Roses Rock

Last fall I bought roses.  Then during the winter I ordered more roses.  The kicker is that there was no place to plant them (bad habit of mine).  So they went into pots.

A few, like this Rainbow’s End, even bloomed in the pots.   Sorry, wrong ID.  This is Sheila’s Perfume Rose.

Finally, in April, the new tiller arrived, so we created two new flowerbeds.  The tiller was used to loosen soil down to about three or four inches.   Then we followed the steps in creating a Lasagna Garden.  We added a final step of tilling all the soil, leaves, manure, etc. that was dumped in the bed.

At last, the beds were ready to plant the bushes.  Even though they are still small, the rose bushes have bloomed profusely since planting.

Each bush should grow to three feet wide, so we spread them apart to provide the needed space.

Alnwick by David Austin produces a nice tight rose.  All of the David Austin roses were bare root but survived in the pots.  I specifically chose roses from their list of those that do well in poor soil and also have a noticeable smell.

This Lady of Shalott by David Austin has a different form than many of his.  This one was purchased at Rose Emporium because its scent is wonderful.

Double Delight has long been one of my favorites because it has a strong, wonderful scent.

I’ve wondered if The Lady Gardener by David Austin was mislabeled.

Because this is the color shown on their website.  That one has been a disappointment even though it blooms constantly.  I guess it could be the soil.

Thomas A. Beckett produces a really large amount of blossoms.  Because these bushes need to spend their energy right now on growth of roots and branches, I have been deadheading them.  But I still want to enjoy their aroma inside, so I have bouquets with short stems.

A few years ago I bought a couple of antique glass flower frogs from e-bay.  They are heavy and work well if the vase is large enough.

To accommodate these short stems, I put the frog in a shallow dish, filled it with water, and inserted the stems in the holes of the frog.

Now the beauty and the scent of the flowers can be enjoyed inside.

If the stems are a little longer, like Sheila’s Perfume from Breck’s and Double Delight from a local nursery, then a vase with glass marbles will hold them in place.

Just absolutely adore having roses in the house.

“The rose speaks of love silently, in a language known only to the heart.”  unknownSave

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Some Favorites for Spring

Gardeners each have their own favorite plants, so I don’t usually foist my choices on others.  But today I’m going to make some recommendations.

If you have read my blog before, you know how much I love roses.  Part of the reason is because before we moved here, I didn’t have the space, sunny spots, or the time to do any gardening.

Then, surprisingly, roses not only have survived here but were a success.

Drift Roses are a relatively new type of Knock Out® Roses.  These are Coral Drift Roses.  They are low growing and constantly covered with flowers from early spring until the first freeze.

If I can have roses here in my high alkaline, clay and rock soil, then anyone can.  They are in lasagna raised beds that have amended soil.  Other than that, all they need is sun and water.

The rocks at the edge of the beds are to keep the water from washing off the slopes.  Texas has lots of limestone fossils.  This one and the following ones came from the edge of a creek on our property.

There are some roses that are exceptional performers.  Like this Belinda’s Dream that flowers on and off for months.  It has no disease problems.  Just give space for bushes to get huge – about 6 feet across.

Tropicana is a popular rose that does well in many different areas and is usually available at all kinds of nurseries.  It is a hybrid tea that blooms fairly often.

My all time favorite of the roses that I’ve tried is Double Delight because it has a strong scent that is out of this world.  It is also a hybrid tea.  I recently bought another one at a local nursery because I’m not sure how long roses bushes last.  Mine is twelves years old and doesn’t look as healthy this year as usual.  But we did have some hard freezes this winter.

Clematis vines are a great choice for gardeners.  There are many varieties available that grow well in different zones.

Many have prettier, fancier flowers than this one, but I chose one that does well here – Jackman Clematis.

Yellow Columbine (Aquilegia flavescens) brightens up the early spring.  After the bareness of winter, it is just what the doctor ordered.

This soil was not amended, so it’s a tough plant.

As you see, pollinators are drawn to it.  Plus, it’s so cheery.

Another category of flowers is bulbs.  Stella de Oro Reblooming Daylily is technically not a bulb but a herbaceous root plant.

To keep it blooming, deadheading spent blooms is necessary.  It’s a gorgeous low growing, bright yellow flower that pollinators love.

There are many different flowers that fit into the vague, incorrect category “bulb”.  For example:  tulips and daffodils are bulbs, irises are rhizomes, gladiolas and crocuses are corms, and daylilies are tubers with tuberous roots.  Confusing.

My point is that plants in the “bulb” designation are a wonderful addition to any garden.  They tend to be reasonably priced; some produce new bulbs so your investment grows and can be shared; many different varieties are available to grow in different zones and climates; and most provide beautiful flowers year after year.  What a bargain.

Henry Duelberg Salvia (Salvia farinacea) was discovered growing beside a grave in LaGrange, Texas.  Greg Grant named the plant after the deceased.  It is one wonderful, eye catching plant.  Keep it contained because it spreads.

The white version, Augusta Duelberg, was named after his wife, whose grave was beside him.  A Texas SuperStar® plant that blooms from early spring until the first freeze.

As usual, it is best to “dance with the one who brung you” meaning it’s important to select plants that do well where you live.

“Don’t let the thoughts of failure stop you from trying, even when you fail, it’s not enough to give up.  The light bulb itself finally found success after so many trials.”  Terry Marks.

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Not a Rose

When is a “rose” not a rose?  When it belongs to a completely different family than roses.  Roses (Rosa) are woody shrubs in the Rosaceae family.  Most of us recognize a rose without even thinking about it.

So why do so many other flowers have “rose” in their name?  Who knows.  Maybe because of the romance and sentimentality associated with a true rose.

notarose3Ross Moss (Portulaca Grandiflora) is considered an annual, but is a perennial in our area.  It is a member of the Portulacaeae family.

Even in a plastic pot on the north side of the house, it returned after a cold and long winter this year.  Rose Moss can’t tolerate our heavy clay soil, so it needs a pot with good drainage.

notarose2Desert Rose (Apocynaceae Adenium Obesum) is actually a succulent member of the Oleander family.

notarosebOne of its characteristics is the formation of a bulb shape at the base of its stem as it ages.  This one only has a slight bulge so far.

notaroseMexican Tuberose (Polianthes tuberosa) is a perennial related to the agaves.  Polianthes means “many flowers” in Greek.

They don’t usually start blooming here until August, when the heat has been around awhile.  This picture is from last year.  The temps, as well as the humidity, have hit high gear, so they might be blooming in a month or so.

rockrose6Texas Rock Rose (Pavonia lasiopetala) is a member of the Mallow family.  It is a small shrub that needs little moisture.  Mine doesn’t get much bigger and rarely blooms, maybe because it’s in a bed that gets watered.  It could also be that the amended soil in the lasagna bed is too good for it.  Never thought I’d say that about anyplace in my yard.

notarose4Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) is in the Mallow family.  It is also known as althaea.

notarose5More pictures show the abundance of flowers.

notarose1All the bushes in the above pictures came from a friend’s cuttings.  She got them from her sister in Michigan.

pinkroseofsharonThis is a different variety of Rose of Sharon that I ordered from a catalog.  Nice color and ruffled center.

pinkroseofsharon2Doesn’t even look like the same flower.  All Rose of Sharons are hardy, hardy, hardy.  Not much water is needed to live, but it is necessary for them to bloom.

What do all these plants have in common?  They are drought tolerant, pretty, and thrive in the heat.  Despite their names, they are not in the rose family. notaroseEven a stone is called a rose.  If you use your imagination, a rose shape can be seen.

Desert Rose is a variety of gypsum that forms in the spaces between sand particles. It traps the loose sand in a unique flower-like crystal structure.  They tend to be small.  These are 1.5 inches across.

Rose rocks are found in Tunisia, Algeria, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and in central Oklahoma.

Oklahoma rose rock was formed during the Permian Period, 250 million years ago, when western and central Oklahoma’s  shallow sea coverage was receding.   It is the official rock of Oklahoma.  Didn’t even realize that states had designated rocks.

“I once had a rose named after me and I was very flattered.  But I was not pleased to read the description in the catalogue:  no good in a bed, but fine up against a wall.”                     Eleanor Roosevelt

New Flowerbed

Yep.  Another lasagne garden flowerbed was created this spring.  But this one has a twist that helped another problem.

frontbed10For years I’ve bemoaned the fact that the front walkway is too narrow.  We’ve learned that the wide open vistas require that everything be bigger to fit the scale.

