Easy To Love | Easy To Grow |Roses

Pretty Lady Rose
Pretty Lady Rose
Pretty Lady Rose

An Easy To Love |  Easy To Grow | Rose Garden

“Roses Are For Every Garden” at  The Chicago Flower & Garden Show, interview with

What Jodie Henke of Living the Country Life radio (a Meredith, Better Homes & Garden property) will air across the U.S., on

85% of folks say roses are their favorite flower. They want easy-to-grow roses. Rose breeders are listening to YOU! Each year there are better minimal care roses available that you can have great success with. Here are some of the  Conard Pyle Star Roses and Weeks Roses, that I researched and have personally grown. I included them because of their beauty and ease of care. Star Roses and Weeks Roses supplied the roses for the Chicago Flower & Garden rose garden his year and last year  had been planned to be at the show. They are minimal care roses bred for their easy to grow qualities. I can vouch for their high degree of success in the garden. Christian Bédard told us ‘Pretty Lady Rose’ may be the best rose he’s ever bred and I can tell you its at the top of my list for perfection.

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Hybrid Teas Roses | Americas Favorite Flower

Hybrid tea roses are perfect for any rose garden. They are perfect for cut flowers and creating our own bouquets. A hybrid tea is easily identifiable by their large shapely single flower blooms on long stems. Here are a few of the very best hybrid teas that are true winners.

‘Pretty Lady Rose’ New 2016 | Weeks Roses 2nd in their The Downton Abbey Series

  • Dark even rose pink almost fuchsia
  • 4-5 “ Large old fashioned ruffled petals
  • The smell of peonies with a hint of spices
'Francis Meilland'
‘Francis Meilland’

‘Francis Meilland’ 1996

  • Color: Very large shell pink flowers
  • Winter hardy disease resistant
  • Winner of Biltmore International Rose Trials Best Hybrid Tea
  • Strong fruity and citrusy fragrance
Award of Excellence Best Established Rose | Bred by Dr. Walter E. Lammerts (United States, 1954).
Award of Excellence Best Established Rose

‘Queen Elizabeth’ 1954

  • Pink 4” with large petals, and pointed buds
  • Moderate rose fragrance
  • Won ‘Best Established’ Rose at The Biltmore International Rose Trials when I was a judge in 2015

For Hedge and Borders I love Shrub roses because they grow from 5 to 15 feet in every direction based on your climate and growing conditions.

'Watercolors Homerun'
‘Watercolors Homerun’

‘Water Colors Home Run’ by Weeks Roses

  • 3 colors showy flame red | yellow gold pink blush | Hot Pink
  • Medium height and bloom size
  • Winter hardy and disease resistant
'Drift® Chamboeuf'
‘Drift® Chamboeuf’

‘Drift®’ Groundcover Roses by Star Roses and Plants

  • 8 colors from White Drift Rose to Red Drift Rose
  • Blooms 1 ½” -3” bushes about 2 feet tall spreading
  • Winter hardy, disease resistant, and easy to grow.
Bonica, Shrub rose always the first to bloom in the spring in my Texas rose garden
Bonica, Shrub rose always the first to bloom in the spring in my Texas rose garden

Bonica® – Shrub

  • The Bonica rose has been voted the World’s Favorite Rose in by the World Federation of Rose Societies and an All-America Winner
  • Pastel pink, 3” blossoms, about 5’ tall spreading
  • Slight fragrance

For containers you can plant Miniature or miniflora roses known for novelty and versatility.

Some of the most beautiful and hardy are:

'All a Twitter'
‘All a Twitter’

‘All a’ Twitter’

  • Twinkling brilliant orange
  • Tall, medium size blooms
  • Winter hardy

‘Be My Baby’

  • Incandescent pink
  • Large round blooms, medium tall
  • Fragrance mild tea 

‘Sunblaze®’ Miniatures by Star Roses and Plants

  • All colors from amber-to yellow, vigorous, disease resistant, winter hardy.
  • 12-18 inches compact
  • Slight fragrance

For walls, fences, and pergolas we want climbing or rambling type roses for their unique long arching canes, and their ability to climb fences, over walls, through trellises, arbors, trellises.

‘Above All’

  • The old classic ‘Westerland’ raised modernized with 21st century ‘best-off-best’ qualities!
  • Salmon-orange blend, repeat blooming, 10-14 feet
  • Old fashioned, 3 ½”-4” blooms, fruity fragrance
Bee on Fourth of July Climbing Rose Bush
Bee on Fourth of July Climbing Rose Bush

‘4th of July’

  • Gorgeous Red striped and bright white
  • 10-14 feet canes
  • Fresh cut apple and & sweet rose fragrance

‘Pretty in Pink Eden’ or ‘New Dawn’ (Light pink)

  • All qualities of highest rated, award winning rose ‘Eden Climber’ also known as ‘Pierre de Ronsand’ only deep pink
  • 10-12’ with gorgeous very double blooms 70-80 petals
  • Vintage rose fragrance, vigorous and disease resistant 

Floribundas

Beautiful Roses for the garden known for their profusion of bloom are floribundas. They bear flowers in large clusters and trusses with large clusters of and trusses. This class is unrivaled for providing massive colorful lasting garden displays that are hardier, easy care and more reliable in wet weather than their hybrid tea counterpart.

