Saturday, May 12, 2012

A Rose By Any Other Name

It is a quiet, overcast, damp morning at the Garden Spot. Just the sort of morning to linger with a hot cup of coffee. The David Austins should feel right at home with this sort of cool, damp weather.  They are beginning to settle in, but not without trauma. Between a bit of a freeze and harsh wind right after we planted them and probably not enough water, two roses struggled, but now seem to be adjusting to their new home. So meet the David Austins:

The name tag collage didn't turn out quite like I wanted with name of each rose. This little garden represents my tours of England that I took in 2001 and again in 2006 and the fact that I am not only a student of English literature, but I share my passion with I hope eager students.

Top Left: Winchester Cathedral-- named for the cathedral located in Hampshire, England originally dates back to 642 and is the burial place of Jane Austin-- will bloom all summer long. The red rose is Tess of the D'Urbervilles, named after a Thomas Harding heroine in the novel of the same name publish in 1891.  Along with Jane Ayer, Tess is one of my favorite English heroines. Row 2: the pink climber named for famed Irish flute virtuoso Sir James Galway will provide a beautiful backdrop to the court yard pond. Shropshire Lad, named for the county that borders Wales has already bloomed and will certainly put on a show by mid summer. The David Austins will grow 4-5 feet tall and will bloom abundantly with sweet rose perfumed fragrance all summer long. They gracefully unfurl from the center with rippling rows of petals that smile back as I admire their beauty. Once established, they will be hardy in our hot, dry climate. 

Lastly, the tea roses by Weeks Roses Justy Joey and St. Patrick, both have bloomed and seem to be liking their new home. When we bought the roses, I was looking for color not names. Once I got them home, the name Just Joey sounded so familiar, so I looked back at my old notebook from the old house to see if I had a Joey, and indeed I did, so Just Joey has returned, a beautiful prolific bloomer. Finally, a bright yellow rose St. Patrick adds pop to the courtyard among the pinks and reds that are already there. 

My favorite rose brand was Jackson and Perkins, which has gone out of business and, according to a nurseryman, has sold its fields to Week Roses, so the quality will still be there. J&P roses can still be purchased through their online catalog, but I prefer the potted roses to the bare root roses. Right now the nurseries and garden centers are well stocked with roses, but I would imagine that they will go quickly as they make wonderful gifts for Mother's Day.  Last year I bought two roses at Home Depot, off brands that were cheap. One died for no good reason (that I could tell) and the other struggled, but this year seems to be coming on stronger with a dose of good rose food.

My daughter consulted a rose specialist to inspect her tiny rose garden because she couldn't get her roses to bloom. She was ready to tear them out. With a bit of sound advice from the rosarian and Bayers Systemic rose food, her roses began to thrive. So I converted to Bayers and am quite pleased with the results. My roses have always been plagued with aphids and this systemic feed also kills the pests. Some say that today's gardeners tend to shy away from roses because they require so much work. Not really, though they do have specific requirements. I told my husband a while ago that I would to have one hundred roses. I doubt that I will invest in that many roses, but my collection is sure to grow. 

The iris are also starting to put on a show. 

Such easy keepers and prolific bloomers, iris add a dash of color and elegance to any garden spot. I had a nice collection of roses at the old house and moved some that haven't bloomed yet, so these are new bloomers left behind by the last gardener blooming for the first time since we have lived here. 

So what's new in your garden this week? Hope you all have wonderful Mother's Day.


  1. Evening from a sunny UK!! We have had so much rain recently most of our plants and shrubs are going very well. Although I have only a few buds on the roses so far, need some sun and I am pleased to say we have some today!!Your roses and Iris's are a delight. You cannot go wrong with David Austin Roses and I love all the names. One of the best selection I have seen of David Austin roses locally was in the nursery at Syon House/Park.

    Enjoy the rest of the weekend, Jackie in Surrey, UK

  2. Your new roses sound wonderful! I think all gardens need a rose, or two of three, or 100! :) Your irises are gorgeous, too. I love irises and have often thought of having an iris walk. Perhaps one day I'll have my iris walk and you'll have 100 roses!

  3. Pretty! Your roses are extra lovely. We ordered roses from Jackson and Perkins, too.
    My iris are all white and they keep reproducing. I have to divide them this year for sure.
    Our Wendy house is finished and all decked out. I want to take a few more photos before I post it. SO FUN!
    Happy Mother's Day, Ann!

  4. Ann, your roses and iris are magnificent! Thank you so much for stopping by today and after reading your post today it dawned on must, YOU MUST visit a blog I administer for a local non-profit garden!! Please, visit The gardens were started by an English teacher. It was her dream to go to England and visit the gardens of famous English writers. She did just that, and came back to share it all with her students to inspire them. Her husband built her a cottage and it is a replica of Anne Hathaway's home in Stratford-on-Avon England. This cottage is now a tourist sight in my home town and we know it as Anne Hathaway Cottage. I know you will appreciate this English teacher's story! You have too much in common not to! Oh, you and Mrs. Shay would have quite a visit!

  5. Ann, I adore David Austin roses. We had some in our front bed that were outstanding... Even won us yard if the month. All the sudden they died one by one. We were devastated . So we went to our fence row in full sun. Planted 10 of them and only 6 have survived. JP went put of business? Omg!
    Thanks for all the tips. Now I need iris tips, doing well but need to be thinned.

  6. Roses are so pretty! I wish I could grow them more effectively. I have the rose 'Just Joey' and have enjoyed it. It has been one of the stronger roses in my garden. Your selection looks really pretty. My irises haven't bloomed yet, not sure what is happening with them. Your irises look fab.

  7. I'm a great lover of DA roses and I'm used to working with nearly all their varieties. Over here we've got a product called 'Start' and another called 'Root Grow' which have special fungi that attached themselves to the roots of the roses and help them thrive when newly planted. I've always put a few spoonfuls around the roots and then fed the roses with rose food twice in the growing season.

    Roses in my opinion are really worth the effort.

  8. Ann, I just love Iris, but don't think the big ones grow in Florida. We do have roses and a friend here is getting great results with Bayers systemic rose food, too, so I am going to try it. Are there fires near you? I see a lot of fire in Co. on the news.
    This summer I will be in England and staying in Strattford on the Avon, with my daughter. Got to brush up on my Shakespeare.

  9. I love how you chose your roses by name significance. They each look beautiful!

  10. Sorry Ann I really thought I'd left you a comment...
    Your roses are gorgeous! I live only 12 miles from David Austin Roses Shropshire and visit a few times a year, I have two in the garden now 'Cadfael' and 'Wisley', but I must say that I was disappointed with Wisley as no-one could detect the smell! (But it is rather beautiful). I just love irises too, yours are beautiful.
    Thank you for your support over the badgers as you can imagine a very controversial subject in the UK.
    Best wishes
    Rose H

  11. Lovely roses Ann! I'm now tempted to get some more roses, we have a few but not nearly enough.

  12. Ann, your rose collection looks beautiful. I only have one David Austin rose called Gertrude Jekyll. It has a lovely fragrance. I love how you have selected them from your England trip.

    Your Iris look lovely, too.

    Thank you for stopping by my blog! I will be back when you get the veggies planted!

  13. Ah to have that many would be scented and beautiful each day. There is a botanical garden in Wellington, New Zealand that I got to visit late one evening as the sun set, each rose in it's own special plot, named, and pruned, blooming like anything.

    What fun it would be to go back and see them again.

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams