing flowers and making me very, very happy.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

I *heart* Trading

FlowerLady Lorraine is a frequent visitor here, and I am a regular at her blog, too.  She lives in Plum Cottage, a wonderful little 1/4 acre world that she and her late husband created in tropical south Florida.  I am amazed at the variety of plants that thrive in her beautiful garden ... and her courageous use of color!

See?  I told you!  Isn't this wonderful!!!

A couple of weeks ago, when I announced that I would have a few roses for sale at my Open Garden, FlowerLady emailed and asked if I would be willing to work a trade.  Of course!!!  I told her that bartering is my favorite form of currency!

In exchange for two roses, she sent me this beautiful embroidered heart that she chose for me from her Etsy store.

I am in awe of her talent ... every single one of her stitches is PERFECT!

Thank you, Rainey ... I love it!!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Sunday Snapshot ... Propagation Time!

Now that the roses in my garden are past peak bloom, it is time for me to take cuttings for propagation.  When I was running the nursery, I felt the need to cater to the market and propagate the roses that customers expected to find in stock.  These were mostly old garden roses that are fairly common, ones that most rose-growing folks had heard of.  I was never comfortable with this.  The few rare and unusual roses that I rooted for sale tended to be ignored, while the familiar ones sold without much effort.

Yesterday morning's harvest of cuttings.

Now that I don't have to supply a nursery inventory anymore, I can propagate what I think is important ... roses from here and other places that are the rarest and most vital to multiply and distribute, roses that I have agreed to trade with friends, and, beginning this year, roses from the Rose Field ... the next step in my current plan to reclaim that heinous mess of a former garden.

The cuttings are now safely sitting in the north-facing window in my cool basement, where I can easily keep an eye on them.

You're probably wondering ... what roses were in this first batch of cuttings?  They are:

"Tidewater Trail" is a Hybrid China rose that I found in 2009, growing beside the fallen porch of a derelict house south of Fredericksburg, Virginia.

"Dennis's not-Anemone Rambler" is a wonderful unidentified Hybrid Setigera rose.  Dennis received it as a small plant, with a tag in the pot that said 'Anemone' ... which it obviously is not.  He shared his plant with me.

I have shown you this rose many times, "Pink Van Fleet", which is possibly the real 'Bess Lovett', that appears to be lost in the US.

'White Cap' is the best performing climber that I grow.  Most people don't know about it, though, and it is very hard to find.

"Faded Pink Monthly", a rose found by Mrs. Keays, is the first Rose Field rose that I took cuttings from.

If you want to learn how to root your own roses, THIS LINK will take you to my photo tutorial that teaches you the method that I use.

Happy Sunday, Everyone ... I'm heading outside now, to go take more rose cuttings.

Sunday Snapshots are posts that are devoted to a moment in time that represents a slice of life in Hartwood, or wherever else I happen to be at the time.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Hartwood Roses Virtual Open Garden Day Tour

I open my rose garden to the public for drop-in visits on one day in the spring.  Open Garden for this year was last Sunday, June 7.  My goal is to try to schedule this date to coincide with overwhelming full bloom ... haven't nailed this quite yet, but there is still always a LOT to see ... no matter if the date is too early or too late.  This year, it was about a week late.  

There is so much here to experience that, years ago, we decided that it would be helpful for visitors to have a map of the property and gardens.  My talented artist husband sketched this one afternoon, and we update it whenever something changes.

Let's follow the map's legend and take a long, leisurely tour of the property, structures, and gardens at Hartwood Manor ... emphasis on the "long" part of this tour, because this is a long post.  Garden photos in this post were taken this morning, June 12, 2015.  The roses, in general, are mostly past peak and flowers have dried up in our summer heat from the past few days.  There is still a lot to look at, though, as you will see.

1.  Front Fence Border.
This was the first rose garden at Hartwood Roses, designed and planted in 2007.  This area was formerly a huge overgrown feral Forsythia hedge.  It contains a collection of Noisette, Hybrid Perpetual, Bourbon, Hybrid Musk, China, and Tea roses.  This garden was renovated in 2015, to make space for roses from the Leonie Bell collection at Tufton Farm.

'Dr. W. Van Fleet', planted so that it's the first rose I see every time I pull into the driveway.

No flowers left on 'Moonlight' and 'Shailer's Provence' ... a beautiful combination two weeks ago.

Tiny new plant of "Single Pink China" from the Tufton Collection is continuing to grow and flower.

Newly planted "Cemetery Musk Seedling" is doing great.

2.  Hybrid Tea Garden.
Four geometric garden beds, cut into the turf and edged in brick, in the style of an early formal rose garden.  This garden contains an assortment of 80 Hybrid Tea and Floribunda roses, mostly from the late 19th and early 20th century.

North side of the Hybrid Tea Garden.

Beautiful fiery orange bud on 'Maria Stern'

Second flush of bloom on 'Poulsen's Pearl'

I have yet to accurately capture Hadley's deep magenta red.

'Peace' was one of my grandmother's favorite roses.

3.  Van Fleet Fence.
This garden along one side of the concrete cannonball fence beside our circular driveway is planted with once-blooming Hybrid Wichurana ramblers developed in the early 20th century by my favorite hybridizer, Dr. Walter Van Fleet of Beltsville, Maryland. 

The star of this area was 'Glenn Dale', attracting attention for his beautiful form and foliage ... even without any flowers.

4.  Hartwood Manor.
A brick Gothic-Revival farmhouse.  The original portion of the house dates from 1848, with a major addition that was added in 1967.  We have owned the property since 2002.

