Saturday, May 28, 2016

For best performance in the category of "rose"...

The award goes to ....'Pure Perfume.' An unexpected win! Planted last year, the 3 little bands that I planted last year, grew slowly in our strange spring, but are now strutting their stuff.

Although the flowers are beautiful, they are not all that photogenic.  It is the overall quality of the plant that makes it a winner.

The leaves are dark green, even in my conditions (take note, 'Iceberg'!), and they are a nice glossy green. Some people don't like glossy leaves on their roses, but I do. They have not shown a hint of disease.

The flowers and leaves have shown no significant damage, despite high winds (both hot and cold), thrips, aphids, and the typical vagaries of a high desert climate: temps below freezing, days in the 80's, wind, wind, wind (take note, 'Bolero'!).

The only category where 'Iceberg' and 'Bolero' win, is on fragrance. With a name like 'Pure Perfume' you'd expect great fragrance, but to be honest, it is only slight. It is described as grapefruit, and with some imagination I can believe it, but what comes to mind first is .... bathroom cleaner.

Maybe I could come up with a new name. Hmm...Toto (as in the brand of toilet)? or Kohler?

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

more rose photos

Despite the 55 mph winds, these roses survived decently. They look so peaceful here, don't they?

Madame Isaac Pereire

Abraham Darby

Alnwick Castle
This is more like what it was like. Thank goodness for fast shutter speeds.

salvia daghestanica

Viewing a single plant in isolation allows for appreciation in a different way than seeing a massing of the plants. Salvia daghestanica is one that is meant to be appreciated.

Monday, May 16, 2016

too much of the same color

 Although I love the lavender blues of Nepeta 'Walker's Low' and Penstemon linaroides, the combination doesn't light my fire. They are too similar in color! I didn't expect that. Nor did I expect them to bloom at the same time.

Penstemon caespitosus is also blooming at the same time...and the same color. Sigh.

 And the Penstemon heterophyllus, the Salvia officinalis 'Minima' and the Nepeta 'Walker's Low' tend to blend all together.

At least the May Night salvia is a different shade, and even more so, the Salvia 'Caradonna'.

But the Salvia daghestanica (at the very bottom of the photo) is also the same color.

And at least they are a little different texture, but can you see the Salvia daghestanica here? 

 Or here?

Betty Corning has a similar color, but it's more purple. Which makes me realize that the good thing about all this same color, is that it ties the garden together. I guess you can tell what color I like. That is, until the roses start blooming in earnest.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

why I grow roses

Why do I grow roses? Could it be for the ethereal blossoms of this 'Tranquility' rose?

Or the history of this 'Old Blush' rose, which is going to town this year?

Well, yes, it is for their beauty. But at least as much for what you can't see, the fragrance. My 'Bolero' rose smells of waterlily and sweetened whipped cream.

'Evelyn' smells like ripe peaches and a touch of rose.

'Bishop's Castle' has a rich and almost powdery scent that you could bathe in.

'Abraham Darby' doesn't just have a mango colored flower, it smells like mango, or tropical fruit.

And although 'William Shakespeare' makes me swoon just looking at it, the strong sweet fragrance of violets gets me heady.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

spring 2016

 Four years in this house and the garden is finally starting to come together. The rosemary 'Gorizia' is getting big, and the apple trees are big enough to be visible.

'Bolero' roses, Penstemon heterophyllus 'Blue Springs', Salvia officinalis 'Minima' and Nepeta 'Walkers Low' with the 'Hidcote' lavender making mounds and the Dianthus 'Coconut Surprise' coming along.

'Iceberg' in the pot, and Salvia daghestanica. 

 I still think I need to take out the lipstick red 'Knockout' roses, but the whole garden will turn pink anyway when the rest of the roses start to bloom. I should probably take out the cardoon. But they are so yummy!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

spring wind

The winds came again in the night, a thief with impunity to steal and thus coming not in silence but with a malevolent roaring that seems almost a mockery of my impotence in protecting my charges. The train-wreck sound wakes me in the night, and as it continues, I lie awake in the dark, hearing the damage that it is wrecking on my garden. Morning shows the destruction. The lily stems have snapped.

Leaves are torn off the trees.

The steel chimney cap is hurtled yards down and fortunately narrowly misses the ‘Evelyn’ roses that have already suffered crushing damage in their lives. It also misses the lavender that survived last years rot-fest. Somehow the eight screws that hold it in place have been worked free by the relentless wind.

When I step out to take photos, I am pelted by chunks of ice, blown on winds the weather report tells me are gusting at 65 mph. The wires in the street lights usually tap the poles with a ding---ding---ding, now ring rapid fire staccato dada-ding-da-ding-dada-dada-ding-da, ceaselessly. The violence of it as the gusts slam into me take my breath away. I find it nearly impossible to capture the intensity in a photograph.I dash inside as it starts snowing, the wind blowing the stinging snow first this way, then that way, the unpredictability of the wind making walking an unsteady thing. This is spring in Albuquerque, perhaps a degree or two more severe than usual.

If you look closely, you can see the snow coming down.

Yesterday, I made a trek to Agua Fria Nursery in Santa Fe, purchasing more of my favorite blue/purple Penstemon linarioides for my gravel walk, whose gravel I finished sifting last week.

Just starting to bloom in my garden.

After this trip, another Penstemon caespitosus will keep my solitary plant company.

existing plant, just starting to bloom

new friend
 I also bought Campanula sarmatica which I had in my old garden and was sad when a very wet monsoon season caused them to rot. Now I’ll have the dusty blue bells in my garden, and the almost too-vigorous self seeding. I have also been missing the  Echinocereus reichenbachii var. albispinus I had in my old garden, and now I have a replacement, as well as a cultivar called ‘Kimble’ which seems to have spines almost like Echinocereus rigidissimus, tiny regular octopi of spines in rows, but of pure white. I don’t think I’ll be planting my new purchases today. Maybe it’s time to give up on plants such as lilies.