Saturday, May 22, 2010

American Smoketree and roses

The native Smoketree at the top of the hill has had a long blooming time this year. It's never shown much of the fall color the species is famous before, but I like the tree anyway. The flowers and large round bluish-green leaves are unique and the tree has a very handsome form.

In the long bed beside the driveway -- mulched with hay -- I have some roses, American Beautyberry, Aster 'Miss Bessie', Bee Balm and native mints. One of these roses is Prairie Rose, Rosa arkansana. I also have planted in this bed the other Prairie Rose, R. setigera, but that hasn't bloomed yet. R. setigera is a raging giant, throwing canes and suckers everywhere, while R. arkansana is much more demure, rarely getting more than 3 feet tall. The flowers are sweetly fragrant but the fragrance is not at a traditional rose fragrance.

Another rose I have planted here is 'Nasturana', which I have grown more fond of the longer I have it. It produces such a profusion of small white blossoms that it is very eye catching. The flowers have a spicy fragrance. It's growing here with a Louisiana iris.

Another rose that may prove a giant is the multiflora hybrid 'Violette'. No fragrance but look at that color!

It'll be interesting (if that's the word) to see how many of these roses will remain. After waiting for 4 years, I have seen RRD in my gardens. Those of you familiar with RRD know how bad this is, or could be. If you're not familiar with it google it and you'll see what I mean. It's a bit too depressing to go instead detail; besides, I don't yet know how bad the outbreak will be. The yellow Rosa x cantabrigiensis is gone, along with 'Kathleen', a 'Belle Amour' seedling, and a Rosa eglanteria seedling, all young and relatively small, fortunately. Two others just planted last fall -- a white cemetery tea and another found tea -- I pulled because they didn't look quite right to me. The worst of it is that I keep thinking I see signs of it everywhere -- or am I? The only roses I have lost so far are those along the driveway.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that RRD won't spread too far. You know that if any of the big roses catches RRD it'll be 110 degrees in the shade and I'll be thinking that I have to remove it NOW.


I am already planning -- and propagating -- possible replacements. Blueberries from here and Baptisia top the list. The blueberries have not proven easy to propagate at all but I'm going to keep trying. I don't want anything in the big perennial bed that gets bigger than 10' because I don't want the view from the house to the pasture blocked. Spicebush is another possibility, but the ones at the Botanical Garden smell like a combination of lemon and cat pee -- blech. But surely ones exist that smell better than that. More Calycanthus... Itea... Golden St. John's Wort... Winterberry in the ditches... The garden is always changing.


  1. There is a smoke bush down the road and I was so amazed at how it looked the first time I ever saw one. They are so unusual looking and very pretty.
    Sorry to hear you're seeing signs of RRD - It sounds very serious. I googled it since I didn't have a clue what it was. We only have a couple roses that we have to guard with our lives to keep the deer from eating them all.

  2. Keep your chin up about the possibility of your roses getting RRD. You are such a magician in the garden that you will fill in w/ something else beautiful. May not happen at all to the older variety, take care ! Gina

  3. I just planed those sweet peas you gave to me! THanks, Sweet bay
    That is one incredibly awesome smoke tree.

  4. Roses are beautiful, but you need to tell how do you make those creatures as bees, etc., pose for your camera?

  5. That smoke tree is cool. I think it was a red leaved smoke tree that used to be across the street. When the renters moved, the jungle that had come up there all got cut down. The owner let me put flowers in the area, but then the red leaves of the smoke tree came up, and when I told him about it, he asked me to let it grow. It's back up this year, but quite small. I'll need to move or dig out the fireworks goldenrod that is too close to it.

    I looked up that rose disease, and read what the information from Virginia Cooperative Extension said about it. I only have a few roses, but should watch out for symptoms just in case. I'll go back and refer to that article if need be. It's a good one. I hate it that it is around, though. I hope there are wild roses that survive it.

    I smelled my amsonias today, and the hubrichtii did have a mild fragrance.

  6. Oh, and yes, the garden is always changing.

  7. Lovely pic a smoke bush. I have never seen one. Sorry to hear about the RRD. I googled it and was horrified. I had fireblight in my garden one year at my other house and went through the madness of feeling it was everywhere and realizing that much of my garden was, in fact, susceptible to it. I hope this goes well for you, Sweetbay!

  8. Funny name: smoke tree. And it really looks like smoke. Beautiful roses. You really have full summer! Have a nice week.

  9. The smoke tree is so wonderful. I fell in love with them while living in Europe. There they are planted as foundation shrubs but actually turn into small trees. I hope your roses don't get RRD And you don't have to dig them in the heat!

  10. The garden is always changing, as you say, but how sad to lose some of your favorite roses. That deep rich 'Violette' is a beautiful color.

  11. I'm not familiar with RRD. I'll definitely google it although it sounds ominous so do I really want to know??? I hope it doesn't wipe out your beautiful roses SB. That would be a shame ~ you have so many nice varieties.
    I would not want to replace them with anything that remotely reminded me of cat pee tho! ha
    The smoke bush is pretty whether or not it gets that famous fall color. Maybe your fall is spectacular enough it doesn't feel any pressure to perform!! ;-)


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