“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” ~ William Shakespeare
Fun is one of the most mysterious words in the English language. Catch it, contain it, bottle it and sell it if you can. Define it if you dare. Each person has a different idea of fun. Fun comes when you least expect it so be on the look out or you may miss it. Seldom have I found ‘fun’ when it was planned and most expected, and often I’ve found it when it was least expected.
Such is the case when I discovered that a hibiscus is known by the name ‘rose mallow’. I planted this gentle tropical giant at the entry of the Rose Walk Way in the Rock Rose Garden. The shear audacity of a giant tropical ‘Rose Mallow’ planted in the middle of a country setting across from corn fields was fun and it tickles me pink. This is the essence of a juxtaposition.
The Hibiscus ‘Rose Mallow’
Native to China, the hibiscus is confused often times with many plants; from the ‘Rose of Sharon’ to Hollyhocks it has been cultivated in the United States and Japan for thousands of years.
It’s the genus of over 200 plants! It comes in large rose, yellow, purple, pink and white flowers. Most varieties have large flowers from 6-12 inches blooming in late summer.
‘Rose of Sharon’ | ‘And The Desert Shall Bloom Like A Rose’~ Isaiah 35:1
The phrase ‘Rose of Sharon’ that folks confuse the hibiscus rose mallow with appears in English in 1611 as “the flower of the field” in the King James Bible. The speaker (beloved) says, in the song of Solomon 2:1 “I am the rose of Sharon, the lily of the valley”. The previous translations had referred to it simply as ‘Flower of the Field”.
Bible scholars think it’s a catch phrase that could be a mistranslation referring to:
Crocus A kind of crocus growing as a lily on the coastal plain of Sharon
Tulip – Bright red tulip prolific on the Hills of Sharon
Madonna Lily, commonly know as the ‘Lily of the Valley’ mentioned in Song of Solomon 2:1
Only one of the species is a member of Rosaceae, (the rose family). ‘Rose of Sharon’ lack of precise meaning therefore is used often in song and verse. Though the identity of the flower still remains unclear its that very lack of precision that makes it a useful catch phrase. The species it refers to in modern usage is a member of Rosaceae. And the Hebrew word translation reads “And the desert shall bloom like a rose.”
Most interesting is a translation committee from ‘Song of Solomon’ 2:1 thinks “Rose of Sharon” is a mistranslation of Hebrew word for crocus. And etymologists’ tentatively have linked the word for beṣel, meaning bulb and understood as meaning either pungent or splendid.
National Flower of S. Korea ‘The Rose of Sharon’ Mugungwa
‘Rose of Sharon’ is the National Flower of S. Korea. Its pronounced (moogooonwa). It was first used by the actual term mugunghwa and was first employed during the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392).
“The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.” ~Isaiah 35:1 KJV
Heat, rain, weather extremes add stress to plants across the nation. Visiting Independent Garden Centers and Big Box stores regularly can give you new opportunities to revive plants on the verge of perishing at bargain basement prices. Like most folks on a budget plants pose another added expense.
If you love plants get out there and check your area garden centers. All around the Midwest and in Virginia plants are marked down to $1.00. I had the department manager of the local big box store actually tell me to make him an offer for flats of flowers!
The news that bargains are everywhere on plants may not make retailers happy to hear however, plant loving folks, knowing you can buy perennials plants for $1.00 and start your year-round garden is a great fun project, so get going and get the kids involved. Every plant pictured in this article is a bargain plant and was purchased for $1.00 -$3.00 in the Fredericksburg, VA. in my daughter-in-law’s ‘Love Blooms Garden’.
Miracles happen around us all the time. When the extraordinary becomes the ordinary, & you start to see things in a ho-hum way, take a minute to see what’s going on around you. For instance, hydrangeas change color simply by the ph of the soil.
While visiting “America’s Most Historic City”, Fredericksburg, VA, for the 4th of July, the hydrangeas are in bloom. And its in Fredericksburg that we see the true bluest of the blue flower. Blue hydrangeas were blooming on the 4th of July.
Fredericksburg, VA was home to George Washington, our 1st President and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, the Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War.
His family moved to Ferry Farm in Stafford County just off the Rappahannock River opposite Fredericksburg in 1738. Washington’s mother Mary later moved to the city, and his sister Betty lived at Kenmore, a plantation house then outside of Fredericksburg.
The 4th of July is my favorite holiday. Your garden is in peak form. Shopping for the get together is fun-party-food & red, white & blue plants! You see patriotic plantings in Red | White | and Blue everywhere. Some are planted in the shape of flags in gardens & container gardens.
