Thursday, November 22, 2018

Autumn Paintings by Catharina Klein

Don't those roses look like ones that bloom in autumn when grapes and medlars are ripe?
Although not many roses in this video, it does show off her talent for capturing the spirit of autumn. She was born in 1861 and was already exhibiting her work in the 1880s. Several of works in this video, especially the highly detailed ones, were bound in a book of daily poetry readings published in America in 1894. So she was already famous by then.

Enjoy the video.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Local rosarians pick top hybrid teas

Local rose growers select best varieties

Planning to purchase a rose for your garden? Then, stack the odds in your favor by buying one of the following hybrid tea roses. Monterey Bay Rose Society members selected them by consensus from a list of more than 80 easy-to-grow varieties.

This following list contains traditional hybrid tea roses that resemble what most flower lovers think a rose should look like. They grow well in the gardens throughout the Central Coast of California and will impress visitors when cut and brought inside. They are also proven winners on the trophy table at local rose shows. These bushes are all still in commerce and, therefore, can be ordered by you or by your local nursery.

(If you are looking for roses to create a large splash of color in your garden or for climbing on a fence or arbor, these aren't the ones to choose. That's another list coming to this blog soon.)

The year next to the rose indicates when it was first introduced and made available for sale.

Perfect Moment, 1989

Perfect Moment, Queen of the Show

It's a blend of red and yellow, blooms throughout the season, healthy and disease resistant, slight fragrance, classic hybrid tea shape, blooms are five to six inches in diameter.


Gemini, 1999

Gemini, hybrid tea

A blend of dusty pink and beige, Gemini is also frequently on the show table with its nearly symmetrical form. It's a winner in the garden as well with its disease resistant foliage and its generous production of flowers throughout the season.

Double Delight, 1977

Double Delight, hybrid tea
Double Delight has been around for more than forty years and for good reason. It's petals are half cherry red and half creamy white, the plant is healthy and generous with flowers when not pruned too severely, and it boasts a mild sweet fragrance. It's grown by nearly everyone who loves roses.

Sugar Moon, 2012

Sugar Moon, hybrid tea

This beautiful white rose opens well and sports a delicate fragrance. It's flowers can be five inches in diameter on top of  dark green, healthy foliage.

Memorial Day, 2001

Memorial Day, hybrid tea (Photo by John Mahoney)

Honoring those who gave their lives to serve this country, this medium lavender-colored rose offers the classic hybrid tea shaped blooms and a delicious fragrance. Its generous with its flowers and a healthy plant.

Fame!, 1998

Farme!, hybrid tea

Its dark pink color is intense, its form is classic hybrid tea, and its popularity among those who grow it is high. It rewards gardeners with plenty of blooms from a large and healthy plant.

Brandy, 1981

Brandy, hybrid tea
One of the most popular apricot colored roses, Brandy opens quite dark and lightens as its petals unfurl. It keeps its color in the sun though and provides ample flowers on its large and healthy plant.

Ingrid Bergman, 1984 

Ingrid Bergman, hybrid tea

This disease-resistant, vigorous dark red hybrid tea grows in many gardens. Her multi-focused center is easily identifiable as is her nearly unstoppable flower production. Very mild fragrance.

Stainless Steel, 1991

Stainless Steel, hybrid tea (Photo by Judy Sauvé.)

For light lavender-gray rose lovers, Stainless Steel was a godsend and surpasses in all categories her rival Sterling Silver. She has a healthy plant, large flowers and blooms in flushes.

About Face, 2003

Undoubtedly, one of the most striking color combinations in a rose - yellow upper side and bright orange underside. It's a grandiflora which means it often produces multiple blooms of hybrid tea shape on a single cane. It's healthy and popular.

Falling in Love, 2006

Falling in Love, 2006 (Photo from the National Garden Society)

Perhaps one of the greatest pink hybrid tea roses ever developed, Falling in Love has the classic shape, modern disease resistance and generous flower production throughout the season. It's definitely on my short list of roses to get for the future. It does have nasty thorns.

