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Autumnal Shades of Pink


‘Neon’ sedum, ‘The Fairy’ rose, ‘Alma Potchke’ aster

Even in the fall my garden is full of shades of pink.

Japanese anemone robustissima.

For more Wordlessness this Wednesday click here.

Deadheading – Fall Maintenance for Hardy Roses

The Fairy

People often ask me when  do I cut back my hardy roses in the fall, do I protect them in the winter and what is the best way they can protect their own roses. I have simple answers.

First, I remind people that I only grow hardy roses, that are trouble free. Of course, sometimes I only find out that I have  bought non-hardy roses when they die, but that’s the way it goes. I do not cut back my roses in the fall. I do deadhead the roses to some extent, but often not as much as they could be deadheaded, because I run out of time or energy. I want to make the point that deadheading is not cutting back.  Deadheading is cutting off the dead blossom or spray of hips back to the first 5 leaf stem.  I always have some winterkill so it seems counter productive to cut back any more than I have to because I will just just have to cut back still more in the spring to remove the winterkilled branches.

The only protection I provide my roses is a shovelful of soil or compost (when I have it) over the  roots of the rose. I especially do this with roses that were planted that first spring. Or the second.  I have noticed that Carol, the head gardener of the Bridge of Flowers protects the roots of newly planted shrubs, and  the more tender plants this way every fall. Fortunately, she has a good supply of compost to use.

The last question is impossible to answer because I don’t know what kind of roses my questioner might have, and they can rarely identify them for me.  My non-gardening son, who bought a house with a row of roses, told his non-gardening daughter ,who  bought a house with a couple of rose bushes by the front steps, that she should just but them back in the spring as he did to good effect. I will take her aside and explain that he has a very different type of rose, and that her roses, which I think are Knock-outs, should only be cut back in the spring to remove winterkill, and trimmed to keep them from resting on the railing on the front steps. No one wants to grab a handful of thorns when tripping on a step.

What hardy roses to I grow? I grow rugosas like Mount Blanc and Pink Grootendorst. I grow Griffith Buck roses like Applejack and Quietness.  I grow Earth-Kind roses like Carefree Beauty and The Fairy.  You can see most of my roses on my Virtual Rose Viewing

Applejack in June


September 1 Record Fruiting and Tangles

Thomas Affleck rose

This post is part of my twice a month record of bloom and doings in the garden, on the 1st of the month, and then on Bloom Day, the 15th. As we begin September it is clear that in spite of the hot and dry weather Thomas Affleck continues to thrive. One a very few other rose blossoms are to be seen.

Hips on Dart’s Dash rugosa

What the roses are doing instead of blooming is producing hips. The Rugosas have the biggest fattest hips, that are now red and ripe. A neighbor came over to harvest what she needed to make rose hip jelly.

Rosa glauca rose hips

I bought rosa glauca about 30 years ago because of the description of the rose hips. They are red at the moment but will ripen to nearly black. Very sophisticated.

Liberty apple

This is a good year for apples. Liberty apple, planted about 25 years ago is a disease resistant apple. I never noticed before that this apple requires two other types of apple for cross-pollination. There are other apples in our field, and a neighbor less than two miles away has a whole orchard. There are enough other apples to keep this one pollinated and fruitful.  Needless to say, we use no insecticides or herbicides that would hurt honey bees or any other pollinators.

Highbush cranberry

The blueberries and raspberries are  finished. This highbush cranberry (viburnam) is the only berry bush we have at this season. The birds will make quick work of the pretty red berries.

Wild hops and grapes

We are not the ones who planted these hops or grapes. We make noble annual efforts but we have not been able to keep them in control.  These tough vines crawl over  a section of roadside saplings and into  the cultivated area and onto the viburnam.  The hop vine produces these papery little lantern-like flowers. Brewers need hops. The only use I might have for hop flowers is to harvest and dry them and stuff a little pillow with them to encourage sleep. Hops are considered soporific.  We eat a few of the Concord grapes, but the birds get most of those too. You have to look close to see them in this tangle of green.

Zinnias, squash and Grandpa Ott

As a last minute planting I used a few leftover seeds to plant acorn squash and zinnias where I had put a more informal than usual compost pile. This little tangle was more complicated than expected because of some Grandpa Ott purple morning  glories that came from I know not where.


Acorn squash

There are a few squash in that tangle. The tomatoes are beginning to ripen and we are eating a second or third planting of lettuce and salad turnips.  The broccoli harvest is over, and the green bean harvest has yet to begin because it got off to such a slow start – partly the weather and partly the rabbits. Happily no more trouble  with rabbits after that bean shoot feast.



The tomatoes are beginning to ripen. Nothing like a luscious tomato fresh from the garden.


