Is It a Rose?

The common or colloquial names of plants can be confusing.

In Texas, these large bushes are known as Rose of Sharon.  The flowers are a give away that it is definitely not a rose, but is, instead, a hibiscus (Hibiscus syriacus).  It is in the mallow family and is native to Asia and India.

Another common name is Althea.  If you want a showy, easy to care for, large bush that is covered in flowers from late spring until late fall, this is your guy.  It thrives in zones 5 to 8 and only needs pruning once a year.  I prune off spend flower casings in late fall or early spring and trim a few branches to keep the natural shape.  Love it every year.

This is commonly called Rock Rose (Pavonia lasiopetala) with flowers that also have a hibiscus look.  This shrub is low growing with branches that spread out.  Another easy, dependable one.  They love the frequent droughts in zones 7 – 9.

Desert Rose (Adenium obesum) is another mystery name.  The swollen bottom part of the trunk is its most unusual feature.  It must be kept at least 50 degrees at all times,  and 60 to 90 degrees is required for it to keep its leaves.

I put mine in a heated shed in the winter where it is probably a little less than 50 degrees.  It loses its leaves and takes a while to produce leaves and flowers each year.  It should be re-potted to a larger pot about every two years.  Not sure how large the pot should be that it stays in permanently.

How did these plants come to be called roses?  Nothing about them looks like roses.  I’ve not been able to find out.

Now, on to real roses.  We’ve lived here 12 years and my first rose plant was a gift.  It was a great surprise to me that it lived and bloomed.  Because all the ones I’ve planted have done so well, I just keep planting more.

In the foreground of this picture is Oso Easy Paprika, which has a wonderful indefinable color.

Mr. Lincoln was bought because it has long stems, so I thought it would be a good cut flower.  That part has been disappointing because the flowers fall apart within a day or so when cut.  But it does make a striking rose in the yard because it is tall and has a bold color.  The flowers last a long time on the bush.

These two bushes also have great colors, but I don’t know what their names are.  The Oxeye daisies were planted years ago and were a nice border.  This year, they have spread and become invasive.  But they are easy to dig up and are great pass-a-long plants.

This is one of two new beds with roses.  It has been a pleasant surprise that even though the bushes are small, they have bloomed frequently.

As I buy roses now, I’ve become more discerning.  I want hardy roses that have a scent.  This Double Delight Rose has the strongest, lovely aroma of any rose I have found.  I have an older one, but this new bed is easy to see from my kitchen window, so I chose one for this spot.

Lady of Shalott is a David Austin rose that has a wonderful aroma.  On the David Austin site, you can select roses by many categories.  I looked at those that can do well in poor soil and have a scent.

These flowers are several days old.  When The Lady Gardener first blooms, the petals in the center have some apricot color.  This small bush has bloomed profusely.

Alnwick shows off some of the characteristics of many David Austin roses:  a tight center of petals and a round, cupped perimeter.

Roses – so many varieties to choose from and so little time.  That’s a wonderful challenge.

“As you walk down the fairway of life, you must smell the roses, because you only get to play one round.”  Ben HoganSave







Early April Flowers

Night time temperatures are still in the lower 40’s, so it’s too early to get the more cold tender plants out of the shed.  But there are plenty of other things blooming to make spring gorgeous.

Roses are putting on a great show, even though there are still some weeds in the beds.

The red roses and white (actually they are yellow that fade to white) are both Knockouts.  The peachy roses are Oso Easy Paprika.  The tall bush in the back with pink flowers are Earth Kind.

About weeds:  gardening is hard and many of the results are out of our control due to weather.  So I think we should give ourselves a break.  It is almost impossible to get all chores done timely, especially if you don’t have help.  Gardeners are usually kind to other gardeners but hard on themselves.

On the other side of the house more roses are blooming like crazy.  This Katy Road is super hardy.  It was developed by Dr. Griffith Buck at Iowa State University to withstand the cold and long winters of the Midwest.  It was named Carefree Beauty.

In Texas, it has been known as Katy Road Pink because it was found on Katy Road in Houston.  Amazingly, it has proven to endure our hot, dry summers.

Large orange colored rose hips are produced from every flower.

This yellow florabunda has stayed small in bush size but produces lots of roses.

The Oxeye Daisies (Leucanthemum vulgarees) have spread.  Several have been dug up and potted for garden club plant sales.  Some people don’t want them in their yards because they do spread.  I like the fact that they can become pass-a-long plants.

This rose (unknown) always knocks my socks off.

