Busy in the Garden

The weather has been wonderful (it actually rained), and roses are still blooming (pictures coming),  but first, a brief update on a few projects.

William Shakespeare 2000 in its better days

Some of you know I have had a problem this spring with one of my two William Shakespeare 2000 shrubs. It has been in the ground for at least 6 years and growing very well.

This time last year

This year, something seems to have gone wrong. There were several possibilities (a few very scary ones), but I couldn’t put my finger on anything definite.

This spring: very little growth, small leaves going senescent, few and small blooms

My mind kept running in endless unproductive circles, and I decided to post some pictures on the rose forum to see if anyone had any suggestions. I realized it would be even more difficult for people to try to pinpoint the problem just looking at pictures and I appreciated greatly the effort some posters made to come up with ideas. At the end of the day, someone pointed out that my rose had a lot of blind shoots (growth not resulting in flowers), and I should prune harder. I pruned harder. Gulp.

I took out a few old canes, and brought the bush down quite a bit (after cutting out blind growth most remaining canes did not have viable bud eyes until this far down). Gardeners of sound mind do this in winter….

 Having survived the agony of subjecting an innocent rose to such drastic surgery so late in the year, I decided to tackle my next big project, Maréchal Niel. It is a lovely tea-noisette that, unfortunately, does not perform well on its own-roots for most people. Mine was absolutely beautiful for the first two years, with gorgeous blooms and clean, almost evergreen foliage.

In its better days

It actually reached the top of a 7-foot arbor and then started on a slow but relentless decline. The blooms balled all the time, there was almost no foliage and no new growth either. I thought I would dig it out and pot it up. Maybe it will grow for me as a big potted shrub, maybe not. My husband took it out today and, in preparation for potting it up, I washed the soil off the roots. Impressive root ball, isn’t it?

How did it manage to climb 7 feet? I still potted it up 🙂

Another thing that kept me busy today was trying to put together my last order for roses with Vintage Gardens. This nursery has been an amazing source of rare roses and kept my collector’s spirit alive for years. There are so many treasures that I enjoy in my garden solely due to the efforts folks at Vintage made in sharing these roses. Thank you, Vintage.

Mme Bérard, my favorite Vintage rose




Ulrich Brunner, fils


Prinzessin Marie von Arenberg




Mme Plantier


Julia Child and Wild Blue Yonder


Schön Ingeborg


Wild Blue Yonder


Souvenir de Mme. Boullet


Lyda Rose, ‘Benny Lopez’, Penelope, Crépuscule, Rosette Delizy




Sharifa Asma


Penelope and Crépuscule

Pretty Jessica


Sharifa Asma


Rosette Delizy


Climbing Cécille Brunner with a spray of Lyda


Pat Austin, Buff Beauty on the fence behind, and ‘Secret Garden Musk Climber’ trying to eat the house


Jude the Obscure


Memorial Day with Buff Beauty

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