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Archive for May, 2010

Roses You Can Grow

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

I admit that if you ask me what my favorite plant is, it depends on the season and what’s in bloom.  That said it’s hard not to be excited by roses in May.  Blooming in my garden right now are four different roses including  Rosa ‘Zephirine Drouhin.’

Zephirine Drouhin, thornlesss and fragrant

As Kathy Jentz, publisher of Washington Gardener magazine (DC and surrounding areas)

stated recently “ thornless, blooms in shade, great fragrance, what’s not to love,” and I would also add that  it produces masses of cerise pink flowers.  A point worth noting is that last year many of  the flower buds on my ‘Zephirine Drouhin” were destroyed by a green caterpillar chewing into them.  This year I was ready.  Once the flower buds were swelling and showing color I  inspected the plant and sure enough the green worms were back.  Although I  avoid using pesticides in my garden (one dog and one 8 year old, need I say more) on occasion I resort to using organic pest controls like  Bacillus thuringiensis commonly known as Bt.  Bt is a naturally occurring bacterial disease of insects.  By spraying (mix it with water according to the directions) the leaves (both the tops and undersides) as well as the buds, it will kill the chewing caterpillars when they ingest it.  This insecticide is considered safe for people and wildlife and is also used on food crops. 

The bottom line is that it works as exhibited by all the flowers my rose has produced this year.  It also helps that we have had plenty of moisture and I am fertilizing with organic chicken poop.  Roses are heavy feeders but most years I don’t fertilize as often as I should.  I will try to do better this year.   

Rosa 'Perle d'Or' and Spiraea 'Ogon'

I select roses for my garden that are tough and for the most part undemanding. In talking with some of my fellow gardening friends we all agree that so far this has been a great year for roses. 

David McMullin of GardenHood says some of his favorites this year include R. ‘Climbing Pinkie,’ with gorgeous deep pink flowers, R. ‘Cecile Brunner,’ R. ‘Darlow’s Enigma,’ an upright tidy shrub with yellow buds opening white, R. ‘Altissima,’ a climber with single deep red flowers and R. chinensis mutabilis also known as the butterfly rose with single blooms in shades of yellow, pink and orange. 

Garden Designer Caroline Riggins says she is excited by roses but stresses that she is a  no spray gardener.  She too grows the roses I mentioned and also likes R. ‘Climbing Pinkie’ and  R. ‘Climbing Old Blush.’

Paula Refi who is also a garden designer says that she is not a big rose grower and that she currently has 7 or 8 bulletproof roses.  Her top five are

R. ‘Buttered Popcorn,’ a white polyantha, R. ‘Baby Love,’ a single yellow polyantha she grows with Clematis ‘Arabella,’ R. ‘Perle d’ Or,’ R. chinensis mutabilis and R. ‘Nearly Wild.’ 

Rosa 'WEOpop' or 'Gourmet Popcorn'

If you aren’t already growing roses, the ones listed here are satisfying and for the most part easy to grow provided they have plenty of sun (6-8 hours of direct sun is ideal), moisture and fertilizer.

The Perfect Mother’s Day Gift

Thursday, May 6th, 2010


Heuchera 'Caramel' and Penstemon 'Husker Red'

Just in time for Mother’s Day

May 8-Eagle Eye Bookstore, Decatur, GA 1-2:30pm Book Signing by Erica Glasener

Proven Plants Southern Gardens  

2076 N. Decatur Rd., Decatur, GA 30033


While they last I will have an assortment of plants to give away.  One plant for each copy of my new book that you purchase.  Free advice.  Come with your plant questions.