The weather forecast is looking promising for the start of 2018, offering a week of Northerly rain and showers. Welcome would be the understatement of the season if it eventuates. Moisture levels in the garden and on the farm are more like February/March and it’s not January yet. We were grateful for 2 showers this week, it gave me a couple of days off watering the Nursery, but the sun and wind returned and quickly shrivelled up the hopeful shoots of green grass that emerged. Not sure in the long run if showers like that are worse than nothing, but it’s good for the soul !
The roses cope better than most of the perennials etc in the dry, but in an effort to keep them blooming and looking good, some daily hours are necessary holding a hose. The tea roses and their relatives flourish in the baking sun, so long as they are well established. The fungal diseases that were plaguing parts of the garden in lush (but dry) November have raised arms in defeat, and the badly affected roses we hacked back viciously are growing new healthy arms , leaves and flowers. The summer flowers are often fleeting, sometimes shrivelling before they’ve even opened properly, but a lot of the roses and indeed the garden in general seems to be moving into early Autumn mode and some blooms are getting that Autumn quality to them. So much better than the OTT Spring flowers…
As I wander around the garden trimming dead heads and tidying up some big arms, I’ve been putting in a few cuttings of the “impossible” roses, those which have never grown for me. There’s no rhyme nor reason that I have ascertained as to why and when roses will make roots from a cutting, so I like to try the tricky ones at a very unlikely time of the year, cos you never know, that might be “right” for someone!
I’m keeping a close eye on our seedlings planted about the place too, to gauge their performance in tougher conditions. One which I held great hopes for has been plagued by mildew, which is not a disease I usually have much trouble with, and not one I really want to acquire. That one may have to go…
Angela is a not very well known rose produced by Trevor Griffiths, a seedling from Graham Thomas. She was very lovely at Weiti for some years after I bought her, but had gradually faded to a shadow of her former self. She has regained her strength and some since her move to the Waikato and having a good dose of Tea Rose in her ancestry, is thriving in current conditions. Sadly I ‘m yet to succeed at growing one from a cutting, I also find her parent, Graham Thomas very recalcitrant in this department. But I’ll keep on trying and one day hopefully she’ll come to the party as she is a lovely rose and no longer available.
Another interesting rose we grow that is no longer commercially available is Austin’s Queen Nefertiti. As a lover of Ancient Egyptian history, this rose gained points from me before I even met the plant! It is such a different flower, starting quite red in the bud , then going streaky and finally opening into a buff, yellow or apricot flower, depending on her mood! The flowering is prolific, and since she moved onto her own roots down here she is very generous with producing live cuttings!
Signing off on the last evening of 2017 and hoping madly my next blog will be about the summer rain and all the disease problems it’s causing!!!