'Bolero' blooming as a perfect heart in nature
‘Bolero’ blooming as a perfect heart in nature

‘Bolero’

  • White, large blooms with 100 petals
  • Old rose and spicy fragrance
  • Bushy and about 3 feet tall
'Julia Child' by Weeks Roses featured this shot of 'Julia Child' in The American Rose Society 2014 Calendar
‘Julia Child’ by Weeks Roses featured this shot of ‘Julia Child’ in The American Rose Society 2014 Calendar

‘Julia Child’

  • One of the top selling roses in the world
  • Butter/gold color, medium very full 3-4” blooms
  • Strong licorice fragrance
'Easy Does It' by Weeks Roses with Rain Drops, a vision of perfection
‘Easy Does It’ by Weeks Roses with Rain Drops

‘Easy Does It’

  • Gorgeous Mango Peach
  • Ever blooming with a moderate fragrance
  • Disease resistant, one of my all time favorites!  

Be sure and join us at The Chicago Flower and Garden Show. This is only the 2nd year we will have roses blooming in March in a rose garden setting in Chicago at Navy Pier. We’ll have American Rose Society Consulting Rosarians there to answer your rose growing questions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Four Seasons of Roses

Gaga's Garden Roses 2015 Calendar Cover 'Moonstone'

Garden Legends Live On By Designs & Impressions They Leave on The Earth | Our Hearts and Minds

Gaga's Garden Roses 2015 Calendar Cover 'Moonstone'
Gaga’s Garden Roses 2015 Calendar Cover ‘Moonstone’

Gaga’s Garden Calendar of Roses represents a dream come true. What’s so special about this calendar? Here’s the back story: When my picture of a spray of ‘Julia Child’ was chosen for the American Rose Society calendar in 2014, folks asked me, “why don’t you do your own rose calendar?”

Julia Child
Julia Child

So I present you Gaga’s Garden Roses 2015. It includes roses like ‘Elle’, for the month of April, a rose near and dear to my heart. I planted ‘Elle’ when my granddaughter Gabrielle was born. She now has a little sister named Ella, so now its doubly meaningful to me. People tell me they want roses that are named for or remind them of themselves, friends, family members or celebrities all the time, and ask me to assist them in their search to locate them. The names of roses in the garden are always a topic for conversation on garden tours. So you see rose names matter.

'Elle' featured for the month of April, 2015 with a quote from Alain Meilland, Meilland Roses International,
‘Elle’ featured for the month of April, 2015 with a quote from Alain Meilland, Meilland Roses International,

 

A rose is an argument. It proclaims the triumph of beauty over brutality, of gentleness over violence, of the ephemeral over the lasting, and of the universal over the particular. The same rose bursts into bloom on the North Cape and in the Sahara Desert.”~Alain Meilland

 

Neil Diamond, new from Weeks Roses 2015 Cataolog
Neil Diamond, new from Weeks Roses 2015 Cataolog

Over the years people have taught me that a garden says so much about who we are. A rose garden can give one a venue of remembrance, an outlet for stress, a show place for photography, a sorcerers delight for alchemy, a veritable rainbow of colors, and a tapestry of fragrance so deep it touches the soul. The delight and knowledge I’ve gained through conversations about names of roses has continued to inspire me. Roses offer a way to softly gain access to the five senses in the garden that then gently whisper thoughts of life and our loved ones worth remembering that only a walk in a rose garden can inspire. Listen and let the garden speak to us. Let us count the ways on your calendar of Gaga’s Garden Roses 2015 . Happy New Year! Click on this link to buy the calendar. Happy New Year!

Don’t forget 10% of profits are donated to the American Rose Society.

The Rose Garden
The Rose Garden

Oui Theory Run Aground

Gabi & Gaga
Gabi & Gaga
Gabi & Gaga in the Garden Oui Theory Works

Every theory has to be proven, right?  I’m reeling over the fact that my own “Oui Theory” is spinning off into uncharted waters due to the lure of fishing. It’s in trouble folks. Proven over and over again, there’s trouble right here in river city and that’s with a capitol ‘T.” Apropos because the banks of the Mississippi are at 35.7 feet as of Sunday. That’s cresting 11 feet above flood stage.

Oui Theory Follower
Ancient Concept of “Oui Theory” pronounced WE. He as ONE can accomplish on Monday what “Oui” did not on Sunday. Ancient art.

Proven Oui Theory

Fuzzy logic corresponds to “degrees of truth,” out of this basic premise Oui Theory emerges:

Many of you have heard of Big Bang, String Theory and Einstein’s Theory of Relativity*. Today I introduce to you, the urban/rural dedicated gardener, Oui Theory. And I predict controversies to tumble over into those parallel newly discovered dimensions that string theory suggests that you may or may not even exist in. Oui theory is so simple and elegant that it will possibly punch a hole in the dimension you live in today.

Oui Theory is simply this, Oui (pronounced we and French for yes), can accomplish the work of two while you are not there. The artful gardener must first identify all of her/his resources and that must include your labor force. Your resources include who can do the work that you have identified that you would like to have done in your garden while you were at home and you would like completed after you are not there by putting the Oui Theory to work for you. Now that is parallel universe optimization. You will not be there and work will be getting done by someone you have identified that essentially is in a parallel universe toiling away at things Oui have mutually agreed to do and then enjoy together, maybe. You carefully planned it, purchased the plants, perhaps even did beautiful sketches, you visualized it in the other beautiful universe which of course is your mind. Now here is where your genious will put Steven Hawking to shame, Oui Theory actually translates into “Yes” Dear. Oui Theory simply stated is “yes dear, I see your logic we (oui) will complete this project while you are (at work, getting your nails done, hair appointment, shopping, taking a trip around the world, taking French cooking classes, going to buy a new car, get the oil changed, play soccer, play golf, ad infinitum…”.

 

The lures
The lures

The Spool Unraveling

It worked like a charm until you guessed it: fishing came into the equation. That’s right fishing. I’ll give you some background. First of all you can’t buy a fish within 60 miles of this place in the country that’s not frozen. All these folks go out and catch their own fresh fish. I might add that I ask two stores last Sunday if they had packaged lox and the butcher at one store said, “what’s that?” Here are the words I wish I could eat. So I said to Big Daddy “aren’t those fishing poles in the corner of the garage, and didn’t you used to like to fish?’ “ I guess if we are ever going to have fresh fish you are going to have to go out and catch some.” A funny thing happened on my way to fresh fish. The little store in town had a cardboard sign up on the street corner with an arrow pointing down the road that said “fresh fish.” I ask them inside “where are the fish down that road?” Isaiah said bring a cooler and I’ll meet you at the catfish pond. I ask him if I had to catch ‘em. He said no but they are live catfish. I laughed and asked him if I had to bonk ‘em on the head or what? He said just take ‘em home and weigh them and bring him the money anytime.  I visualized a squirming fish on a scale. No can do! So my husband laughed at me and said put the bathroom scale out on the back patio with the fish in it and he weighed them first with the fish in it then when they were out of it. We calculated the cost and paid the store. I won’t go into the fish mercy killing. Let’s just say we are a kinder gentler catfish slaughterhouse. They were then lightly breaded and pan fried, which you can’t do if they are alive.  Small town living is the best though. Where can you just go out to the stores pond get a live fish take it home in a cooler, weigh it on your own bathroom scale, kill it and eat it and pay for it when you feel like it?  That gives new meaning to “is the fish fresh today?”

Lure Test and the Catch | A Bass | At a Secret Undisclosed Location
Lure Test and the Catch | A Bass | At a Secret Undisclosed Location

Qui Theory Gone Fishin’

It started last winter. After I ask that foolish question about fishing. Re-inventing the fishing lure shall we say? “Oui” bought cedar wood to make custom lures of every size. Then “Oui” bought paint of every color. Of course “Oui” had an airbrush for the paint and epoxy. Then “Oui” built a custom jig to paint them in a uniform fashion. And now we have a Shimono rod to catch Muskie and Abu Garcia reels. The reel looks more like a winch because Muskie of course are about 4 feet long. And now I am supposed to learn how to pickle fish and can them because a four foot Muskie makes about I don’t know a ton of pickled tidbits of fish. I may as well start watching Doomsday Preppers. You guessed where this is going right? Yesterday I had to dig up part of the rose garden with a pitchfork myself. Because the better half of my Oui Theory partnership was working of what do you think? Fishing stuff. Where did I go wrong? 

 

 

You Can Eat Roses Can’t You? 

 Bonica_Web

You can eat roses. There’s Rose Petal Tea, Rose Petal Ice Cream, Rose Petal Jam. However, does Big Daddy look like a Rose Petal food variety eater? If the menu had say catfish and hush puppies and rose petal soufflé he may choose the catfish. He may have rose petal ice cream for desert.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Love Language of Roses

Veterans Honor, Hybrid Tea

“All of us blossom when we feel loved and wither when we do not feel loved.”
― Gary ChapmanThe Five Love Languages for Singles

Roses have a Love Language expressed by their color. This Valentine’s Day let your roses do the talking, Second That Emotion with a rose. Do you know what the color of a rose says when you give it? In the Book The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts by Gary Chapman, Chapman explains that each of us has a love language. And its really important to understand how each of us interpret expressions of love toward each other.

Words of Affirmation

Mark Twain once said “I can live for two months on a good compliment.” Appreciation is one of the most important things to someone whose love language is  based on “Words of Affirmation.” Simple compliments like, “You you look so pretty,” or “You mean so much to me! I can’t wait to see you,” are all someone needs to hear to feel loved. “Words of Affirmation” can also include just offering words of encouragement that lead to confidence building in a loved one. So if  your Valentines love language is “Words of Affirmations,” you might give them red roses and whisper “I love you and I desire you.” Your love languages are singing from the same hymnal with red roses and words of affirmation.

Veterans Honor, Hybrid Tea
Veterans Honor, Hybrid Tea

A red rose is an expression of love. Red roses convey deep emotions – love, longing and desire. Red Roses can also indicate respect, admiration and devotion. The number of red roses has romantic significance. 12 red roses is the most popular and means “Be mine” and “I love you”

Quality Time

Quality time is about spending time and involves doing things together. Many people feel loved when they can share experiences, thoughts feelings and desires. Communication and deep personal sharing draws a couple closer on many levels. Being sure to set time aside to spend quality one-on-one time together will ensure a happy marriage. Now this love language is very easy for me it has OUI Theory written all over. I live it every day. If you haven’t read that post its time you did because it works. If your love’s love language is about spending quality time together then orange roses may be a winner signifying the time spent together  can lead from a warm glow to a fiery passion. Here’s my perfect example for Big Daddy, “Darling, I would love a new Rio Samba, About Face, and Coretta Scott King and OUI can plant them together, Monday when I am at work,” see how that works?

Fragrant Cloud, Gaga's Garden
Fragrant Cloud, Gaga’s Garden

Orange Roses: reminds us of the sun, a fiery blaze, signifying passion and energy. Orange roses can be used to express intense desire, pride and fervor. They also convey a sense of fascination, rivaling only the red roses as messengers of passion in romance.

