Sunday, December 13, 2009

My Climbing Red Rose

This is a couple of blooms from my Dublin Bay rose. Dublin Bay is a large flowered climber. It doesn't have any smell that I can detect, but does put out these deep red blooms that really last a long time on the plant. I had to have at least one red climbing rose on my fence and took quite a long time deciding on Dublin Bay. From what I have researched, red climbers typically are prone to blackspot and are not very vigorous. This one got about 50% leaf loss this year but seems to be healthy enough to take it. A few sprayings would probably help it a lot. These lovely blooms make me want to keep it.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Snow On My Plants

It's not often that I get to post pictures of my plants covered in snow, so bear with me! This first is a picture of my "rock" garden. It's a square on the side of my house that was once only limestone and now has become basically a jungle. I don't think all the tropicals in the area will appreciate the snow cover.

This is a neat picture of my crape myrtle tree with snow falling.

These are some of my daylilies covered in snow. I don't think they mind all that much. They'll come back stronger than ever next year.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

A Picture Says a Thousand Words

Two pictures of my Earthsong rose taken the same day.

This just doesn't happen that often in my part of the world. It's even more rare this early in the year - it's not even officially winter yet!

Friday, December 4, 2009

End of Season Rose Bushes

I'm posting some pictures of my rose bushes just before our first hard freeze that is predicted for tonight. This is a nice way of seeing how they end up the year. Of course this is not all of my roses, but it gives an idea.

First up is Mrs. B. R. Cant. This rose is looking it's best of the whole year. If the freeze would not come tonight, there would be a plethora of new blooms tomorrow. There must be 30 buds on this plant right now getting ready to bloom. Not a speck of disease to be seen.

Westerland is looking long and lanky, but that's what I want it to do. New canes are coming up from the roots already, as you can see in this picture. Quite a healthy plant with no noticeable disease.

Double Knockout is blooming its fool head off right now. The cool weather of the last month has worked wonders with this plant. I've trimmed it back a couple of times this year just to keep it within bounds. A huge, healthy, easy plant.

You can see just a little disease on the leaves of Earthsong, but not enough to make much difference. I'd say maybe 15% leaf loss from blackspot. It hasn't affected the blooms as they are as huge and beautiful as ever. The plant itself is not very big, but it packs a florific punch and was seldom without blooms all year.

Dublin Bay lost maybe 40% of its leaves to blackspot. It hasn't grown as fast as Westerland, but is still relatively healthy for me. I'd say that's good enough for a red climber. In this area most red climbing roses are disease magnets.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Double Your Pleasure

I find that my Double Knockout is much more "double" with the onset of cool weather. The blooms are much more full than they were back in the summer. I still contend that Double Knockout has a much more "rosey" look than the original, plus it's just as easy and florific. They grow almost anywhere and require no maintenance whatsoever. Why not try them as a hedge?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Early December Colors of Fall

It's amazing how many warm season blooms are stil going strong for me now. I'm afraid they will all end by Saturday of this week as we are forecast to have temperatures in the upper 20's by then. The fall colors of red, orange, and yellow are in full display in these blooms. I didn't realize until after the pictures were taken that the wrong date was being displayed. These pictures were all taken on 12/2/09.

There are yet a few blooms to be seen on my Sensation Yellow cosmos. These are on a volunteer plant that came up after my originals were played out.

The Black-eyed Susan vine has only bloomed better and better as the year wore on. It will die with the freeze and will be completely replaced next year on the mailbox by a native honeysuckle. This is its last hurrah.

The tropical butterfly weed (asclepias curassavica)is still blooming away. I never saw any monarch caterpillars, but plenty of butterflies stopped by to taste the nectar.

The Mexican Cigar plant was a favorite of the hummingbirds this year and I'll definitely keep it. I'll mulch it up pretty well this week and hope if survives the winter. Such a curious and neat little plant. Incidentally, I saw a lonely female hummingbird visiting this plant just two days ago. I don't know what she was doing around here at this time of year.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Hot Color for Cool Weather

Earthsong's colors really get hot with the onset of cooler weather. They are a much lighter shade of pink when the sun is hot in the summer. This plant really commands attention this time of year.

This is truly a versatile rose. It's pretty disease resistant without spraying, takes little care, and has a sweet fragrance. It takes our hot weather very well and I'm told it is a wonderful rose for colder climates since it was developed in Iowa by Dr. Griffith Buck. I recommend it for both the North and South.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Quit Tea'sing Me!

Mrs. B. R. Cant is a tea rose, hence my title above. As such, it does extremely well in the heat of Louisiana. That being said, it sure is loving this cool fall weather we are having.

The blooms are so full and dense. They actually smell like tea to me. This rose doesn't at all have the sweet smell you normally have in roses - at least to my nose.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Late November Double Delights

To me this is one of my best ever pictures of a Double Delight bloom. Such a welcome sight when I came home from being out on the ocean!

Another full bloom on my Double Delight plant. My roses are really liking the cooler weather they are getting down here just before our first freeze.

Here's a picture of the whole bush. The picture hardly does it justice, but you can still get an idea of what it looks like.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Reason to Plant Encores

This is the reason you plant Encore azaleas. This is my Autumn Twist in full bloom in November. You can't help but love getting azaleas at this time of year. This one will only get better as it gets older. One thing to remember about Encores is that they like a little more sun than normal azaleas. This one is on the East side of my house and gets full morning sun and isn't shaded until mid-afternoon when the sun is at its hottest. This is about perfect for my plant. Keep it watered and mulched and let it go.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Double Delight Strutting Her Stuff

Double Delight remains one of the most beautiful rose blooms that can be found. If you want that classic, long-stemmed, immensely cuttable, fragrant-filled rose to fill household vases, then this is one rose to have. You will not find a more delicious smelling rose or a prettier one. I am NOT a fan of most hybrid tea plants because they are so disease prone. I only bought this one on a whim because I found it grafted on Fortuniana rootstock at a local Lowe's. Growing on that rootstock makes a HUGE difference. This plant has been healthy, floriferous, and a strong grower from day one.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Unpretentious Tuberose

My tuberoses started blooming back in July. I never expected them to keep blooming this long. They are still sending up these spikes of super fragrant blooms. The individual blooms look and smell like miniature gardenias.

