- Author: Deirdre "DeeDee" Shore
Here in the Lucerne Valley, Ca we have plenty of wind, sand, sunshine and wildlife. The sunshine being most enjoyable, however, when gardening in the "High Desert" some of the others are not necessarily desirable traits. Providing protection from the wind and sand is obtainable in a variety of ways. For our vegetable garden we plan to install corrugated metal panels that are about two foot high around the perimeter of the garden fence. The panels will provide some wind protection, as well as a bit of shade during the hot summer months while also keeping some of the native critters at bay.
- Author: Carol Constantine
BY CAROL CONSTANTINE -
My patio container garden pots are looking rather bleak and woebegone this winter day, all except for one. That one is the half barrel that my DH used for his first experiments in gardening. He became very enthusiastic about natural foods after helping harvest and eating some heirloom tomatoes earlier this year. (Yes, I have saved seeds from those Mortgage Lifters!) His first planting was a mixture of rainbow and Parisian ball carrots.
After slow growth week after week, the barrel with his experimental home-grown carrots was full of bright green, healthy, lacy foliage. He cautiously pulled up one plant. It was a tiny, perfectly formed orange carrot about one half inch long.
“Did you thin your carrots like we talked about?”
“Oh, yes! Well...sort of. Let's see if there are any more in the barrel.”
Fortunately we did harvest just enough carrots to have that night with dinner. I cooked them with a tiny bit of butter and some cinnamon. He declared that they were the tastiest carrots ever, and he is now looking through seed catalogs to plan another, more adventurous crop. I can hardly wait to see what comes up in that barrel next!
- Author: Jannike Petrovska
By jannike petrovska
Stressing Out Your Roses For Blooming Fun!!
It is time for bare root roses in southern California, and nothing fuels my love of
gorgeous blooms more than the petal-packed English roses, especially the David
Austins. The blooms are heartbreakingly beautiful, but the thorny shrubs -- not
so terrific to my eye. So keeping the blooms coming is of great interest to me.
Here's a simple trick that has the potential to transform your rose bush into a
blooming machine: put the canes under stress. No, I'm not suggesting you shout
at your roses and call them ugly names; that's too much stress for the roses,
your neighbors, and your vocal cords. I'm talking about bending the main canes,
the ones that come up from the base or bud union. Forcing these main canes into
a curved shape encourages more bud eyes (the little red dots that are usually
right above a horizontal line or node). The bloom bearing canes emerge from the
bud eyes, so more bud eyes means more roses. This stressing technique is
especially effective with climbers, but can also be used on shrub roses with
young canes or long flexible ones, and of course on most David Austins with the
gangly octopus canes they tend to grow in our sunny southern California climate.
Here are some fun ways to stress your roses:
Pegging: Grab the tip of a long cane and bend it down and around into
an arc. Tie the tip to a lower part of the cane, or use the grab of the thorns
to make a connection. I like to get creative with pegging, and shape my pliable
roses into giant hearts, globes and other interesting living structures.
Pillaring: Winding rose canes around a structure puts
them under stress, and increases blooms. I've used metal obelisks, and beautiful
antique posts as structures, but I've also made rose pillars out of simple 4 x
4s. Take a ten foot tall 4 x 4 and pound two feet of it into the ground. Using a
post level, a tool that attaches to the post and costs less than $10, helps you
keep the post (yes -- what a surprise) level while you're installing it, or you
can just do this by eye. Insert wood screws up and down the post on all four
sides, but leave them sticking out some. These serve as anchors to grab the rose
canes. A touch of clear silicone on the screw threads will keep them from
scratching the canes. Wind your main canes around the structure, barber pole
style. Wind some of the canes clockwise, and others counterclockwise. For a
crowning touch, I use screws with hand forged fancy heads instead of plain old
wood screws, and I top the 4 x 4 with a decorative finial.
Tying to fence rails: Bending the canes horizontally and tying them
to the rails also puts them under stress and encourages the growth of blooming
stems. I recently designed a rose fence for a client. We used six foot long
branches cut from one of his trees as our posts, and pounded two feet into the
ground to create a four foot tall fence. Holes were drilled in the tree branch
posts, and decorative wrought iron was threaded through the holes to serve as
the rail. This one-of-a-kind rose structure was simple to make, cost next to
nothing, and should transform his roses from wimpy to wunderbar.
