Monday, February 20, 2012

Holy Cumulostratus!

This season's first bloom on 'Hot Cocoa,' showing its funky browny-orange-red coloring quite nicely.  When it heats up, the bush will keep blooming, but in a less iconoclastic camaro red.


Last year, Elgin received approximately 15.3 inches the entire year.

Now it's only Feb 19, and we've received over half that amount already.

'Buff Beauty's' unusually pallid first bloom (trying to make a cultivar possessive is SUCH a pain.  You either end up with apostrophe congestion, which is the route I've chosen, or you have to lose the cultivar's single quotes altogether.  Dammit.)

Since the climate scientists who study La Niña are still, oddly, predicting a dry winter (what's left of it), this is probably a good thing; though, perversely, the persistent wetness has actually begun to freak me out a little.  I had buried memories of the Horrid Fungus that carried off so many of our roses back in 2007, but now that the ground seems to be permanently soggy, I'm remembering how aggressive and lethal that strain of canker/dieback/whatever-it-was could be.

My first jonquils ever (Narcissus jonquilla) are in bloom!  Hooray for these plucky little specks of yellow!  Now each bulb needs to replicate itself about 10 times, and we'll actually have a decent-sized stand.

Still, everybody looks healthy so far, and there's no rain forecast for the next several days, so hopefully what we're getting here is a nice quenching, not a drowning.

Chinese sacred lilies (Narcissus tazetta v. chinensis), a cheerful and reliable bloomer for us here in Elgin.

And in the interim, we've got a lot of blooming and greening. Our "lawn" (mostly clover at present, but what the hell; I'm sure the soil could use the nitrogen fixation) is lush and bright, our little grape hyacinths are blooming, the cemetery irises and Chinese sacred lilies are just finishing up their bloom cycles, and the snowflakes and jonquils are just getting started.

Dear little grape hyacinth (Muscari neglectum).  These are very cute, but are also rather thin on the ground at the moment.  Here's hoping they spread.

'Georgetown Tea,' 'Ducher,' 'Climbing Old Blush,' and especially 'Archduke Charles' and 'Mutabilis' are all in flower, to varying degrees. It's bright and springy and balmy.

Two of "Georgetown Tea's" fat, nodding blossoms

'Ducher'--one of our more bloomful roses right now.  'Ducher' is such a nice intermediate between formality and casual rusticity.

One of my better pictures of 'Cramoisi Superieur.'  You've no idea how much trouble I've had with that shade of red.  It's still not right, but at least it's in the neighborhood.
 Since we're apparently committed to spring now, Matt & I bought 8 (EIGHT!) cubic yards of compost and spread it all over the place.  Between that and the rain, I'm expecting to see joyous, exuberant plant growth all over the damn place.  (Note that we've cut back the grasses since snapping the pic below.)

OMG--so much compost.

Good winter.  Nice winter.  More like this, please!

Another not-bad pic of 'Cramoisi Superieur'--it's a little darker with stronger purply undertones, but still--it's sort of like this.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Catalog of Roses (II)

'Green Ice'
I used to maintain a list of the roses in our garden, along with whatever interesting bits of info I could find about each cultivar.

But the format was clunky, and some of the info needed updating. So I'm making a new (improved!) version. The list below will (eventually) link to individual profiles containing details about each rose.
'Mlle. Franziska Kruger'

Abraham Darby (English - Chamblee's)

Alfie (Miniature - HelpMeFind trade 2012)

Archduke Charles (China - ARE 2010)

Belinda's Dream (Shrub - ?)

Buff Beauty (Hybrid Musk - ARE 1996)
Baretta St. Amber (Tea, found - Vintage Gardens, 2012)

Caldwell Pink (Found - found 2009(?))

Charles de Mills? (Gallica - ?)

Climbing Cecile Brunner (Polyantha - ARE)

Climbing Old Blush (China - ARE)

Clothilde Soupert (Polyantha - found 2009)

Comtesse du Cayla (China - ARE 1996)

Cramoisi Superieur (2- China - ARE 1996)

Dawn Star (Buck 2011)

Dick Koster (Polyantha - ? 2007)

Ducher (China - ? 2007)

Duchesse de Brabant (Tea - ? 2007)

 'Ferdinand Pichard'
E. Veyrat Hermanos (Tea, Vintage Gardens 2012)
Ferdinand Pichard (Hybrid Perpetual - ARE 2011)

Fortune's Double Yellow (Species - ARE 2011)

Fourth of July (2 - Large-Flowered Climber - It's About Thyme 2008)

Francis Dubreuil (Tea - ?)