This is the spike that's blooming now, but there's yet another one coming up close to it. The only thing that will stop them is the first frost. This flower will spread fragrance all over that section of my yard, especially after dark. If you live in the South, get you some! They have demanded no care at all from me.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Sweet Fragrance of Juicy Fruit!

Imagine my surprise the other day when my oldest daughter, Rhonda, came and told me to come see the blooms on my Banana shrub (michelia figo.) I thought these only bloomed in the spring! For whatever reason, my particular plant has several blooms in early November this year and I sure appreciate them. I've said this before in long past posts, but banana shrub has one of the most unique and wonderful fragrances of any bloom on the planet. It smells just like Juicy Fruit gum to my nose. It's also such a beautiful plant - evergreen, glossy leaves on an upright and full plant. They like partial shade and acid soil, similar to azaleas. I don't think they are particularly hardy, so don't try them above zone 8 or possibly zone 7. Not a well-known plant but certainly one very worthy of being grown by Southern gardeners. They were far more popular in by-gone years and are considered an heirloom.

Monday, November 9, 2009

A Treat for You Abraham Darby Fans

Several people have mentioned how they love the Abraham Darby blooms, so I thought this would be a great time to post some more pictures since they are really going at it right now. They are such wonderful blooms and have a delicious fruity fragrance. Enjoy the pictures!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

My Huge Morning Glory

This Heavenly Blue morning glory vine is getting monstrous in size. It may be the biggest one I've ever seen. The stalk at the base of this vine is nearly 2 inches in diameter. It has just begun to really come into full bloom. Here are a couple pics of it strutting its stuff.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Many Faces of Archduke Charles

Archduke Charles is a wonderfully healthy China rose. His signature trait is the varying shades of light pink to maroon that the flowers change to. These pictures show a little of the variety that can be seen on the same plant. Above is a bloom that has just opened fully. It's a fairly light pink. Below is an older bloom that has matured to a darker shade. I love the variety. This is yet another rose that thrives in Louisiana weather and conditions. Definitely a "fool-proof"rose for the Southeast. Archduke Charles hasn't bloomed continually for me this year, but it has put out new flushes of bloom monthly.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Continual Blooming Roses

I have 18 different rose plants in my yard. They are my favorite of all plants and I really baby them. All of them have been planted within the last 3 years, so what I have to say can be taken with the ages of my plants in mind. After close observation this year, I can definitively say that only two of my roses have been TRUE continual bloomers - Double Knockout and Ducher.

My Ducher plant was planted last October, so it is quite a young plant. I think this is the reason it got a later start this year and didn't begin blooming till late April. However, since April I don't think there has been a single day when there hasn't been at least one bloom open on this wonderful shrub. It has only bloomed more as the year has progressed. No other rose can possibly perform any better in Louisiana conditions than this one. It's got a bushy, compact form, no disease at all, lemon-scented blooms, and it thrives with little care.

The Knockout family of roses is well-chronicled as an easy care bunch of roses with pleasing shrub form and continual bloom. My Double Knockout has definitely lived up to this reputation. It is NEVER without blooms, gets no disease, and certainly requires little care. I shear mine back every couple of months to keep it from becoming too big for its space. It has no fragrance at all.

A couple of my other roses get honorable mention for being very close to continual bloomers. Maybe when they get some more age and size they will become continual bloomers. They definitely have flushes of bloom every few weeks. These roses are Julia Child, Earthsong, Belinda's Dream, and Double Delight (grafted on Fortuniana rootstock.)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Colors of Sunset

Westerland is such a wonderful rose. I love its bright orange colors and especially its wonderful fragrance. It doesn't have a very full flower, but they look good anyway. It's a stiff climber that I'm hoping will look good growing on my chainlink fence. It's quite hard to train on this fence since it really wants to grow up, not out. A good rose that has shown no disease for me this year even with no spraying.

This is a neat picture I got the other day of an Abraham Darby bloom against the evening sky. Despite having only about 30% of its leaves, this rose is putting out full, luscious blooms. David Austin roses in Louisiana really need a full spraying regimen to look their best or they'll be blackspot magnets.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Purple and Gold

Since LSU will be playing their most important game thus far this year on Saturday against Alabama, it's time to post pics of a few purple and gold flowers.
First off, Julia Child, which is close enough to golden for me!

Next up, Golden Celebration. Such fragrance!

Good old purple coneflowers. This one is still blooming in November.

Last, thunbergia battiscombei, which I specifically planted because it so closely resembles the LSU colors. This plant has bloomed non-stop for me since April. The only problem is that the color does not look right in any of the pictures I take with my camera, so I seldom post them. Geaux LSU!!!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Angel Trumpet

Here are a couple of pics of some Angel Trumpet (brugmansia) flowers on my plant. This is an easy plant to grow but it takes a little extra care to make it thrive. I've found that mine wants LOTS of water and fertilize in order to bloom and look its best. Brugs are quite easy to get cuttings from - all you have to do is cut a branch off and put it in water and it will shortly begin putting out roots. So they make a great pass-a-long shrub. Many varieties also put out wonderful fragrance, though my particular plant only has a slight smell, much to my chagrin. They die down to the ground when a freeze hits, but usually come back in zones 8 and higher.