Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Rose: My Fifth Signature Plant -- In Danger?

We just returned from a fabulous trip to Phoenix, Arizona, where we visited my son and his family. I will be writing about his desert garden soon; so different than mine. As we pulled into our driveway, I was surprised to see my roses are in full bloom, giving a wonderful display of pink, yellow, white and red. I had already decided the rose would be my June signature plant for Diana's meme, Dozen For Diana, but as all my blooms are early, I'm choosing the rose for May instead of for next month.

I have another reason for discussing my roses at this time. I am very nervous that they may be in danger from a virus called rose rosette disease. A few days before our trip, I noticed a very ugly wild rose plant at the edge of the Woodland Walk. On close examination I realized it was infected with the rose-rosette virus.

Diseased Multiflora Rose

Rose Rosette Disease or Witches' Broom

 As I have mentioned several times in this blog, our Woodland Walk is inundated with the invasive multiflora rose. H.H. works hard every year to eliminate it, but there are just too many.

Multiflora rose, introduced as rootstock for ornamental roses in 1866, grows throughout the U.S. with a few exceptions, such as the Rocky Mountains. This thorny, perennial shrub has arching stems and clusters of showy, white-to-pink flowers that appear in May or June. The rose-rosette virus is spread by a tiny mite and an infected wasp, and has the potential to wipe out the multiflora rose, but is a threat to many ornamental rose species and cultivars also. The symptoms of the rose-rosette disease, sometimes called 'witches' broom', include elongation of new shoots, distorted/stunted leaves, excessive thorniness and deformed flowers. Some diseased plants exhibit few of the symptoms, making diagnosis difficult. An infected plant may die within two years. The only course of action is to take out all suspected roses in your garden and destroy them immediately by burning, if allowed in your area, or by bagging and removing.

I took some of the above information from an article I wrote for eHow. Click here to read more. Dee Nash has also written about this subject on her blog, Red Dirt Ramblings. Dee has lost roses to the disease and is very knowledgeable on the subject, so do visit her blog.

H.H. took out and burned two infected plants. Now I'm afraid my prized David Austin rose is displaying some of the symptoms and I am watching it carefully. I wrote about my Lichfield Angel, and its origins, here. It would break my heart to destroy it.

None of my other roses are showing a problem at this time.

Lichfield Angel, on right. I'm not showing the 'suspicious' part

Climbing rose Rosa 'Improved Blaze"

Climbing rose of unknown species

Rosa 'Compassion' and bleeding heart

Compassion was chosen for its divine scent

Another Knockout rose.
When choosing signature plants, I try to select native ones, but an English cottage garden must have roses -- don't you agree? My experience with rose rosette disease is, however, a perfect example of why native plants are best, as they are less prone to disease.

When we returned from Phoenix this week, I saw the peonies and irises are nearly finished. I'm glad I didn't miss them entirely.

The peony has exquisite perfume, too.

Bearded Iris along Bluebell Creek. The diseased roses were removed from behind them.
The strawberries are ripening
Before we left for Phoenix, we opened the pond for the summer. It has a new waterfall and filter. The water is still a bit murky; it will take a couple of weeks to clear. We can't see the fish very well, but there are lots of frogs to enjoy ...

... and not so enjoyable bunnies hopping around it.

Being away, I haven't read your blogs lately, but now I'm off to Diana's amazing garden in South Africa to see more signature plants: do join me at Elephant's Eye.

Wishing you joy in your garden!
Pamela x

H.H.'s latest bird house. Not yet occupied.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Rainy May Bloom Day

Maries' Viburnum Viburnum plicatum tomentosum 'Mariesii'
It is Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day and the rain is coming down in buckets. The crazy 2012 weather gave us no snow in January or February, record-breaking high temperatures in March, March winds in April, and April showers (actually downpours) in May. Makes me wonder what the summer will bring. I took some pictures yesterday when the rain was lighter, but because of the drizzle -- or my inept ability as a photographer -- some of the photos are a bit blurry like the one at the top of the page.

I love Bloom Day because I can compare my garden over the years. Last year on this date the crabapple was in full bloom, so were the lilacs, and I still had daffodils and primroses. All those blooms are gone already this year, and the bluebells, rhododendron, azalea, honeysuckles, strawberries and blueberries are blooming at least two weeks early. As I said, it's a crazy year!