Baskets and container gardens can give your holiday get-together a patriotic feeling with red, white and ‘blue’ flowers. Its easy to find red and white plants. True blue flowers that give your plantings a truly patriotic look are sometimes a bit of a challenge so start early. Its not too late! Grab the kids, and the pets run to your local Independent Garden Center (IGC) or Big Box Store and here’s some ideas.
I chose a red miniature rose for one container pot and some red geraniums in another. The blue flowers I chose are called ‘blue’ ajuga chocolate chip and I found some blue petunias. The white flowers are a perennial called Candytuft, Sempervirens Snow Cone that are sun and drought tolerant.
Plant your patriotic red, white and blue gardens early so they will be full and lush in time for your 4th of July parties and family get togethers.
Miniature red roses of any variety, white Proven Winners Candytuft, and ‘blue’ Ajuga Chocolate Chip, all perennials make a good patriotic garden choice.
Purple Petunias are always a good choice. Your gardens will fill-in and provide plenty of Patriotic fun and color for your Patriotic holiday picnics! Kids love them! Be sure to add flags, candles, and decorations.
Add miniature white & red roses, even lavender shades.
“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” Did your Mama or Daddy teach you this, or even Grandmother?
As grown-ups my kids said to me “Mom, we had no idea you didn’t like bell peppers.” Because green peppers are a ‘super food’, I cooked with them and made stuffed green peppers. My entire family love green peppers. It was and is important to me that my children make their own decisions without me influencing them with negative comments.
We can heavily influence our friends and family by portraying people, plants & products in a positive light. You know its true. A third-party endorsement and good PR about a product or person is far more valuable than an advertisement. Why? Because anyone that can write a check can buy advertising; but when real people say good things about people or products it has the power to influence our decisions about that person, plant or product. I know I read the Amazon Reviews written by real people before I decide to buy a product.
Here’s an example about roses. I grew the popular hybrid tea rose ‘John F. Kennedy’ in N. Illinois in the 80’s. It didn’t perform well for me. I grew to dislike the rose. So when my Texas rose garden apprentice, friend and neighbor, Karen Crelia chose ‘John F. Kennedy’ for her front yard show piece rose I didn’t say one word. Remember there are variables in play like the Texas soil, climate and which grower grew her plant that may affect how well her JFK would do. In the Texas climate and soil ‘John F. Kennedy’ may do very well. Guess what? Her ‘John F. Kennedy’ was spectacular!
So Here We Grow Again
‘John F’ Kennedy’ is blooming in the sandy loam soil of central Illinois with Organic Mechanics, organic soil. I add 2 cups of Mills Magic Rose Food. in the organic soil mix and top with Canadian Spagnum Peat Moss. This is my first bloom of ‘John F. Kennedy’ it was just planted this spring as a bare root rose. It looks like it’s going to do very well.
By the way. Chris Van Cleave said his Grandmother told him “If you can’t say something nice then come sit by me.” I love that quote!
This is an updated article I wrote for The American Rose The Magazine of The American Rose Society edition July/August 2014 to now include Illinois Roses
How hot is too hot for roses?
Moving from Texas to Illinois in June of 2011 I thought I was saying good-bye to mind numbing days of counting the days of temperatures over 100, water restrictions, and days without rain. Then the summer of 2011 the entire nation faced a 100-year drought and record heat. Even though I had had enough of Texas heat it seems I had packed up Texas weather and taken it with me to the rolling cornfields of Central Illinois. The summer of 2011 was also a 100-year draught across much of the nation proving once again a message that rosarians can convey to each other and those new to growing roses. Roses are resilient and can withstand very hot temperatures as long as they are watered regularly. Click to read: Killer Texas Summer Shatters Heat Drought Records.
Fast forward June 2016!
Here’s the Question I was asked to answer for readers of American Rose Magazine July/August edition 2014
Question: Do you think its better to “use canopies or individual coverings for roses during extreme heat conditions or let your roses sulk in the summer heat”?
There’s more than one answer to the question:
When roses (and virtually any other plants) reach the point of excessive water stress, they don’t “feed,” nor do they try to grow. They simply try to remain alive. That’s why even when you’re watering daily with what feels like excessive water amounts, many rose bushes will begin shedding their leaves to reduce their water stress. With less leaves and they don’t “sweat”, transpire it through the foliage. That slows and can literally stop the flow of sap from the roots upward, so no food is taken in. Nature demands balance. Even in times of extreme heat I have seen my roses continue to remain beautiful with just smaller blooms and less frequent bloom cycles. Roses seem to go into almost a dormancy state to conserve energy and water.
Answer: For the purpose of this article I chose to let my Roses swelter in both N. Texas and now Central Illinois heat with protection in mind to identify heat tolerant roses that perform better under extreme heat and low water conditions.