Besides needing a flowerbed to break up the yard space and another space for plants, we opted for a plan that would also visually widen the flagstone walk.

frontbed6By using rocks in the same color palette of the flagstones, the eye is tricked into perceiving this as one space.  After building the lasagne flowerbed in the early spring, we hired a young man to install the metal divider to keep the soil out of the rocks.

So far, so good on that. frontbed5This view is from one end of the bed.  As you can tell, the plants were given space to grow.  On the left is a Dwarf Crape Myrtle.  In the middle and in the foreground is a Blue Curls bush, and a clump of Texas Bluebells is on the right.

frontbed4This picture shows the bed in June after the rock border was finished.  I’m very pleased with the look. frontbed8Then, boom.  In the center of the bed a monster plant has taken over stretching out to about 7 feet.  All these plants came from either the Garden Club plant sale or the annual spring sale at Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.  I thought I was choosing carefully and researched the plants I wanted.

The day after the Wildflower Center sale, I was knocked down with a severe case of allergies that turned into a bronchial infection.  All this to say that the planting of all those purchased plants did not happen until weeks later.  So even though, I was still sick, it came to a point where they had to be put into the ground.   The placement was rather helter-skelter..

frontbed11This unknown plant was not a conscious buy.  Either it was mislabeled or I grabbed one from a different section than I intended.  Does anyone know what on earth this is?

Several low branches that covered other plants have been cut off.  The reddish trunk is about 3 inches in diameter.

frontbed12The long fronds or whatever they are look soft but are actually scratchy and have some sharp points on them.

The plan is to try to transplant this alien when it gets cooler.  There are some places away from other plants where it would look good.  If that proves impossible, it will be tossed.

frontbed9Love the twirling hummingbirds.

“Old age is the most unexpected thing of all the things that can happen to a man.”  James Thurber

Lasagna Flowerbeds

Lasagna Gardening is like magic gardening.  I’m sure this concept is as old as the hills.  It has just been given a new name with a modern twist.

When I first learned about it last year, we tried it right away.  I was so impressed – no backbreaking digging in the clay and rocks.  No trying to kill the grass and weeds where a bed will be placed.

Lasagna gardening is simply layering organic materials.  The first layer provides a moist, dark environment that encourages worms to burrow in and loosen up the soil.Last year we created a fourteen foot long bed.  In October of this year, we extended it another eleven feet. Then, in early November, we added another twelve feet making a total length of 37 feet.  The width ranges from seven to nine feet.

October is the optimal planting time here.  I was originally told that a lasagne bed should set over the winter and “cook” (materials break down) before any planting.  This year since we put so much dirt on top, I decided to go ahead and plant right after creating the bed.  Hopefully, it will still work as well.

The first step in making this flowerbed is to lay down corrugated cardboard.  Several layers of newspaper could also work.  Then soak the cardboard.  Each layer should be watered after putting it down.

Then we gathered buckets of dried manure.  This might be difficult for city dwellers to obtain.  But it’s not really a necessary layer.These were broken into smaller pieces.

The shovels and other tools are holding down the cardboard so the wind won’t blow it away.  The manure is scattered on top of the cardboard and watered down.

The next step is gathering leaves and twigs.  I added crushed egg shells that I had saved.  You could also use fruit and vegetable scraps, tea and coffee grounds or bags, compost material, shredded newspaper and junk mail, pine needles, peat moss, or trimmings from the garden.  We don’t like to use grass clippings or weeds because we already have a problem with those getting into beds.  Some people say it’s okay to use them if they haven’t gone to seed. These are scattered on top of the manure.

Finally, some soil that we had delivered a couple of years ago was dumped on top.  We just scooped up leftover dirt from another project.

This equipment won’t be available to everyone.  The first time we made a bed, we just carried everything in buckets.  But this size bed required some serious hauling.

Three plants from the first section needed to be moved.  They were transplanted here.  Then a few new plants were added.  This time I hope the spacing is correct and will allow for growth.

We used the few bags of mulch we had to cover around the plants.  More will be added later.

This project is still requires work – just not the kind that requires youth and brawn.

“He that flings dirt at another dirtieth himself the most.”  Thomas Fuller