Sunday, April 15, 2012

Knockout Rose Tree

August 13th, 2011

For many many years roses were hybridized for fragrance, or hybridized for color, or for size. Things like hardiness and disease resistance were not as much of a concern. It is only recently that gardeners in general started worrying more about these more functional attributes. The “Knock Out” brand of rose is one such newer line that professes to be hardy and disease resistant.
I’ve been hearing about these for years, but never bought one. Then I got an offer from Brighter Blooms for a free plant (one of the benefits of being a garden blogger, you get swag). In particular they had a rose tree, and that really appealed to me.
A standard form plant is one in which a bush or weeping style plant has been either pruned, or more likely grafted, onto a standard (a trunk). Almost all weeping cherry trees sold are in fact standard form grafts, where a normal cherry is grown to the desired height, a weeping bud is grafted on, and then once it is established any regular cherry growth is pruned off.
So a rose tree isn’t a rose that genetically grows like a tree, it is just a rose shrub of one type of rose that has been grafted onto a strong trunk-like cane of another rose.
In anycase, to me the benefit of a standard form rose tree, was that it was easy to find room for it. I stuck it between two very large hardy hibiscus plants. The standard form provides height which provides separation. Had it been a normal shrub rose it would have been crowded by the hibiscus, it would have needed more room. In fact, if it had been a normal shrub, I would not have had room in my garden for it, anywhere. I’m really low on space, but the standard form allowed me to sneak it in there.

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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Red Hot Poker – Something not to grow, and bunnies.

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Do Not Buy a Plastic Greenhouse

February 25th, 2012

In 2010 I blogged about a new little greenhouse I had bought covered in plastic. I bought it at Lowes and was pretty happy with it, it allowed me to start seeds early outdoors (I have problems indoors due to a lack of a south facing window, kids, and cats).

I gave it a pretty good recommendation, I hereby rescind that. In 2011 during the summer, one year old, I noticed the plastic had started to fail at the top. I even kept it in the shade most of the time. By now the plastic is all but gone on top, so much for holding in heat and moisture eh.

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Friday, April 13, 2012

First Flower of 2012

My first bloom of 2012 has surfaced. A crocus as normal, this time out by the road. Though a yellow crocus again.

It bloomed on the 10th, which is early.

In 2011 my first bloom, also a yellow crocus was the 15th. In 2010 it was on the 16th, in 2009, again a yellow crocus, it was on the 15th. In 2008, which had a really cold Spring it wasn’t until early April. That is the extent of my records.

So it portends a slightly longer growing season to have it come a week earlier than the recent norm this year. Should get better yields on my fruit trees and vines, if a late cold snap doesn’t freeze off the buds. That is always a risk with an early Spring. The trees get all excited and start flowering and then a freeze comes and kills all the buds, vastly reducing or eliminating the fruiting potential for many plants for a full year. But a warm Spring is a good thing, so long as it lasts.

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How sweet they’ve been, the first days of Spring. Though March played with our sense of seasonal order, growling out like a temperamental lion, we harvested twenty pounds of honey this week; a sap of sweet, slow, amber translucence.

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