Two years ago I was given this Amaryllis for Christmas.  I had tried planting Amaryllis bulbs in a flower bed with so-so results.  So I decided to put this bulb in a larger pot and place it outside in a mostly shady spot during the spring, summer, and fall.  When it got cold, I put it in the heated shed.

The stalks got tall – almost 3 feet.  The bulb doubled in size.

The double blooms are fabulous.

Reblooming Irises are as dependable as sunshine in the desert.  In fact, I’m not sure how a person would kill bulb.  Maybe by drowning them.  They don’t require much water as the ones out in our field prove.

A muted mauve type color.

Ones with purple or solid purple are my favorite irises.

The Yellow Lead Ball tree is already covered with blooms and buds about to bloom.

This small tree has proven to be a winner because it doesn’t need good soil or much water.

“I’d rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck.”  Emma Goldman











Big Fan of Roses

I have a soft spot for roses because they perfume the air, bloom for years, are faithful each year to perform, and generally add a homey atmosphere.  Many people think they are difficult, but they aren’t.  Give them full sun (even the extra hot Texas sun), some water, good drainage, and a little fertilizer.  Voila: sweet flowers.

springrosesaThe three bushes in front are Knockouts.  Behind them is an Earthkind.  One of the things that makes Knockouts so easy is that deadheading isn’t necessary.  They just keep on blooming.  If and when I have some time, I will trim them but not often.

springroses6These blooms start out pale yellow and fade to white.  Even though the flowers are simple, a bush full of them is stunning.

springroses8The Earthkind flowers are also not impressive, but a tall, healthy bush covered with them is.

springrosesghMy all time favorite in my yard is Double Delight because its scent and beauty are so stunning.

Two weeks ago I discovered a tunnel under its root system and was so afraid that I would lose the bush.  We filled in dirt and covered it with a huge rock.  Armadillos are so destructive in a yard.  Don’t be fooled by the cute pictures you see of them.  Those claws are a source of grief to a gardener.springrosesbOso Easy Paprika are more favorites.

springroseseeTheir color stands out.  The spent buds, unfortunately, do have to be lopped off before it will bloom again.  It can be a chore because it is covered with flowers all at once, so that means slowly sniping each one.

springroses7Last fall this Don Juan climber was planted inside a new sturdy trellis.  It is replacing a Madam Norbert De Velleur climber that literally lifted the dome trellis it was growing in and pulled apart the posts.  The thorns on it were also the most vicious I’ve ever seen.  The flowers were beautiful clusters but not worth the grief.

springrosesbbA look at the roses on the edge of the yard on the east side.

springrosesgMr. Lincoln is the first rose bush on the right in the former picture.  It makes a stunning sight in the garden and the flowers last a long time on the plant.

The stems are long and seem perfect for cut flower arrangements.  If they are cut when still in bud form, they will last a few days.  If not, forget it, the petals fall soon after cutting.

springrosesThere are five rose bushes in this bed.  This one is Katy Road.

springrosescTo the left of Katy Road is Belinda’s Dream.  They are both good performers with lots of blooms.  Eventually, they do need for the spent buds to be snipped off.

springrosesdThere are two yellow rose bushes and one with a gorgeous peachy orange color that I don’t know the name of.  They are all floribunda type bushes, which means they bloom profusely.





springrosesddAt the end of that raised bed are Ox-eye Daisies.

springroseseLast fall this miniature was planted in a front bed.  I can’t find the paper work right now, so I don’t know the variety.  I used to be leery of miniatures.  But a grocery store buy that has been in a container for years proves that miniatures are hearty.

I do have some other rose bushes but these are a good representation.  Each type of rose has its pluses and minuses, so a variety is good.  The hybrids and old fashions have the aromas while others produce masses of blooms.

My own prejudice says everyone needs a rose to sweeten their life.

“Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have roses.”  Alphonse Karr

Spotlight on Roses

The roses this spring have been exceptionally beautiful.  Every time I look out the window, I am blown over with how gorgeous everything looks.  It’s a miracle what a little rain and cool weather can do for the landscape.

rosesbloomingk Who doesn’t love roses?  In the background are three Knockout Rose bushes.  To the right of those is a climbing rose, which hasn’t bloomed yet.

rosesbloomingiIn the foreground is an Oso Easy Paprika bush with the wonderful peachy, salmon colored flowers.  And it is truly easy.  It just needs a little water, lots of sun, and deadheading in order to produce more blooms.

rosesblooming9That color is indefineable.

rosebloom8In the same long flowerbed are four hybrid rose bushes.  This one is a Grandiflora ‘Double Delight’ hybrid tea rose.  The Double Delight has the strongest and best fragrance of any rose I have.  Highly recommend it.

