A garden no matter how small…

Floribunda Rose Queen Elizabeth

Floribunda Rose Queen Elizabeth

I was away from my country living today, and was in and around Dublin for the day. Being one to always be on the lookout for flowers and gardens, it struck me how many home gardens I saw. Gardens in very, very small spaces and with beautiful flowers!  It was clear that no matter the size or location, the gardens were well tended and cared for; all throughout the Dublin area.  The predominant flower was definitely roses.  There wasn’t one color in particular that stood out, but rather, every color was represented.  It was such a treat to see!  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take any pictures (and you know I would have if I could have!).

Floribunda Rose Burgundy Ice

Floribunda Rose Burgundy Ice

This evening my son had a Gaelic football match in a nearby village.  I think it would be safe to say that it was “in the country”.  I was no less impressed on our drive there with the fantastic gardens in the front yards of houses.  It is lovely how attentive people are to their gardens.  I really like getting glimpses into different gardens, ideas, and flowers, especially when I’m not driving! 🙂

Hybrid Tea Rose Pink Peace

Hybrid Tea Rose Pink Peace

What a lovely day I’ve had. It was nice to really appreciate all that was around me.  I still get moments of “wow, I live in Ireland”!

Rosa Jacques Cartier (1868)

Rosa Jacques Cartier (1868)

ground cover flowers in my rose garden

ground cover flowers in my rose garden

But mostly, I get feelings of “wow, I really like my garden”…

A view of the rose garden

A view of the rose garden

It is a work in progress. But it is all a labor of love.

 

A glimpse of the roses at our front gate

A glimpse of the roses at our front gate

I hope there is a beautiful garden near you to make you smile!  Or at least, I hope a glimpse into my garden will make you smile 🙂

Happy Summer!

Dana

 

 

Roses, and blackspot, and milk, oh my!

Rosa Jacques Cartier (1868) My favorite rose in the garden.

Rosa Jacques Cartier (1868) My favorite rose in the garden.

The dreaded blackspot has returned to my roses this year.  Oh how my heart sank when I first saw it on those pretty rose leaves that seemed to be so healthy!   But treating blackspot with milk? Really? Are you sure???  Well, here is my story so far!  I love roses.  So much so that they were the first flowers that I planted into my first flowerbed.  That was way before I knew anything about blackspot. or roses.   The next rose plant I buy will definitely be blackspot resistant.  But for now I must deal with what I have, and that is rose plants with blackspot…

Blackspot damaged leaves

Blackspot damaged leaves

I gave Fruit Hill Farms in Cork a call last year (https://www.fruithillfarm.com/). They are an organic center and they suggested that I try and build up the health of the plant to prevent blackspot.  I wasn’t too surprised to find that what they suggested, Mucofol, was quite smelly to use!

Rose plant in the beginning

Rose plant early in the season

Rose plant

Rose plant (still healthy looking)

For those who wish the details of the Mucofol, here you go:

Mucofol (L) is absorbed by the leaves and the soil. Thanks to its root stimulant and crop care ingredients the  roots, leaves and soil are increased with endogenic capacity and develop its own immune system.  The ingredients in the product are working as soil conditioner, plant strengthener and have an indirect effect on pests and diseases.  It consists of a highly concentrated composition of specific herbs based on water. The product is natural and of vegetable origin, non-toxic and not persistent. The product will be degraded in the soil and leaves no residues in nature.

Keeping track of rose plants...

Keeping track of rose plants…

The Mucofol is in liquid form which you then dilute with water.  We sprayed the roses a few times early this spring.  They initially seemed to be doing well.  But unfortunately, the blackspot has appeared.

One of my climbing roses still looking good.

One of my climbing roses still looking good.

The same week that I noticed the blackspot, one of the blogs that I follow had a post about treating blackspot with milk. Kevin Lee Jacob, blogging from the Hudson Valley in New York (which is where I grew up),  has a  wonderful blog called A garden for the house.  You can click on his  post about treating blackspot here:    http://www.agardenforthehouse.com/2012/05/got-black-spot-get-milk/   It seems easy enough: add one part milk to two parts water, and spray once a week.  The feedback on Kevin’s blog is quite good.  I have my fingers crossed that it will keep the blackspot from spreading.

Rosa Jacques Cartier (1868) late May early June

Rosa Jacques Cartier (1868) late May early June (getting enough air circulation???)