Gold Medal, 1982

Gold Medal, grandiflora

A top favorite since its introduction, Gold Medal changes its color and highlights depending on the light, food, and season. Its vigorous, disease resistant and provides plentiful excellently shaped flowers.

Miss All-American Beauty, 1964

Miss All-American Beauty (aka Maria Callas), hybrid tea

The oldest hybrid tea on this list of recommended roses is Miss All-American Beauty, known in Europe and elsewhere as Maria Callas. Its tall, healthy and generous with its satiny pink flowers. It's thorny and the centers are often muddled but it fits in the easy-to-grow HERE category.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Easy Roses for California's Central Coast

Purple Splash is one of the most vigorous and floriferous climbers on the market.
Join us Thursday, October 25, 7 p.m. at the Aptos Public Library. I'll present a PowerPoint slide show of Easy Roses to grow in our area. Joining me will be several other rosarians who can answer your specific questions about these extraordinary plants. All guests are welcome.

Now is the time that local nurseries are ordering roses for next year. Attend our meeting and check out roses you can be successful at growing. Then, take your suggestions to local nurseries.

Most of the photos are from local gardens and were taken by local rosarians. These are definitely the best roses for our area and all have enthusiastic supporters.

Many of the suggested roses are usually available locally.

Among our many suggestions are: Sugar Moon, Memorial Day, Julia Child, Twilight Zone, and In The Mood.
Sugar Moon

Memorial Day, photo by Janey Leonardich

Julia Child
Twilight Zone, photo by Janey Leonardich

In The Mood, photo by John Mahoney

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Autumn in the Rose Garden

Autumn in the Rose Garden

Rosa californica hips
It's official. Summer has ended and autumn is here. The length of night is the same as the length of day. Less light along California's Central Coast doesn't mean growth of rose canes stops, but the grow that does happen is often longer, thinner and more susceptible to the first strong wind that blows.

I stop feeding my roses any chemical fertilizer after Labor Day. It will encourage growth and I want the opposite to happen. October, however, often offers a week or two of sunny warm temperatures and the last flush of flowers - what we call a strong repeat bloom. If you have been feeding the roses throughout the summer, there should be plenty of nutrients in the soil to make the autumn blooms flourish. I often see a much more intense coloration in the petals. The warm, dry weather with sunlight in shorter supply often provides the best color.

Give your roses a little alfalfa now. It's a great tonic with many beneficial properties which will encourage your roses to make good roots during the winter.

Once you seen the last flush of flowers, allow them to form hips. this will help to shut the plant down and get ready for winter. I like to have my roses ready for pruning by January which is now only three months away.

My Rosa californica is off on its own on the side of my potting shed with good reason. It's disease-free, pretty single pink flowers in the spring and summer, and marble-size hips in the fall. It's notorious for wanting to create a hedge. In the wild, the thick hedge it forms allows it to capture blowing leaves to build up the soil and attract nesting birds whose excrement provides a steady supply of fertilizer. It's roots will also secure a bank and therefore prevent erosion. Think about a spot in your garden where a clump of our native rose might do very well. It sends up runners with great regularity so choose a stop away from your hybrid teas and floribundas and, for that matter, your other garden plants and vegetables.

These bright red hips are packed with vitamins and minerals. Wash them, chop them and drop a couple in your teapot.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Don't Feed Your Bees

Honey bee enjoying an Ingrid Bergman hybrid tea rose

From Robert Pavlis, Editor of with thanks to Jolene Adams, chief consulting rosarian for the Northern California, Nevada, and Hawaii district of the American Rose Society.

A Garden Myth is Born 

by Robert Pavlis

I don’t know who started the myth, but someone created it on their Facebook page – anyone can do that. They then posted it on some public sites and people shared the post. After all, everybody cares about the bees and we really don’t want to die in 4 years.

The post went viral. I saw it on several gardening groups and right away people posted that they would do this – it is the least they could do to save the bee. People even posted pictures of bees drinking from spoons containing water and sugar. I wonder if the author of this myth is sitting in front of their computer, laughing their head off?