Behind these roses is a tangerine colored rose from the bush beside it.  That is a Floribunda ‘Tropicana’.

rosebloom9This is a Grandiflora.

roseblooma‘Mr. Lincoln’ is a classic hybrid tea rose with deep red roses and a nice scent.

All of the rose bushes in this long bed are from 8 to 10 years old.

rosesbloominghOn the other side of the house is another rose flowerbed.  This ‘Katy Road’ Rose is usually just a so-so bloomer.

rosesblooming4This year it has gone crazy and has a wonderful aroma.

rosebloom6‘Belinda’s Dream’ has always put on a show blooming over and over from spring until the first frost.  The flowers have a great form with lots of petals.

rosesbloomingdAlso in that bed are a couple of bushes with yellow flowers.

rosesblooming10They are both grandifloras, but that’s all I know.

rosesbloomingeAnd another bush with flowers that have a superb color.  The bush itself has stayed small but is outstanding because its blooms are so pretty.  Sure wish I knew the name of this rose, but that information is long gone.

rosebloom5Here’s the same bush a little later with more flowers.  The Ox Eye daisies beside it have just begun to show their stuff.

rosesblooming8This flower color is one of my favorites.

rosebloomLast fall we finished a new bed in the front yard.  So this spring we planted some drift roses.  These are ‘Coral Drift’ (Rosa ‘meidrifora’).  I chose drift roses because I wanted them to remain short and not spread out too much.

Drift® roses are the result of a cross between ground cover roses and miniature roses.  They work well in containers, at the front of landscape beds, or as a ground cover.  Each bush should grow two to three feet wide and just one and a half feet tall.

rosebloom2So far they’ve been covered with blooms.  The flowers are more complex than knock outs with more petals.  I think these are going to be winners.

It seems that there are roses for just about any spot – as long as it’s sunny.

rosebloom7What a enormous blessings rain and a mild spring bring.  It really is true that April showers bring May flowers, or in this case, April roses.

“As you walk down the fairway of life you must smell the roses, for you only get to play one round.”
Ben Hogan

Cut Flowers

One of the joys of a flower garden is having cut flowers in the house.  This has been an especially good year for that.

gladsThe Gladiolus bulbs that came in a packet several years ago are still producing profusely.  Sometimes they’re called Sword Lilies.

glads2It’s always a surprise to see which color will open up next.

glads3Some are daintily colored, while others are bright and bold.

glads4There are many new bulbs that need to be taken out.  Thinning is supposed to be mandatory for bulbs.  Somehow, I never seem to get around to that task.

glads5A couple of years ago I bought a different variety of glads.  They have a smaller red flower with white edges.

glads6Sometime I put all different colors together for a bouquet.  Other times I try to achieve a color scheme.

Now to my other favorite flowers for vases – roses.

roses14This is actually a spring blooming climber.  I’m late in showing it this year.  It is Madam Norbert De Velleur climber that was bought at Antique Rose Emporium years ago.

roses142One of the attractions of this particular rose is the clusters of blossoms.  When in bloom, it’s covered with flowers.

roses143Each flower is not particularly impressive.  It’s the mass of them together that I like.  As I’ve said on a previous post, this bush has the largest thorns I’ve seen on rose bushes.  I yell “ouch” often when working around it.

Therefore, I don’t use them in vases.

roses147This was the first rose bloom this year.  It’s a Knock-Out Rose.  It was unusual to be right at the ground level.  Notice the native grass I’m still fighting.

rosesaDuring the spring and summer this Oso Easy Paprika Rose bush is either covered with flowers or has no flowers.  That’s because it has to be deadheaded in order to rebloom.

rosesbI often wait until all the flowers die so they can all be cut off at once.

rosescThis is a hybrid rose that blooms fairly often, but the blooms don’t last long.


rosesjThe flowers on the Mr. Lincoln Rose will stay pretty for several days if left on the bush.  Once they are cut, they’re gone in about a day.  These I usually just enjoy from my kitchen window.

rosesdThe flowers on Tropicana can be brought inside and will last about a week in water.

roseseSo pretty with Russian Sage behind them.

rosesfAnother hybrid I don’t know the name of.

rosemBelinda’s Dream has not bloomed as much this year as most years.

roses148This is what the blooms on my all time favorite bush Double Delight looked like early this spring.  A diluted mixture of Rose Systemic Drench by Bonide at the base of the plant took care of the problem.

roseslThese are the roses from that bush after it recovered.

roseslDouble Delight is the strongest smelling rose I have.  It is truly heavenly.

rosesmBoth the scent and the blooms last about a week.  Flowers are one of life’s joys that can occur over and over each year.

