Six on Saturday: Lily Rose and Flowering Pear

Lily Rose Depp was just a little tyke when her father, Johnny Depp, graciously financed the installation of a herd of flowering pear trees as street trees in the neighborhood where she attended school with my niece. Lily Rose is such a delightful and horticultural name. I happen to be very fond of lilies. I also happen to be very fond of roses. I just do not like them together in the same garden.

1. Before it began to deteriorate, this lily looked like Patrick Star, the next door neighbor and best friend of Spongebob Squarepants, or perhaps Carl Junior in drag. It lives in the rose garden.

2. ‘Apricot Candy’ is a rose that I am not familiar with, but it lives here now. It is a hybrid tea rose, which I prefer. I also like the name. Apricots were a primary crop for the Santa Clara Valley.

3. This and #1 above continue to bloom within the rose garden, many years after almost all of the other perennials were removed from the site so that it could be redeveloped as a rose garden.

4. ‘Iceberg’, although white, is not my favorite rose for this week. As reliable and prolific as it is, I still find it to be mundane and cliché. Regardless, it is one of the best within our rose garden.

5. This is my favorite lily this week, not because of the color, but because it is ‘not’ within the rose garden. It is across the road, in a small garden of mostly perennials, where good lilies belong.

6. ‘Proud Land’, although not white like ‘Iceberg’ above, is my favorite rose this week. The rich red is exemplary of the color that red roses should be. This is one of three that I planted in 1984!

This is the link for Six on Saturday, for anyone else who would like to participate:

https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/six-on-saturday-a-participant-guide/

In A Vase On Monday: Mothers’ Day

Yesterday was my first Mothers’ Day without my mother. I got her roses though. I mean I dug and canned the roses from her rose garden last winter. They live here now. Most were rather shabby and old, and probably should not have been salvaged. Nonetheless, they are all remarkably healthy now, even if only four bloomed so far. These are the same four that I got pictures of earlier, for Six On Saturday two days ago, so are somewhat faded now. Since these are the first blooms on elderly plants that, although healthy, are recovering from brutal transplant, the stems are quite puny. I gingerly set them in one of my mother’s Waterford vases, with nothing else. They would have disintegrated if I had tried to ‘arrange’ them. Instead, I simply left them facing away from each other in four different directions. Even if they had been in better condition, I really do not know much about arranging flowers. I only grow them.

‘Proud Land’ is my favorite of the entire rose garden, and the oldest of the original roses. I planted the first in about 1984, and added two more during the following winter.

‘Heaven on Earth’ is too billowy and pale pink for me, but I got it now anyway. The color was richer earlier.

‘Apricot Candy’ really was apricot colored not too long ago.

‘Julia Childs’ is surprisingly fragrant. It was likely a gift from Filoli, where my mother volunteered.

In A Vase On Monday, which is also known simply as IAVOM, is graciously hosted by Cathy of Rambling in the Garden. Anyone can participate. I did, at least this once. Simply arrange flowers or other material from the garden in a vase, and share pictures of it with commentary and a link back to Rambling in the Garden. Also, leave a comment at Rambling in the Garden with a link back to your post.

Six on Saturday: Roses for Momma

Actually, four of these ‘Six’ roses are ‘from’ rather than ‘for’ Momma. They came from my Mother’s rose garden. I never sent roses to my mother for Mothers’ Day, which is tomorrow, because she had more than I did. Besides, roses from a horticulturist would be rather mundane. Instead, I gave her rooted cuttings of all sorts of odds and ends, such as angels’ trumpet, pink jasmine, forsythia, flowering quince and a minute olive tree. Of course, only angels’ trumpet had yet to bloom. Red Souvine, ‘Roses for Momma’ composer, might have had something to say about that.

1. Double Delight is presently blooming quite abundantly at work. The yellow is normally more whitish. The pink is normally more reddish. We really have no idea what cultivar this is though.

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2. Amber Queen is also unidentifiable, and is also blooming remarkably well in the same small rose garden as Double Delight. I am impressed by how well they perform here, in a bit of shade.