Receiving Gifts

Gift are often meant to be a symbol of our love. If  this is your love language, you are more likely to treasure any gift as an expression of love and devotion. People who speak this love language often feel that a lack of receiving gifts represents a lack of love from their mate. This love language is easy to learn. Be sure to understand your partners attitude about money before you make an assumption she or he wants to receieve gifts. Making an assumption your loved one wants to receive gifts to feel loved when really they are worried about finances can lead to serious financial misunderstandings. That’s what learning each other’s love language is all about. A person who feels receiving gifts is a sign of feeling loved sees it as a sign that you are investing the money not in gifts but in deepening the relationship so the gift does not necessarily have to cost a lot of money. It is often the thought that counts. The perfect Valentine’s plan may be a heart necklace and a bouquet of pink roses indicating admiration, joy in your relationship and deep gratitude for all that she does for you.

Raindrops on Roses
Raindrops on Roses

Pink Roses: Pink roses range in color from baby’s breath pink to smoldering fuchsia. They cover a range of emotions from admiration, joy and gratitude and can also be indicative of sweetness and innocence. Deep pink rose blooms convey deep gratitude and appreciation. Pink roses can convey elegance and grace.

Acts of Service

I’m sure you have heard the expression “actions speak louder than words.” The person who feels loved by Acts of Service lives by this rule. Simple chores around the house can be an undeniable expression of love. Even simple things like laundry and taking out the trash require some form of planning, time, effort, and energy. It’s important to find out what little thing you can do for each other that would really show that you care enough to get involved in the day to day mundane chores and help out with it. This shows you care enough to do it and goes a long way when your loved one values Acts of Service in their love language. A wonderful Valentine’s Day could be waxing the car and a bouquet of lavender roses for her or for him taking all those shirts from the laundry basket to the dry cleaners and getting them done and back before he knows it.

Night Owl Spray in the fall rose garden
Night Owl Spray in the fall rose garden

Lavender Roses: A Lavender rose like its color conveys enchantment. It also expresses “love at first sight.” Darker shades of lavender roses (close to purple) convey a sense of regal majesty, splendor, fascination and adoration.

Physical Touch

Many people feel the most loved when they receive physical contact from their partner. For anyone who speaks this love language they want to feel human touch. Its important to remember that this love language is different for everyone. That way you can make the most of your hugging, kissing, cuddling and other physical contacts. For passion red roses simply are the rose of choice. They are the ultimate symbol.

Lavaglut Florabunda
Lavaglut Florabunda

A red rose is an expression of love. Red roses convey deep emotions – love, longing and desire. Red Roses can also indicate respect, admiration and devotion. The number of red roses has romantic significance. 12 red roses is the most popular and means “Be mine” and “I love you”

 

 

Here are wonderful ideas for our friends

Golden Showers, Gaga's Garden
Golden Showers, Gaga’s Garden

Yellow Roses: Yellow roses are an expression of exuberance. Yellow roses evoke sunny feelings of joy, warmth and welcome. They are symbols of friendship and caring. The yellow rose, like the other roses, does not carry an undertone of romance. It indicates purely platonic emotions.

 

 

 

 

 

Iceberg after the Rain with Bees Visiting
Iceberg after the Rain with Bees Visiting

White Roses: White is the color of purity, chastity and innocence. White flowers mean new beginnings, ideal for first-time bride walking down the aisle. White flowers can convey sympathy or humility, and indicative of spirituality.

 

 

The East Rose Garden
The East Rose Garden

 

 

 

 

Mixed Bouquet Roses: mixing different colors of blooms can send a purposefully mixed message. For example sending red and white could mean I love you intensely, while my intensions are honorable.

A Rose Garden, Hope Springs Eternal

Rudyard Kipling said, “Remember Gardens are not made by sitting in the shade.”

Gaga's Rose Garden in Bloom
Gaga's Rose Garden in Bloom

However, shade sitting is never quite so satisfying as when one is contemplating the beauty of a rose garden from the prospective of being in it and having created a rose garden in the sun.

A Garden is A Gathering Place to Kick Back & Relax with Friends
A Garden is A Gathering Place to Kick Back & Relax with Friends

Here is the one rose I planted in bed pictured below and it performed beautifully.

First rose planted in new floribunda bed
First rose planted in new floribunda bed

Those of you that show roses will relate, I committed the cardinal sin of people who show roses. I said I would never forget the name of the rose bush; I know it well. Guess what? I can’t remember the name of the rose. I have perused the entire ARS Handbook over and over to jog my memory. I can’t believe I am publicly confessing this. But here’s the first rose planted in the floribunda rose garden. I bought it because it’s a rose that regularly wins ribbons at shows. If you know what it is rosarians let me know please.

New floribunda rose garden bed in planning stage, non-elevated, eastern exposure
New floribunda rose garden bed in planning stage, non-elevated, eastern exposure

Here are the roses I have planted in the bed pictured above, all rated in the 2012 American Rose Society Handbook for Selecting Roses 8.0 or Higher. Notice there is a shade producing overhang that I am concerned about.Playboy, Red blend ARS rating   8.5

Rainbow Sorbet, yellow blend  8.0

Sunsprite deep yellow,  8.4

Sheila’s Perfume (didn’t really perform that well in Texas, we’ll see about Illinois) 8.2

Rose gardens are easier to have than you might imagine and the envy of all your neighbors. A rose garden can be a gathering place for friends & family to collect a lifetime of memories, a morning of glory, or an evening of wine & roses.

Here’s the easy do-it-yourself way to start.

Layout

Plan your rose bed with the maximum amount of exposure to the sunshine. Roses need full sun and do best when they get at least 6 full hours of sunshine during the growing season.

