Thursday, November 26, 2015

first winter roses

 Although the true roses are ending, the winter roses (Helleborus) are starting to come out. About 4-5 days ago, the first of 'Jacob' appeared. I liked it so much that I bought a couple more. This is the first plant I bought, and it began blooming about this time last year.

jacob 2
 'Jacob' 2 has a few flowers opening. 'Jacob' 3 had a battle with spider mites this summer, and although it survived, it is not blooming.

nell lewis
'Nell Lewis' is a few years old now, and these are the first flowers on it.

I don't have any of the new flashy colors in Hellebores. The original white are still my favorite.

still a few blooms

Despite the four inches of snow we had, some of the roses hung in there and are still blooming. I thought they might be freeze-dried when I saw them, but nope. Still fresh. Still fragrant.

There are still a couple of flowers left on 'Iceberg'
 There's a few on 'Bolero' which still has crispy edges like it did all summer. Sigh. To take out all of them, or not.

Another rose I've been debating removing are the two bushes I have of 'William Shakespeare 2000.' Such miserable plants. Of course, despite the snow and nightly freezing temperatures, there is this one gorgeous, perfect, fragrant bloom. 

'Old Blush' has a few flowers hanging on. 

'Falstaff' has a bud, but not particularly happy.

'Bishop's Castle' has a few amazingly nice flowers, which have a different fragrance than in the summer. 

I don't know if this flower on 'Alnwick Castle' counts, but what the heck.

Monday, November 16, 2015

wet, heavy snow

 The wet heavy snow we are getting sure is pretty.

Not a very common occurrence here.

We can certainly use the moisture.

 Looks like Christmas.

 Or at least winter.

But the snow weighs down branches. Can you believe that I knocked the snow off this redbud only 15 minutes ago?

The heavy wet snow breaks branches.

 So sad.  Half of this young tree just broke off. The apple trees are bowed as well, and I keep going out to knock off the snow.

'Bolero' rose under the snow.

The last of the 'Bishop's Castle' rose under the snow.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

last of the roses

These are almost certainly the last of the fall roses.
 With the cooler temperatures, and a nice rainstorm, 'William Shakespeare 2000' has put out one big 4"+ flower.

 So has 'Falstaff', which I'm pleased to note, now has a delightful fragrance - old rose scent, but with an indescribable sweetness added.

'Falstaff' has, to me, the most beautiful blossoms of any red rose that I know of.

 'Old Blush' has always had at least a few flowers on it since it started in the spring.

 Not much fragrance, and not much form, but very floriferous.

 I wish 'Bolero' would give me the nicely formed flowers that I know he's capable of.

 But no, all my 'Bolero' roses give me lumpy misshapen, thrip damaged flowers for most of the season.

 This one at least is getting close. The flowers are well scented, and the plants are very nice (bushy, compact, with glossy disease-free foliage), but too bad the flowers are so ugly.

Does rosemary count? 'Gorizia' is taking advantage of the fall weather as well.

Sunday, October 18, 2015


This is the third growing season for my apple trees. 'Goldrush' is the only one that has produced any apples of significance, and it is the first year for it to produce. I had one or two apples on my 'Calville Blanc d'Hiver' and on my 'Ashmead's Kernal' but the birds got to them before they ripened. Maybe next year. They got a few of the 'Goldrush' also.

I don't know if the apples will be the same every year, but 'Goldrush' so far has been tart and honeyed (the tart is said to mellow with storage) with very yellow flesh as the name would indicate. I baked one into an apple pie (mixed with store-bough 'Granny Smith'), and the result was more like a potato than an apple, in that they were rather solid and potato-like when cooked, the bright yellow flesh stood out in the pie in contrast to the Grannies, and the flavor was rather bland.  I might try again after the apples age a few weeks.

purple yam

I tried growing a purple yam this year. The one plant grew 15 feet wide (yes I paced it out) and very lush. I  thought I would dig it up today since there are some leaves just starting to turn yellow.

 Here's the first one!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

crocus speciosus

I know it's fall when Crocus speciosus makes its appearance.

Always such a pleasant surprise at a time of year that gets a little depressing.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

fall surprise: cyclamen

Bulbs are always a bit of a surprise to me. I know that I planted it, I know that it bloomed last year, but frequently I am preoccupied with other things in life, and even though I am occasionally looking for it at their time of year, when a flower pops up it can be a bit unexpected. This is especially true of those bulbs that don't put out leaves before they put out flowers. I looked to see if this cyclamen was alive a few weeks ago, and saw nothing. Today during some garden cleanup, I was pleasantly surprised to see this. Now I know it really is fall.

I've had this cyclamen for a number of years. It never gets big and impressive, like I've seen in photos. In the old house, it didn't even put out flowers some years. But it was one of the plants that I remembered to transplant to the new house, and it seems to be surviving if not spectacular. It is still a pleasure to see it poking out in the fall. In another month, I'll see if the Crocus speciosus survived from last year.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

new camera vs. old camera

I've got a new camera for travel. After researching for days, I got the Panasonic DMC-LX100. It's light. It's quick. It's been critiqued as being a good substitute for a dSLR when traveling. I may not know how to use the camera as well as my trusty (and HEAVY) Nikon D700, but I was comparing shots today.

Abraham Darby
New Camera

Old camera

New camera

Old camera

Bishop's Castle
New camera

Old camera

New camera
Old camera
The old camera is much, much better at capturing color accurately, and has better control over DOF. The Bolero photos show that the iHDR setting on the new camera is better at capturing shadows (but not necessarily the highlights), although this looks like it may just be a matter of metering. The old camera is much better at macro. So the new camera will stay what it was intended for, a travel camera.

bolero, finally

Bolero is finally doing what it is supposed to do.

Growing along with dahlias (taller white flowers), Trionfo Violetto beans, and casa blanca lilies (which apparently HATE it here).

The thrips have subsided slightly (still some damage evident), and the plants were given a bit of nitrogen, which is apparently what they needed.

Although these versions of roses are not native to New Mexico, roses are embedded in the culture of New Mexico gardens, and I will always think they belong. Somehow, they just look right, especially when combined with plants adapted to this climate.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

rain lily

Yep. It's time for the Zephranthes. I'm finding that it's not actually true that the rain brings on the blooms. It's been raining every few weeks for the past few months, but they haven't been blooming until now. I suspect that the rain only triggers bloom during the late summer bloom season.