Monday, May 28, 2012

Rosa palustris scandens

Sometimes I like to use the scientific names for certain plants. (btw, I don't think the use of scientific names makes me sound smarter, since I mispronounce the names half the time.) In the case of the swamp rose, I just don't think the name captures the gloriousness of this plant. Besides which, the actual species swamp rose (if I have the genuine article) is a thorny rose that doesn't bloom in my garden. It even set a few hips and I never saw any flowers.

The rose I purchased as Rosa palustris scandens from Antique Roses Emporium is a hybrid of some sort. It does like a lot of moisture and in response to food and drink it becomes an 8' high fountain of gracefully weeping canes and beautiful bright pink flowers that are intensely fragrant in the morning. It truly is a glorious rose. I look forward to seeing it bloom every May.

With Veilchenblau, next to the vegetable garden

I have a lot of these roses, many still up-and-comers. The oldest is 12 years old. Six to eight roses were ordered over the years from ARE and the rest grown from cuttings. The one below growing next to the vegetable garden was grown from a cutting started 6 or 7 years ago. I take pencil length blooming age stems, stick them in potting mix and put in the shade. I haven't needed to use rooting hormone or plastic bags.

There are three growing next to the paddock fence. Prince helps me out by snacking on pieces that venture over the fence. These roses are thornless (except for old wood near the base) and never sprayed.

One at the far side of the big perennial bed grew so quickly it needed some help standing up.

This is my oldest swamp rose at 12. I used to have two but one failed. Not exactly sure why ~ it started leaning way over (away from the adjacent Swamp Sunflowers) and then started looking poorly. Graft failure maybe? Or pulled up its own roots? At any rate there are several youngsters in the bed ready to take its place.

With Alberic Barbier and Dorothy Perkins

It's hard to pick a favorite among roses but I really, really love this rose. Beautiful in bloom and carefree and lovely just as a woody plant, what's not to love?

Sunday, May 13, 2012


Lately, lameness-related problems with the horses, health-related problems with my eldest cat, and lots of garden and farm work have left me with no energy to work on posts at the end of the day. However, I am happy with the garden and I miss blogging. In March and early April I have angst about holes in the garden and projects not finished, and there is a tremendous amount of weeding and clearing up to do. Then beginning in mid-April the azaleas and baptisias and iris and roses bloom and everything is wonderful.

The Baptisia have mostly finished up blooming but their beauty stays with me all year. My favorites are the crisp whites and the lovely blues and purples.

Baptisia alba

Tony Avent of Plant Delights has coined the phrase "red-neck lupines" for baptisias. One of my Baptisia seedlings especially reminds me of an exquisite lupine that is native to our sandhills, the Sundial Lupine (Lupinus perennis).

Sundial Lupine, photographed at the NC Botanical Garden in April.

Baptisia alba x australis seedling

Baptisia 'Carolina Moonlight'

Baptisia 'Purple Smoke'

Baptisia australis

One of two young blue baptisias in the garden that's on the bluer side of purple.

The other one is a softer shade of blue. It didn't bloom this year because I allowed it to get too shaded by a Foxi Pavement rugosa sucker last year.

(pic from 2010)

Baptisia Prairie Twilite Blues' is a wierd color when it first
opens. In my garden the new flowers are a deep chocolatey purple

that fade to a lovely smoky lavender.

When the Baptisia are finished blooming (the alba and 'Purple Smoke' are finished in the pictures below although an australis is still in bloom) they form the rounded mounds of lacy foliage.

Together with irises and roses baptisias are my favorite spring flowers. I can't imagine a spring garden without them.

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