03/9/14

Ladder Backed Woodpecker

Ladder Backed Woodpecker

One of the joys of gardening is attracting birds, butterflies, dragonflies, and other beautiful things to the yard. They like the plants, and really appreciate it if you add some water year around and another source of food, especially in the winter.

This male ladder backed woodpecker stopped in for a last snack before bedtime late in the day back in February.

male ladder backed woodpecker

Male ladder backed woodpecker

male ladder backed woodpecker

Male ladder backed woodpecker

03/8/14

Photography Seminar at ARS Convention

Photography Seminar

A Photography Seminar in two parts – a morning session and an afternoon session – has been organized by Sally Long of the San Diego Rose Society for the upcoming American Rose Society National Convention and Show. This promises to be an exciting day for rosarians interested in photography. Some of you will recall the Photography Seminar Sally Long and I, along with photographer Pat Berrett, presented in Albuquerque in 2012, and the excitement that that seminar generated. That seminar was aimed largely at teaching judges how to use the PSWD Photography Guidelines as they had been developed to that point. (For PSWD Guidelines as developed to 2010, see my article in the 2010 ARS Rose Annual, Lew Shupe, editor.)

The 2014 ARS Photography Seminar will be held on Friday, May 9. This seminar will be aimed toward exhibitors of photography. The morning session begins at 9:00 am and runs until noon, featuring two speakers. Curtis Aumiller, ARS Photography Chairman, will discuss some of the benefits of incorporating rose photography at the local, district, and national levels; some technical aspects of rose photography; and progress towards standardization of guidelines for rose photography in ARS shows. I will be the second speaker of the morning, presenting “Floral Photography 101,” an overview of some of the basics of floral photography, as well as some problem areas I have seen as a judge (arrangement photographs, for example, seem to present exhibitors with a variety of problems. We’ll discuss some of those, and ways to overcome them).

photography seminar

Roses: ‘Candy Cane,’ ‘Golden Showers,’ ‘Moondance,’ ‘Gourmet Popcorn’

The afternoon session, from 1:30 to 4:30, will begin with Bill Farmer discussing white balance, followed by Sally Long discussing macro and close-up photography. After that there will be a variety of break out sessions, from which you may choose those you would find most useful for you. I will have a hour-long session, “From Image in Your Eye to Finished Print,” covering ways to make sure your finished print matches what you photographed and what you saw on your computer screen.

Watch this page for more details as they are posted.

General information for the entire convention can be found here. Registration information can be found at that link, as well. Registration for the overall convention is discounted at least through March 10. The Photography Seminar is $20.00 for the both sessions, or $10.00 for the morning session and $10.00 for the afternoon session.

The Photography Seminar should be both fun and educational, and I hope to see some old friends and make some new ones there.

03/6/14

Daylight Savings Time Returns March 9

Daylight Savings Time returns to this coming Sunday, March 9, 2014. “Officially” the clocks at 2:00 am move to 3:00 am, but I certainly change mine the night before (well, usually).

Remember, it is “Spring forward. Fall back.”

Read a history of Daylight Savings Time here.

Some people prefer Standard Time. I am not one of them. I love having the longer afternoon/evening time, whether for working in the yard, photographing flowers, or photographing birds, insects, or sunsets.

I think I began to fully understand the effects of Daylight Savings Time when I began cooking with a simple solar oven. (Use the Search box for “solar” to find related posts on this blog). I generally use it from May through September. Mine is very low tech, but quite functional when used as a slow cooker for many things. If I start it heating at 9:00 am, it is warm enough to cook by 10:00 am. At 4:00 pm, regardless of outside ambient temperature, the heat in the oven drops rapidly because of the drop in UV rays from the sum. So, I basically have 6 hours to cook, from 10:00 – 4:00. This is Daylight Savings Time because it is summer. If it were Standard Time, it would be 9:00 – 3:00, or the three hours before and after Noon. Just a bit of trivia…

Preheated solar oven

Preheated solar oven

Love it or hate it, remember to “spring forward” this Sunday.

08/18/13

Note Cards Now Available

Note cards seem to be what people need now. I have received requests for note cards with some of my floral images, and I am happy to announce that 5″x7″ note cards are now available here.

note cards

Ambridge Rose

Sunflower Note Card

Sunflower

The note cards are available in both landscape and portrait orientations.

The image options for the landscape cards are shown in this slideshow:

The image options for the portrait orientation cards are shown here:

The note cards are available in packs of 25, all the same image, with envelopes included. These are blank note cards, leaving you plenty of space to write notes.