Acidanthra plus

I almost forgot that I planted acidanthra (summer gladiola) bulbs because it doesn’t begin to bloom until so late in the season.  It is a beautiful, graceful and fragrant plant. It gets lots of attention from visitors to the Bridge of Flowers. Here it is squeezed in between pink phlox, northern sea oats, delicate artemesia lactiflora on the right with Echinacea on the other side of this border peeking through. Pink cosmos are  also in bloom behind the artemesia.

Yarrow, lobelia, cotinus

At this time of the year there are tangles everywhere. I like this silvery leaved yarrow with its sulphur yellow blossoms and the blue lobelia with the wine red cotinus. There are a couple of white snapdragons in the mix as well.

Aconite and hydrangea

I love blue and white and I got it in this tangle of hydrangea and aconite stretching to reach the sun.

We got  a happy bit of rain last night, although only about a half inch, added to the half inch the day before that. Wishing for more.

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day – August 15, 2013

Ann Varner Dayliliy

On this Garden Bloggers Bloom day there are some surprises.  The weather should not surprise anymore, but it does, and often causes gnashing of teeth. In June we had a glorious 12 inches of rain. In July there was no rain! It was hot! An official heat wave. In August it has been much cooler and we had 4 inches of rain so far. Still there are lots of blooms in the un-irrigated flower gardens. The Daylily Bank is drawing down but Ann Varner is still magnificent.

Helenium “Mardi Gras”

In spite of the dry, and now cool weather the Helenium  is a colorful clump.

Black Beauty lilies

I have to lie under them to get a shot of the Black Beauties. The blossoms of the lilies and the adjacent crimson bee  balm are not very big this year. Note to self. More compost in this spot. The other lilies are also still blooming by the house.

Artemesia lactiflora

Artemesia lactiflora has much less dramatic blossoms,  but they are dainty, and much taller than usual this year.

Achillea ‘The Pearl’

Achillea is another dainty flower, but a strong grower. The only other yarrow blooming now is the sulphur yellow variety. Nameless.

Joe Pye Weed

This new Joe Pye Weed has just come into bloom.  I don’t know if it is a miniature, or just not fully feeling its oats this first year.

Echinacea and Miss Lingaard phlox

The big clump of Echinacea purpurea will need to be divided but it is gorgeous this year. The white phlox is Miss Lingaard and it should have bloomed in June!  The Russian sage on the other side of the Echinacea is also blooming well.

Hydrangea ‘Limelight’

‘Limelight’ is the only one of the three ‘new’ hydrangeas to have recovered very well from a good browsing from the deer, but ‘Pinky Winky’ and the oakleaf hydrangea do have a few small blossoms.

Thomas Affleck rose

A visiting friend sighed that there were probably no roses anymore. Well, not quite. Thomas Affleck, as usual, is putting out a strong second flush, and other roses put out an occasional bloom


Folksinger, a Griffith Buck hybrid also put out a good second flush. I couldn’t resist taking this photo of his delicate decline. I do not think he has much strength left for this season.

Also blooming are the tall veronicas, very tall and deeply blue aconite, cimicifuga, a few zinnias and  gomphrena. Not too bad, and there is still more to come which makes me happy.

To see what else is  blooming across our  great nation go to May Dreams Gardens where Carol hosts Bloom Day. Thank you Carol!

August Bloomers on August 1, 2013

Of all the August Bloomers, the Daylily Bank makes the biggest statement even though it has started to pass its peak.

Bevy of August Bloomers

Other August bloomer are just beginning. The most notable in this photo is the classic Echinacea or coneflower, with Russian sage in front and pink and white phlox on the other side of the bed. The phlox is late, with light bloom, because the deer had been snacking on the buds. Only once clump of Paradise Blue phlox escaped and it is going well in a bed with Switzerland daisies, and aconite.

Mothlight hydrangea

The Mothlight hydrangea is a dependable August bloomer, beginning in July and going into September.  My other three young hydrangeas, Limelight, Pinky Winky, and the native oakleaf, are all in bloom as well, despite more snacking by the deer.

Blue Paradise Phlox and Yarrow

Sharing a bed with Mothlight, are Blue Paradise phlox and a deep gold unnamed achillea. You cannot see the daisies and the aconite nearby in this photo.

Potted Plants

Closer to the house are potted plants like these petunias, and succulent collections. You can see even the succulent decided to be an August bloomer this year.

Lilies and Thalictrum

As part of the welcoming garden are three lilies, henryi, rubrum and a gold and white lily. Those are white snapdragons, part of the potted collection.  Black Dragon lilies and crimson bee balm are blooming in the center of  this bed, but they are not as lush as usual. I’ll have to add some extra compost this fall.

Thomas Affleck rose and lily

At the very beginning of the welcome garden is the amazing Thomas Affleck rose, along  with a floppy lily. Even before I got it properly deadheaded it has begun to bloom again, and will be blooming well into the fall.

