Friday, May 30, 2008

Up Close @ the Dane County Farmer's Market

The last time I visited the Dane County Farmer's Market it was rainy and I didn't bring the camera out of the car. Last weekend when we visited the temps were warm and the sky was sunny. I nabbed a few closer shots of the fabulous hanging baskets and annuals and perennials available for purchase from the vendors.

The market wraps around the Capital Building Square. There are endless choices...

This time I just picked up 2 basil plants, large leaf and sweet. I tried to grow mine from seed and only the opal basal has germinated. I've successfully grown them from seed in previous years, so I don't know what happened? I also grabbed a small delphinium & Iris. The delphs a variety I've never heard of... I'll share when she blooms.

Here's the Capitol Building. If I'm not mistaken it's a replica of the Capitol in Washington DC, just one foot shorter.

Pansies in a bed outside the Capitol.

View of the market from State Street.

Me. Happy.

Happy gardening!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Raindrops keep falling on my flowers...

I had a pretty great time out in the sprinkling rain with my camera this afternoon. I thought I'd share what's blooming now. Enjoy!

Morden Fireglow rose.

German Chamomile

Things are filling in up front.

An ant gets nectar from a Karl Rosenfeld peony.

Distant Drums rose

Chives in the herb bed.

What I believe and hope to be a clematis "Etiolle Violette" seedling.

Clematis "Ville De Lyon" gets ready to put on a show.

Delphinium, Magic Fountains, Dark Blue, White Bee.

I've had these Irises since we moved in. I moved them from time to time, but never seen the tall/larger ones bloom! I was so delighted (happy dance kind of delighted) to see they're going to be blue!

Centaura Montana, Hardy Bachelor's Buttons.

David Austin rose Brother Cadfael is turning out sepals and about to present his first bloom to me.

Scarlet Knight rose shows how dark she can be.

Christian Dior rose and bud.

Christian Dior rose in the rain.

Clematis "Piilu" (means "little duck" in Estonian) almost all the way open.


Distant Drums rose buds line up behind an open flower.

Happy gardening everyone!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Why roses?

I read and posted to a link on Garden Buddies regarding roses and their names. The thread there sparked my blog here. I copied and pasted some of what I wrote there in this post.

I've had roses in my own garden since 2004, when my husband and I bought our home. I found one on the property, newly planted, with the tag still on it. It was John Cabot. I moved it, b/c we planned to build a deck where it was. It thrived, and the same week I ran out and bought my own roses. As soon as I could, despite it being a hot and humid July, and my being 7 months pregnant at the time, I was building my rose garden.

I didn't do any research. I don't think it even occured to me that roses needed added care in my climate. I just bought some. I had a nice topiary tree rose Europeana, a climber called Sally Holmes that made it 6 feet high that summer. I also picked up Kordes Perfecta, another white one who's name I've lost, and Morden Centennial. At some point that year my mom gave me an older rose magazine that told me how to protect them in the winter. I followed the directions, added extra mulch, stopped pruning in September. My baby was born in October, and the winter came.

Come I lost the topiary, of course. And the Sally Holmes died for unknown reasons. But, my John Cabot, Morden Centennial, and Kordes perfecta came back wonderfully. More alive than dead equalled success: I must have done something right, and I was hooked!

I have always had roses in the yards I've lived in. I spent most of my childhood time in my grandmother's backyard, where she grew a line of roses along the fence, and more in the front yard. I followed her around as she watered. I asked her questions. She taught me to pull off the yellow leaves, which usually fell off in my hand anyway, and to throw them in the trash, not on the ground by the roses. She taught me to cut just above the 5 leaf stem when I remove a bloom. She let me water for her, giving her roses a good long drink. I remember her telling me some of the names of the roses, including Double Delight, and French Perfume. But this was almost 30 years ago...

Later, when adolescence was over and I was less distracted, I paid more attention to my grandmother and my mother's rose garden. My mom finally had her own yard, and she grew roses on cottage style arbors in her back yard, and also in her front yard. I used to get in close to smell each one. My husband even proposed to me with red rose petals & long stem red roses from our front yard to our bed (three stories high) that year. When we were married I had a red rose bouquet, my bridesmaids had white roses, and our cake was covered in red rose buds--a perfect Christmas wedding flower, but hard to come by in Southern California during the week of preperation for the Tournament of Roses Parade!