There are a variety of paper options, all the same price. If you are not sure which paper you want, I would recommend the “Linen” paper for note cards.

These images are suitable for more than just notes. They can be framed in 5″x7″ frames readily available in many places, or in 8″x10″ frames with mat openings for a 5″x7″ image. You may think of many more uses.

More images may be added over time.

I thank you for your interest.

07/28/13

An Ingenious Deer Fence to Protect Your Roses

“Almost Invisible Deer Fence” developed by Tom Mayhew

Master Consulting Rosarian Tom Mayhew has developed a really ingenious way to protect his rose garden from deer. He likes the deer as well as the roses, and did not want to harm the deer in any way. He learned that deer were “spooked” when they came into contact with “nearly invisible” fishing line. He built a fence using green stakes and fishing line, which he puts up in the spring and takes down in the fall.

Tom Mayhew lives in Pennsylvania.

But many gardeners in the deserts of the Southwest have problems with the deer eating their gardens.

Tom has graciously shared this article, written initially for his local rose society, but subsequently published in other newsletters, with readers here at Southwest Desert Gardening.

You may download the attached pdf, but if you post it elsewhere, be sure to give credit to Tom Mayhew, author and creator of “The Almost Invisible Deer Fence.”

Thanks again, Tom!

Almost Invisible Deer Fence

07/10/13

Rose Mermaid – 2013 Spring Bloom Comes to an End

Rose Mermaid

‘Mermaid’s’ 2013 spring bloom was beautiful and amazing. She had more blossoms than ever before, and virtually no thrip problems. She won the American Rose Society’s Victorian Award at the Albuquerque Rose Society’s Spring Show, and Best of Show (Horticulture) at the Albuquerque Council of Garden Clubs Spring Show. But, more than the awards, she was just a joy to behold in the yard and on the patio.

Mermaid can be an aggressive grower, and the last major blooming branch was headed into the patio. This is not particularly desirable, because she has many very prickly thorns. People only half-jokingly say that she will attack anyone or anything that comes close. But, I left this branch until the last bloom was gone.

rose mermaid

‘Mermaid’ on July 4

rose mermaid

‘Mermaid’ July 10, 2013

This rose is interesting to view, even when the gorgeous, creamy fresh blooms are gone. The stamens, bright golden with pollen when they are fresh, hold interest for long after.

rose stamens

Two-day-old center with stamens

‘Mermaid’ seems to be tolerating the Southwest’s extreme drought and summer heat very well. Although the first flush of blooms is now over, she is already putting out new growth everywhere!

rose mermaid

New growth on ‘Mermaid’

rose mermaid

More new growth

At the rate this beauty grows, it will not be long until there are new blossoms!

06/20/13

Floral Designs from the 2013 Albuquerque Council of Garden Clubs Spring Show

Floral designs in Garden Council are very different from those that follow American Rose Society Guidelines. I always enjoy seeing the different approaches to floral design.

The Council of Albuquerque Garden Clubs Spring Flower Show was held on June 16, 2013.

I thought this entry by Debi Harrington, who won Best of Show at the Rose Show three weeks earlier, was stunning. The class was entitled Ä Day Hike in the Woods.” It called for all dry plant material.

floral design

Debi Harrington

Mary Ann Moreno is also known for her striking designs. This is “Sunday Night at the NASCAR Track.”

floral designs

Mary Ann Moreno

Some new designers made their presence known at this show.

This is Debra Sorrell’s, Ä Winter’s Day Spent on the Slopes.”

floral design

Debra Sorrell

This is Debra Sorrell’s “Saturday Afternoon Matinee.”

floral design

Debra Sorrell

Everyone was talking about Thelma Escalante’s underwater design, “A Day Spent Snorkeling.”

floral desings

Thelma Escalante, A Day Spent Snorkeling

Thelma also was awarded for her design In “Daddy’s Little Girl’s Wedding Day.”

floral design

Thelma Escalante, Daddy’s Little Girl’s Wedding Day

Maple Levine’s design with dried wood and sunflowers was in the class “Saturday Morning Tee Time.”

floral designs

Maple Levine, Saturday Morning Tee Time

It was fun to see designs so different from those I am used to seeing in rose shows, and to meet new people (and to see some old friends).

06/14/13

Rose Mermaid on June 13, 2013

Rose Mermaid has had a spectacular spring bloom this year. Said to be Monet’s favorite rose (thanks for the tip, David Clemons), I’ll just say Monet had good taste in roses. ;-)

These images show Mermaid on one day, with various phases on the one bush I have.