Design for Easy Maintenance

A raised bed is ideal for growing roses; it gives the soil good drainage and saves your back from a lot of back bending. Landscape timbers are what I recommend and I used for my beds in Texas. They are light and easy to work with. Build the timbers three tiers high and two feet wide for a single bed or five feet wide for a double bed.

If you have two beds that are parallel, leave enough room to walk between them.

Elevated Rose Bed Design
Elevated Rose Bed Design

Drainage

Raised beds have the best drainage. Make sure if you don’t have elevated beds that the beds have good drainage and that water does not pool in the planting area. Roses do love water, but they don’t like “wet feet.”

Organic Soil Amendments

Lay out the dimensions of your rose bed. You can do this with a string. Now remove the sod and spade up the existing subsoil. To the subsoil add compost, Canadian peat moss, ground bark, garden gypsum, sand, and bone meal. Use a Rototiller to mix this organic material if you can. This mixture in a raised bed should a little higher than the second layer of the landscape timbers since some settling will occur.

Planting

Now you are ready to choose roses that you love. Pick roses by color, fragrance, hardiness and profusion of bloom. Plant them generally two to 2 ½ feet between bushes is normal. I have seen bushes planted closer together in hot climates to allow for mutual shading. Just allow enough space to work and water your plants.

Hope Springs Eternal, Bare Root Mini, All-ATwitter is buried by Bear
Hope Springs Eternal, Bare Root Mini, All-ATwitter is buried by Bear

I mentioned that I am replacing some annuals with miniature roses is this is the planter that I have planted the new miniature All-A-Twitter. You may have seen my picture on Facebook of it covered by a wooden bear, ice and snow sine temperatures droped to 20 degrees after I planted it. 😉 Funtimes.

All-A-Twitter Miniature Rose Planter
All-A-Twitter Miniature Rose Planter

Also, alas, do as I say not as I do since I am planting roses directly in the ground along a walkway, not an elevated bed. I will be posting pictures of how they do. The soil is rich with good drainage lots of sand so I added Canadian peat moss, lots of feather meal, and Annie Haven’s Moo Poo Tea for fertilizer. And remember folks, my son Michael says I end abruptly but “The show doesn’t go on because it’s ready; it goes on because it’s 11:30″    —-Lorne Michaels, creator of Saturday Night Live

All-A-Twitter Miniature deep orange too new to rate

Ordered not planted:

1 Easy Does It
1 Hot Cocoa
1 Betty Boop
1 Ketchup & Mustard
1 Iceberg
1 Julia Child
1 Fragrant Cloud
1 Baronne De Rothschild
1 Peace
1 Stormy Weather (LCI)

 

This is my neighbor, he get's 'cause he pays attention! OUI call him Lyle Lovett Llama
This is my neighbor, he get's 'cause he pays attention! OUI call him Lyle Lovett Llama

Presidents Day PPTSD Rose Pruning Primer

Sunrise Over Bronze Rose Garden Cross
Sunrise Over Bronze Rose Garden Cross

Let us hope and pray y’all have not gotten spring fever with the deceptively warm winter, jumped the gun, gone wild and whacked your bushes. Because if a killing frost comes along there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Thus the cross, it’s for you my rose friends. Just get a grip. Do not prune too early. One February while in zone 8 I was lulled into thinking spring had sprung.This is your annual President’s Day lecture. Repetition is a good tool of learning. Maybe you live in Alabama, like Chris Van Cleave, President of the Birmingham Rose Society, The Redneck Rosarian, who has already planted RK Witherspoon he assumes safely but some climates are very risky. Let me tell you a story of pure horror from zone 8a.  I would like to coin a new gardening phrase. Pruning post traumatic stress disorder (PPTSD) I have it, it’s real, I suffer every President’s Day. It occurred from having pruned right after President’s Day in Texas. President’s Day is supposed to be the last day of the danger of a deadly killing frost in Zone 8. Don’t you believe it. I relive the horror and the loss of 19 new rose bushes and having to re-prune 200 roses every President’s Day.

Anticipation of Spring Rose Garden Bloom
Anticipation of Spring Rose Garden Bloom

Temperatures dipped to 8 degrees on March 10th well after the safe time to plant and prune. I lost all my new bushes and all the newly pruned bushes stimulated by my early pruning had to be pruned all over again. Well, enough with my cheerful stories. This  erroneous information was passed on to an unwitting northerner who grew up in the frozen tundra region on the frigid shores of Lake Michigan in Northern Illinois. Since this is President’s Day week-end I thought I would cheer you all up and tell you again: Don’t Prune Too Early.

Magnificent Candelabra
Magnificent Candelabra

Here is a primer on pruning. It’s the best tips I’ve come up with over the years as we get ready for the season of pruning.

Depending on the season and upon where you live pruning time can come between the middle of January and the end of April. The idea is to do it soon enough that you will not be cutting off too much new growth, and late enough that you will not promote premature growth. Usually this is just when the buds begin to swell, and then if you do not get a late frost the bushes will be off to a good start.

Pruned late, even after new growth starts, the canes are cut to a swollen dormant bud and the bush will do just fine, so it is probably better to prune late than too early. As I preach to often do to my disorder PPTSD. Late-pruned bushes will bleed, but this has not been shown to be harmful to roses. Bleeding interferes with sealing cut ends but I stopped sealing smaller canes, with no increase in cane borer problems.

Bee on 4th of July Climbing Rose Bush
Bee on 4th of July Climbing Rose Bush

In addition to removing dead or diseased canes, there are several reasons for pruning. You want to remove non-productive branches and make room for ones that will make flowers. Remove crossing branches that clutter the bush or damage others. Open up the interior of the bush for ease in spraying and to promote good flowering stems. Remove non-productive canes at the base to promote growth of new vigorous canes. Finally, shape the bush to please you.