General Gallieni  (Tea, Vintage Gardens 2012)
Georgetown Tea (Found - ?)

Graham Thomas (English - ?)

Green Ice (3 - Miniature - Shoal Creek 2007)

Green Rose (China - ? 2011)

Gruss an Aachen (Hybrid Tea - Chamblee's 2011)

Hot Cocoa (Floribunda It's a Jungle 2011)

Isabella Sprunt (Tea - ? 2009)

Kaiserin Friedrich (Tea - mailorder 2009)

Kronprinzessin Viktoria (Bourbon - ARE 2011)

La Marne (Polyantha - ?)

Lichterloh (Hybrid Musk - ARE 1996)

Madame Alfred Carriere (Noisette - ARE 2008)

Maggie (2 - Found Bourbon - ?)

Marchesa Boccella (Hybrid Perpetual - HelpMeFind trade 2011) 
Margo Koster (Polyantha - HelpMeFind trade 2012)
Martha Gonzalez (Found China - ?)

Mlle. Franziska Kruger (Tea - ?)

Mrs. Dudley Cross (Tea - ARE 2011)

Mrs. R.M. Finch (Polyantha - ARE)

Mutabilis (5 - China - asst'd - 2007-2008)

New Dawn (Large-Flowered Climber)

'Old Blush, Cl.'
Paul Neyron (Hybrid Perpetual)
Puerto Rico? (cream-colored tea [Tea? - found 2009])

Red Smith's Parish (Bermuda Tea, Vintage Gardens 2012)
Reine des Violettes (Hybrid Perpetual - ARE 1996)Rhodologue Jules Gravereaux (Tea, Vintage Gardens, 2012)
"not-Rise'n'Shine" (2 - Miniature - found 2009)

Sharifa Asma (English - Chambee 2011)

Sombreuil (Large-Flowered Climber - It's a Jungle 2011)

Souvenir de la Malmaison (Bourbon - ?)
Speedy Gonzales (Cl. China -?)

Spice (Found/Bermuda - Chamblee 2011)

The Ambridge Rose (English - Chamblee 2011)

The Fairy (Polyantha - unkn 2007)

Wedding Cake (Floribunda - Burlington 2011)

Wild Blue Yonder (Grandiflora - It's A Jungle 2007)

Winecup (Found - ARE 2011)

Zephirine Drouhin (Bourbon - HelpMeFind trade - 2010)


Updated 27 Dec 2012

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Drowned Land of Ys

Green, green grass, dead trees, fluffy clouds
 We've received something like 10" of rain since the new year, so the countryside is lush with winter grasses.  I love, love, love the juxtaposition of dead trees with bright green grass--I think some part of me reads it as some sort of metaphor for rebirth or the indomitability of life or something.  Or maybe it's just really pretty.  The streams have been swelling, the roads have been flooding, and the farm ponds are brim-full.  

A swollen stream--possibly Walbarger Creek?
I love these ponds (or "tanks" as they're prosaically called around here). They're often dug into the side of inclines to catch the runoff and shored up on the far side with a retaining wall, so they look like an earthen basin set into the hill.

A gloomy island surrounded by a mirror-like moat

Right now, those basins are overflowing, and they're forming rushing, foaming little streams that snake across pastures and form impromptu fens in the low spots. Then they spill out of the fens, pour under the road, cross more pasture, and fill up another pond, before overflowing... and so on.    When you drive through the countryside, you're surrounded by a world of moving, brimming, gushing, living water.  Lovely. I tried to snap some pictures as I made my roundabout way back from the farmer's market yesterday (roundabout because the roads I would usually take were flooded), but the light was a little tricky.  Eh, well.  I did the best I could.

Green grass, cacti, overflowing ponds
What's odd is that some of these areas have been flooded since the previous inundation, over a week ago.  Especially along FM 973--trees have been up to their ankles in water this whole time. These trees were dying of drought for the past two years; now any that survived are drowning.  Hardly seems fair.

Flooded trees and pastures
There's a legend of a Breton city that was swallowed by the ocean--it's called "The Drowned City of Ys" (long story short: kings should avoid having orgy-loving daughters that traffic with the devil).   It's been on my mind lately because this area looks like a drowned land these days.  Only in this case, it's a good drowning (for the most part)--fat cows, green grass, filled ponds.
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