Monday
May122014

Glittering Trees and Other Joys

When I came outside the other day, long sun rays were slanting across the garden, and Japanese maples, dogwoods and other trees were glittering in the light. Burgundy, rose, orange, lime green and gold sparkles shot through the leaves and shone around their edges. My camera could not truly portray the beauty of the light coming through the trees.As I watched, nearly a dozen different types of birds were calling and playing about the trees, and a fresh breeze brought aromas of damp earth, fresh pine straw and some delicious flower. Was it jasmine or rose or dianthus?

I breathed in and absorbed the moment, and then I had a thought. I was the only person in the whole wide world who was experiencing this particular scene. From my perspective, at that time, looking across my front garden. Oh, there were many special events going on around the earth, and lots of them were far more spectacular and significant to those who were experiencing them. But this particular moment in time and place was mine alone, a gift just for me.

Once again I was reminded that to experience life at its fullest one must take it in little bits, savoring the small joys that each day offers, whether it be the beauty of a plant or the smile of a child, the satisfaction of a job well done or the lift of the heart that doing a kind deed brings. 

Here are more recent scenes around the garden that made me smile:In the top photo, day lily foliage grows in front of a birdhouse. The perspective is deceiving. Between the rose and the day lilies there is a stairway that goes down to the arbor garden. The rose is Coral Drift. The hanging basket on the lower right contains Calibrachoa 'Dreamsicle'.

Clockwise from above top: 'Whitewater' weeping redbud foliage is spectacular as it matures. The leaves start out golden green, then gradually acquire more variegation; Persian Shield; Rue; Variegated Solomon's Seal; Dusty Miller.

Clockwise from top left:Rosa rugosa 'Alba'; Unknown passalong iris; Another passalong iris - all of my irises came from friends; Spirea 'Anthony Waterer'; Flowers above potato foliage; Romantica rose 'Orchid Romance'.True rosarians often turn their noses up at Knock Outs. Not me! (But then, I don't claim to be a rosarian!) Knock Outs are fantastic, easy-care landscape roses, and who could not love the 'Pink' Knock Out roses below?

Last week I put together a small succulent garden in a hypertufa container:

Finally, here is a dramatic look into the woodland garden as late afternoon light comes pouring through:

May your week be filled with glittering trees and other joys!    Deb

Sunday
May042014

Penelope Rose, an Antique Rose for the Organic Garden

English clergyman Joseph Pemberton introduced the Penelope rose to the world in 1924. Pemberton's roses are also called hybrid musk roses, and Penelope has a delicious fragrance that is a blend of musk and fruit. With large clusters of medium to large, semi-double blooms on a sprawling frame, this antique rose has a unrestrained, romantic appearance.

The flowers are a pale peachy-pink, fading to creamy white. The hotter the weather, the paler the blooms. Penelope is a rebloomer with a large flush of blooms in late spring and then another flush in early autumn as the weather cools, with sporadic flowering in-between. One can encourage repeat blooms by deadheading the earlier blooms. Later blooms should be allowed to mature on the shrub, as lovely coral pink hips follow the flowers. 

Like all roses, Penelope likes loamy soil. Clay is fine as long as generous amounts of organic amendments are added. Penelope has lustrous, healthy foliage with little need for spraying or fertilizing. I feed mine in spring with fish emulsion, and I usually treat it, along with almost everything else in my garden, with a summer tonic of 2Tbs epsom salts and 2Tbs fish emulsion per gallon of water. In late winter I spray it with a dormant oil. That's it, and Penelope probably would carry on just fine if I did nothing at all.

Growing in hardiness zones 6-9, It will reach 5 feet by 5 feet or larger but can be pruned to maintain a more moderate size. It could be considered a semi-climber. My own Penelope grows amidst perennials and other carefree roses, but I think it also would look wonderful growing along a wall or fence. Penelope is one of the few roses that will bloom in semi-shade and will do well along woodland edges.

My humid, hot climate is not kind to most roses, and I use a low maintenance, organic approach to everything I grow. I am happy that Penelope has done so well for me. The American Rose Society rates Penelope 8.7 on a scale of 10. That means it is an excellent rose that is recommended without hesitation. I heartily agree.

 

You may also enjoy Red Cascade: A Favorite Low-maintenance Rose and Summer-Proof the Garden.