Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Garden is Simply a Vehicle

Winter Solstice Full Moon Through the Apricot Tree ~ Before the Eclipse
Our Gardens are our pleasure and our delight, to be sure. We love having the soil on our hands and the sun on our faces. We love the smells and sights and sounds and feel of our gardens. Our gardens are our vehicle for experiencing great and simple human pleasures. We love the processes that take us along as we create a setting for ourselves in which to experience the quiet and contemplative, or the singing and rejoicing, the laughing, delighting aspects of our lives.
Last night I sat in our garden at midnight, the moist breeze of an unusually warm winter weather system mussing  my hair, brushing my skin, filling my senses with the odors of lingering, dying greenery, and rich soil. Sitting in the dim light of an eclipsing moon, my garden gave me a treasure box setting from which to watch the rare celestial phenomenon of a total lunar eclipse. I didn't need to see colorful flowers and green grass. The winter garden, grey and sleeping under the night sky, gave me my heart full for one winter solstice night.

The Winter Solstice Total Lunar Eclipse ~ December 20/21, 2010
(You May click to Enlarge the Above Photos)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Jude the Obscure Rose ~ An Ethereal, Fleeting Beauty

David Austin's Jude the Obscure ~ I had longed to try this rose in my garden for a year or two before I was able to realize my dream. Everything I saw and read described such beauty such fragrance! 

Jude the Obscure ~ A Peachy Bud
Not being near any rose gardens besides my own, (the closest towns with lovely rose gardens being over 100 miles away in any direction), I had to wait to grow him myself. I am certainly NOT disappointed in the flowers and fragrance of Jude the Obscure, but, I think I may know now why he is called "Obscure".

Unselfconscious About Being Fabulous ~ Jude the Obscure

Perhaps he was named for Jude Fawley, the hero of the last of Thomas Hardy's novels, though, personally, I would not have associated that person with this lovely, delicate, fragrant rose. 

Jude the Obscure ~ Romantically Alluring in the Evening Light
am thinking, rather, now that I am acquainted with my very own Jude the Obscure on a more personal level, that his name has something to do with the dearth of blossoms that this stingy rose produces.

Jude the Obscure ~ Upstaging the Petunias

Certainly, he seems preoccupied with something other than producing roses. I never get more than a few rare blossoms each season. Perhaps my one poor little bush is mentally wandering through the Halls of Christminster, wishing for a more academic distinction than birth or breeding would seem to indicate. Perhaps he is simply afraid of having children, due to the unhappy outcome of his namesake in that area.  
Oh! The Fragrance of Jude the Obscure!

For whatever reason he is named Jude the Obscure, it does, unfortunately, seem rather fitting. I am hoping, though, that as his 4th season in my garden approaches, he will have matured enough to realize that achieving his
  full potential as a beautiful and productive rose bush will be his happiest destiny.

(You May Click to Enlarge the Above photos)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Roses on China

Last week I noticed that the roses blooming in my Mom's garden in Scottsdale, Arizona, looked very much like the roses painted on an antique china plate in her cupboard.
It reminded me that roses have always been adored, admired, painted and planted by people who love pretty things. This plate is well over 60 years old; in fact, my Mother has had it  almost that long herself, and it was old when she acquired it. The roses blooming in her pots are from the Home Depot and the grocery store just a few years ago, with names unknown. I wonder what roses were the inspiration for the artist? Were they just generic images in his head that came out on his china palate, or were they interpertations of beloved plants grown in her garden and lovingly brushed onto the plate to treasure forever? Likely it was just a job and the flowers were painted according to some standard directions. Though that takes a bit of the romance out, it remains facinating to me that these roses, so far apart in time and space, are yet of a race of eternal beauty rediscovered and enjoyed in so many different ways by each generation anew.