Folksinger Rose

Down on the Rose Walk the Folksinger rose is also putting out a new flush of bloom along with the new Carefree Beauty, both Griffith Buck roses.



I will let this beautiful dill flower stand in for  the vegetables and herbs we have been harvesting, broccoli, summer squash, and lettuce, parsley and cilantro.


We are starting to harvest blueberries, but we have been eating red and black raspberries for most of July. Fortunately, blueberries don’t need irrigation.  The garlic harvest will begin soon, too.


The Fairy – Rose of the Day

The Fairy polyantha

You might think The Fairy to be a fragile pink rose, but in the 1960 Roses of Yesterday and Today catalog this sturdy polyantha is described as ‘unexcelled for vigor, spreading growth, perfect health and hardiness, and its superability to produce those charming pink rosette type blossoms in constant abundance, – each a fair flower, crisp and waxen like a pink sea shell.” The Fairy has proved herself to be a stalwart star of my mixed border for the past dozen years or more. She needs no fussing  at all.

Like all polyanthas, she is a small shrub, usually less than two feet tall, with a generous spread, and dense clusters of small flowers on short stems. The word polyantha means ‘many flowers’. In my garden she begins to bloom when the other roses are beginning to loose their oomph and she continues all summer.

The Fairy polyantha rose closeup

You can still buy The Fairy at Roses of Yesterday and Today, as well as at many garden centers and other rose catalog companies.


Winter Sunset Correction on Wordless Wednesday

Folksinger, a Griffith Buck hybrid

Last week I mis-identified this rose as Winter Sunset. Winter Sunset and Folksinger are both Griffith Buck hardy rose hybrids.

Winter Sunset, a Griffith Buck hybrid

This image from the gardenweb forum shows that both roses have a similar form, but Winter Sunset has deeper color. I have both of these roses, but right now Winter Sunset is not doing well at all.

To see what else is Wordless this Wednesday click here.


It Never Rains on the Rose Viewing

‘Belle Poitvine’ rugosa

It has never rained on the Rose Viewing, and I think I can claim it did not rain yesterday either. The Rose Viewing is from 1-4 pm. At 3:45 yesterday there were a few drops of rain, but then no more. The guests who were here at that time strolled into the Cottage Ornee where we stayed and chatted, ate the last few cookies, and strawberry sorbet that one of the guests brought, until Sunday afternoon exhaustion set in and the young set thought it was time for supper. Farewells at 5:15 and heavy rainfall at 5:25. I am going to claim an unbroken record.

Daughter Betsy was here to pick up her 15 year old, Tynan, who had been spending time with us, and practicing his hiking with a 40 pound pack on his back in preparation for his 12 day trek at Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico. I was  fortunate to have her here to keep the lemonade punch bow filled, and to handle book sales. I really enjoy meeting the people who buy my book and inscribing it to them, but of course I am always glad to know that it sells at our local bookstore and through Kindle.

‘Thomas Affleck’

Thomas Affleck, a hybrid created at the Antique Rose Emporium in Texas may have been the star of  the day. He stands near where most people parked their cars and made quite a statement. This rose, although created in Texas, has made himself perfectly at home on our Massachusetts hill, elevation 1700 feet. He begins blooming in mid-June and continues through October, although with diminished energy. He is not bothered by blackspot or any other disease, even in this very rainy spring. I have never detected the promised fragrance, but yesterday’s visitors did a lot of sniffing and said there is a subtle fragrance. My sniffer’s powers ares clearly declining.

‘Ghislaine de Feligonde’

Ghislaine de Feligonde was another rose that attracted a lot of attention. The golden buds are the first beauty, and then the shifting delicate colors of the blossoms. She is listed as a climber, but so far, in my garden, she is getting more vigorous, but is showing no tendency to climb. Others in Heath have had similar experiences. Our climate seems to control growth. The late beloved Elsa Bakalar always told the story about her visiting British brother who asked the variety of the single rose in her garden. “How can you not recognize ‘Queen Elizabeth?” she asked indignantly. His response, “Oh, I didn’t know  there was a dwarf variety.”

I have tried to grow the magnificent Austin rose, ‘Abraham Darby’ but been unsuccessful. The winters were too much for him. When I gave one to my daughter who lives in central Massachusetts, it grew lushly up the side of her porch. A true climber with no trouble.


‘Quietness’ was also much admired, for its elegant form. This Griffith Buck hybrid has also been classified as an Earth Kind rose, meaning it is tough and trouble free. It has proved so in my garden.

So what comes after the Rose Viewing?  Weeding the vegetable garden! It has been ignored during preparations for the Rose Viewing and the rain has called up all manner of weeds. But not today. It is raining. Again.