This is a bloom just barely opening in the morning. They open in the morning, and the petals are gone by the next morning.
The long golden parts are the stamens, the pollen bearing part of the male plant reproductive system. The center part is the stigma, the visible portion of the pistil, the female plant reproductive system. The stigma is sticky and catches the pollen.
Even barely unfurled, Mermaid, to me, is gorgeous.

rose mermaid

Bloom beginning to unfurl early in the morning

Close up of the stigma (the visible portion of the pistil in Mermaid). It looks very other worldly.

rose mermaid

Stigma of Mermaid

On the right is a bloom starting to unfurl. The spent bloom in the lower left has just lost its petals. The one in the middle is about 48 hours old. I cannot tell how old the one in the lower right is.

rose mermaid

Spent blooms of Mermaid

These are actually on two different branches – one with the buds, one with the spent blooms.

spent blooms and bus of Mermaid

Spent blooms and buds of Mermaid

Mermaid was awarded the ARS Victorian Award (best old garden rose with unknown date of origin or introduction in or after 1867) this year at the Albuquerque Rose Society Spring Show. She won Best of Show in 2006 and 2010, but this year she did not hit her peak until after the show. The glory of Mermaid for me is in the garden! Sharing her with others at shows is fun. Any awards are just a bonus for this beautiful rose!

06/5/13

Rose ‘Mermaid’

Rose ‘Mermaid,’ Part 15, the Saga Continues

The Old Garden Rose, ‘Mermaid,’ has long been one of my favorites. Regular readers here are aware of my love for this hybrid bracteata, introduced in 1918, which was also the year of my father’s birth. I planted the rose in his memory after he died.

Although known for being somewhat tender, the rose grew huge, climbing up the fireplace within a couple of years. After the 22 inch snow that fell in late December 2006, with thawing, freezing, thawing, freezing, etc., the weight of the ice tore ‘Mermaid’ and its trellis off the wall of the house, and it had to be cut off at ground level. I was sure it would not recover.

Recovery was very slow, but ‘Mermaid’ did recover to virtually her old self by the spring of 2010.

This spring, 2013, has been an exceptional year for ‘Mermaid,’ as the following images demonstrate:

old garden rose 'mermaid'

Buds on ‘Mermaid’ in early spring

old garden rose 'mermaid'

Spray of ‘Mermaid’

rose 'mermaid'

‘Mermaid’

rose 'mermaid'

Old Garden Rose, ‘Mermaid’

Is it any wonder that the Old Garden Rose, ‘Mermaid,’ is one of my very favorite roses? :-)

06/3/13

Rose Arrangements from the 2013 Albuquerque Rose Show

Arrangements from the 2013 Albuquerque Rose Show, June 1, 2013

Debi Harrington – Best in Show

Roses ‘Candy Cane,’ ‘Golden Showers,’ ‘Moondance,’ ‘Gourmet Popcorn’
ARS Royalty Award, plus Best in Show in Arrangements

rose arrangements

Roses: ‘Candy Cane,’ ‘Golden Showers,’ ‘Moondance,’ ‘Gourmet Popcorn’

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Lauren Toth
Roses ‘Candy Cane’
ARS Duke Award

rose arrangements

Roses ‘Candy Cane’

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Pat Jeremia
Roses ‘Wild Blue Yonder’
ARS Princess Award

Roses 'Wild Blue Yonder'

Roses ‘Wild Blue Yonder’

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Pat Jeremia
Roses ‘Julia Child’
A Modern Arrangement

rose arrangements

Roses ‘Julia Child’

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Juanita Ortega
Roses ‘Fragrant Cloud’
ARS Artist Award
(This is a Transparency)

rose arrangement

Roses ‘Fragrant Cloud’

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Juanita Ortega
Rose ‘Fragrant Cloud’
ARS Oriental Award

Roses 'Fragrant Cloud'

Roses ‘Fragrant Cloud’

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Shirley Tetrault

Roses ‘Tropicana’
A Modern Arrangement, specifically a Transparency

rose arrangements

Rose ‘Tropicana’

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Shirley Tetrault
Roses ‘Double Delight’
A Modern Arrangement

rose arrangements

Roses ‘Double Delight’

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The rose arrangements in the 2013 Albuquerque Rose Show exhibited a remarkable range of creativity. Beyond that, the growing season had not been particularly good this spring, and the timing for the show was also not particularly good. That these and the other arrangers could put together these designs is a tribute to their skill and creativity.

On the Rose Arrangement page are images of arrangements at various shows in the Pacific Southwest District in the 2004-2007 time frame.