I do know, as I am sure all of you do too,  to clear away all of the bad leaves (and never put them in the compost).  I pruned the roses this past winter to help with air circulation.  I might have to revisit that, though, as my old fashioned rose plants (the Rosa Jacques Cartier)  seem quite crowded despite my pruning.

Rosa Jacques Cartier (1868) on June 14th (after two milk & water treatments)

Rosa Jacques Cartier (1868) on June 14th (after two milk & water treatments)

Speaking of pruning, I am filing this other blog post away for next winter as I think there are quite a few good points to it.  Have a look and let me know what you think: http://www.hometalk.com/3816372/the-10-biggest-mistakes-people-make-when-pruning-roses

Quick, take some pictures while still looking good!

Quick, take some pictures while still looking good!

For now, I have cut off as much of the blackspot affected leaves as possible, and I will continue to spray once a week with my water and milk spray.  Oh, and I’ll be taking as many pictures as possible while they still look pretty!

Climbing rose in June

Climbing rose in June

Climbing rose in June (evening sunlight)

Climbing rose in June (evening sunlight)

It is amazing how different things look with different lighting!  Our evenings can be so beautiful, with sunlight right up until 10 P.M.

Rosa Jacques Cartier (1868) and bee

Rosa Jacques Cartier (1868) and bee

My garden has been buzzing for a few weeks now, with the busy sound of bees.  Early this spring we had millions (really!) of lady birds (or called lady bugs, depending on where you are from).  It was neat to see them all as they were everywhere!  And unlike last year, I didn’t have any issue with aphids. At all.  Just blackspot…

Rosa Jacques Cartier (1868)

Rosa Jacques Cartier (1868)

I hope if you have roses, they are nice and healthy!  If you happen to get blackspot and try the milk/water solution, please let me know how that goes for you.

Dana

End of June Roses & Poppies, but wait! Asparagus & Brussels Sprouts too!

Rosa Jacques Cartier (1868).

Rosa Jacques Cartier (1868).

Now that is a picture to get me started! I love roses.  Especially pink ones, but really any color makes me smile.  These just fill the little rose garden with color!The rose garden.

The rose garden.

This has been a very good season for black spot, unfortunately.  I was away this spring, when I think I should have been tending the roses to prevent black spot.  I still have not found an organic method, which annoys me.  This is my garden story as I grow and learn, black spots and all.  I think it would be quite misleading to leave out the rough patches that might be involved in gardening.  While I’m at my confession, I’ll add that I didn’t prune my roses this year (yikes!).  I just was completely unsure of how to go about it and procrastinated too long.  Then it was too late!

Burgundy Ice Floribunda Rose.

Burgundy Ice Floribunda Rose.

Burgundy Ice Floribunda rose.

Burgundy Ice Floribunda rose.

I think pruning them is helpful to prevent black spot (gives better air circulation).  I have been cutting away as much of the black spot as I can manage.  I was really surprised this week when a bunch of roses bloomed – I thought they were too far gone!  The worst affected were the Rosa Jacques Cartier (1868), but they weren’t the only ones.

Rosa Jacques Cartier (1868).

Rosa Jacques Cartier (1868).

Rosa Jacques Cartier (1868).

Rosa Jacques Cartier (1868). This rose is incredibly fragrant.  The walkway to the front door smells beautiful!  How lucky to be able to plant them there!

Zephirine Drouhin (1868).

Zephirine Drouhin (1868). In this picture you can see the black spots on some of the leaves. (I must get out there and cut those off!) These roses are at my front gate.

Zephirine Drouhin (1868).

Zephirine Drouhin (1868).

I need some more color in my rose garden. 🙂  There must be some more varied shades of pink out there!

Silver Anniversary Hybrid Tea Rose.

Silver Anniversary Hybrid Tea rose.

Iceberg Floribunda rose.

Iceberg Floribunda rose.

I do like the white roses, too, though.  I would really like to get a better handle on this black spot situation…

Poppies on the other hand, have no problems like black spot.  My only problem with them is their falling over!

Poppies.

Poppies.

The center of that big mess of greens holds a very large bunch of fallen-over poppies!  I’ve tried to pull them up. I’m not sure yet if it is going to work.  I will (humbly?) point out that the fence has been painted again this year.  My daughter was a big help with this job.  I have to say that I enjoyed doing it.  I really like how it brightens things up!

