07/3/15

Gemini, A Great Hybrid Tea Rose for the High Desert

Gemini, A Great Hybrid Tea Rose for the High Desert

Gemini is probably my favorite hybrid tea rose to grow here in the high desert of the Southwest, Albuquerque. As beautiful as it is, it is equally tough. It tolerates the summer heat. Mine was not damaged by the extreme cold of February of 2011. The colors are wonderful. The form is close to perfect in almost every bloom.

Gemini rose

Hybrid Tea Rose, Gemini

Gemini rose

Gemini, a Hybrid Tea Rose

06/28/15
Double Rainbow

The Golden Sky at the End of the Storm

Double Rainbow

Golden Sky and Double Rainbow after the Storm

Last evening Albuquerque experienced one of our famous summer thunderstorms – lightning, thunder, brief heavy rain that produced rivers running in streets, full arroyos, and some brief flash flooding. I got 1″ of rain in less than an hour, enough that there was standing water for a short time (I hope I’ll have a lawn again for a few days!).

Albuquerque is well-known for double rainbows after thunderstorms. But, this was late, and the clouds were heavy and the rain continued, albeit at a slower rate.

And, then, unexpectedly because it was late and still raining, I caught a glimpse of golden light out of the corner of my eye. Such light after a storm here often produces rainbows looking east toward the Sandias. But, there were no rainbows from the usual view. But, with that light, something had to be happening! This view is looking south. I have never seen a rainbow in this position in the years I have lived here.

The light, and thus, the rainbows, lasted less than two minutes. The time was short, but the image in my mind will last.

The tree that was lit is The Old Crow tree, so named after a brief visit by a crow in January.

insight new mexico 2015

The Observer, The Observed

The mystical beauty of the Southwest Desert!

06/25/15
bee cosmos

The Eyes Have It

The summer annuals I grow regularly are sunflowers and cosmos. They attract a variety of pollinators and the birds like the seeds. This year I got them planted in late April, and they are now in bloom.

This morning I found this bee on a cosmos, and it was still cool enough that the bee posed for a couple of good images.

I am fortunate to have neighbors who also grow things to attract pollinators and birds.

bee  cosmos

Bee and Cosmos

bee cosmos

Bee and Cosmos

06/17/15
mermaid rose

Mermaid, A Beautiful Old Garden Rose

Mermaid, A Beautiful Old Garden Rose

Mermaid is a beautiful old garden rose (Hybrid bracteata 1918) that long time readers here know well. In May of 2006 it was reaching its peak after having been planted several years before. It took Best of Show at the Spring 2006 Albuquerque Rose Show, along with the ARS Victorian Award for Old Garden Roses with unknown date of introduction or introduced in or after 1867. Who could have imagined what December of 2006 would bring?

Mid December of 2006 brought an 8 inch snowfall to my house. It was heavy and wet, and pulled Mermaid and its trellis a little away from the wall. But I was sick at the time, thought there wouldn’t be more snow at least for a while, and I could repair things when I felt better. Big mistake!

A week later or so I got an unheard-of-for-here 22 inch snowfall at my house! The melting and refreezing, melting and refreezing added more weight, and in the middle of one night with a noise loud enough to awaken me at the other end of the house, Mermaid and trellis came crashing down across the patio. It took me weeks to get that mess cleaned up to the point I could walk out into the rest of the yard. To do it, I had to cut everything, including the clematis that had been growing with Mermaid, off at ground level. I thought everything was gone.

Imagine my joy at finding tiny basal breaks later in the spring of 2007! Mermaid did not grow a lot in 2007, but the companion clematis came back more rapidly. 2008 was even better. By 2009, things were looking very good. At the Spring 2010 Albuquerque Rose Show, Mermaid once again won the ARS Victorian Award along with Best of Show.

The 2014-2015 winter in Albuquerque was quite mild. Mermaid’s spring bloom this year was probably the best I have seen since the 2006 damage. Once again, at the Spring 2015 Albuquerque Rose Show, Mermaid took Best of Show (5 matched sprays in the entry in “Exhibitor’s Dream”) along with the ARS Victorian Award. This is a rose you will not see often in rose shows, because it is an “eight-hour wonder!” It opens in the morning, and drops its petals by evening. But, it is gorgeous during that time!

mermaid rose

Mermaid, Best of Show 2015, at placement during entry before judging

These are images from this year’s spring bloom:

mermaid rose

Old Garden Rose, Mermaid

mermaid rose

Old Garden Rose, Mermaid

mermaid rose

Old Garden Rose, Mermaid

Mermaid – one of my favorite roses, and back to being a focal point in the garden of my small Albuquerque yard.