Annual Rose Viewing June 30, 2013


Purington Pink rose – a Farmgirl

I was inviting a new friend to our Annual Rose Viewing. She looked at me in absolute amazement. “You can grow tea roses in Heath?”

No, I cannot. Tea roses will not grow in Heath. The word rose is not synonymous with the words tea rose. Mostly I have rugosas, albas, damasks, shrubs and farmgirls. Since 1980 when I planted my first rose, Passionate Nymph’s Thigh, I have planted  over one hundred roses.  More than half of them are still alive, and most of those are doing well.

One of the reasons for the Annual Rose Viewing, besides the initial desire to share the roses, is to show people what kinds of roses can be grown with very little of the fussing that tender tea roses require. I confess, there are a few roses right now that are not thriving. That is a lesson, too.

Ispahan – The rose of Persia

The first roses I planted were antique roses otherwise known as old roses, or shrub roses. These are fragrant roses with romantic names like Ispahan, the Queen of Denmark, Leda, and Celestial. Some are very unusual like large graceful Rosa rubrifolia, now named Rosa glauca because of the bluish-redish foliage. It is the rose that gets lots of attention because of the foliage; the roses themselves are tiny and pink and will never grace a bouquet.

Applejack – a Griffith Buck Rose

Early on I learned about Griffith Buck roses. Griffith Buck began hybridizing cold hardy roses at Iowa State College in the 1950’s. Applejack was my first Buck rose and it is the rose that greets visitors at the head of the driveway. Applejack is now about 30 years old, big and graceful, disease and trouble free.

Some of Buck’s roses have also been added to the list of Earth-Kind roses. Texas A&M began testing roses for hardiness some years ago. They took roses and planted them in test beds. The researchers took good care of them for one year, and then ignored them for nine years. At the end of ten years they identified those that had lived and thrived healthily and gave them the designation Earth-Kind because they take few resources like water, or poisons to kill or control pests and diseases. Carefree Beauty with its enormous deep pink blossoms is one of Buck’s Earth Kind Roses.

Two of the other Earth Kind roses that are very popular in our area are The Fairy, and Sea Foam. I love pink and I love The Fairy so much I have two of them. They are low growing, very prickery and bloom all summer.

In fact, one of the reasons many of my roses are not common or popular is because most of them do not bloom all summer. To get fragrance and hardiness and I have had to sacrifice a long season of bloom That is why the Annual Rose Viewing is always held on the last Sunday of June when most of the roses are blooming. Of course, many other flowers are blooming in the garden as well, including the peonies, but The Rose Walk is the star of the day.

There are many good repeat bloomers, most especially the David Austin shrub roses that have the generous shape and fragrance of the antique roses. But they are not hardy in Heath. I have a single Austin rose, Mary Rose named for one of Henry VIII’s ships, and she survives, but is not the kind of beautifully blowsy shrub she might be in a Greenfield garden. One friend looked at me with great compassion when I told him that I had killed at least six Austin roses. That is to say, the Heath weather killed six Austin roses. My friend did not boast about the Heritage, Graham Thomas and Fair Bianca flourishing in his own Greenfield garden.

In addition to the list of officially named roses in my garden I have what I call the Farmgirls. These are unnamed roses that have been given to me by neighbors. Some of these have been growing on local farms for generations. I have named them after the donor, Alli and Terri and Rachel. I have what I call a Buckland rose given to me by a Buckland friend who said it grew all over town. She called it Belle Amour. I also bought a rose labeled Belle Amour, but these two roses are not the same. Which is wrong?

Identifying roses is a very difficult enterprise. The same rose can go by many different names. The Berkshire Botanical Garden used to occasionally have a rose expert come to identify roses that people brought in. I am definitely not a rose expert in any sense.

What I am is a gardener and rose lover. We hold the Annual Rose Viewing to share the garden. It is our version of Garden Open Today. If you come up to Heath on Route 8A North you will find a sign on a tree, not far beyond the Berkshire Sweet Gold Maple Syrup stand, directing you to the roses. The street address is 43 Knott Road, and we, and the roses, live at the end of the road.

Ghislaine de Feligonde

The Annual Rose Viewing will be held on Sunday, June 30 this year, from 1-4 pm. After you have viewed the roses, and inhaled their fragrance, come and sit in the shade of the Cottage Ornee for a refreshing cup of lemonade and a cookie. I hope to see you.

Between the Rows  June 22, 2013

Thomas Affleck in all His Summer Glory

Thomas Affleck

I bought Thomas Affleck from the Antique Rose Emporium. It suggested planting it near the door so you would pass it often and enjoy the fragrance.  I did plant it near the door, at the end of the Herb Bed which is next to the entry walk. There is no fragrance that I can detect, but  it certainly is a pleasure to walk past it several times a day. This is a magnificent rose that requires very little care. It blooms well into the fall, although not quite this exuberantly.