A "relaxed look" garden.

A “relaxed look” garden.

I like seeing the bright red flowers when I’m in the yard. The red really jumps out, even from a distance.  It is a very relaxed looking garden, nothing formal here!  The daisies are just about ready to bloom next to the never ending poppies.

Poppies.

Poppies.

A very wrinkled looking poppy!

A very wrinkled looking poppy!

As for some of the vegetables in the garden, things are growing!  We started planting asparagus two years ago.  That means that next year we’ll be able to actually eat some!  There really weren’t too many stalks, so this year we planted a full bed of different varieties.  Through some research we learned that asparagus like mushroom compost.  If our experience is anything to go by, this is certainly the case! What an amazing amount of growth we’ve seen this year.

A look at the growing asparagus.

A look at the growing asparagus.

Just about every crown we planted has grown.  These are one year old crowns.  This is much, much nicer looking than the few crowns that had been limping along the past two seasons.  I’m giving full credit to the mushroom compost we used this year.  We are really hopeful for a good crop next year!

Asparagus (the first year planting 1 year old crowns).

Asparagus (the first year planting 1 year old crowns).

Asparagus planted 2 years ago, peeking through.

Asparagus planted 2 years ago, peeking through.

That purple guy was planted two years ago.  I cut the stalk down last week because it was too tall and was falling over.  I think this would actually be ready for eating – if it was a one year old crown when planted.  It’s a bit funny just having one spear though!

Baby asparagus!

Baby asparagus!

You can really see the difference in thickness of these and the purple guy.  My soil looks really dry.  It isn’t actually, but we get a lot of wind which dries the top layer (quickly!).

Brussels Sprouts.

Brussels Sprouts.

This year we are trying Brussels Sprouts!  My blogging friend Claire over at Promenade Plantings http://promenadeplantings.com/2013/04/03/all-about-brussels/ gave some really helpful hints on getting started with sprouts.  I’m not sure if we started early enough, but my fingers are crossed!  The main thing was to really pack down the earth before planting.  I wish I had a photograph, because my husband and daughter really had fun dancing on the bed to prepare it!  It was well packed down to say the least! 🙂

Brussels Sprouts.

Brussels Sprouts.

The next big job we had was to take off any critters (worms). We, actually my girls did this job, took off a bunch of worms this week.  So now I’m keeping a close eye on the plants.  Funny enough, the pigeons haven’t eaten the leaves, which they apparently like to do.  I’m counting my lucky stars, because there are so many pigeons around here!

Brussels Sprouts.

Brussels Sprouts.

We’ll see how it goes.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained! Have you tried anything new in the garden this year?

Dana

Too pretty to leave behind!

Too pretty to leave behind!

Taking time to smell the roses.

Hybrid Tea Rose "Pink Peace".

Hybrid Tea Rose “Pink Peace”.

That post heading is really for me.  Boy have we been a busy family the past month!  Between school, Irish dancing, swimming, and my coaching we have been on the go non-stop!  It’s a good thing we all love what we’re doing.  Five o’clock wake up calls to swim before school do not come easy if your heart isn’t in it.  It’s been an adjustment for my daughter, but she loves it.  My son has been working really hard on his Irish dancing.  It’s fantastic to watch him dance and see how far he’s come.  As for my swim coaching, I have a super group of kids that really want to work hard and improve.  It doesn’t get any better than that!   In between all of those activities though, I think it’s important to have some down time.  For me, that  is time in the garden, especially taking pictures.

I hope your schedule isn’t too crazy!  and that you have some beautiful roses to smell along the way.

Dana

Floribunda Rose "Iceberg".

Floribunda Rose “Iceberg”. These have given a beautiful show all summer!  They are white in bloom, but they have a very light pink appearance in the bud stage.

Floribunda Rose "Iceberg".

Floribunda Rose “Iceberg”.

Floribunda Rose "Burgundy Ice".

Floribunda Rose “Burgundy Ice”.

Rosa Jacques Cartier (1868).

Rosa Jacques Cartier (1868). These are incredibly fragrant!  You don’t even have to get up close to smell them, and it’s a beautiful smell!

Rosa Jacques Cartier (1868).

Rosa Jacques Cartier (1868). I’ve put the fallen roses in a bowl and enjoyed their ever lasting scent in the house.  🙂