Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Spring-like winter storms and another look back

Yesterday was like heaven on earth. 70 degrees, light breeze, bright sunshine dimming to a more gentle milky light in the afternoon so it didn't get too hot. Today was still very warm but even early in the day the threat of storms pushing our way was evident, with a lot of wind and clouds. The horses kept spooking at imaginary things. As they do every year the chorus frogs have set up camp in the low area below the paddock and when I step outside onto the back porch their song is almost deafening. It almost sounds as though they've taken over the paddock too. lol Tommy, who hates thunderstorms, wanted in at 12:30 pm even though the main line of storms still isn't here at 11:30 pm.

Prince had a re-check ultrasound on the 12th and the injured tendons are healing, with good alignment of the fibers. Check ligament looked enlarged though, (probably as a result of the secondary injury at the end of November) but with no tears. The horses are still up behind the house full time. I hand walk them twice a day whenever the weather allows. Prince is up to 20 minutes per session now, to the creek and back, so 2 miles total per day. The slough near the creek has filled back up and we've seen wood ducks a few times.

I haven't seen the turkeys since I last posted about them. I think they moved on after the coyotes showed up. At least the coyotes were only here about a month. At that time I saw a covey of about three dozen bobwhite quail too, and then none until today. They were at the edge of the woods ~ there's a place where I stash old Bidens stems and they were in that "trash" pile. They flew up in all different directions into the woods. There looked to be roughly a dozen. I think their groups are fluid and fracture and come back together often. When I've flushed them (always by walking right by, not knowing they were there until they took off) they often call to locate each other as their escape flight is scattershot and they end up all over the place.

On the other hand, I see one of the Red-shouldered Hawks every day. They hunt from the neighbor's fence or persimmon tree, or our apple trees, or at the edge of the woods, or from our pasture fences. They've become so used to us now that they don't fly off unless we get close. For the past two years they've nested within view of the house.

I haven't cleared many of the old Bidens stems in the gardens yet, except where I've planted bulbs, because as I've said before the birds love them so much. Song Sparrows, White-Throated Sparrows, Chipping Sparrows, Field Sparrows, Goldfinches, Cardinals, Dark-Eyed Juncos, Carolina Wrens, Hermit Thrushes, and Yellow-Rumped Warblers are always foraging in these areas or using them for cover. I will have to start tackling them at some point though, as they aren't going to magically go away when spring gets here.

While the garden is still withered and brown, here is another set of pictures of the garden next to the house, this time in 2011 and 2012. The majority of woody plants in this part of the garden are roses and in May they put on a good show.

Most are rugosas, not by plan, but by survival of the fittest and most rambunctious. Of the rugosas only Hansa was purchased for this part of the garden. I bought two 'Foxi Pavement' in 2004 and put them in the big perennial bed, and when they started suckering I dug up division and brought it up here. All of the ruguosa albas and rubras were grown from seed.

'Foxi Pavement' looking toward paddock, 2011. R. rugosa rubra is on the right.'Renae' is on the horse shelter in the background.

'Sir Thomas Lipton', a hybrid of the polyantha 'Clotilde Soupert' and Rugosa alba, grown from a cutting. The original was a rose I bought for my MIL for her birthday or Mother's Day and I figured she wouldn't mind sharing. ;)


Sadly, this possible-'Madame Ernest Calvat' was eaten by the bee balm. I say possible because the tag didn't match the rose at all and MEC is a guess.

'Archduke Charles' has been moved to a spot west of the front lawn, where I hope its absence of foliage in the summer won't be as noticeable. It doesn't get much blackspot, but like 'Cl. Old Blush' some sort of caterpillar eats its leaves from June through August.

Rugosas may be dominant here, but there are a few others that have done well here too, such as the purple China/gallica nicknamed "Delia's Purple" pictured below. I'd like to have a bed with just purple roses but I have enough roses already. Still doesn't mean I can't covet more though. ;) Vintage Gardens in California has an amazing collection of purple old garden roses and if they stay open I may order some of those. The NC Botanical Garden has a beautiful purple no-name China/gallica in the medicinal plant section that has flowers that are even more of a true blue purple (rather than the pink/wine highlights of Delia's Purple), a sweet spicy scent and a more wispy stoloniferous habit than my passalong. After seeing the rose in Chapel Hill in full bloom for the first time I was strongly tempted to order more, in the hopes of getting something like that one.

