Saturday, November 29, 2008


DEER Welcome! It was a very long time before I thought I would ever hear myself say that. It was a constant battle to keep them away from my roses which I sprayed with a diluted egg mixture, every five days. This I found to be the best deterrent, but it took extreme dedication.
It became too much, and if I missed, low and behold, all my precious new shoots would be gone the next morning. I am sure a lot of you know how it feels. We finally decided to splurge on a deer fence and move all the roses, except climbers and a few high standards to the back garden, where we would install the fence.
This was the BEST thing we could ever have done in the garden……..and to have more roses in a smaller area makes a much greater impact - so it was a very good move. We have two gates into the garden, and woe-be-tied anyone who leaves them open. It has not happened yet, but I always worry I may be the one to do it!
The downside is that our front garden has deteriorated greatly. It used to be quite beautiful, but the deer have multiplied like crazy, as I am sure they have all over North America. They are eating most things in sight. But we said that we will never chase them away again, and we do love to see them happy and grazing and not skittish……also to see the fawns frisking about like baby lambs in the summer is heart lifting. One of the great splashes of colour in the front garden, besides roses, came from my vast collection of geraniums. I could always depend on geraniums, but the deer are eaing those too. The picture(2006) here shows, the last time that I was able to grow them in that spot. I will get away with them in hanging baskets and hopefully a few tubs and pots etc, but I will definitly have to spray anything low enough.
So the front garden really needs re-landscaping with deer in mind and I am sure it can be done and still look decent - a future project. The deer really are close in my thoughts right now as I look back on the great summer we had with them and how tame they are getting. Most mornings in the summer months, they have enjoyed a huge feast of rose petals, blooms and leaves, which they greedily devour. I think it was their favourite meal of the day. I dump them right beside the compost and just wait and within minutes while I am peeking through the gate, they come swiftly for their nosh.
Apart from grazing on the grass, they seem to eat a lot of ivy too, but I notice how much the ivy has diminished already, when it used to last them nearly all winter.…..and I do worry about them in the winter especially if we have snow on the ground. This does not happen that often, here in the Pacific Northwest, so they usually can find something. Up to now anyway!
Here are last winter's babies!

MY ROSES - "Ro to Se"

ROSEMARY HARKNESS: Hybrid Tea. Harkness.1985 – Bred in the United Kingdom. Large blooms of medium orange/pink blend. The bush is of moderate height with flowers formed in clusters on long stems. This rose was new to my garden this year, though it is the second time I have grown it. The first time it succumbed to fatality by deer, before we installed our deer fence. Now without the deer it is proving to be a strong and healthy plant. I am happy to be growing it again.
SAVOY HOTEL: Hybrid Tea. Harkness. 1987 – Bred in the United Kingdom. Beautiful large, very full, blooms in a lovely shade of light pink, born singularly on the end of long stems. The growth is vigorous and it is an extremely healthy bush with excellent foliage. If it was not for the lack of fragrance, I think this rose would deserve a perfect 10 rating. It is reported as having a light fragrance, though I personally do not detect any. Alas that is it’s only flaw, but the lack of it does not stop this rose bush from having a place in my garden. In fact, I like it so much, I have two plants. One bouquet of these blooms, is a sight for sore eyes – breathtaking.
SCENTIMENTAL: Floribunda. Carruthers: 1997 - Bred in the United States. This red to burgundy and white, striped rose, blooms moderately and the bush size is also of moderate height. Moderate fragrance to my nose. I quite like stripes, but only have two, the other one being Ferdinand Pichard. I would like to get into some of the other colours. I find the blooms on this particular rose shatter quickly which is a bit disappointing, but they are quite pretty when they are fresh. SECRET: Hybrid Tea. Daniel Tracy. 1992 - Bred in United States. Blend of soft pink and cream. Delicious looking rose. High centred blooms, born singularly on long stems. Lovely strong fragrance and it is said to be shade tolerant. I was happy when I heard that and ordered this for a spot in the garden that has more shade than other areas. New to me this year, but was quite vigorous and delightful. It looks like it is going to be a tall plant. Looking forward to it’s maturity.

Friday, November 28, 2008


A freshly picked fall crop (2000), waiting for me to make a few arrangements for entering and showing in our local Horticultural Society parlour show. Scruffy White dahlias in the vase forward right.
An outdoor arrangement with white cactus dahlias and white antirrhinums.
Peachy, with a secret inhabitant...........
...................oops! No secret any more!
After a good show of colour in our front garden of dahlias again this year, my husband Alan spent the last couple of days lifting and preparing them for their winter storage. We were getting impatient as the weather has been fairly mild. But we did experience some mild frost one evening which blackened a few of them. That was enough for him. Up they came, hosed off and ready for their winter spot in the garage. The tubers have mega, mega multiplied.
I really only know the names of a couple of them, so all the ones that I do not know I give them my own pet name. The above cactus dahlia, I call Blue Tips.
In the dahlia basket below, (which did get first prize at the Hort. Society) contains two true named varieties which are Park Princess, the pink cactus and the peach/pink is Peachie.
Also in the basket are two unique ones, the white and orange that you can see. I call them Scruffy White and Carrot Top (which looks like a heap of grated carrot). I really love the uniquness of the latter two.
I am sure if we had decided to start a dahlia business after my first purchase of Park Princess dahlias - two tiny tubers in a packet for about five bucks, we could have been multi-millionaires by now - The tubers they have produced and other dahlias since them have been phenominal. We have given multitudes away and I do not even think we will find enough people again this year to pass them on to. So if any one out there would like some of our dahlia tubers, please get in touch, and we will see how we can get them to you. OK???

Thursday, November 27, 2008

MY ROSES - "Sh to St"

SHARIFA ASMA: David Austin’s English Rose. Bred 1989 – Candle light pink with outer petals that pale as they open, giving that glowing image. It has an intense fragrance, to die for. The beautiful old rose type blooms are formed in abundant clusters. The bush is of medium size. This is my FAVOURITE rose of all times, tied with Chrysler Imperial – both have intoxicating fragrances.
SIR GALAHAD: Shrub - bred 2002 by Harkness in England – It has moderate fragrance and is of moderate height (when mature). It bears clusters of small creamy white, very double flowers born in large clusters. Mine is still too young to form an honest opinion. It was a weak plant when I received it, so I am hoping for better performance next season. I found it to be very pretty though, so, should it take off, it will be a beautiful shrub for sure.
SPECIAL OCCASION: Hybrid Tea. Bred 1995 by Fryer in England. It has really beautiful, moderate to strong fragrant, large blooms. The colour is a pleasant shade of peach/apricot. It blooms well and is a good repeater. Well worth having – short to medium height for me.
ST PATRICK: Hybrid Tea bred 1996 by Strickland in US. Luscious large full yellow blooms. On an extremely healthy vigorous bush. This is a special favourite of mine, not just because of it’s beauty, but I bought in memory of our beautiful last Springer Spaniel, Patrick. It is close to where he always sat on the porch, watching out for rabbits, and it is a lovely tribute to him. I do not think I could have picked better. I love this rose. It is reported to have a mild fragrance, but I think it is stronger than that, for sure. I find it very pleasant.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

MY ROSES - "St to Ta"

ST. SWITHUN: David Austin English Rose – bred 1993 – softest pink, beautiful, shallow cup- shaped, romantic blooms, formed in clusters on short stems. It has a moderate almond scent to my nose and is one of my favourite Austin’s. This shrub is vigorous and extremely healthy.
TAMORA: David Austin English Rose – bred in 1983. Loosely cup-shaped blooms of many disguises, especially in colour, from champagne to yellow, apricot, peach and pink. It has a strong fragrance of myrrh and is a small shrub with light to moderate abundance. TESS OF THE D’URBERVILLES: David Austin English Rose – bred in 1998. Rich red colour. Full cup running over with fluffly blooms. Good old rose fragrance. Large vigorous shrub very floriferous. TIFFANY: Hybrid Tea. Bred in the USA by Robert Lindquist 1954. Large flowered pink – High centred HT form blooms, born singularly on long stems. Strong fragrance. Average height. A very popular rose bush, but has never done that well in my garden. I think I may have acquired a poor plant to begin with.


We are so lucky to share are home with a generous amount of wild life. My husband loves our owl pictures. I think these “barred owls” are amongst the prettiest and most entertaining that we know of. Lovely striped markings and beautiful doe-like eyes. Their eyes are dark brown which signifies that they are quite active in day light hours. Hence we see a lot of them and never tire of these wonderful birds.
Their calls are so incredibly versatile. It took us a long time to learn where and what these unusual sounds were coming from. Sometimes they sound like screeching monkeys and other times like howling dogs in the woods. The babies, whom we have seen two of, every year for many years, make a sad long hissing sound.
We love our owls.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


The last roses of summer usually adorn my Thanksgiving table. This year, was no exception. Roses bring so much pleasure. They are magnets - it is hard for me to keep away from them, the aroma satisfies the senses, the eye candy is unbelievable and then you can snip at them lovingly to make simple yet beautiful arrangements to be enjoyed anywhere in the house and as table centre pieces.

MY ROSES - "Va to Yv"

I would like to show you my roses and keep a log of them which will make it simple to access. First I need to start listing them with a brief description and observation on my part.I am sure it will take some time to list them all, but just for fun, I would like to start at the end of the alphabet to give poor Abraham Darby a rest.
YVES PIAGET – A Romantica Rose bred in France by Meilland in 1983. It has a delightful, unusual flower form for a rose, resembling that of a peony. Delicious medium pink and is intensely fragrant. Frilly edges to the petals, almost like a giant carnation would have.It does not bloom profusely enough for my liking, but it is still quite young in my garden and has another year or so to prove her real worth.
WINCHESTER CATHEDRAL – A David Austin rose – bred 1988 in England. - It is a sport of Mary Rose, which is why she keeps trying to turn pink. On one of my three bushes, she has pink Mary Rose and white Winchester Cathedral blooms on the same bush. Another bush throws out blooms as below, and my third bush is all white, but I love them all. Fragrance is quite pleasant, almost moderate, in my opinion. A lovely floriferous white rose.
WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE 2000 – David Austin rose – bred 2000 in England- magenta red. This is a striking colour against others in my garden. It is very good bloomer with a wonderful strong fragrance.
VALENTINE HEART – Florabunda bred by Dickson 1989 in United Kingdom. Masses of blooms born in clusters on an exceptionally vigorous shrub. This rose is never without blooms in the season. I do not detect any fragrance, but I keep it because of its showy abundance of blooms. It is not fully double, but still a spectacular plant. It is reported to have a strong fragrance!!!