Here’s ways that we can continue to grow good roses and preserve our plants and maintain water restrictions. In extreme heat like the DFW area I recommend protection and filtered light as protection from the unending heat rather than canopies if possible and here are a few tactics I employed in N. Texas while growing over 200 roses there. I had hybrid teas, grandifloras, floribundas, miniatures, shrubs, David Austin Roses, Large Flowered Climbers, and Knock-Outs.
Select roses suitable for a hot climate. I have a list of modern roses that I have proved can survive extreme N. Texas heat for 20 + years. And you can also plant OGR’s that are adapted to heat, those in existence before 1867. The beauty of these roses lie in their heady fragrance and can include Hybrid Perpetuals, Teas, Chinas, Hybrid Musks, Bourbons and other Classes like these. Avoid using antique roses bred for colder climates such as the Kordes Roses and Rugosas.
Just as dark colors retain heat and light colors keep us cooler, lighter-colored roses can hold up to extreme heat better than dark reds, and oranges do. Plant darker colored roses where there is some protection or perhaps less than full sun. Choose some white, light-pink and pale yellow roses that seem to hold up better to extreme temperatures.
The elevated beds I put in in N. Texas allowed me to put in a laser cut drip irrigation watering system. I watered deeply and at the base of the plant, not directly on the leaves of the plant. I set timers to water very early in the morning not ever during full sun. During times when water restrictions were in place we could use the hose and I deep watered allowable amounts and my roses did just fine. Remember that dehydration during summer months can put your plants in peril. If you have an irrigation system in place be sure that it’s set to water at least 2 inches of water per week, and does not water directly on the leaves of the plant during full sun. This is difficult to determine when you take into consideration factors like wind, temperature and type of soil. So you may want to purchase a moisture gauge for your rose garden.
Fertilize from two weeks to 30 days prior to when you expect hot weather to reach and maintain temperatures near 98F. Organic fertilizers and soil amendments are far less likely to burn your plants even during sustained high temperatures. For those of you living in zones where temperatures really start to warm up in late-February, this is a time to begin fertilizing. Then fertilize monthly until mid-May when temperatures start to rise. You really have to watch carefully your fertilizer to water ratio during the hottest months. That should be your signal to start reducing your fertilizing until late in the summer.
Shredded hardwood mulch retains moisture and keeps the soil cooler; I use layers of hardwood mulch over Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss that I add each season.
Plant roses with protection from afternoon sun and be sure they still receive at least 6 hours of direct morning sunlight.
Roses love to grow in largely organic soil with good drainage. To grow the best roses in summer heat, plant your rose in a deep hole that drains well. Water regularly and deeply, In Texas my roses in the front yard had indirect afternoon sun with the dappled light of oak trees I planted that grew to be mighty shade providing oak trees, and this provided a canopy of well-needed cooling shade cover.
You can use a shade cloth cover if that is aesthetically acceptable to you. Don ‘t plant roses next to a South or West facing wall, especially stone or brick because the stone holds heat that can also burn your plants and will reflect too much heat. My roses that I planted and added stones along a path held heat late into the evening on a hot summer day due to absorbing qualities of the stone and I could see these roses suffered from the excessive heat of the stone, the roses with grass next to them were far cooler. Don’t forget that layers of mulch help to keep the soil cool. Spraying off the roses in the evening helps to cool your plants and wash away spider mites but never spray during direct sunlight.
My Susan Fox Top Ten List from my Texas & Illinois Garden Garden
Julia Child, F
Francis Meilland, HT
Sugar Moon, HT
Pretty Lady Rose, HT
Easy Does It, F
Take It Easy, S
Pumpkin Patch, F
Watercolors Home Run, S
I also thought I would ask Minnesota Rose Gardener Jack Falkner about heat in the a northern climate and here’s what Jack had to say:
“Folks are often surprised to hear that we get a lot of hot weather in Minnesota in the summer. It’s not at all unusual for us to see temperatures upwards to the high nineties and 100, along with very high humidity. That’s when I wash my roses at mid-day to cool them down. Syringing is also the best thing you can do to control spider mites. You can use any kind of nozzle that delivers a sharp stream, but I use a spider mite blaster that shoots a high-pressure fan of water up from the bottom of the plants and they love it. An added advantage is that I get pretty wet in the process, which makes me feel like a kid running through the sprinkler on a hot day.” ~ Jack Falkner
‘Above and Beyond’ with a bumble Bee this morning.It’s Pollinator Week, June 15-21. Roses are pollinator attractants.
Background of Pollinator Week
Pollinator Week was initiated and is managed by the Pollinator Partnership.
“Eight years ago the U.S. Senate’s unanimous approval and designation of a week in June as “National Pollinator Week” marked a necessary step toward addressing the urgent issue of declining pollinator populations.
