Wednesday, April 27, 2011

It's a Rose! It's a Vine! It's Super Dort!

Super Dorothy is classified as a rambler rose and fits well into that class of roses as a very long and lean climber.  The canes are highly flexible and easy to train.  It will effortlessly cover a large area.  It is supposed to be one of the only repeat blooming ramblers available, but mine has never bloomed more than once per season in its four year life-span.

I'm not complaining all that much about it blooming only once per year.  After all, when it DOES bloom, it's covered!  The above picture shows it growing on my chainlink fence between Earthsong and Archduke Charles.  Frankly, this rose would be happier in a place where it can sprawl out even more.

The blooms are small with a quilled look to them.  The come in huge clusters that resemble grapes hanging.  The effect can be quite stunning when at peak bloom.  Unfortunately, there is no fragrance at all with this rose.  I have never seen even a speck of disease on this plant even though I never spray it.  This would be a fine rose to put on a pergola or climbing up a large wall face.  The color is perfect for an English style cottage garden and would fit in that setting well.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

How the Westerland Was Won

Westerland is a climbing rose sometimes classified as a climbing floribunda.  It has flowers that are sunset orange in color.  The flowers contain 20-30 petals and they open up to show the stamens.  I find that bees like this flower because of the easy access to the pollen.

The plant blooms in clusters of these lovely blooms that really stand out from a long distance away.  In the spring, the blooms come in such profusion that the fragrance from them will waft on the breeze for quite a long ways.  The fragrance is a wonderful, spicy-sweet one that is quite delicious.

The canes on this climber are quite stiff making it hard to train well along a fence.  Mine is growing wildly and has a mind of its own.  I would not recommend this as a pillar rose since it wants to grow more out than up.  It is one of the most vigorous of all my roses and is seldom bothered much by the little bit of blackspot that it gets in the summer.

My camera is a cheap one that doesn't really capture the colors of Westerland well.  I just wish that all could see how beautiful this plant is.  Be sure to put it in a place where it has lots of room to sprawl.  I imagine it could also be grown as a large shrub if you keep it pruned back some.

Monday, April 18, 2011

More Fun in the Sun

My Arizona Sun gaillardia is looking so good these days that I thought I'd just post some more pictures of it.  I actually have two of these clumps, but this is the biggest one.  It is covered with happy-looking blooms that the bees visit frequently.  This one is spreading so well that I should be able to divide it this fall into at least 4 smaller plants.

This plant is especially wonderful because it has about the longest bloom season of any plant I grow.  Last year, this one bloomed from April all the way till frost.  This year it started even earlier with the first blooms coming in March.  I pretty faithfully deadhead mine, which is one of the keys to keeping it blooming.  I have these placed in an unirrigated bed where they survive only on the rain that comes naturally.  Such a care-free plant deserves more mention than it gets.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Something To Sing About

Earthsong is my next rose that is at peak bloom right now.  In the April flush, Earthsong exhibits its deepest pink colors.  This rose is in bloom continually from April till frost, but the colors are richest now.

The blooms are large, fully double, and fragrant.  This rose really takes our Southern heat well and the blooms don't diminish in size as the temperatures get hotter.  

The bush form is full with no "naked legs."  I prune it back while deadheading the old blooms and this keeps it bushier. 

Earthsong is another of the Griffith Buck roses that are gaining in popularity these days.  It's classified as a shrub rose, though it looks like a grandiflora rose.  The blooms are held up over the foliage in a pleasing fashion, though the stems aren't overly long.  They don't last exceptionally long, but there are plenty of replacements as they blow away. 

The stems are a neatly contrasting red against the purple-rimmed leaves, especially in early spring before the blooms start.  This is one of my top five best performing roses and is highly recommended for Louisiana.  It supposedly does really well in colder areas of the country too.  My specimen has had almost no leaf loss due to blackspot, though it will get some spots late in the summer.  As noted before, I do not spray my roses with fungicide, so blackspot resistance is something I really appreciate. 

Monday, April 11, 2011

This Rose is Cooking!

This delightful, butter yellow rose is named after the famous cook, Julia Child.  I'm guessing it's because of the butter yellow color. 

The bush stays somewhat small and rounded as most floribunda roses do.  The deep green of the leaves sets off the yellow blooms perfectly.

Many floribundas have no fragrance, but this one is an exception.  It has a unique licorice-like fragrance that is very interesting and pleasant. 

This variety does fairly well without spray, but in late summer it gets blackspot and looks ragged.  It would peform better with fungicidal spray. 

The floribunda roses are all ever-bloomers, meaning they will almost continually be in bloom from spring till frost.  The spring flush is the most spectacular.  In the heat of summer, the yellow can be lighter and less rich.  This is one of the most popular floribundas on the market right now because it's such a good performer. 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Chronicles of Crepuscule

Last year for my birthday, I got a gallon plant of the climbing noisette rose Crepuscule.  It is a lovely apricot rose that was first developed in 1904, so it is definitely an old rose.  My research led me to believe that this noisette would love the hot, humid weather of Louisiana since the noisette family of roses originated in Charleston, South Carolina.

After only one year of growth it has not disappointed!  In it's first full spring in my yard it is exploding with blossoms.  I don't know if you could fit another bloom on this little climber.

The blooms are semi-double in form and have a pleasant, noticeable, and sweet fragrance.  The leaves are a beautiful spring green and totally undiseased for me in the first year, even without any fungicide.

The plant is not very large yet, but I would definitely describe the growth in the first year as vigorous.  It is already developing long, easily trained canes to clamber along the fence with.  I also really enjoy how bushy the plant is from the ground up.  Most climbers have "naked legs" that take away from the beauty of the plant.  Another pleasant thing about this rose is that it is not very thorny at all.  If this plant is characteristic of how all the noisettes perform in the South, then GET YOU SOME! 

I will be posting lots of roses in the next few blog entries because they are at peak bloom right now for me.  Hope you enjoy.  Sorry that my camera doesn't do well with some colors.

Friday, April 1, 2011

One of the Best Smells in the World

Every year I put out at least one blog post on one of my favorite shrubs of all time.  It's the seldom praised Michelia figo, more commonly known as banana shrub or magnolia fuscata.  

In the spring (and some in the fall too) it forms hairy, bulbous buds that soon turn this creamy white and burst forth to release the most amazing and wondrous fragrance imaginable.  The fragrance is like Juicy Fruit gum, only better, and I have yet to ever meet a person who doesn't nearly swoon over it.

As you can see, the blooms aren't all that showy and don't really stand out.  You would never guess by looking that they put out such a heavenly fragrance.  My large shrub will fill nearly the whole yard with fragrance when the wind is not blowing.  It makes a walk in the yard pure delight.  You can take several blooms into your house and they will keep their odor and fill a room with it for several hours.

If the flowers aren't all that showy, the plant IS.  It makes a full, voluptuous shrub with shiny green leaves that are evergreen.  The plant can get over 12' tall down here in Louisiana and somewhat resembles a magnolia.  It appreciates part shade - the leaves will be more yellow in full sun.  Mine is thriving on the Northeast corner of my house next to this Formosa azalea.  It prefers loamy, slightly acid soil with plenty enough moisture.  This plant makes a wonderful part shade shrub to use as a background to more colorful plants.  It could also be used as a slow growing hedge.  It is unbelievable to me that this plant is not more widely known and grown.