06/9/15
water features

Water Features

Water Features in the 2015 Corrales Garden Tour

Water features were surprisingly prominent in the 2015 Corrales Garden Tour, held this past Sunday. I say surprising, only because they were more prominent than I am used to seeing them in Albuquerque proper. In thinking about this, though, perhaps I should not have been so surprised. Corrales is a Village, its own governmental entity. It does not have the tiered water billing system of Albuquerque. It sits right on the Rio Grande River, and many people have wells. That is not to say at all that everyone has unlimited water use, only that water use may be somewhat less regulated than in Albuquerque city limits.

The water features seen were quite refreshing. The three shown in this piece were all different from one another. Each fit the garden it accented. A lot of good landscape planning went into all of these.

This was in the back yard of the first garden we visited. It had a little bit of everything: small waterfall, koi, and water lilies. The home had a covered back porch which looked out toward this pool, along with numerous hummingbird feeders and seed bird feeders. It was all very pleasant, indeed.

water features

Waterfall, Koi, and water lilies

This next home had a variety of different areas within the yard area. The swimming pool was good size, and this waterfall and surrounding rockwork and sculpture were quite appealing.

water features

Waterfall and sculpture at swimming pool

My personal favorite of the water features was this almost hidden pool.A small wooden slide created an almost-waterfall and in addition there was a fountain supplying not only water but the beautiful ripples you can see on the surface. The growth around it was lush.

What made this pool almost hidden was a giant tamarisk tree in front of it. But, it was not the typical tamarisk tree. This one had been carefully trained and trimmed for years, making it into a very beautiful sculptural form. In fact, I was not certain it was a tamarisk. I had to ask the owner!!! Goes to show what creative people can do with something known for being less than desirable.

water features

Almost hidden waterfall and pool

We all enjoyed the 2015 Corrales Garden Tour. I have many more photos, and different aspects of the gardens will be featured in future posts.

I thank all of the garden owners for opening their gardens to us. It was a great day and a great tour.

05/27/15
beautiful small yard

Beautiful Small Yard

Beautiful Small Yard in Albuquerque

Beautiful small yard: Albuquerque is surrounded by Federal lands of one type or another on the north, east, and south. Yards within Albuquerque proper tend to be small, compared to other places I have lived. The weather beckons people out of doors most of the year. Attractive yards in which to spend time are desirable, but sometimes making a very small yard attractive takes some thought and planning.

Water was not always considered a problem in Albuquerque, although it certainly is now. Ideally, the native plants would have been left when homes were built. Instead, the land was bulldozed clear of the native plants in many parts of Albuquerque (as well as other places in the Desert Southwest). New homes are often being xeriscaped from the beginning.

This home was built in the late 1990’s. This yard has been featured in several posts on this blog. It has not only matured, but the owner has tried to decrease the use of water by removing some plants, while keeping the foundation plantings and then a few for color. A lot of work has gone into this yard, but the owner has certainly achieved a beautiful small yard.

beautiful small yard

Beautiful small yard

The beautiful New Mexico sky is a constant feature here. Plants featured here,and these have been longstanding, are roses ‘Hot Cocoa,’ ‘Gentle Giant,’ and ‘Baby Grand;’ clematis trained on a pillar; two nandina bushes; and the Rose of Sharon, ‘Blushing Bride,’ trained into more of a tree shape than a shrub. This will bloom later in the summer. Although the yard is small, the plants give a lot of privacy here.

This is a beautiful small yard.

05/26/15
the dr huey tour

Dr Huey Tour

The Second Annual Corrales Rose Society Dr Huey Tour, May 25, 2015

The Second Annual Corrales Rose Society Dr Huey Tour was, once again, a memorable event. The abundance of the rose, the Hybrid wichurana, Dr. Huey, used as rootstock for many grafted roses here in Desert Southwest, is a cautionary tale about microclimates, winter protection, and maybe just letting grow what survives well in a given spot.

Tim Price has explained this in detail with his photos of Dr. Huey from this year’s tour. Please visit Tim’s blog to read in depth about this year’s tour and see his images of Dr. Huey. (My discussion and images from the 2014 tour are here.) Tim has done such a thorough job of showing and explaining the significance of the abundance of Dr. Huey bushes in Corrales, in this post I am going to show a few highlights from the tour itself.

The rose highlight of the 2014 Dr. Huey Tour for me was seeing a Dr. Huey specimen 20 feet tall and 20 feet wide. The rose highlight of the 2015 tour for me was seeing this specimen of Rosa multiflora, a species rose. I had never seen one before, and had never really thought about seeing one. In fact, I was so taken aback that I did not have the presence of mind to ask if I could take a cutting. I’ll ask the next time I visit. Isn’t it a beautiful rose, even though a bit past its prime in this image (as it was in all the images from yesterday):

dr huey tour

Rosa multiflora, a species rose

This is a close-up of a Dr. Huey bloom from the tour:

dr huey tour

Dr. Huey, a Hybrid wichurana

Tim and Laurie have a large, beautiful bush of Dr. Huey on their land:

dr huey tour

Laurie with Dr. Huey

Seeing all the Dr. Huey examples in the Village of Corrales is the goal of the Dr. Huey Tour. But there is so much fun in the process of doing that, I’m already looking forward to the Third Annual Corrales Rose Society Dr. Huey Tour a year from now!

Tim, the photographer, and Laurie, the artist, stopped along Corrales Road, the main street of Corrales. documenting a Dr. Huey or two.

dr huey tour

Tim and Laurie documenting Dr. Huey

05/26/15
bees and dragonfly

Bees and Dragonfly

Bees and Dragonfly in an Insect-Friendly Garden

Bees and a beautiful dragonfly delight this gardener, who several years ago changed my approach to gardening to attract pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and others.

For many years, I sprayed my roses, and used systemic fertilizers with pesticides as well. I did not have much variety in my garden in terms of types of flowers. Several years ago I decided to stop spraying, and to add a few different flowers known to attract pollinators. In a very short time, I began to see more bees and butterflies here. I should note that I have several neighbors who are organic gardeners, so we have a more neighborhood sized area friendly to pollinators.

Two days ago I was out just enjoying the flowers that were blooming. I was aware of the variety of bees buzzing around, along with a few butterflies and some black chinned hummingbirds. But, I almost stuck my nose on this gigantic dragonfly before I even saw it! It stayed for some time, which allowed me to grab my camera and photograph it. Its beauty was quite complex, and I am glad it stayed long enough for a photograph.

Beautiful, but well camouflaged, dragonfly

bees and dragonfly

Beautiful Dragonfly

Busy bee laden with pollen

bees and dragonfly

Pollen laden bee

A different bee laden with pollen

bees and dragonfly

A different bee laden with pollen

05/22/15
Garlic

Garlic

Garlic: Add a Little Spice to the Garden

Garlic

Garlic

Hardneck Garlic

Although in this blog I have focused on flowers since the beginning, every now and then I venture into something different, like solar cooking, or birds, or chile peppers, and other such things.

This year in the vegetable garden I am growing tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, okra, and oregano.

On a recent trip to Tucson I visited the Tucson Botanical Gardens, a wonderful place I can recommend to anyone planning a visit to Tucson. There are a variety of different “gardens” on the grounds, and I enjoyed each one. I took a lot of photographs of many different things.

But, the one thing that really captured my eye was the garlic growing in the Herb Garden. Garlic grows well in the Albuquerque area, and at one time I grew it. That was some time ago, though, and before I began photographing on a daily basis. This was a fun photographic subject. I want to grow it again.

But, this leads to something of a conundrum. What is shown in this image is a hardneck variety, that is, one that produces a flower stalk at the top of the plant. It is a fun one to photograph! The problem is that if these “scapes” are allowed to develop, the bulb below will become somewhat stunted. Softneck varieties usually do not form these, and are considered easier to grow. But, photographically, they are not as interesting.

I plan to plant some type in the fall. It appears that the only solution to the conundrum is to plant both types!

05/4/15
morning in the roses

Morning in the Roses

Morning in the Roses

Morning in the roses, especially when they are at the peak of spring bloom, is such a refreshing start to the day. I thought I would share a bit of my morning walk with you.

roses

A Variety of Roses

Blooms in this image are the floribundas ‘Chihuly,’ ‘Marmalade Skies,’ ‘Dream Weaver,’ and the shrub, ‘Flower Girl.’

This next image shows the hybrid tea, ‘Veterans’ Honor,’ one of my favorite reds.

morning in the roses

‘Veterans’ Honor’

My neighbors and I share a wall of climbers. In this image, on my side, you see ‘Royal Sunset’ and ‘Fourth of July.’ They have ‘Eden,’ ‘Climbing Peace,’ ‘Don Juan,’ and ‘Royal Sunset.’ It is very nice to have neighbors with such a wall of blooms!

morning in the roses

On my side, ‘Royal Sunset’ and ‘Fourth of July’

Our winter here in the high desert was so warm this year, that spring bloom has reached it peak quite early. I have enjoyed it immensely, of course.

The Albuquerque rose show is the last weekend of May this year. The early bloom may affect the number of blooms entered, although perhaps people in cooler areas (here in Albuquerque, as well as in Santa Fe) may have more blooms than usual to enter.

The blooms are certainly enjoyable now!