Jun 12, 2014

Days of Wine and Roses

Days of Wine and Roses

A typical day: Watered the potted plants and flats as needed, with a special eye on the many dozen rhododendrons growing from seed - hope I live to see some of them bloom, but, as I plant a dozen or so different rhododendron crosses each year, producing hundreds of seedlings, it stands to reason I will expire with a great many plants still un-bloomed. And who will carry on, or care, after I've returned to the soil?

On to building a trellis on a trellis.

Years ago I planted a wisteria cutting taken from a garden in Parkdale and for several years it produced a mass of tendrils and many feet of hefty stem, but no bloom. I literally cut off yards of growth every year (still do) just to keep it within the county. Then two, or is that three? years ago there were two or three small flower panicles - I was ecstatic. Last year the blooms were simply magnificent, not quite up to specimens in Sierra Madre, or Claremont, California, but impressive never-the-less. I immediately envisioned a bistro table and two to four chairs basking in the scented shade, a bottle of fine wine and a wheel of brie and fresh-baked bread waiting for company. Last spring I removed the one rotten post supporting the monster and let it's substantial branches(?) fall gracefully onto the lawn, where they lay, contentedly or not, for over a year. It bloomed this spring, but in its prostrate position the blooms were difficult to appreciate. I rebuilt the arbor. It will now support a ton or two and last longer than I care to consider, but, I had to hack the wisteria into submission for it to appreciate my effort. So, as I raise many Clematis from seed, and Clematis serratifolia seems to be a very vigorous plant I added a trellis to the wisteria structure (until the Wisteria can recover its whits). I used two ends of an old crib that had been tossed in the 'free' pile at a local thrift shop due to government regulations. What, no pictures! OK, it's almost dark but I'll dash outside and see if I can take a photo.

Windy last night, and all day, so spent time tying up tomato plants. Then on to prune the rose allée, and three rose arbors. Dead heading as I go and collecting seed.

Back to Rhododendrons: I have set aside a small area as a 'test garden' for rhododendron seedlings and am gradually planting out the potted plants. It is not an ideal location - too much afternoon sun - but you do what you can with what you have. For years I have taken our bountiful supply of Ponderosa Pine needles and piled them in a heretofore unused area of the garden to rot. Now is the time to mine that decomposed treasure. It is better than gold, even turquoise from the Blue Bird Mine.

Then to the transplanting: Corydalis Kiautschouensis, Campanula ramosissima, and Lewisia rediviva tonight.

And then to an early evening rest. I'm feeling old, am old. A bottle of Pinot Grigio, and I take a seat, out of the showery rain, and what grabs my attention? Roses, white roses. The warm temperatures of the last week or two have hurried a great many plants into bloom, especially the roses. I see cascades of Darlow's Enigma, arching branches of City of York, two trellises of Iceberg Climber, several Dove, and the Glamis Castle, and, down back, the White Meidiland roses are wakening. And the American Pillar roses, not white, trained on several arbors, are just exploding into bloom.

Speaking of white-flowered plants, Clematis lanuginosa 'Candida' has never bloomed so profusely or with such enthusiasm.

Strange, but I think I originally meant to speak of other things.

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