Unstaged photo from this morning.  Our family loves our Jeeps!

5.  Greenhouse.
Built in 2010, the greenhouse and its lean-to addition were designed to make use of salvaged and reclaimed materials.  Windows from two 1960s houses, skylights from a builder liquidation, timbers from a dismantled retaining wall, cast iron columns, and other materials were collected over the years.

6.  The Shack.
This little building was used as a workshop and for storage by previous owners.  We are renovating it to eventually be used as a studio.

7.  Detached Carriage-House Garage.
Designed and built in 2005, the garage is sited in the exact location of a 20th century equipment shed/goat barn that was deteriorated beyond repair.

8.  The Arcade.
A large pergola, nine feet tall and 54 feet long, planted with ten repeat-flowering climbers, trained in a pillar style.

Most people who were here on Sunday took their picture in front of 'White Cap'

These flowers were damaged by the heat yesterday, but the color of 'Pink Pillar' is still amazing.

9.  The Rambler Fence.
The roses planted in this garden are Hybrid Wichurana ramblers introduced by Barbier and Company and other hybridizers in France in the early 20th century.  Tea roses are planted to fill in the space in front of the ramblers.

The Rambler Fence is in desperate need of a makeover.  Doesn't stop 'Ghislaine de Feligonde' from continuing to pump out its beautiful, delicate flowers.

10.  The Rose Field.
Three hundred roses were originally planted in this garden in 2008, which is 150 feet long and 75 feet wide, with gravel paths between the planting beds and steel arches over a central aisle.  A little bit of neglect a few years ago allowed weeds to get a foothold, and now this garden needs a major overhaul.  [even in its heinous state, there is beauty along the accessible edges of the Rose Field.]

"Arcata Pink Globe" taking over this corner of the fence.

Mostly finished blooming for this year, though there were still a few flowers to admire.

Unidentified blue Clematis, making a great contrast against the rustic board fence.

"Peggy Martin" draped on the fence, flowering her little brains out.

11.  The Cottage.
Mid-20th century concrete block building that has been used as a milk house, pump house, and a tack shed.  We use it for storage.

Oil painting of our barn, the cottage, and rose gardens, by our friend Ed King.

12.  The Barn.
Probably built in the early 20th century as a dairy and cattle barn.  Brought back from the brink of ruin and restored in 2007.  [There is a link on the sidebar to a very long post that I published a few years ago, that details the barn's damaged condition and work that was necessary to restore it.]

13.  English Garden.
This garden contains a growing collection of found Noisette roses and about thirty David Austin English roses.

'Morning Mist' was one of the stars of Open Garden.

Early in the morning, when this photo was taken, flowers were just starting to reopen for the day.

found Noisette rose, probably the pollen parent for my "Lilian Austin Noisette Seedling"

"Seedling" has another big bud, which will probably open next week.

'Queen Nefertiti' is a little known David Austin rose that performs very well in my garden.

My other seedling, from an open-pollinated hip on 'Peace' is a beautiful thing!

14.  Miniature Garden.
The newest garden on the property, designed in 2013, is eleven feet wide and 150 feet long.  Contains a collection of over one hundred historic miniature roses, miniature China roses, miniature climbing roses, and classic Floribunda, Hybrid Tea, and Shrub roses.  Once-blooming large-flowered rambler roses are trained to wire on the fence.

These flowers on 'Paul Ecke, Jr.' are a bit past peak, but they are still a great representation of this rose's insane burnt red color.

You already know how much I love singles ... I love single Hybrid Tea roses most of all!

Red miniature 'My Valentine' never seems to be without flowers.

The deep color of 'Black Ice' is a beacon in the garden.

15.  Nursery Sales Area.
The driveway beside the house is the current home of the roses for sale (as available).

Roses for sale during Open Garden were arranged on a makeshift bench in the shady driveway.

"Hanover Excelsa" is still pumping out the flowers.

16.  Pavilion.
Surrounded by shade garden plants, including hosta, hellebore, hydrangea, Solomon Seal, and Japanese maple.

Refreshments during Open Garden were set up in the Pavilion, where visitors sat and enjoyed the breezes and the view.

Open Garden on Sunday was VERY well attended.  The first car-full of visitors arrived at the stroke of 10:00 when we opened, and traffic was steady all day.  We had printed out 50 walking tour maps, giving one to each group/carload of people, and had only 20 maps left when we closed at 3:00.  I tried to talk to everyone that I could, answering questions and showing people around.  My husband handled parking, and gave out maps and instructions.

Some of the visitors were friends and other people I know, but most were strangers who found out about the event somehow.  (I had it listed here and on the Hartwood Roses Facebook page.  The local tourism folks picked it up and put it on their site and in their monthly email blast, and the newspaper picked it up from somewhere.)  All of the visitors that my husband and I talked to were happy to be here, couldn't believe that this is our private house and that we open the garden like we do ... and a few were amazed that we don't charge admission.

My philosophy is simple.  I garden because it makes me happy.  I open my garden to visitors because I want to share it with others to make THEM happy.  On Sunday, we had families with children, families with grandparents, young couples, singles, and every other assortment of groups come through here.  Some were surprised to be treated so hospitably ... hey, it's the only way that I know how to do things, Folks.

A garden club friend of mine, who had never visited here before, paid me the ultimate compliment without knowing it.  He said, "I always thought that rose growers are an obsessive sort, but you're not like that at all."  

Thanks, Ed ... I'm glad you noticed.

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