Espalier: Bending the main canes into a fan shape on a
wall also stresses them. It's important to leave some airspace between the canes
and wall. I attached an old, discarded screen porch grill to a garden wall, and
tied the rose canes to that. You can also use eye screws and wires, or wooden
Growing up an arch, arbor, pergola, or
gazebo: You'll want to stress some of the canes by winding them up the sides of
the structure. If you run all the canes straight up, they won't be under stress,
and you'll only get blooming roses at the top where the canes are bent into an
arc. I like to use two roses on each side: one that grows straight up and then
arches over the top of the structure, smothering it in blooms. The second rose
snakes from the ground up, creating a luxuriant flower covered wall; thus
maximum bloom potential over the entire structure, just by putting your rose
canes under stress.
Now, go have fun stressing out
your roses, and may the new year bring you many blooms!
- Author: jannike petrovska
Choosing This Year's Roses
-- By jannike petrovska --
No. I'm not obsessed with roses. In fact, the gardens I design for myself are composed of shaped hedges, artistic foliage, and subdued color, with an almost stark absence of blooms. But I'm imagining a new garden for Humpty Dumpty House Foundation, and I have to admit, some of the Romanticas, and many of the English roses, with their delicious fragrances, sky-high petal counts, and dreamy deep chalice shapes take my breath away. Regardless, I find designing with roses a challenge. Even when narrowed down to the Romanticas and English roses, there are oh-so-many choices. And unless you enjoy looking at thorny canes with bloomless or disease speckled foliage, "the right rose in the right place" is critical for superb performance. So for the past several years I've been collecting information about the best roses for a hot, dry southern California climate. Factors important to me were bloom power, color, disease resistance, form, and fragrance, in that order of priority.
Bloom Power: For sheer bloom power (with highest being a shrub smothered in roses year round), I've found Iceberg to be a rose that consistently delivers in our hot, dry area. But since I prefer quality to quantity, I hoped to find a stunningly beautiful, fragrant, disease resistant rose with enough repeat to keep at least a few blooms on the shrub most of the time, rather than an average rose with tons of nonstop blooms.
Disease Resistance: I wanted to grow vigorous, bloom-packed shrubs without the application of fungicides and pesticides, so finding disease resistant varieties was important.
Form: The deeply cupped and chalice shaped blooms found on many of the Romanticas and English roses is heartbreakingly beautiful to my eye, so I was willing to sacrifice sheer bloom power for awe-inspiring beauty.
Fragrance: I wanted the garden experience to be fully immersive, so only roses with fragrance were considered.
Armed with this list of priorities, I began my search. And after reading everything I could find, talking to rosarians and rose enthusiasts, and visiting public and private rose gardens, here are my choices for the new rose garden at Humpty Dumpty House.
Summary for burgundy-red roses in our hot, dry climate:
First place: Tradescant.
The best thing about Tradescant: People who grow it say it has a color not to be believed, and in hot sun it bleaches less than many other red roses.
The worst thing about Tradescant: Rigid canes.
Runners-Up: Rouge Royale, Chocolate Sundae, William Shakespeare 2000.
Summary for pink roses in our hot, dry climate:
First place: Alnwick.
The best thing about Alnwick: The sheer beauty of its blooms, and its ability to form a hedge.
The worst thing about Alnwick: Some people who grow it claim it burns, but the one I observed did fine in full morning sun, and dappled afternoon sun, even in the summer.
Runners-Up: Scepter d'Isle, Queen of Sweden.
Summary for apricot roses in our hot, dry climate:
First place: Carding Mill.
Best thing about Carding Mill: Lovely chalice shape, and performs exceptionally well in hot sun.
Worst thing about Carding Mill: Fragrance reported to be weak.
Runners-Up: St Cecilia, Abraham Darby
What we love is deeply personal. Our gardens: an expression of what we love. Stunningly beautiful roses? Ooh la la.
Go out; look at lots of roses -- and take home the ones that sing to your heart.