Another blessing that we tend to recognize more in July than the rest of the year is our country and our freedoms.

“It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here.”  Patrick Henry

Ahhh, Roses

Just before the freeze last week, the roses had been rejuvenated by the cooler weather and were blooming like crazy.  Now they won’t be back in their element until spring.

rosesIn the above picture are Knock outs in the front and an Earth- Kind in the back left.  To the right of that is a Mutabulis and then a climbing one on a tower.

All of these types are easy, breezy.  They pretty much perform without any help from me.  I do deadhead a little, but it doesn’t seem to be necessary for re-blooming.  The Earth-Kind is about 7 feet tall.  Last year I trimmed it down so I could reach it easier and thinned it out some.  But it’s back growing faster than I can keep up with it.

rosecluster2This climber on the tower is a Madam Norbert De Velleur.   The clusters of small roses are distinct for roses.

roseclusterIn spite of their beauty, this climber has the biggest thorns I’ve ever seen with sharp curved points on the end.  They grab clothes and skin.  I have the scratches and scars to prove it.

roses5There are two of these lower growing Oso Easy rose bushes.  The color is what drew me to them.  They require deadheading in order to bloom.

roseBelinda’s Dream is another easy care bush.  The flowers are rather large and full.

rose2When they are cut as a bud that isn’t fully opened, I use them inside.  But even those don’t last long in a vase.

roseaThe tight buds only last one morning.

rosemSo there are two problems for me with Belinda’s Dream:  first, they aren’t a viable cut flower and they tend to droop over.  I had to get down on the ground for this shot.

But they are a lovely bush rose and are covered with flowers in the spring and bloom off and on all summer.

roses6There are two bushes with yellow roses side by side.  I don’t know their names.  They are florabundas based on the fact that their blooms are clustered on a branch.

rosebThis year the blossoms were the largest they have ever been.   I forgot to get a picture on the bush, so here are some in a vase.  You can see that there is one main stem with four smaller branches bearing the flowers.

rosedI think this is an Old Blush rose.  The large rose hips look like cherry tomatoes.

rosekThis rose grew on the above bush that has the rose hips.

rosejNow, to the best part.  I love, love this Tropicana rose.  The flowers last about a week in a vase and have a wonderful aroma.

roseiI saved the best for last.   Double Delight hybrid not only is beautiful, but has a strong wonderful smell.  When I bring them inside,  I just walk by them and my nose is delighted.  And I don’t have a particularly strong sense of smell.  Just wish I could waft you a little scent.

As I write this, I keep pondering why I like roses so much.  As a child my mother would always pin a red rose on our dresses before we went to church on Mother’s Day.  She told us a red rose meant your mother was still living and a white one meant she had died.  Since we didn’t have any rose bushes, I’m not sure where she got those fresh roses.  Maybe a neighbor provided them.  That was long before people shopped at a florist, except for funerals.

Anyway, that isn’t the reason for my fondness for them.  I can’t pinpoint one particular reason.  I just plain like them.  Throughout history, roses have been used to commemorate special events.

“Life is like a rose garden.  Watch for the thorns and keep the pest dust handy.”  Unknown

Not Another Freeze, Please

Since our last cold spell, several plants have bloomed or re-bloomed from earlier freezes.  The temperatures have been in the mid to high 80’s recently.  Meteorologists have predicted mid 30’s tonight on May 1.  That would be the lowest temperature ever recorded in this area in May.  Since trees are fully leafed out, surely they would lose their leaves again.

The early morning temperatures started in the 50’s today and are steadily going down.  I really doubt that it will drop to freezing.  But stranger things have happened.

bottlebrush2The Bottle Brush (Callistemon) is looking good.

bottlebrushThe leaves on this bush are hard and very sharp.  If your bare arms hit against them, you get a poke or prick. These hard leathery leaves are probably the reason they do so well here.  They retain their water, like the leaves of native bushes.

spiderwort3Spider Worts (Tradescantia x andersonia) are flourishing.  These are reliable perennials.  Mine had a difficult start because jackrabbits kept eating the tender shots down to the ground.  I finally caged the plants so they couldn’t reach them.

oxeyeOx Eye Daisies (Leucanthemum vulgare) are opening up, but don’t have much height, yet.  This is considered a weed, and I’ve read that it’s illegal to sell the seeds in the state of Washington.  But around here, it’s a pass-along plant, which is how I got mine.

foxglove2The native False Foxglove (Penstemon cobaea) have really filled out and spread in one year.

foxglove3When I dug up those little scrawny plants out of the hard caliche beside the road, I never dreamed that they would be such a pretty sight in my yard.

osoeasyroseThe Oso Easy Paprika rose bushes are covered with blooms.  They have proved to be a really good investment.  But I never see them for sale anymore.

yellowroseKnockout Roses are blooming with their small flowers.  But a bush full of the flowers is stunning.