Before cutting out canes, you need to look at the branches they produced. If they have long, healthy, new branches, they should be left. If they have nothing but short twiggy non-blooming shoots, remove them. Sometimes there is not much left, but then perhaps the bush should be, as my mother used to say, “shovel pruned” and removed from the garden. We are told to reduce the number of canes to 3-5, but this is not necessarily a good guide.

Gaga Getting Ready for the Gardening Season
Gaga Getting Ready for the Gardening Season

Here are my tips:

1.     Wear tough protective clothing such as denim with long sleeves. It won’t snag as easily as some other fabrics.

2.     Wear thorn resistant gloves such as plastic coated garden gloves, or ones made of flexible leather.

3.     Watch where you put your hands and forearms. Thorns can penetrate almost any fabric I’ve used in the garden. I’ve had thorns penetrate the soles of my shoes, be careful.

4.     Invest in a small pruning or keyhole saw, they are essential for cutting larger canes and getting into tight spaces.

5.     A fairly large cane can be cut with hand shears if the cane is bent gently away from the shears, but I prefer to use a good pair of loppers rather than wrestle with the cane.

6.     Hold the shears so that the blunt blade is on the part to be cut off.

7.     Cut to an outside bud on upright-growing bushes or to an inside bud on spreading type bush. Cut to a bud pointing in the direction you want the branch to grow, the top bud usually will produce the dominant shoot.

8.     Cut to about ¼” of the bud, on a slight slant away from the bud. Cut shorter, the new shoot can break off in the wind, any longer causes unsightly die-back.

9.     If you feel you should seal cuts, use Elmer’s glue, I usually just seal large canes.

10.  Leave as many canes as are hearty and have space to grow without crowding and are very well shaped.

11.  Learn to grasp the cane gently and very carefully with a slight circular motion.

12.   If you cut or accidentally knock off a branch you meant to leave don’t let it spoil your day. It will brow back.

13.  Do not prune once-blooming roses until they have bloomed.

14.  Prune miniature roses like hybrid teas and floribundas, if you have the time and patience.

15.  Old Garden Roses (OGR) are too diverse in nature to lay down rules. If you know the variety its best to research online for the best pruning for your OGR. In general, the best rule for pruning OGRs for the first two or three years is, “Don’t.”

Rose Pruning The Rite of Spring

April in Paris Hybrid Tea Rose
April in Paris Hybrid Tea Rose

In May 1913, Igor Stravinsky debuted his ballet The Rite of Spring (watch a YouTube video). Though it is one of Stravinsky’s most famous works, his creation was first met with harsh criticism, negative reviews, and yes – a riot. I put forth to you today that the emotion evoked during the process of pruning one’s precious rose garden can reach the very heart of the gardener. I experienced this very process last week-end during the annual rite of spring, pruning one’s roses.

When I was a child I read a book about the phoenix, a mythical bird that has been mentioned in ancient Egyptian and Greek mythology. The phoenix is a colorful bird with a tail of gold and scarlet. According to mythology, the phoenix can live up to 1000 years. At the end of it’s life, it builds a nest out of myrrh, which later ignites and burns both the phoenix and nest to ashes. From the ashes, rises a new, young phoenix ready to begin life again. Roses are like this to the rosarian. They peak in the late fall, reach a stage of dormancy for the winter and emerge from their sleep a new creature each spring.

Here’s the story, I have about 200 roses to prune, fertilize and get ready for the magnificent spring bloom. It’s a collection of hybrid teas, floribundas, grandifloras, shrubs, and miniatures. Each year I feel hybridizers produce better roses to choose from. Pruning time is the time to “shovel prune” roses that have failed to meet whatever criteria you had in mind when you placed them in your garden. Also just because a rose does not perform well for me and in my zone does not mean that you may not have great luck with it. I have lots of stories about this.

Be-Bop Shrub Rose
Be-Bop Shrub Rose

Here are a few new additions to the garden I added during pruning that I thought you might enjoy seeing and hearing about. To the patio garden I replaced under performing floribunda orange red, Laura Bush with what looks to be two very showy red blend shrubs called Be-Bop rated a stellar 8.1 in the 2011 ARS Handbook for Selecting Roses.

 

 

 

 

Drop Dead Red Floribunda Rose
Drop Dead Red Floribunda Rose

I have not been Spellbound with the rose by the same name so I dug it up and replaced it with floribunda, Drop Dead Read. According to Edmunds Roses “this rose is just so jaw-droppingly delicious red – especially set against highly glossed deep green leaves that mirror all the eye-popping action. A stop ’em dead in their tracks red that’s certain to lure you to linger, and it’s that red to the very finish of the flower. The classically formed double blooms are often borne in clusters. A natural for the landscape with plentiful blooms that keep right on coming.”

Girls' Night Out Hybrid Tea Rose
Girls' Night Out Hybrid Tea Rose

Lady Bird Johnson died and rather than replace her I decided to live it up and replace her with Girls’ Night Out by Star Roses. Dark, dusky-pink rose petals accented with a lavender pink reverse highlights the classic form of Girls’ Night Out.™  This is a very vigorous, upright Hybrid Tea with above average disease resistance for the type and long lasting flowers which are perfect for cutting, and they are fragrant too!

Julia Child Floribunda Rose Bouquet in Vase
Julia Child Floribunda Rose Bouquet in Vase

To replace French Perfume which I lost I chose a spectacular floribunda called Julia Child. This rose is grown on it’s own root system rather than a graft. Just before our wonderful American icon left us, she selected this exceptional rose to bear her name. Julia loved the even butter gold color & the licorice candy fragrance. Yet it wasn’t just the old-fashioned blooms that inspired the recipe. The perfectly rounded habit, super glossy leaves & great disease resistance finish off the dish. An awesome AARS award winner – a right & proper honor for a dear friend.

 

Lava Flow Floribunda Rose formerly known as Lavaglut
Lava Flow Floribunda Rose formerly known as Lavaglut

I have had for several years a rose that was rated a 9.0 called Lavaglut so you can imagine my surprise to see it out and re-named Lava Flow. Lavagult, German for lava flow, is not an easy name… but it is a great rose. Large glowing clusters of deep velvety red seem to continually ‘erupt’ from a blanket of glossy green leaves, creating a display that will warm your heart. This import from Kordes family bears very long-lived ruffled flowers atop a well-behaved upright plant. It is a lovely little bush and I now have two. So that’s it for now folks and it you have questions or comments I would love to hear from you.

 

 

 

Gaga’s Garden Creatures

Gaga's Garden Angel Watching Over All the Creatures
Gaga's Garden Angel Watching Over All the Creatures

Plano, Texas, home of Gaga’s urban garden is a microcosm of urban sprawl. One of Dallas largest suburbs, Plano is completely locked in by municipalities and can’t expand. There’s little undeveloped land remaining. This land originally was farm land all the way to the Red River which forms the border between Texas and Oklahoma. Where do you suppose all the beloved creatures that filled these lands went as we filled all the land they occupied with concrete?

Bob-cat tracks in Gaga's urban Plano, Texas garden
Bob-cat tracks in Gaga's urban Plano, Texas garden

In the night a few weeks ago I heard a screech that was to say the least other worldly and raised such a commotion that I was spooked. The next morning in the snow we found tracks and compared it to what we believe are Bob-cat tracks. The tracks are close to the house and exit jumping on the roof of the greenhouse over the fence. The rabbit population a couple of years ago had actually gotten out of control but I have seen a reduction in the rabbit population lately.

Bob-cat
Bob-cat

With the snow fresh I could see exactly where the Bob-cat jumped the fence and tracked around the yard. The cat stayed very close to the house and bushes where the rabbits and birds nest and then jumped the fence to exit back to the creek behind the house.

Hawk Feeds at the Bird Feeder & in the Yard
Hawk Feeds at the Bird Feeder & in the Yard

Also regarding creatures I’ve seen in the back yard, you may have seen this article: American Backyard Feeders May Do Harm to Wild Birds Feeding Wild Birds Lures Pests, Predators, Causing Illness and Distorting Populations
By JAMES P. STERBA
Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
December 27, 2002 front page article

“Most people think all that largess helps the birds. But many ornithologists and wildlife biologists say it does very little good — and even does some harm. Attracting wild birds to feeders spreads disease, aids predators such as house cats, and lures the birds close to houses and roads where tens of millions of them fly into windows and cars. House cats and hawks treat feeders as fast-food outlets, snatching birds from perches or the ground below.”

No sooner than I had read this article does a hawk start using my bird feeder as a “bird feeder”of his own to feed on my little birds. I am horrified, I am videotaping a beautiful hawk in the tree to show the kids when he actually eats one of my little birds at the bird feeder. I wrestle with whether I am upsetting the entire balance of nature with my bird feeder that by now is also feeding the squirrels. Also my pest control service has lectured me endlessly about attracting rodents. So the jury is still out on the bird feeders because I also had to spend $1500+ on a squirrel relocation program because they ate through the firewall around the fireplace and set up their own habit trail. I was home alone when they first made their presence known and I thought it was like a scene from the exorcist rather than squirrel inhabitants. I called our pest service who is also a friend in the middle of the night. I told him there was tapping in the walls and he assured me it was probably not a supernatural force.

Raccoon family visit at bird bath
Raccoon family visit at bird bath

A few years back when a wild Texas storm with straight winds blew down the fence I  looked out the kitchen window early in the morning to glowing eyes in the bird bath. It was a mother raccoon and two babies bathing in the bird bath I had on the ground. I’ve seen box turtles and snakes and too many families of rabbits to mention. I count it a blessing to be surrounded by these creatures in an urban setting.

Gabi & a little box tutle
Gabi & a little box turtle

All this adds up to a great responsibility. How wonderful to have an urban garden and to see and attract wild life everyday.

Vultures on the mailbox in Plano, Texas
Vultures on the mailbox in Plano, Texas

One day I came home for lunch only to see vultures poised on the brick mailbox. I will leave you with the hope that a garden is a respite for all of God’s creatures. If the suirrels would have stayed in the garden they would not have had to be put into the relocation program and I could have had a new counter-top instead.

It's In Our Hands Folks
It's In Our Hands Folks

It’s in our hands folks.

Larry the Lizard
Larry the Lizard

We have all kinds of creatures and we make a place for them in Gaga’s Garden.

Live from Gagasgarden

Strand Theory continues to be a lively fun discourse. Whether you believe one goes after one’s hedge’s or not in direct relationship to their personality I stand vindicated on this topic. Control issues aside hold your horses on pruning too early! The goose girl’s are frozen stiff as you see and are peaking out to see if there is any end in sight!

It's Too Deep, I Can't Waddle Through
It's Too Deep, I Can't Waddle Through

This week in Dallas the ice started falling Monday night and continued all that night layer upon layer. We have not seen temperatures out of the 20’s since Monday night.

