Saturday, June 23, 2018

America is back!

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.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Walking Tour of My Yard

Walking Tour of My Yard

Tahitian Sunset in the Morning

If you weren't able to attend last month's open garden. Here's a quick tour of my yard when many of the roses were at their peak.

Welcome to my Garden

Monday, June 11, 2018

Getting a Good Hybrid Tea Rebloom

Getting a good re-bloom from hybrid tea roses

Double Delight at the Monterey Bay Rose Society Display Garden

With the first flush of roses nearly over, it's time to do something about getting good blooms for the rest of the season.

Although there are many different varieties and species of roses, most people want their hybrid teas to produce flowers throughout the summer and fall. By their nature, all hybrid tea roses are repeat bloomers. It's in their genes and it isn't hard to get them to flower.

Remember, however, that some hybrid teas also have generosity of bloom in their genetic make-up and others are stingier.
Gemini with a side bud that should be removed

1. Water your roses regularly. No growth can happen without water.

2. Feed your roses a little something every other week during the season. I alternate organic and chemical, always making sure that the roses are hydrated well before I add the fertilizer.

3. Include organic fertilizers and amendments every month. This is especially important if your water comes from wells. During its percolation from rainwater to groundwater its pH level has likely become slightly to significantly alkaline. Organic material in the soil will counteract the alkalinity and allow your rose to absorb more nutrients. Roses love slightly acidic soil at 6.5 pH.

4. Dead-head your hybrid teas as soon as the flowers start to drop petals. That means cut the stem to an outward facing bud eye. Do not allow the rose to develop hips. In many cases, by the time the rose bloom drops petals, the rose has already started to send some growth nutrients to a lower bud eye. Look for a place where a new cane has already started to develop.

5. With the added nutrients, many varieties of hybrid tea produce side buds accompanying each larger bud at the top of a cane. To keep blooms at their best and to increase the blooming cycle, it's important to pull off the side buds early. It seems counter-intuitive but it actually does give you many more perfectly formed flowers. The side buds often cause the terminal bud to be lopsided and the side buds are never as beautiful or as large as the main one. Waiting for the lesser blooms to open just steals time from the plant producing first-class flowers.

With the above five steps followed, the duration from attractive bud to a fully opened rose dropping petals averages around ten days depending on outside temperature, sunshine and variety. Then, in another five to six weeks, you'll have more flowers on that part of the bush. The older and larger the hybrid tea, the more likely it will always been in bloom during the growing period.