One of the problems with this post is that they included the name, Sir David Attenborough, a well-known broadcaster and naturalist. The BBC looked into the matter and determined it was all fake news, so they asked Facebook to take down the post.

They not only removed the original post, but many of the shared posts have also disappeared. As far as I can tell Sir David Attenborough never said anything about bees and feeding them sugar.

What Is The Harm in a Little Fun?

It seems like no big deal, but it is more serious than you might think. Millions of people have now seen the information and they believe you should feed bees. Very few will see my post and other news items that dispel the myth. They will go on believing the myth, and for the next 100 years, they will be telling their children and grandchildren to feed the bees. You can’t kill a myth once it starts.

Does feeding bees with sugar water do any harm? Yes, it does. I’ll discuss several issues in more detail below, but a serious problem is that some people can’t follow instructions. They have morphed the myth into a better solution; feed the bees with honey and that can be deadly for bees.

Are Bees Dying?

The post says “In the last 5 years the bee population has dropped by 1/3”. Which bee population are they talking about? Honey bees? Native bees?

Honey bee populations have not declined over the last 5 years. There were larger losses than normal this past winter in North America, but that was due to the cold weather. Overall, honey bee populations are on the rise.

Native bee populations are probably down, but we don’t have enough data to reach any conclusion. The data used in the post is completely fabricated.

Without Bees, We Will Die in Four Years

Honey bees are not dying – the numbers are on the increase, and since they are farmed animals we can make more new hives without too much trouble.

Even if all the bees died, we would still have other food to eat. This 4-year thing is nonsense.

Do Bees Need To Be Fed?

The proper way to feed bees – use flowers. Beekeepers do feed their hives in the middle of winter if the stored food in the hive runs out, and they do use sugar solutions. But this is done because there are no flowers open at this time of year to feed the bees. They don’t normally feed sugar water to bees during the rest of the year.

If the bees’ foraging trips are so exhausting don’t you think that beekeepers would have a bowl of sugar water waiting for them at the hive? They don’t need an extra feeding of sugar.

Why Do Some Bees Look Exhausted?

There are lots of reports of bees just sitting. No movement and no flying – they look exhausted. They must need an energy boost! Bees don’t live forever. Their lifespan depends on the type of bee and their role in life. Worker honey bees that are born in the spring only live for 6 weeks because they work hard collecting pollen and nectar. Male bumblebees only live a couple of weeks. A bee that is near the end of its life does not fly around very well. That bee that looks exhausted may need a rest, but there is a very good chance that it is dying. Feeding it won’t change that.

One Beekeeper put it this way, “Bees can and will die from exhaustion, but making sugary food sources
available to save lethargic bees may be doing more damage than good.”

Can a Little Sugar Water Harm The Bees?

Bees don’t need to be fed, but feeding them a bit of sugar water from a spoon won’t do any harm provided this is a one-time thing. The problem is that people have expanded on the myth. If a bit of sugar water for an exhausted bee is good, then a lot of sugar water for all the bees must be better.

People are starting to leave out bowls full of the stuff, or even adding it to their bird baths.
Beekeepers warn that this can have serious consequences. Bees take short cuts. If they can get sugar easily from a bowl rather than visiting a hundred flowers, they will do that. Upon returning to the hive they’ll tell their buddies and the rest of the colony to do the same. Before you know it, you have hundreds of bees.

Not a big deal you say, but the bees store this sugar water in the hive along with the honey. They effectively make watered down honey. That is not good for the bees and nobody wants to buy watered down honey. Beekeepers are asking you not to do this.

 What Is Wrong With Feeding Honey To Bees?

Honey can contain spores of a bacteria called Paenibacillus which causes AFD (American Foul Brood disease). It is deadly to bees. The honey you feed to the bee will be taken back to the hive. If your honey contains this pathogen, there is a good chance it will infect the whole hive. In Australia it is illegal to feed
honey to bees. The treatment for this horrible disease is to burn the whole hive, including the bees.
The disease is fairly rare, but it does happen. Honey should never be fed to bees in your garden. Let

them feed on flowers! 