(You May Click to Enlarge the Above Photos)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Prairie Star, a Star in My Garden

Driving out of town before dawn last  Sunday, we enjoyed the bright sight of Venus dominating the south eastern skies. She was brilliant! The alarm going off at 3:50 am didn't seem so much of a punishment, with this vision to reward us for the first stretch of our 4 hour drive, which took us over the sparsely populated High Colorado Plateau.
Prairie Star was so aptly named! Like Venus, the Morning Star, shining through the night sky and over the wakening land, Prairie Star shines brightly in our garden.  A hearty plant whose flushes throughout the summer are a cornerstone of beauty in our little yard, Prairie Star really glows in early morning and in evening light. We have planted 2 around the birdbath, and they work together well to reward us with a great show. Disease free and healthy, this Buck rose is a delight and a joy to grow. I do wish Prairie Star had more fragrance, but perhaps that is asking too much form a star.
Prairie Star Glowing in the Twilight'

Prairie Star Baby May 2008

Prairie Star ~ by July 2008, Blooming His Heart Out for Us!

Prairie Star and Fans ~ Stargazer Llies

Prairie Star ~ July 2008 Such a Star!
Prairie Satr by August 2010 ~ All Grown Up

Prairie Star ~ August 2010

 Read more about Prairie Star:
Loving the Prairie Star Rose

(You May Click to Enlarge the Above Photos)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Quietness Rose ~ The Elegance of Good Breeding

Quietness Basking in the Summer Air

Quietness calls to my mind what the last well bred lady in history would be; elegant, gracious, unfailingly polite, unerringly correct, all in the company of her more vulgar and ill mannered neighbors. No matter that she is crowded and elbowed about by garishly dressed and forward, grasping folks in her spot in my garden, like gaura and phlox, she maintains her place with a dignity that is forever charming. Her clear pink cheeks are fresh and bright in the driest of summer weather, yet never despondent or pouting in the torrents of the summer monsoons. When she is finished with a blossom, she discards it without fuss, daintily and cleanly, careful to make no extra work for others, even for the resident drudge and manure hauler of the garden, (me). She is sparing with her fragrance, which has been sometimes strong and clove-y, but at other times nonexistent, still,  I love her very much. Going on her fourth year now, she continues a delightful Quiet Queen of my garden, growing and thriving without demanding attention, but drawing every eye none the less to her graceful presence.
I am glad that Dr. Griffith Buck had a passion for breeding winter hardy roses. I believe the deceptively fragile pink coloring of Quietness is possible in my harsh climate because of it.

Quietness ~ Ever Well Behaved ~ Even When Shoved About

Of Course,  Quietness is a  Gracious Hostess

Quietness ~ Humbly Sharing the Spotlight With Common Folk

Quietness ~ Unbelievably Gorgeous
(You May Click To Enlarge the Above Photos)

Grocery Store Minis ~ "Hyacinths to Feed Thy Soul"

A Sunny Yellow Mini ~ Over a Decade in My Garden

When I find a cheery little miniature rose at the grocery store, it beckons me ~ "Take me home! I'll reward you every day!"  I have very often succumbed to the Sirens cry and have found a happy outcome in every case. Even if for some reason the little fellow never makes it into the garden, the pleasure it affords us is well worth the small outlay. Having a fresh and colorful little rosebush to enjoy,  LONG after the tub of ice cream I gave up to buy it, would have been gone, is a good feeling. It is a friendly reminder that things are growing and blooming somewhere, even in my zone 5 winter, and that I have a lot to look forward to when spring comes and the ground relents. I am reminded of the charming Medieval Persian poem:

"If of thy mortal goods thou art bereft,
And from thy slender store two loves alone to thee are left,
Sell one, and with the dole
Buy Hyacinths to feed thy soul."

