Sunday, November 14, 2010

Spring, Summer, Fall - Belinda's Dream

If there's ever a rose that gets rave reviews from me, it's this one.  The blooms look just like hybrid tea blooms, but the plant is full, bushy, and disease free nearly year round.  It blooms in flushes throughout the growing season.  It will take a two or three week rest between flushes, then come back out again. 

This first photo is at peak April bloom.  The blooms are slightly deeper pink in cooler weather.  The fragrance is sweet and noticeable.

This is the same plant in mid-July.  Notice that it hasn't gotten much taller.  This is because I keep it cut back as I deadhead the blooms.  I find that this makes for a fuller-looking bush on this and other bush roses.  I like doing this to my hybrid teas and shrub roses.  I don't do this to Old Garden Roses such as hybrid musks, Chinas, and teas.  You can also notice the lack of diseased leaves on this rose.   

This is a month later at a time when the plant is resting between flushes.  In mid-August the plant is still looking robust, green, and quite pleasing in form.  My Belinda's Dream was planted in October 2008, for those of you who want to know its age. 

In mid-September, the plant is going into yet another flush of blooms.  Notice that the blooms are not diminished in size at all by the blazing heat of our Louisiana September.  The pink might be a little lighter in color from the hot sun. 

This last picture is late October just before the full flush of bloom.  You'll notice one limb that has broken and fallen to the ground.  This was because of the weight of so many buds on that particular limb.  Still no loss of leaves and almost non-existent blackspot. 

For anyone in my corner of the world that wants a stellar performer that needs little care, this is one of my top recommendations.  It has fragrance, perfect blooms, health, and pleasing bush form.  I've given it the same care as all the rest of my roses - plenty of water during drought times, a cup or two of alfalfa pellets in the spring, heavy pruning in late winter, light pruning in the growing season to keep it bushy, and hardwood mulch around its feet.  It gets no fungicide or insecticide.  I'm guessing that it would do fine without any of the stuff I give it.  A definite "must have" rose for Louisiana.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Spring, Summer, Fall - Archduke Charles

I know that I've just posted on Archduke Charles a few days ago, but since this is in alphabetical order, AC is next in line. This is one of three China roses that I have growing in my yard.  As with all of them, there may be some leaf loss in mid-summer and mid-winter, but I have yet to see any blackspot on them.  I think this is the plant's natural time to shed some leaves and make way for new ones. 

This first picture is from peak bloom in April.  This rose has been my first to bloom in each of the last two years.  It has all the shades of pink at the same time on the same plant. 

Next is the same plant in early August.  Unfortunately, I don't have full plant pictures of any of my roses from early summer.  Still, this shows the plant at the most stressful time of year in my climate.  As you can see, there is some leaf loss, but none of the leaves are yellow or spotted.  (The smaller-leaved climber behind this plant is a rambler known as Super Dorothy.) There are not many blooms at this time of year and the blooms that do come out are small and crisped from the heat.

By mid-September, blooms are coming back in profusion.  I love the light peppery fragrance of these flowers!  I've given this rose the same care as the Abraham Darby and it looks much better.

At the end of October, this is what AC looks like.  I'd say this is about as good as first spring flush.  It will continue to bloom like this till a hard frost comes.  This rose comes pretty close to being an evergreen in Louisiana.  I planted this specimen in October of 2008, so it is still a youngster.  It's filling out nicely as it ages and I expect it to get around 5' x 4' at full size.  It's a fairly bushy and full plant that has been recommended to me as a good candidate for a rose hedge. 

This is a great rose for beginners.  It requires almost no care to look great.  I suspect that it's easy to take cuttings and get them to root for passing on to friends and family.  To me, this rose has so much more character than the Knockout family of roses and does nearly as well.  Highly recommended.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Spring, Summer, Fall - Abraham Darby

I'm starting a small series that shows the performance of roses (and perhaps other plants) in the three growing seasons of Louisiana.  It's my way of sharing how these roses perform through the year.  I don't have enough pictures to show every month or I would do a month-by-month comparison.  It's been quite enlightening to me seeing these comparison photos and realizing just how much difference there is in various cultivars. 

The first subject will be my Abraham Darby rose, since it's the first alphabetically.  The first photo is Abe at peak in mid-April.  At this time of year there is no better looking rose in the world.  The leaves are deep green with red stems that really stand out.  Top them with huge, fragrant, apricot blooms and this rose is to die for.  All memory of it's many problems disappear at this time of year when it's one of the greatest stars of my yard.

This barren few sticks with roses on them is the same plant in early August.  Gone are all the lovely leaves.  They all turned yellow and black and fell off.  It's had plenty of water and mulch and still didn't thrive.  Keep in mind that I haven't sprayed all year and this rose does not appreciate that. 

This is the last shot taken at the end of September.  Many of the leaves are growing back out without spots.  It's regained much of its former health and it's looking much better.  Into October and early November, this good trend has continued and Abe looks even better now than in this photo.  It will look really healthy by the time the first frost comes around and sends it into dormancy. 

This is a classic example of a rose that definitely needs fungicide if you want it to look good all year.  I give it plenty of water, mulch, and alfalfa pellets for nutrients, but it still has no resistance to the dreaded blackspot.  Starting next year I may start spraying this plant again because I don't want it looking half-dead for most of the year.  Keep in mind that David Austin roses such as this one have a reputation for being divas and this is no exception.  If you're willing to pamper them or else overlook loss of leaves for half the growing season, then this is a great rose.  Otherwise, it's not a good choice.  I do not recommend Abraham Darby to people who aren't willing to spend plenty of time spraying.  On the other hand, if you put in the effort, this plant is one of the most beautiful and desirous on the planet. 

Monday, November 1, 2010

Duking It Out With the Charles

Right now Archduke Charles is looking his best since April.  The blooms are profuse and in every shade of light pink to crimson. 

The blooms are in clusters surrounded by perfect, blue-green leaves that are attractive by themselves.

The bloom shapes on this little China rose are utter perfection.  The fragrance is spicy and peppery, to my nose.

The bush is filling out more and more as it ages and there is not a sign of disease on it.  With the cooler weather, the blooms aren't crisping either.  As with all of my roses this year, no spray has touched this plant.  It has received a couple cups of alfalfa pellets and plenty of water from my irrigation system.  I keep it mulched with hardwood chips.  This is certainly a good candidate for a maintenance free rose in Louisiana as I'm sure it would look nice even without the mulch and extra water.