I longed to just garden, but I was in graduate school studying Communication Studies, and I had no yard, no porch, and no time. I stuck a few mini roses in a window-sill height planter box in my kitchen window, and they grew and bloomed again and again all year. I doted on them. Looking back, they were like my teaching roses. I studied their anatomy, learned their habits, and learned if I loved them, they would love me right back. So, once we had our own home, roses were obvisouly the first thing I went for.

The roses I grew up with, my my grandmother's garden were mostly high fragrant, hybrid tea roses, perfectly content in the zone 9/10 climate of southern california. I've set myself on a quest to grow as many of the roses she grew/grows in my garden here in Wisconsin. I want to grow the roses I grew up with. Trouble is, my grandma doesn't remember the name of her roses unless you say it to her; then it rings a bell. The labels are all long gone.

A month or so ago I asked a rose garden forum on the web to help me recognize one of her roses from a photograph I took last fall when I visited California. A wonderful lady named Sue correctly identified it. As soon as I asked my grandma if she remembered, "Royal Highness!" She said, "Yes, I remember. That is one I have! I remember when I bought all these roses thinking they had such fancy names!" In that phone call she also recalled "French Perfume" and "Tropicana."

Since then, my grandma and I have named about 11 of her 28 roses. She has: Royal Highness, Tropicana, French Perfume, Double Delight, Queen Elizabeth, Peace Mr. Lincoln, Christian Dior, Climbing Don Juan, Kordes Perfecta, and a new one from my mom, Tuscan sun.
Oddly enough, as we name then, I'm finding I already have many of them in my garden. It's almost like I internalized her roses & their scents as a little girl, and instinctively know a rose she's had when I see it. Just this week we were on the phone and she was describing a rose with both dark and light pink in it, with some creamy white. I started guessing on the phone and as we're talking she found her old rose book and saw she had marked Kordes Perfecta in it. She marked it with an "x" possibly 20 years ago; she looked down at her book, and said, "this looks like it here in my book, and I marked it, so this must be it."
I have two Kordes Perfecta in my yard, and it's my favorite rose. She was delighted to hear I had this rose, too. She simply can't believe I grow the same roses as her.
Aren't roses amazing?
I can't leave without posting a few of my pictures from the last week. Again, I want to point out that these are potted roses I have bought this spring; my existing roses are still making flower buds. I went out today and made a list. I have flower buds coming on:
1 of my Double Delight
1 of 3 Mr. Lincoln
and unamed white rose
Brother Cadfael
1 of my Christian Dior
2 of 3 Cl. Golden Showers
Kordes Perfecta
my mytery rose (came in a bare root package with Love, a 2 for 1 accident)
And my two cane hardy roses are packed with blooms. I had nothing else to do while my boys played this morning and I counted a whopping:
267 blooms on Morden Centennial
400 on John Cabot
My mouth was dropped open, too.
Here's a bouquet of Distant Drums, Christian Dior, & Kordes Perfecta. They just needed to be picked, so I put them together.
Christian Dior
Proud Land
Distant Drums is still putting on a show. The stem on which I pinched the first spent rose is already making another flower bud. I sure hope this rose stays this productive, it'll be a fast favorite of mine.
Happy Rose Gardening

Local Public Gardens

Memorial Day weekend in our area marks some of the very first blooms; it may be to early for roses and most perennials, but some peonies, late spring bulbs, and some perennials are putting on a show.
On Friday, after we took the kids to the park, my husband had to run a few errands. I had him drop the kids and I off at The Rotary Botanical Gardens in Janesville, WI. I took the camera along to share my musings. The boys ate a bazillion M & M's (or "emm-e-mems") while I showed them the flowers and ducks on the water. Entrance to the garden is by "donation," so I put the singles in my waller in the donation box. I hope to sometime soon actually donate my time to this facility.

Out front I found this smoke bush. Since I first heard of smoke bush I don't think I've actually seen one. It'll be awhile before it looks smoky, but even at just a few feet off the ground it's darn pretty.
One of my most coveted plants in the garden as been this Weeping Norway Spruce. I saw it in a rose garden magazine in 2001, and have wanted one ever since my mom pointed it out to me. We called it the pine tree that looked like a "monster." I found one this spring at Walmart for $33, and could not resist (past searchs found them only at $80 and above). Definately my biggest purchase of the season, but a worthy one for sure. The tag on the plant said it grows to 10 feet wide and 3 feet tall? I didn't think they had this right? All of the Weeping Norway Spruce I had seen were tall and droopy, not wide. How could it spread out to 10 feet? It sure would look silly? This one at the entrance to the Rotary Gardens confirmed that I'm not nuts, the Walmart tag had to have been lopsided, meaning 10 feet high and 3 feet wide, for sure. LOL. Aren't they cool?
Overlooking a neighboring beach the gardens have a seating are for outdoor dining. The seating lined with allium and these giant tulips. I mean, GIANT; you can see my tiny little thumb holding it still in the wind.