Delia's Purple cons: she gets large, doesn't have any extremely high bud count, and is once-blooming. Pros: she's purple, fragrant, and mostly thornless. Pros way outweigh cons.

Clockwise from top left, Delia's Purple, 'Foxi Pavement, delightful pink sorrel, and that I got in a trade.

Clematis 'CF Young' with the rose 'Aloha'.

'Aloha' is the only hybrid tea I have, and was obtained as a rooted cutting in a trade, just like Delia's Purple. I've tried some of the old tried and true hybrid teas like 'Radiance' roses and they died almost immediately. 'Aloha' has done very well. Probably because of its climber genes. One of its parents is 'New Dawn', which explains everything. From what I've seen in real life and read about 'New Dawn', owners spend time hacking this rose back, not coaxing it along. I've had 'Aloha' for about five years and it's a perfect balance of vigor and manners.

More later. I still have a lot of pictures left over!


  1. 70 degrees and a light breeze, I'll take that. I bet your heart jumps in your mouth when the disturbed quail take off 'scattershot'.

    Roll on Spring

  2. Oh my goodness, I am swooning over all of your roses. Such a lovely little tour and viewing this morning. Thank you ~ FlowerLady

  3. We were hit by the storm Tuesday night. We came through it OK. Your roses are absolutely beautiful! They look so healthy. Do you do anything special to them? I love your garden!

    1. Thank you Christy! I just feed the roses compost. The only rose I have that gets a lot of blackspot is 'Ballerina', and that one is situated down in the big bed where no one can see it during the summer. lol I don't spray anything. I just pick roses known for their disease resistance: rugosas, Chinas, teas, polyanthas, climbers known for their disease resistance.

  4. It didn't get that warm here, but it was in the 60's. Now it is low 30's and dropping! We too have lots of wildlife and turkeys. They are so pretty when they strut. I love your property, we would be most comfy in eachothers country gardens.

    Many blessings....Brooke

    Here is my new site for my Vintage Inspired Artwork...

    And my original site that focuses on my own photography and projects, Creative Country Mom... My home and gardening site, where I share tutorials, crafts, decor and lots of gardening ideas.

    This week I am starting a new link up party called "Sunday Open House". I hope you will link up this lovely post to share with my readers.

  5. What a beauty !!! I am in love with your "Delia's Purple" ...

  6. Wonderful blue clematis! I've never known that rugosa could be grow from seeds.I thought that only from roots, by small sprouts.

  7. Such beautiful roses. I wish I didn't have such a problem with black spot. I would love to have more of them.

  8. Ah, your weather does sound heavenly. We'll have to wait awhile before we see 70 degrees around here. Glad to hear that Prince is recovering from his injury, but sorry it's taken such a long time.

  9. Your roses make me swoon! I love the pink sorrel at the base of the purple roses. How did Prince injure his tendon? I have a friend whose horse has a pet donkey/pony mix. So weird, but true! The caterpillar that's eating your roses is a pest and not the kind that grow up to a pollinator. I get them, too. They're green and match the leaves. They squish very easily.

  10. Casa Prince's injury I think was due in part (or maybe all) to bad farrier work and then Prince pulling a stunt in the pasture. It's a long story.... He's got at least another 6 months of rehab left to go, and will likely always be more susceptible to injury in those tendons.

  11. 70 degrees! I hate to tell you how cold it is here. We are not even on the plus side of things. I enjoyed reading about the horses, the frogs, the quail and the other animal comes and goings. Your writing was particularly evocative in this post Sweetbay. I was so taken with Delia's Purple that I made a detour to check if my local rose supplier carries it. Alas, they do not! I love those crimson blooms and was especially sold when I read it was thornless. Oh well, I will have to admire Delia's Purple from a distance.

  12. What a great rose fix, you have the best rugosas around!! Spring is just around the corner, I just know it.

  13. I so agree that Delia is worth her keep Sweetbay. What a beauty! Can you really ever have too many roses when you have so much room to grow them? Lovely to see your gorgeous gardens when all I see is white piled high.

  14. Love your roses, beautiful. Thanks for sharing this.


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