"Feeding the soul" is a good policy, especially in times of extra stress, and I have some minis in my garden that are over a decade old that were purchased in leaner times, (rescued, I should say, as they were very tired by the time I brought them home),  for a dollar at the grocery store on sale after Mother's Day. Even at full price, a little five dollar pot of roses usually has 4 or 5 plants in it, that can be charming until they're finished blooming, then potted up separately and enjoyed, given as gifts, or planted later in the garden. There's always a place for them!
I think, too, that having these little fellows so readily available, really helps to feed a passion for gardening in susceptible ones, and some who go in to the store thinking only of their box of Cheerios come out with a potted mini and a dawning love of growing beautiful things. Nothing feeds a budding hobby like small successes, and as hobbyists are the ones mostly supporting the serious folks who grow for sale the named and rare and antique varieties of  roses that we more involved gardeners so love, I believe that it's a good thing for the industry overall. I will continue to enjoy bringing home these wonderful presents to myself and my family!

From the Local Grocery Store, Grown by Masson Radium Springs Farms, New Mexico

Pretty and Healthy

From Sprouts Last Year, Beaming at the Foot of Jude the Obscure

A Trader Joe's Purchase, a Parade Rose Now Thriving in the Rock Garden
Sweet Red Grocery Store Mini Among the Dianthus
Another Parade Rose Among the Petunias
One of the Dollar Minis From Over 10 Years Ago, Still SO Happy in the Garden
 (You May Click To Enlarge the Above Photos)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Chicago Peace ~ Reliably Cheerful

Chicago Peace ~ Always Charming and Delightful
Chicago Peace gave us so much bright pleasure this past summer. It is a bush from our earlier days here; we've probably had it about 10 years. It actually gets quite a bit of afternoon shade, as it is on the north side of the house, but that doesn't seem to slow it down or fade out its brilliant coloring. Though it has little fragrance to me, its stunning coloration, vigorous, disease free growth, and happy disposition,  more than compensate and it is very well worth growing in our garden. I bless the Chicago gardener who found this sport of Peace in his garden and gave us this wonderful rose.

Chicago Peace ~ Demurely,  Glowingly  Lovely 

Chicago Peace ~ Unbelievably, Neon-ly  Brilliant!

We  See our Garden Out of the Dining Room Through Chicago Peace
Chicago Peace ~ Bursting With Energy and Light

Chicago Peace ~ A Vigorous, Eager-to-Please Bush
Chicago Peace ~ Way Beyond Pink
Chicago Peace ~ Still Bright at Twilight
(You May Click To Enlarge the Above photos)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

I Love Abraham Darby

David Austin's Abraham Darby ~ Brilliantly Reflecting the Western Sun

Abraham Darby ~ What a charming fellow! This is a beautiful, strongly perfumed, David Austin rose that I am enjoying growing  in my garden. I have an older plant that was purchased from Jackson and Perkins about a dozen years ago, and a 3 year old from a little Heirloom Roses band. The older plant had been ordered in great excitement and planted in as much, then neglected while I raised children and dogs and earned money and so forth; when I found my garden becoming important to me again I could not remember the name of the older bush. All I could remember was that I thought it had a man's name. As Abraham Darby, famous, perhaps to folks who study the Industrial Revolution, was not famous to me, I had forgotten it. With my renewed interest in growing roses, and my new purchases flourishing, I realised that my old friend was indeed Abe Darby. YAY!  I am very glad to have 2. I am really enjoying them!
Abraham Darby 

Abraham Darby ~ A Back Blossom, Happy in the Shade

Abraham Darby ~ A Strong, Delicious, Smother-Your-Nose-With-It Fragrance
Abraham Darby ~ Pretty in Bud

Abraham Darby ~ Nonchalant About the Storm Clouds 

Abraham Darby ~ Flying Over the Garden

Abraham Darby ~ Sweetly Attractive to Bees

Abraham Darby ~ Carefree and Frivolous

The Older Bush of Abraham Darby  ~ Consistently Peachier Than the Very Pink Newer Bush

Abraham Darby ~ The Newer, Pinkier Bush
 (You May Click To Enlarge the Above Photos)