04/13/15
clematis and roses

Clematis and Roses

Clematis and Roses: Companion Plants

Clematis and roses can be excellent companion plants, particularly for climbing roses. When someone asks me to recommend a companion plant for roses, I first ask the type of rose. If the rose climbs, I almost always include clematis among the recommendations.

Clematis need “cool feet.” That is, the plant does not thrive if the roots at ground level are exposed to direct sun. But, in order to bloom well, the vines themselves need sun. Pairing clematis with a climbing rose provides that. The rose provides the shade for the base of the clematis.

The clematis vine needs a support structure. A climbing rose provides a marvelous support structure, and the vine does not choke the rose (as some vines might).

Regular readers here know my love of the Old Garden Rose, ‘Mermaid,’ a hybrid bracteata (1918). If left to its own devices, it would be at the top of the house and covering my patio at the end of a season (actually, during a season!). I learned the hard way I need to keep it trained and controlled throughout the season. Surprisingly, it seems to thrive that way. It usually starts to bloom sometime in May, although this year it appears it could be a bit earlier than that.

I have two different clematis plants growing with ‘Mermaid,’ and both usually bloom before ‘Mermaid.’ ‘Nelly Moser’ is the first to bloom, and as its bloom ends, a large white clematis whose name I do not know begins its bloom. About the time it finishes, the rose begins its bloom.

‘Nelly Moser’ has begun its bloom, and the images with this post are of ‘Nelly Moser’ growing as a companion plant with ‘Mermaid.’

clematis and roses

‘Nelly Moser’ as companion to ‘Mermaid’

Closer view of ‘Nelly Moser:’

clematis and roses

Clematis ‘Nelly Moser’ with rose ‘Mermaid’

04/10/15
Dr Huey

Dr Huey and Microenvironments

Dr Huey and Microenvironments

Dr Huey, a hybrid wichurana, is a rose known in some form to most rose growers. A very few people grow it as the rose itself, but that is the exception rather than the rule. It is a mildew magnet, at least in my yard, and a once bloomer. During the spring bloom, however, it can be spectacular.

For many years Dr Huey has been used a root-stock onto which to graft roses known for their blooms. It has been very useful for that purpose.

Many of us encounter Dr Huey when we have “shovel pruned” a rose and not completely gotten out the roots of this root-stock. We may also encounter it after various adverse conditions – drought, cold, and so forth – have stressed the grafted rose, and only the strong root-stock remains. That is one way of saying I have it in my yard every now and then. If it appears in the spring, I usually leave it until after the local rose show in case I want to use the foliage as line material in arrangements. Then, I will work to remove it so the planned rose in that spot can grow without competition from the strong root-stock.

Here in the high desert in the Rio Grande Valley, we have a variety of growing conditions that challenge the most dedicated gardeners. Once the soil has been amended, roses do pretty well where I live in Albuquerque if they get adequate water. In February 2011 we had an extreme cold snap from which I did lose some roses, but that is rare. We do not winterize our roses here, because it generally is not necessary. I live up toward the mountains and away from the river.

I have good friends who live right along the Rio Grande. We all learned in school that “warm air rises and cold air sinks.” When I go to visit them, even on the hottest summer days, I always take a jacket along if I am going to be there after sunset. It gets cold. In the winter, although the daytime temperatures may be similar to mine, the night temperatures can be up to 20°F colder. Their last average frost-free date can be a month later than mine. “We’re hard on roses here.”

My friends are not the only ones who are “hard on roses” in the Rio Grande Valley. The entire community in which they live is “hard on roses,” if, that is, they are grafted roses. For a week or two in the spring, Dr Huey can be seen in bloom everywhere, and it is quite beautiful. This rose can get huge, and covered with blooms can be very spectacular.

These images of Dr Huey are from the First Annual Dr Huey Rose Tour of the Corrales Rose Society, last year (2014).

Dr Huey

Dr Huey at entrance to vineyard in the Rio Grande Valley. It was a stormy day.

Dr Huey

Laurie with Dr Huey at her home

Dr Huey

Dr Huey at Tim and Laurie’s home

Dr Huey

Dr Huey

Dr Huey

Dr Huey

Dr Huey

Dr Huey on the road

Dr Huey

Close up of very large Dr Huey

Dr Huey

HUGE Dr Huey. Follow it out to the sides of the image!

04/9/15
To See Beauty - Rose Hip

To See Beauty

To See Beauty – Take Time

“Take time to smell the roses” is an expression most of us have heard all of our lives. Rose blooms with their various scents are wonderful, no doubt about it. But roses, and other living things, and perhaps the whole world, have other wonderful parts and phases, if one takes the time to see them.

Here in Albuquerque, we had a warm winter with very little wind. Being outside was so enjoyable on many days. Pruning the roses early was a great temptation, but I refused to give in to that because I have seen in prior years the results of late freezes (May in one year). So, I took my camera out rather than pruning shears, and spent some time looking at things I had never studied in great detail before. It was a perfect opportunity to see beauty in frequently overlooked things.

Although I have always thought rose hips were fascinating, I had never seen them in the detail I noted this year. I had the opportunity to see beauty in rose hips.

This rose hip, from the climbing rose ‘Fourth of July’ was my favorite from this year.

This image is from my “Living Jewels” series.

To See Beauty - Rose Hip

To See Beauty – Rose Hip

04/2/15
rose sprays

Rose Sprays Developing

Rose Sprays Developing

Rose sprays, collections of roses in almost bouquet-like form, can present a magnificent appearance. Some roses present sprays more often than others, and some present them more often than single blooms. ‘Flower Girl’ is a shrub rose known as a spray producer, although every now and then a single bloom can be seen. ‘Dream Weaver,’ a climbing floribunda, produces single blooms, but the sprays it can produce on new growth can be breath-taking.