Let's take a walk around my garden:

I am pleased with the viburnum I planted last year.


Brunnera macrophylla 'Jack Frost'

Tiarella sp. 'Foamflower' (center) with lamium, ferns and hosta.
Calycanthus floridus 'Sweet Shrub'

I recently discovered I had this sp. of Calycanthus with red blooms

I planted a Chinese Mayapple two years ago, and thought it was dead. I am happy to see it survived ...

Podophyllum delavayi 'Chinese Mayapple'

Dicentra 'Bleeding Heart'


The bluebells along Bluebell Creek lead us into the Woodland Walk...

They don't look very blue in this picture -- I blame the rain.
Pieris japonica x florabunda 'Mountain Fire' and Pulmonaria

Pulmonaria Lungwort

Unfortunately, our Woodland Walk has many invasive species which H.H. labors to remove each year. One of them, the Russian Olive, is blooming today, and it's heady scent pervades my garden ...

Elaeagnus angustifolia Russian Olive


In the cottage garden there are many 'firsts' ...

First iris

First peony

First clematis

First water iris to bloom

Cerastium tomentosum  'Snow-in-summer'


Spirea cantoniensis 'Bridal veil spirea'

Bridal veil spirea and azalea

First rhododendron blooms

The honeysuckle arbor leads from the entrance garden to the shade garden.


Blossoms on the strawberry plants.

Future blooms: marigold seedlings in the potting shed


Thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for hosting GBBD on the 15th of each month! Let's go over to her wonderful blog and see what's blooming around the world.

I hope the weather is being kind to you and your garden.  For me it's 'Rain, rain go away!'

Pamela x

Nice weather for frogs!

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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Prayer Garden

 Grow flowers of gratitude in the soil of prayer.  
~Terri Guillemets

 I love 'before and after' pictures of gardens, so I am taking photographs of the Prayer Garden at our church as we revamp it. The Prayer Garden was created several years ago in remembrance of two beloved church members.  It was built originally as an eagle scout project by the talented son of a church member, and is now due for a face lift. For more information go to the Church's website ... click here and scroll down to 'Prayer Garden.' I recently spent a morning there as part of a work party. It was amazing how much work was accomplished by the group, weeding, composting, and planting. I can't wait until it is finished before posting pictures, so here are some images of the garden so far.

You enter the small, enclosed space through a new arbor that replaces an old rotted one. The focal point at the end of the stone path is a bell that I believe hung in the original bell tower.

The beautiful plant next to the bell is a bleeding heart, one of several that have graced the garden for some years.

Dicentra Bleeding Heart

The garden is shaded by a crabapple tree, looking amazing this springtime ...

Crabapple blossoms

Another tree that has been here for some years is a dogwood, pruned into the shape of a cross.

We envision several new plants for the garden, starting with a hydrangea and a clethra planted in memory of a former pastor and his wife.  It is said that plants sleep the first year, creep the second, and leap the third. These sleeping shrubs are looking strong and healthy for their first year.

Clethra alnifolia Summersweet
Hydrangea quercifolia Oakleaf hydrangea
The hydrangea is located in a shady corner behind the fence that hides the air conditioners.

Three handsome benches were also given a facelift and placed where they can provide rest to the visitor enjoying the serenity of the garden.

One of three benches in the Prayer Garden

The words that come to my mind when considering a prayer garden are 'peace', 'serenity', 'rest', 'solace'. To this end, we decided not to use any bright colors in the plantings. At the moment there are a lot of pinks, but we will also use mauves and whites. We planted blue and white phlox also.

Aquilega Canadensis Columbine
A honeysuckle vine is being trained to grow over the arbor.

Lonicera Honeysuckle
There is a lot to do before the project is finished, and I will post the progress. The rest of the church garden is a lovely foundation planting, and the church members maintain that area also. The irises are in bloom today. Although the church is only a few minutes from my house, they are blooming earlier than mine, as our home is at a slightly higher elevation.

When the new Prayer Garden is finished, it will be rededicated by our Pastor. Most of the credit for the revamp goes to my dear friend, and fellow master gardener, Julie, who is masterminding the project and has done much of the grunt work. Other church members come forward to help as needed. I am blessed to have such a wonderful church family, many of whom share my love of gardening.

Have a blessed week!
Pamela x

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