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Andy Easton Leaves Salinas

Salinas Sunset, an original hybrid by Andy Easton
One of the world's great orchid hybridizers has packed up his orchids and departed for Colombia, South America. Andy Easton once rented a considerable space in a greenhouse on Zabala Road, south of Salinas. His time in Salinas was fruitful with the creation of several sensational cymbidium orchids.

The greenhouse was sold a few years ago and he was forced to move out quickly. His hybridizing efforts got a bit more complicated working from several different locations. Nevertheless, he prevailed and this move has gone smoothly - so far.

His wife, Patricia, is a native of Colombia so this move makes sense in many ways.

Here is a video I made using the photographs I took when I first visited the greenhouse in 2010.

View Andy Easton's Orchids by following this link.

cybidium, orchids, andy_easton, easton, salinas, truskot, cybidiums,
Cymbidium hybridizer Andy Easton in his former Salinas greenhouse, Sept. 2010

Saturday, June 23, 2018

America is back!

America, large flowered climber, 1976

One of the lesser traumas gardeners face when planting bare root roses isn't their fault. A mix up back at the processing plant often results in one rose getting put into another rose's package.

When its time for the wrapping and labeling, the flowers, of course, are long since gone. The leaves were stripped off in the field and the canes shortened for easier and more uniform packaging. When reduced to bare root status, many of the canes look the same. They are all grafted onto the same rootstock so examining its roots offers no help.

Inevitably, the true identity of a rose is lost and the bush ends up being mislabeled. Processing plants handle roses in a scale of thousands at a time.

In my case, after years of resisting any new roses in my garden and risking the chance that the bargain bin bare root rose might be infected with rose mosaic virus, I took the plunge this past January and bought Handel.

It was a variety I grew during my first year or two in Salinas and holds the distinction of being the only rose out of the 250 plus varieties I grew that fell victim to a gopher!

My residential neighborhood is gopher free but one maverick critter moved into a neighboring yard when that house was unoccupied and ill-kept for several months.

Handel had provided quick growth up the side of my potting shed and a bountiful supply of white trimmed in bright pink blooms. Suddenly, one day it didn't look so good. The next day it was dead. Panic set in.

None of my roses are planted in wire cages. I bought and used a box trap and caught the gopher within six hours. No further gopher incident has occurred.

So it was with some enthusiasm that I bought Handel this past winter and selected a good and vacant part of the back fence as an ideal spot. It leafed out and stayed pretty much the same size for two months. Then it began sending up long canes and those canes then sported huge sprays of flowers.

The plant seemed to be happy with its location and grew plentiful dark green leaves. The flower clusters grew larger and longer.

When the first flowers opened -- they were orange. The plant was definitely not Handel.

The orange flowers looked familiar though. In fact, I have seen this same rose bush growing in many yards in Salinas. It definitely likes it here. Then, I realized what I was growing -- America!

America sporting its first cluster of blooms
In honor of the Bicentennial in 1976, the great rose hybridizer of the last half of the 20th century Bill Warriner introduced a rose called America. Vigorous and healthy with good flower form and color, America was an easy-to-grow, medium sized climber. (How a salmon pink rose got associated with a red-white-and-blue holiday is a mystery. But, it clearly captured many patriotic souls who bought it, planted it and forgot its name.)

Incidents such as this happen occur regularly in home gardens with many people calling one rose something that it isn't.

I recognized America because I'd also once grew it. It's demise in my yard had more to do with its vigor and the inappropriate place where I'd planted it. I didn't know it was going to get so long and lanky so I dug it out and gave it away.

It's no matter that Handel never made a return engagement. America is back.

climbing rose, America, Bill Warriner, truskot
Planted in February, America will climb to the top of this seven-foot fence producing large clusters of flowers as it goes.