And I thought I liked alliums. LOL. This is looking towards the rose garden.

This area also has a lot of ponds, with fountains. This water lily was blooming.

I think the blue flowers on the left here are camassia? Another view towards the rose garden.

I have never seen the roses at this garden in full bloom. This year I've made it my plan to make sure I'm there to see them all. I am well-enough versed with roses to stand there now, looking at just labels and green shrubs to picture the whole thing at peak.

Here I found one of the few cane hardy climbers for our climate, Henry Kelsey, which should make some bright red flowers in a short time.

Another view of the rose area, with the lake behind it.
Not many annuals were in the gardens yet, but these hanging baskets looked fabulous.

Below the rose garden you'll find a rock garden on the shore of the small lake. I found phlox, and dianthus blooming here, and multiple sedums creeping about.
Don't know what these are, but they obviously make a fabulous spring color show.

The show stopper, for me, in the rock garden this time of year is this is Pasque Flower. I visited last year at this time, and fell in love with it. I now have one at home, but it's not yet blooming. The one at the Rotary Gardens was at full bloom, and oh-so-pretty.

The flowers leave these frilly stems behind.

Beside the rock garden you enter a vast shaded area, filled with trickling water and shade plants galore. At the entrance to this area I found a pink moss phlox & Tiger Eyes. I love Tiger Eyes, but can't seem to picture one anywhere in my garden. They are so tropical looking, yet hardy in our zone 4 gardens. I saw them for a great price this year finally, for $10, (not bad, as in pervious years I've never seen them below $25-$80).

A sample of the shade scene:

I included the boys in this shot so you can see just how big some of these hostas get. Keep in mind it's not even June yet when this picture was taken, so this hosta's been growing for a little over one month, with about 4 more to go before frost!

There are millions of hostas here. Possibly literally a million. LOL. But this one stood out it's St, Elmo's Fire. Amoung a series of blue and greens, even green and white mixes, this chartruese hosts glows in the shade. I don't need more hostas, but I've secretly stashed this one on my wish list.

Many of the peonies looked ripe to open...

...there were also plenty of them open. In the shade area I found this pink beauty

Also this white peony- my favorite there. I can't emphasize the size of these things enough. They were HUGE. Much bigger than my hand, for sure. Such a treat!

Overall the garden has everything beautifully and professionally labeled, but I struggled to find labels on the some of the peonies. In fact, many of them are at the rear of the beds, and not accessible to look for variety names. This red one was past it's prime, but still pretty.

I loved the combo of this golden creeping jenny and the red japanese maple! fantastic! If I ever have a water garden in the shade, I will have to give this a try. I've had the japanese maple on the wish list for a very, very long time, but I simply can't afford a $50 plant, and that's the very cheapest I've seen them.
I love a good placement of ajuga, also. This cluster surrounded a dwarf spruce, near a stream, embedded in rocks.

Next on our journey I pushed the boys through an area with a huge grassy area. One end of the rectangular garden has a fountain, and the other a statue viewed through a large arbor with hops (I'm pretty sure) growing on it. The alley is flanked with large heges, and deep perennial beds featuring everything from joe pye weed to peonies.
Masses of this plant here line the back of the border. I don't know what it is, but I remember visiting the garden in the fall and thinking it made a tremendous back drop. Anyone know what this is?

In the massive cement-like containers in this area I found this grass. I've seen it around a few times this year. Pretty interesting... makes a great centerpiece for the container.
Just around the corner a lattice covered in lime hops.

While most of the tulips were past bloom, this yellow one, with it's spikey petals was still at peak. I love how it swirls into a star shape.
Nearly beside the tulips I found this No clue what this is, but it's a shrub, looks like a tiny hydrangea or something?

Nice blue color in the part sun here, but the tag didn't come out in the picture. I'll have to check next time I'm there.

You know I love bleeding heart. This golden bleeding heart was special, really glowing in the shade, and at it's peak bloom as well.

You also know I love blue, and this giant blue vase is no exception. It's actually a water feature. the water drips all around it smoothly; it's surrounded by columbine and hostas.

Deadnettle, daylilies...

Here's a path that leads to the water. Coral Bells (heuchera) is embedded in the rocks, echoing the color of the bridge in the distance.
Thanks for walking through the garden with me, more adventures to come soon!
Happy gardening!