Thoughts on Rose Pruning

The weather was good this past weekend, so I got outside and pruned the roses in our garden. Pruning roses used to make me nervous, but now I relax by reminding myself that roses are basically brambles. At least mine are – two shrub roses (‘Sally Holmes’ and ‘Cassie’) and two climbers (‘Darlow’s Enigma’ and …

Presentable in Pink

Judy and I are generally not fond of pink flowers, and we don’t have many in the garden. Not sure why. Generally we like really strong colors – but then we both are partial to blue, which is a softer color like pink. Also, there are a few pink flowers that we like, and at least …

Shrub Rose ‘Cassie’ is a Flower Powerhouse

It’s October 20th, and everybody in the garden is winding down. Everybody but ‘Cassie’, that is. ‘Cassie’ is a medium-sized shrub rose that refuses to acknowledge the change of seasons. She just keeps pumping out small, semi-double white flowers. She even keeps the flower buds coming. All this while her canes fill with small orange …

Rose Report

This year got off to an inauspicious start for my roses. All in all, though, it wasn’t a bad year. I am a relative newcomer to roses, and there is only a modest selection in my garden. Even so, I’m very fond of the ones I have. The saddest development was the death of ‘Strike it …

Back Garden Notes

Time to Dig the Alliums In the back garden there is a patch of Allium ‘Purple Sensation’ (Allium aflatunense) that has expanded substantially over time but that is also getting rather too congested. A sign of this is the thick growth of Allium foliage but fewer actual flowers than we saw last year. When they …

Bring Out Your Dead?

I have been working very hard at not jumping to conclusions about which plants got killed off during our brutal winter. However, I am becoming increasingly fretful. Here’s the situation as of today. Gone forever After two seasons in my back garden, my flowering dogwood (Cornus florida ‘Appalachian Spring’) is pretty clearly a goner. No …

Weekend Garden Notes

  Snowdrops are blooming. It’s a relief to finally see the first snowdrops (Galanthus) in bloom. In 2012 they bloomed in February and were done by mid-March. This year they are just getting started. I really should have kept track of the varieties I planted, but I didn’t so I can’t know which kinds are early …

November Roses Not Ready To Call It Quits

November is not thought of as a time for roses in Chicago, but a couple of our roses refuse to take the hint from the cooling weather. Most notably, ‘Cassie’ continues to pump out clusters of little white semi-double flowers. No doubt this is a product of the odd autumn weather, but I find it …

A Quiet Autumn: GBBD, October 2013

Autumn seems to be pretty subdued in these parts. Very little foliage color, and fewer flowers than normal. My theory is that many of the flowers threw in the towel early because it has been pretty dry since the beginning of August. And the warm fall has kept the leaves green late into the season. …

How To Buy A Rose Bush

It was a rose bush I had to have as soon as I saw it at the garden center. It was named ‘Strike It Rich’, and it was still blooming in the August heat. Its color was described as “deep golden yellow, swirled and kissed with ruby red”. Which is to say: orange. But I …