3. Julia Childs resembles Amber Queen up close like this. It was a gift from Filoli. My mother volunteered there after retirement. Actually, a few items in my mother’s garden came from Filoli.

4. Apricot Candy might have been another gift from Filoli. The name is so appropriate for a garden in the Santa Clara Valley. I rather like the simplicity, although the flowers should be fluffier.

5. Heaven on Earth is one that I would not have selected. Yuck. Yet, my mother gave it a prominent situation, but never allowed me to add a most elegant John F. Kennedy rose to the garden!

6. Proud Land was one rose that I agreed on! There are three! They are the only remnants of the original roses that I planted within a few years of 1985. The flowers are typically more billowy.

This is the link for Six on Saturday, for anyone else who would like to participate:

https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/six-on-saturday-a-participant-guide/

Cecile Brunner Rose

Cecile Brunner rose is elegantly simple.

Few modern rose cultivars are as tolerant of neglect as Cecile Brunner rose. Furthermore, few recover as efficiently from renovation after many years of neglect. Old overgrown thicket growth that might be unsightly while bare through winter can be spectacular in bloom. Alternatively, it does not mind aggressive pruning, even if only stumps remain. It easily regenerates with fresh new canes.

Bloom is nicely profuse early in summer. The individual fluffy pink flowers are not much more than two inches wide, but are rarely alone. They develop in big and possibly billowy clusters. The faint fragrance is easy to ignore, but appealing to some. After primary bloom, subsequent bloom is sporadic. Green stems are less prickly than stems of most other roses. Foliage is rather light green.

Shrubs are vigorous but compact. They may not get much taller than two feet. Most stay less than four feet tall. However, there are actually a few cultivars that are known as ‘Cecile Brunner’. Those that are most familiar are climbing types that can easily get higher than twenty feet. Their bloom is sparse after profuse early summer bloom. Some might bloom rather profusely again for autumn.

Pruning Roses During Winter Dormancy

Pruning now promotes better bloom later.

Contrary to what the pleasant weather suggests, it is still winter. Most plants are resisting the temptation to break dormancy prematurely. They must know that the days are still short, regardless of the weather. Most plants are surprisingly proficient with scheduling. Nonetheless, dormant pruning should happen sooner than later. This includes pruning roses. They have been ready for a while.

Technically, roses are ready for pruning as soon as they begin to defoliate. Also technically, rose pruning can be as late as the buds of the bare stems remain dormant. Later pruning is preferable in some regions where pruning wounds are susceptible to pathogens. Such delay is riskier here where mild weather can disrupt dormancy prematurely. Wounds are less vulnerable to pathogens.

Pruning roses is about as important as pruning deciduous fruit trees. Without adequate pruning, rose plants become too overgrown to perform properly. Crowded stems are unable to elongate as they should. Diseases and insects proliferate in congested foliage, and damage bloom. Specialized pruning concentrates resources into fewer but significantly more vigorous stems and flowers.

Although the technique may seem to be drastic, pruning roses is not very complicated. Hybrid tea, grandiflora and floribunda roses should retain only three to six of their most vigorous canes. The canes should be only about two feet tall, and cut just above a healthy bud. If possible, they should be canes that grew during the previous year, from bottom to top. Older canes should be removed.

Pruning roses of other classifications may be slightly different. Some types may retain more canes. Climbing types likely retain old canes for several years before replacement. Carpet roses and other ungrafted roses can be cut nearly to the ground, leaving no canes at all. Tree roses are like bush types, but on top of short trunks. New canes grow from their graft unions on top of the trunks.

Of course, potentially vigorous sucker growth that develops from below the graft union of any grafted rose must go.

Bare Root Stock Makes Sense

Snowball bush is available bare root.

Winter has potential to be a slow season for gardening. Simple gardens may not require much dormant pruning. Established gardens may not require much planting. Where winters are cold and perhaps snowy, no one wants to go outside anyway. Those who go out may not be able to accomplish much. Nonetheless, winter is the season for planting bare root stock, which is now available.

Bare root stock starts to move into nurseries before the last Christmas trees move out. Growers start to dig and package it as it goes dormant for winter. They separate it completely from the soil it grew in, leaving the roots bare. Some bare root stock is available with bags of damp sawdust protecting its roots. Most goes into bins of damp sand to protect the roots while at retail nurseries.

Unlike canned (potted) nursery stock, bare root stock must get into the garden as soon as possible. It will not survive long if it gets warm enough to start growing prior to planting. Nor will it survive if roots desiccate. Unbagged bare root stock can soak in water for a limited time. For planting, roots should flare outwardly. Soil amendment should be limited. Graft unions must be above grade.

Bare root stock is lightweight, compact, and easy to handle in bulk. Therefore, it is less expensive than canned stock. It is also easier to get home and plant. Because so many individual plants fit into limited space, many more cultivars are available from nurseries. Even more are available by mail order. Bare root stock disperses roots and gets growing more efficiently than canned stock.

Deciduous fruit trees might be the most popular bare root stock. This includes apple, pear, persimmon, fig, mulberry, walnut, pomegranate and the stone fruits. (Apricot, cherry, peach, plum, prune and nectarine are stone fruits.) Grape, currant, gooseberry, blueberry, blackberry and raspberry bare root stock are also available. So are perennial rhubarb, asparagus, artichoke and strawberry.

Ornamental bare root stock includes rose, snowball bush, forsythia, wisteria, flowering crabapple, poplar and many more.

Everything Is Coming Up Roses

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Grafting combines good scions with understock.

When an individual rose shrub blooms with two distinct types of flowers, it seems to be doing a little extra. It provides the big, bold and strongly stemmed roses that it is grown for, along with daintier dark red roses. Eventually though, the small red roses become more abundant, and can crowd out the more desirable roses.

Almost all of the older roses that are grown for cutting are grafted. This means that the stems that provide such excellent flowers above ground are attached to genetically different roots. When such plants were young, the graft union was more obvious, where the canes branched out from the single stem just above the roots.

The stems above the graft union are known as the ‘scion’. The roots below are known as the ‘understock’ or ‘rootstock’. The two are grafted together because the scion blooms so well, and the understock develops stronger and more efficient roots. Scions are not expected to grow roots any more than understock is expected to bloom.

Adventitious stems that develop from the understock below the graft union are known as ‘suckers’, probably because they suck resources that should go the scion. They should be removed as soon as they get noticed, before they can dominate the scion. They become more difficult to remove as they mature.

If possible, fresh new suckers should get broken off from their origin instead of simply pruned away. It sounds violent, but is actually more effective. Stubs left from pruning are much more likely to develop more suckers later. Suckers that get pruned back repeatedly can develop into significant burls.

Old rose shrubs that were planted with an abundance of organic soil amendments tend to sink into the ground as the soil amendments decompose. If a graft union gets buried, it can be difficult to distinguish between suckers and good canes that develop above the graft union.

‘Tree’ roses have two graft unions. The branched scion on top is grafted onto a straight stem of a different variety. The straight stem is grafted onto the understock at ground level. The trendy carpet roses and some other modern roses are not grafted, so will not develop suckers.

Six on Saturday: (First) Rose Parade 2020

 

The landscapes are in surprisingly good condition after more than a month of neglect. Weeds are horrendous, but no more so than expected. They and the lawns are the priorities. Significant progress was made just in the last three days that we have been able to work. As busy as we are, I managed to get some nice floral pictures. Rhododendrons are still blooming, but will be the topic for next week.

1. Of the mere four cultivars here, this is my least favorite. The color and profusion of bloom are excellent. I just dislike how the floral form resembles those of the trendy David Austin roses.P00509-1

2. This cultivar is the only one that is in shrub form. All the others are tree roses (or standards). The profuse bloom resembled ‘Double Delight’ last year, but is completely different this year.P00509-2

3. Close up, it is more rich bright pink than distinctly reddish pink with white. It is fragrant like ‘Double Delight’ should be, although it does not seem to be as fragrant now as it was last year.P00509-3

4. The first (#1 above) is also different from how it bloomed last year. Its petals are not so densely packed. There are plenty of buds behind the maturing flowers. Performance is exemplary.P00509-4

5. Is this purple? Not only is its color odd, but it is grafted onto the same rose trees as the white roses (#6 below). It is too weird for my taste. Everyone else likes it. That is more important.P00509-5

6. As mentioned above, this cultivar is grafted onto the same rose trees as the purple roses (#5 above). To me, it seems to be the common ‘Iceberg’. I do like white, even if it is just ‘Iceberg’.P00509-6

This is the link for Six on Saturday, for anyone else who would like to participate:

https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/six-on-saturday-a-participant-guide/

Fruit Trees Need Specialized Pruning

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Even almond trees need some pruning.

For centuries, fruit trees have been bred to produce unnaturally abundant and unnaturally big fruit. That has worked out well for those who enjoy the resulting fruit. It is not such an advantage for the exploited trees that must produce it. Without specialized pruning, most of such trees are unable to sustain healthy development of all the fruit they could potentially produce, or support the weight.

Specialized pruning concentrates resources into less excessive fruit of superior quality. It improves structural integrity of limbs that support the weight of all the fruit too. Trees that produce smaller and lighter fruit, such as cherries, may only need to be trimmed occasionally to eliminate structurally deficient growth. Heavier fruit, such as peaches, necessitates much more aggressive pruning.

Almost all deciduous fruit trees should be pruned about now, before they bloom and foliate at the end of winter. Such pruning is too severe to be done while the trees are active in spring. Summer pruning to maximize production within less space is the only practical option to dormant pruning. Evergreen fruit trees, such as citrus and avocado, should not be pruned or groomed during winter.

The main group of deciduous fruit trees that require dormant pruning in winter are stone fruit, of the genus Prunus. This includes peach, nectarine, apricot, plum, prune, cherry, various hybrids and almond. The second main group are pomme fruit, such as apple, pear and quince. Fig, persimmon and grapevines, as well as roses, need specialized and perhaps very aggressive pruning too.

Dormant pruning of deciduous fruit trees, roses and grapevines is too complex to describe adequately here in just a few paragraphs. Nonetheless, those who grow such plants must be aware of how important it is, and ideally, know how to do it. Nowadays, it is nearly impossible to procure services of horticultural professionals who know or care how to execute such procedures properly.

Bare Plants With Bare Roots

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Dormant plants do not miss soil.

Knowing how colorfully bulbs will eventually bloom can initially make planting them disappointing, since there is nothing to see for all the effort. Planting bare root plants is not much more rewarding. The bare stems are a bit more proof of the effort, but will do nothing until they break dormancy in spring. Now that Christmas trees have vacated nurseries, bare root plants will be arriving, and will need to be planted before winter ends.

As the name implies, bare root plants have bare roots, without the soil they were grown in. Better equipped nurseries ‘heel in’ bare root plants in moist sand, which simply means that the roots get buried temporarily. When purchased, the plants get pulled from the sand and wrapped for the trip to their new home garden, where they get planted permanently into real soil.

Alternatively, bare root plants can be prepackaged in bags of moist sawdust. They only need to be removed from their packaging and sawdust before getting planted into the garden. Mail order plants, including plants purchased online, often get packaged even more simply, with a damp bag around the roots, maybe with a bit of gel or damp paper. The plants are safely dormant, so are not even aware of what is going on.

The main advantage of bare root plants is that they cost about a third of what typical nursery stock in heavier cans of media (soil) cost. Because they are so much less cumbersome, several bare root plants can be purchased at a time, and brought home in a small car without much effort. Since they lack the luxury of the soil they were grown in, they immediately disperse their roots directly into the surrounding soil.

Roots of bare root plants should be spread away from each other at planting. Soil amendment is nice, but should not be so copious that roots will not want to disperse outside of the amended soil. Even if rain is expected, newly planted bare root plants should initially get soaked so that soil settles around the roots. Grafted plants should be planted with the graft union above grade.

Fruit trees such as apricot, cherry, plum, prune, peach, nectarine, almond, apple and pear, as well as roses, are the most popular of bare root plants. Flowering crabapple, flowering cherry, poplar, willow, lilac, forsythia, wisteria and grape are also available.