Now, what will changing weather do to all the plants?  It’s definitely out of our hands.

“Reading about nature is fine, but if a person walks in the woods and listens carefully, he can learn more than what is in books, for they speak with the voice of God.”  George Washington Carver

Cold Snap

The weather this week has been all over the map.  The first two days had mild temperatures with 55 mph winds for hours on end.  These were followed with a relatively calm day with a high near 80 degrees.  That was a great day to work outside.  Like the snap of your fingers, a hard freeze this morning came and went quickly with a high temperature of 60 in the afternoon.icyclehollyI got outside before 7 am this morning to snap pictures of the icicles on plants.  There was no moisture last night –  just the sprinkler system that created these winter beauties.  This Yaupon Holly is dripping with ice crystals

icyclerose3A Knock Out Rose covered in ice.

icyclerose4An earth kind rose bush already leafed out.

icyclestree2The rising sun behind a Cherry Laurel Tree.

icyclestreeThe ice on this Cherry Laurel and every other plant melted so fast, there was no sound of dripping.

icepergolatwirlingbirdMakes me shiver.

icealmondThis Sweet Almond Bush has not been pruned back, yet.

icebirdbathIce on the grass, birdbath, and newly planted Redbud Tree.

Even though this was a fake winter wonderland and brief in existence, the sight was a treat to see it.

“It’s a strange world language in which skating on thin ice can get you into hot water.”   Franklin P. Jones

Last Summer Roses in the Autumn

When I learned that Knockout® Roses were not developed in Texas, I was totally shocked.  I mean, could they be any more perfect for here?

Russian Sage and Knockout® Roses are a great duo.  They complement each other, and both are tough as nails.

Knockout® Roses were bred by William Radler from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  He actually was working to breed a rose with greater cold weather tolerance. He was trying to eliminate the need for winter protection on roses since they  didn’t always work.  Also, Radler wanted to get rid of the need for pesticides.

The best asset for me is that they are drought tolerant.  Sure, the individual roses are not as compact or full as hybrids, but they are so hardy.  There have even been tests in Texas to see how long they last during summer without water

What an accomplishment.  This guy should be knighted, if we did such a thing in the US.  It was created in 1988.  In 2000, it received the AARS (All American Rose Selection) award.  It has been a best seller every since.

Before I knew about Knockouts, I planted some hybrids eight years ago.  All five are still living with beautiful flowers.  I must admit that the fragrance is stronger in hybrids.   This is a Floribunda (“many-flowering”) Tropicana. A floribunda is a modern cross of hybrid teas with polyantha roses.  They were developed to have lots of blooms with the beauty and color range of hybrids.

This means they are small and dense bushes with clusters of flowers.  They do not produce long stemmed roses but are impressive as cut flowers because of the mass of color.

Grandiflora Mr. Lincoln is a long stemmed rose with fabulous flowers.  The disappointment to me has been that mine don’t last long as cut flowers.

This Double Trouble rose has the most wonderful fragrance and lasts a long time in a vase.  Just to walk by and smell it is a delight.

Oso Easy Paprika Rose or ChewMayTime by Proven Winners is a small rose shrub that has spread out, not grown tall.  I bought two at Home Depot or Lowe’s in 2009.  They produce beautiful apricot colored blooms that cover the bush.  I’ve never seen another one again in this area.

This is a Grandiflora, but I don’t remember the exact name.

Even though we live in a dry area, I think everyone should be able to enjoy roses.  That’s why I’m so grateful to Mr. Radler.   Now we can see Knockout® Roses on practically every town and city corner and in many yards.  They are easy for anyone to grow.  Like all roses, they do need at least six hours a day of full sun.

“Despite the great possibilities for failure, the burdensome work, and the lack of glamour, my hobby became a passion.  Even with successes, it didn’t take me long to realize that growing roses would be more fun if it entailed less work.”   William Radler