Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Perils of Garden Snobbery

For a long time, I thought rose bushes were too common.

Everyone has rose bushes around here.

So I refrained from adding one to the garden.

My loss! I missed out on this 'Carefree Beauty' all those years...

It's been a champ throughout our hot, humid summer. It grows in full sun from morning through early afternoon and then has shade for the rest of the day.

Early on in the season, I was disappointed with the way it suffered from Japanese beetle attacks, but the beetles soon went away and the rose recovered and flourished with little help from me.

In August, I started cutting just about-to-open roses every few days and bringing them inside to adorn the kitchen or dining tables.

I'd say that Carefree Beauty has a light but delicious fragrance. I don't think I'll go bananas about sprinkling roses throughout my garden. I'm too nervous about rose rosette disease (RRD) to do that. But I do hope to add a couple more tough, vigorous and hopefully even more fragrant roses.

I've got my eye on Jacqueline du Pre. And I'm also interested in the native Carolina rose, which reportedly is resistant to RRD.


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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Hot and Dry with a Strong Chance of Balloons

The more I grow balloon flower (Platycodon grandiflorus), the more it impresses me.

We only had two days of rain all of September.

Temperatures were way above normal. (Or perhaps this is the 'new normal'?)

So it was hot, dry, sunny and I rarely watered.

Many plants would wilt or go dormant. Some would give up the ghost. But not balloon flower - it kept sailing through, pushing out more and more cheerful, cooling blue flowers.

These flowers are not exactly pollinator magnets, but they do attract some creatures.

Can you spot the tiny pollinator here?

In my experience, balloon flower has a very long blooming season, but it tends to slow down in midsummer. If you cut (or break) the stems way back, it will soon regrow and rebloom.

Individual plants seem to be long-lived. They don't spread through rhizomes, though clumps can get bigger over time. Balloon flower does self-sow. These volunteers are amenable to transplantation and they're not hard to pull if you find yourself with too many balloons!


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Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Beautiful Berries

You can see where the American beautyberry bush (Callicarpa americana) gets its name...

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center says that the seeds and berries of Callicarpa americana "are considered an important food source for many species of birds."


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