‘Dream Weaver’ is the mother of one of my registered sports, ‘Misty Moonlight.’

This week has seen remarkable growth on the roses, as well as other plants in the yard. Buds are forming, and so far, everything is looking healthy. It will be a bit before actual blooms are seen, but I enjoy the fresh foliage in spring. These are two of my favorite roses, and they bloom well throughout the entire season. They will have beautiful sprays when they do bloom this spring.

rose sprays

Developing spray of shrub rose, ‘Flower Girl’

rose sprays

Developing spray of climbing floribunda, ‘Dream Weaver’

03/31/15
developing pears

Developing Pears

Developing Pears for 2015

Pears – two varieties – appear to be developing well for 2015. A lot can happen between now and harvest time, but this year seems to be off to a good start!

For the fruit to develop, two trees are required for pollination. I do not know what varieties these are; they were at the house when I bought it. But one produces fruit that tastes delicious to people; the other produces fruit that is preferred by a variety of birds. Everyone is happy! The birds leave mine alone, and I leave theirs alone. :-) )))))))))

developing pears

This developing fruit will become quite tasty to people in August

developing pears

Fruit of the pollinator tree. These pears will be small and hard. The birds like them, though.

03/29/15
clematis

Clematis Developing

Clematis Developing

Clematis is one of the earlier flowers to bloom in my garden. I grow it with the rose, ‘Mermaid.’ This vine blooms first, and almost as soon as it has finished its first bloom, ‘Mermaid’ begins to bloom.

It is truly a sign of the arrival of spring when the vine begins to leaf out and form buds. Spring has definitely arrived in my yard! (That does not mean that we could not still have freezing temperatures at night. But hopefully the temperatures would not go much below freezing and would not last long enough to damage tender growth on established plants.)

clematis

Clematis leafing out in early spring

clematis

Bud beginning to develop

03/24/15
dwarf peach 'bonanza'

Dwarf Peach Bonanza

My New Dwarf Peach ‘Bonanza’ in Its first Bloom

Dwarf Peach Bonanza, as many long-time readers here know, was one of my very favorite plants in my yard for many years. The one tree I had for so long died in February 2011 when we had the very cold few days. The tree never recovered.

Many new varieties of dwarf peach trees have been developed since I purchased the original one years ago. But, in reading about them, the original ‘Bonanza‘ seemed to still be the ideal one for my Albuquerque yard. I wasn’t sure if I could find one or not, however.

I have the most wonderful neighbors who have done many things for me over the years. In 2014 they found some Bonanza trees here in Albuquerque, and gave me a replacement one as a Christmas present. You cannot imagine how happy I was! They even planted it for me!

In February we had a prolonged warm spell, and everything started to bud out. Then, we had snow for a couple of days, and while it was not all that cold, some of the buds were damaged. This week, however, buds that had not been too developed earlier have begun to open, and they are as beautiful as I remember. I do not know if I will get peaches this year, but that is beside the point. It is as beautiful as I remember, and a great specimen addition to the patio area.

dwarf peach bonanza

Blossoms of Dwarf Peach Bonanza

03/22/15
Narcissus

Narcissus

Narcissus, Another Early Spring Flower

Narcissus seemed to bloom almost overnight. Once the crocus begin to bloom, many more flowers follow in rapid succession, this being one of them.

I have friends in the Northeast still enduring the very long and very snowy 2014-2015 winter. Some have noted they especially like to see yellow flowers. Well, these aren’t exactly yellow, but are kind of in the yellow family. These are especially for you. We have had a glorious winter in the Southwest Desert, at least in the high desert of New Mexico. But, our snowpack is not good. Come summer, we’ll be dealing with wild fires, while friends in the Northeast will be enjoying lush plant growth.

These seemed to come into bloom all of a sudden. Not unexpectedly sudden, only that one day they were not blooming, and the next day so many were. These do not last long, but are very much appreciated for the short time they are. I have chosen to show you a bud, fully open blooms, and a close up of a fully open bloom.

Narcissus Bud

Narcissus Bud

Narcissus

Narcissus

Narcissus

Narcissus, Up Close and Personal

03/21/15
pear blossoms

Pear Blossoms

Pear Blossoms, Another Sign of Spring

Pear blossoms are another sign that spring has arrived. Many of the Bradford pears around Albuquerque have been blooming for a week or so. This is a different pear, one which produces delicious pears for eating. I do not know the name. It was at the house when I bought it. Also at the house is a pollinator pear, necessary for the production of the pear fruit. The tree from which this image comes produces “people” pears, which the birds really do not like. The pollinator pear produces “bird” pears, which this person really does not like. All the way around, it works out very well.

pear blossoms

Pear Blossoms, Just Beginning to Bloom

03/20/15
Harry Lauder's Walking Stick

Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick

Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick, A Fun Plant in the Garden

Harry Lauder’s walking stick is a fascinating plant to have in the garden. The contorted limbs add interest in winter. Leaves are lush green in the summer. Flower arrangers like to use limbs in their arrangements. My mother, an outstanding arranger, has grown this plant in her yard for some time, and it has been one of her favorites for line material.

In the spring, “Harry Lauder,” as it is commonly referred to, can put on a spectacular display of yellow catkins, the male flowers. My mom’s plant is in “full bloom” this week, and I managed to photograph it before the rains came. I love it for creating images as much as arrangers love it for line material.

Harry Lauder's Walking Stick

Male Flowers, the Catkins, of Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick