Friday, August 9, 2013

Summer roses

Munstead Wood, with strawberries and basil and hyssop

There are roses, at last. A sodden June and a hellish July made all roses, everywhere,  miserable. But for these shrubs, in smallish pots, with roots taking the sun's heat directly through those pot walls, I think life may have been torture. Sorry, roses. Really.

Abraham Darby - the best pot rose, ever

I started to feed them in early July, after my six week absence - fish fertilizer, and Espoma's Rose Tone. The stinky fish emulsion is weekly, via watering can (I try very hard not to drip it on my bare toes) the Espoma - granular - monthly.

Calamintha and Munstead Wood

Calamintha always takes a while to get going. The Munstead Wood buds and blooms are small (but fragrant) - a sign of stress. The next flush will be a better one...

And the Iceberg? It should be dead. I was steeling myself for euthanasia. A month ago it was 80% defoliated - the result of blackspot. Many branches had suffered from die back. So I cut a lot back, and out, while carefully pruning the stems that had flowered in the spring, in the hopes of a second flush. I fed it, contrary to good gardening practise (you're not supposed to feed a stressed plant). I also made sure it dried quite well between soakings, as I think it had been very damp.

And it's back.

Finally (this a case of last, and least), Lady Emma Hamilton. The woman is hot. And not in that way. I think the rose is simply affronted. You put me in what, up where??? Do you know who I am????

What reads as an interesting peach to apricot with hints of rose in pictures comes out as quite flat orange, in person. We'll see what happens in the cooler weather. September through mid November are good months for roses on the terrace. (If we're here in November, she mutters, darkly, twitching...)


I'll think about it next week. Today I am playing with watercolours.


  1. Wasn't it Scarlett O'Hara who said, "After all, tomorrow is another day."? And that orange doesn't come through as flat at all. Would love to see Lady Emma in the flesh.

  2. Deer got to my roses. And my tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash, everything. Nothing but skeletonized branches remain. I try to be zen...

    Pictures of your lovely roses help. Thank you.

  3. I think roses and some other plants that are heavy feeders, lack of nutrients cause them more stress. I always consider roses develop black spot often just as they are going to bloom, when they need nutrients for the big show. I think succumbing to black spot a sign of lack of and improper water and lack of nutrients. So I feed and water and spray with 1:1 2% milk. Just my thoughts, not even for a penny...LOL

  4. Beautiful roses, especially the colors of the Lady Emma, and especially for such a tiny space. I love my "fish food" fertilizer. Well, my porch plants love it. I, on the other hand, do the feeding without breathing. And I'm not allowed to use it on the indoor plants that summer on the porch. Do you have to warn the neighbors when you're using it? Does Estorbo spend the next two days doing too much sniffing at all the pots?

  5. Interesting about your roses. Mine bloomed already this year and I'm looking at my second bloom. But the flowers are smaller than usual and the plant just doesn't look as robust. But they survived Sandy and the most miserable summer in years, so I'm happy.

  6. With that recommendation, I might give Abraham Darby a try if I ever get the Boston roof deck or terrace I have been dreaming of...

  7. Really looking forward to your book - I love your writing!
    It appeals to me to try planting some roses in pots, I want to be able to move them around for the sun since our garden is quite shady. I am wondering however, what you do with the pots in winter?
    I knew I had read the name of your favorite pot rose somewhere but couldn't find it! Got it now, so you can disregarded the question if you come across it, and I will get myself an Abraham Darby. Thanks.


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