Pollinator Week has now grown to be an international celebration of the valuable ecosystem services provided by bees, birds, butterflies, bats and beetles. The growing concern for pollinators is a sign of progress, but it is vital that we continue to maximize our collective effort. The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture signs the proclamation every year.”*
“Pollinating animals, including bees, birds, butterflies, bats, beetles and others, are vital to our delicate ecosystem, supporting terrestrial wildlife, providing healthy watershed, and more. Therefore, Pollinator Week is a week to get the importance of pollinators’ message out to as many people as possible. It’s not too early to start thinking about an event at your school, garden, church, store, etc. Pollinators positively effect all our lives- let’s SAVE them and CELEBRATE them!” According to the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign
A philanthropist is a person who seeks to promote the welfare of others, especially by the generous donation of their time & money to good causes. Margie Clayman is the quintessential philanthropist.
Margie collected me years ago as one of her causes. She took me under her wing when she was host of Tweet Diner, an online Twitter Chat, an eclectic chat on timely topics. At the time I didn’t know the difference between a hashtag and a clothes tag. We have been friends ever since. She has encouraged me at every turn to write more and be all I can be.
If there is a need she fills it if she can. She reminds me of what my mother told me “There is no such thing as a dishonest gardener.”
Margie is an author and a highly regarded marketing strategist. I often wonder how she finds time to be successful career woman, author, crocheter, gardener, cook, sharer of recipes and philanthropist. She crochets blankets and scarves for the victims of disasters and runs Homespun Helpers and the Friendship Bracelet Brigadewhile working full time as Director of Marketing at Clayman & Associates, LLC, a 60 year old Ohio ad agency based in Marietta, Ohio.
To all my American Rose Society friends please welcome Margie to the rose growing world. And visit her charity pages to donate to her causes, they will warm your heart. At Christmas I donated so Margie could knit a scarf for victims of a disaster.
In Texas I had 4 apprentice rose gardeners so when Margie bought her house she and faithful companion ‘Cumbie’ wanted to add landscaping. It was time to bring Margie into the fold of rose garden apprentices. It seemed Proven Winners Oso Easy Series of Roses are the perfect choice for our busy philanthropist and her side-kick Cumbie*
*Cumbie is named for Sherlock of the PBS series star Benedict Cumberbatch we both were quite taken with.
*Margie Clayman is the Director of Marketing, B2B Client Services at Marietta-based Clayman & Associates, LLC. Margie also runs the charitable organization Homespun Helpers and is currently running a project called The Friendship Bracelet. You can follow Margie on Twitter @margieclayman.
“The soul is healed by being with children.” ~Fyodor Dostoyevsky and Being In The Garden With Children and Your Pets ~ Susan Fox
Roses can be fun & easy-to-grow. If you want easy-to-grow roses, ‘Easy Does It’* tops the list. ‘Easy Does It’ blooms its precious, sweet mango orange heart out out from the first bud until the last day of winter when temps dip below 21 degrees for more than 3 days.
A rotogravure of ‘Easy Does It’ with light dancing among the petals of roses from dusk to dawn.
Each stage of bloom are shown with floribundas and hybrid tea roses ‘Elle’, ‘Hot Cocoa, and gorgeous ‘Pumpkin Patch’.
Roses are a gathering place for family and friends. See how the rose ‘Hot Cocoa’ takes on such burnished rich tones.
‘Easy Does It’ floribunda rose, a little blooming machine ready to start all over again!
Orange-pink Floribunda. Registration name: HARpageant Exhibition name: Easy Does It ®
The definition of irony: a raccoon ripping up your plants next to a cute raccoon statue, after you caught the last one and released him.
Here’s the story. We caught the last little varmint. His brother or sister are back. Instead of borrowing the neighbor’s animal trap we went to Rural King and bought our own safe “catch & release’ trap.
Big Daddy said buy sardines for the trap. How was I to know the fine print said gourmet sardines in hot mustard? Anyway at 6:00 AM this morning I went out and something was in the cage having a fit.
‘Big Daddy had slipped the cage inside of a lawn & leaf bag and all I could see were angry eyes. So I ran in to get Mr. Fox and said “Get-Up, Get-Up! You got him and he’s spitting mad.
So after he backed up the truck to drive him to the edge of our woods and we got our cup of coffee and a fishing pole we took the cage out of the bag opened the cage only to discover we had bagged the neighbor’s Tom cat!
And Big Daddy said he didn’t even get a meal out of the deal because he refused to eat Gourmet Sardines in Hot Mustard! So The Cat’s Out Of The Bag! We bagged the neighbor’s Tom Cat!