Martha in Salem WI, Storm 0f 2011
Martha in Salem WI, Storm 0f 2011

It’s cheating a little I tossed in a picture of my sister-in-law shoveling snow in Salem Wisconsin. We don’t shovel snow in Dallas we wait for it to melt.  So on Thursday, it started snowing on top of the ice layers and we had to import snow plows from West Texas to try and clear the roads. This is all occurring the week Dallas is gearing up for the Super Bowl. I know many of you have seen football games televised from Cowboy Stadium  http://cowboystadium.com/

Beautification is Hard Work- Ella After Her Trim
Beautification is Hard Work- Ella After Her Trim

Until you see it in person you cannot imagine the structure. When I toured the stadium the tour guide informed us Cowboy Stadium is the largest domed stadium in the world, has the world’s largest column-free interior and the largest high definition video screen which hangs from 20 yard line to 20 yard line and cost more than the old Cowboy Stadium they replaced! It seats 100,000 people. Can you imagine bringing in 100,000 people with this weather and the airports closed much of the week? This number does not include the world media, and the shear volumes it must take to feed, house & entertain this number of visitors.

Hybrid Tea Rosie O'Donnell Fading
Hybrid Tea Rosie O'Donnell Fading

I also thought you would love to see the various stages of the hybrid tea Rosie O’Donnell that I took shots of Christmas Eve, New Years Day as that magnificent bloom began to fade.

This has been your Super Bowl weather update live from Gaga’s Garden in Plano. Hold off on your pruning. 🙂

Strand Theory

Ella Reads Bye Bye Diapers Waiting Patiently for a Trim
Ella Reads Bye Bye Diapers Waiting Patiently for a Trim

Strand Theory is this: I purport that there is a distinct relationship between the way one approaches pruning their bushes and an emotional attachment to the very strands of hair on one’s head. This is not junk science folks.  I shall set about to prove my theory with actual case studies. You may be shocked, if not shocked amused. I shall provide further substantiation to this discourse to trimming said locks and giving the bushes a healthy whack with the hedge trimmers. For those of you too young to remember

80's Michael
80’s Michael

 

Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical defined an age that sparked much comment and controversy. It opened off-Broadway October of 1967, and on Broadway in April of 1968 and ran for 1,750 performances! Some of the songs from its score became Top 10 hits and a feature film adaptation was released in 1979. A Broadway revival opened March 31, 2009 earning strong reviews and winning the Tony Award and Drama Desk award for best revival musical. In 2008 Time magazine wrote “Hair seems, if anything, more daring than ever.”

Crepe Myrtle Pruned Severely
Crepe Myrtle Pruned Severely

“Where are you going with this Gaga?” We are going to talk about pruning and how our emotions are related to how we approach pruning. Folks with serious control issues put a big hurt on their bushes, there I’ve said it.  Here’s an example of a crepe myrtle murder right next to this paragraph and a link explaining how severe pruning can seriously harm the life of your plant. We are going to talk about pruning and moderation in all things. It’s almost spring and I am under an obligation to urge restraint or at best moderation.

The Grumpy Gardener, Steve Bender has the best article on pruning Crepe Myrtles I’ve found in his article called Crepe Myrtle Pruning Step-By Step published online by Southern Living. This is the way to go about the correct way to prune these beautiful hard wood “trees” so they will flourish.

Pruning a Hybrid Tea Rose Bush
Pruning a Hybrid Tea Rose Bush

When I moved to Texas I was informed the last hard freeze was President’s Day.

What an expensive lesson. I pruned all 200 roses around President’s Day, planted 19 new bushes and left on a trip to CA in early March. I returned to something I have never seen before. Temperatures had dropped to 8 degrees with a northeast wind. The new spring leaves on the NE side of all the trees had frozen and died. I lost all 19 new bushes. and all the new growth on the older bushes had frozen on the canes and rotted. It’s the only year in all my years of rose growing I had to re-prune all 200 bushes.

Beauty Knows No Pain & is Rewarded with a Sucker
Beauty Knows No Pain & is Rewarded with a Sucker

I have learned there is more to that quote my mother used to say “beauty knows no pain,” and waiting patiently has its rewards. Pruning roses in Chicago was easy. The canes usually had to be pruned back fairly hard. In Texas you have the choice of pruning moderately and boy do we have dialog about pruning. But I can tell you there are witnesses to pruning wars around here about whether to prune light, moderate or severe. I usually choose moderate pruning. And I wait now until the last possible chance of a drastic hard freeze can come through. I promised to prove my theory so here goes.

Gaga & Bonica Shrub Roses Spring Bloom
Gaga & Bonica Shrub Roses Spring Bloom

Life long friend Nancy confirms my theory about pruning her bushes as therapy. When she feels like she wants to take control she gets the hedge trimmers and “gets after” her bushes. Please reference this very blog ‘Haunted By The Ghosts of Plants You’ve Killed With Kindness” http://www.gagasgarden.com/?p=146

Scary Abused Rosa Radrazz Victim
Scary Abused Rosa Radrazz Victim

The offender in the above referenced post is an accountant. Now this lovely well intentioned lady not only ripped this rose bush out of the ground and pruned it she just decided to start trimming the roots. Lovely readers, I don’t have any credentials as a psychologist but do you see a pattern here? Any thoughts of control issues, maybe?

70's Gaga
70’s Gaga

Imagine how giddy I was to see these lyrics from Hair? lol

They’ll be ga ga at the go go
When they see me in my toga
My toga made of blond
Brilliantined
Biblical hair

My hair like Jesus wore it
Hallelujah I adore it

70s Martha
70s Martha