Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Grand Dame of Flowers: Roses for My Monthly Garden Bouquet

Noelle who hosts 'Monthly Garden Bouquet' at Ramblings from a Desert Garden suggests we might want to make a bouquet of autumn colors this month. That was my intention as I headed outside to check out what was in bloom.  However, my roses caught my attention and it occurred to me this may be the last chance to show them off. Now, flower arranging is not my forte, so I just stuck them in a vase and let them speak for themselves...

I thought the rose petals on the table were a nice touch.

Roses at tea-time are always appropriate ...

I picked these blooms from the new flower bed. The main purpose of my blog is to make a record of what I accomplish in the garden each year. So if you will indulge me, I would like to document the construction of this bed.

Regular followers may remember we had two large catalpa trees removed from the back of the house last year.  I had fun planning what to do with the new spaces. We decided on a patio tree where one catalpa stood and this will be planted next spring. I wanted to grow more roses, so a new bed would go where the other tree was removed. I thought a vertical element was needed, and when my daughter gave me a very tall wrought iron trellis, I knew this would serve the purpose.

I marked out the bed and H.H. prepared the soil. This was no easy task as there were tree roots from the old catalpa to contend with. However, he was able to dig quite deeply and then he amended with compost, horse manure, and peat moss.

If you look carefully at the above picture you will see the trellis leaning against the pasture fence near the goat. I was hoping to detract from the ugliness of the pasture fence with the trellis and judicious plantings.

Following a rough sketch I had made, and with the trellis in place, I happily began planting. I put golden biota, Platycladus cupressaceae, on each side of the trellis to ground it. A climbing rose was placed at the foot of the trellis with a clematis. I relocated some garden ornaments to fill the gaps.

Rosa Cl. 'Iceberg' by Weeks Roses

Clematis x jackmanii 'Mrs. Cholmondeley'
At the back of the trellis I added a sweet autumn clematis for Dude (mini horse) and Billy (goat) to enjoy as they passed the hours in their pasture. But if you look at them in the picture above, you can see they weren't really interested - ungrateful beasts. Sweet autumn clematis is a very vigorous grower, so I expect it to reach the top of the tall trellis eventually.

Sweet Autumn Clematis
The focal point of this garden was to be my first David Austin rose, 'Lichfield Angel', which I have talked about a lot this summer, so I wont elaborate further. I added two Knockout roses for easy care, Russian sage, lupines, perennial geranium, and crocosmia. I did not want this to be a rose garden per se, but a garden with roses.

David Austin Rosa 'Lichfield Angel'

Russian Sage Perovskia atriplicifolia

Lupine Lupinus polyphyllus mix

Crocosmia 'Lucifer'
Finally, around the edge of the bed, I planted miniature roses.

Miniature rose Rosa "Rise 'N' Shine"
I installed a soaker hose and added mulch. We found the perfect birdbath to complete the picture.

I was happy with the result. And when we added the fish pond to the area, the new flower bed seemed perfectly placed and really came into its own.

So today I celebrate the Grand Dame of flowers, the rose. Now let's go over to Noelle's blog to see what bouquets other gardeners have made today.

Happy October gardening,
Pamela x

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Friday, October 15, 2010

Survivors of the First Frost for October GBBD

There was a frost last night; first of the season. I decided not to cover any plants, but to let nature do its thing. However, I brought the houseplants inside from the back porch where they had resided all summer. I also potted up some less-than-hardy chrysanthemums and put them in a 'pumpkin' tureen to decorate the dining-room table.

 I was pleased to see all the houseplants were looking quite healthy. The African violets are in bloom. It's nice to have some plants inside the house again.

This morning, I sipped coffee and watched the local TV news, waiting until the frost warning had expired, before venturing outside (warmly dressed of course) to survey the damage. As expected, my most tender annuals were zapped, especially the impatiens, but most everything else survived. The new rose bed next to the pond was lovely as ever.

 Several plants are clinging onto summer with just one or two blooms. The lantana and the honeysuckle vine have the occasional blossom peeping through dead leaves.

 I was sure Jack Frost would have killed the Boston ferns on the deck, but they seem to have been saved by the grape vine that still has protective leaves.

Autumn in Pennsylvania is very beautiful, although this year the colors of leaves are not quite so bright. The maples are shedding their leaves before they turn from yellow to red.

But the staghorn sumac is as gorgeously red as ever.

There are plenty of berries for the birds in winter, especially on the crabapple near the house, and on the wild barberry in the Woodland Walk.

 I was happy to see the pansy's smiling face. Pansies love the cooler weather, even if I don't like it much.

Nearby, a flock of goldfinches rose up from a clump of echinacea, too fast for me to photograph them. They love the seeds of the purple cone flowers. I like the way the seedheads are reflected in the mirror on the picket fence. 

At last, the sun shone and changed the color of the frosty sky to blue. Then the autumn-clad trees behind the white barn were reflected in the fish pond.

I hate to see the end of summer, but I feel blessed to live in such a beautiful part of the world, where there are four distinct seasons. I truly admire those gardeners who live in places where there is endless summer ... how do they do it? I am looking forward to the downtime that winter brings. Already I have gardening plans for next season running through my head and I look forward to sitting by the fireplace putting down my ideas on paper.

But now I am going to visit May Dream's Gardens where Carol is graciously hosting October's Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day. I look forward to seeing what is blooming around the world, today. Why don't you join me.

Wishing you a happy October in your garden!
Pam x

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