Ever-Blooming On A Boat

With fair winds and sunny skies, my roses are ever-blooming creating quite the “BOATanical” experience. As liveaboards choosing to live full-time on our sailboat, we wanted to live “tiny” on the water. However, anyone who has followed my blog, knows I adore roses so naturally, I had to acquire a few since relocating to Texas – boat or no boat. ‘Full Sail’, a Hybrid Tea, consistently produces large and incredibly fragrant white blooms and she barely has any prickles (thorns) and is snugly positioned at the bow of our sailboat thanks to some creative uses of bungee chords. After owning numerous roses over the years, I must say, ‘Full Sail’ has gotten my full attention as she blows me away with her healthy, abundant, and delightfully fragrant blooms that fill our salon with scents of honeysuckle or citrus.

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‘Full Sail’ blooms at the bow of our sailboat.

Another charming rose I’ve recently acquired is ‘Arizona’, a Grandiflora. She was a “body bag” rose I purchased on the cheap from Walmart. Although ‘Arizona’ has recently started producing a lovely show of orange blooms with edges of pink, her leaves have succumbed to powdery mildew. I suspect because she was originally positioned in a container under my bimini (awning shading the cockpit of the boat), perhaps she didn’t get enough sunlight and air circulation, which seems surprising consider how much wind reaches even in that somewhat sheltered area. Most likely, since it is shaded from some of the sun, ‘Arizona’ probably could not shake the mildew built up for the rays of the sun normally dry any moisture gathering on the leaves. One thing I’ve learned is gardening on a boat presents it’s various challenges, but it is possible and I welcome the challenge. Of course, I may be singing a different tune once faced with the Houston area’s extreme heat and humidity with little wind come the summer months (or so I’m told). This bright colored Grandiflora now is perched in a container on the deck of the boat embracing much sunshine and breezy days. Overall, I’m confident ‘Arizona’, a very prickly. but evidently a delicate rose, will bounce back after some organic treatment of baking soda and water. To learn how to treat powdery mildew, check out a previous post here. While I usually also like to use neem oil, I could not find it in the stores here till most recently so I tried rosemary essential oil instead, which was something I had on hand. The rosemary oil did effectively kill the rapidly growing fungus, as my online research foretold, but seemed to also burn the leaves even more than neem oil can. I probably failed to dilute the essential oil enough with water in addition to experiencing a plethora of sunshine after applying the treatment. Organic treatment using neem oil and evidently rosemary oil can burn the leaves on particularly sunny days – it’s best to treat the leaves on cloudy, low heat days, or so I was reminded in this BOATanical lesson.  Thankfully, roses usually are most forgiving and she seems to be producing more dark green foliage once again. Moreover, I love the way ‘Arizona’ glows against the blue boom (the device attached to the mast that contains the main sail when not in use).

Overall, I am not surprisingly thoroughly enjoying this ever-blooming “BOATanical” garden and look forward to many more blooms and challenges. As I scribe this post, my husband and I have relocated the roses to shelter them on the floor of our cockpit since the winds are gusting at around 35 mph tonight. It’s always interesting dwelling on a boat – especially with roses! 😉 Follow along our Ever-Blooming Roses blog and Facebook page to learn more about our developing boatanical garden.

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‘Arizona’, a Grandiflora rose.

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‘Arizona’, a Grandiflora rose.

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‘Arizona’, a Grandiflora rose.

‘Florentina’ Transplant Update

Since relocating my climbing Kordes rose, known as ‘Florentina’, last fall, she is showing positive signs of healthy growth this March. In a previous post, I noted that Florentina was failing to thrive on my beach balcony, but after permission from the HOA, I was able to transplant her into a sunny garden bed here in my condominium community.

Thus far, the foliage looks healthy and she certainly is growing sprawling canes. I hope to see her produce luscious blooms of brilliant red in the near future!

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Ever-Learning

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{photo credit: Kathy Keatley Garvey}

Now that it appears Spring has fully sprung, I discovered an influx of aphids enjoying my aspiring rose buds. Aphids are tiny insects that smother the tips of rose canes, foliage, and buds while sucking the life out of any given plant. Left unchecked they can damage a rose bush and therefore, prevent a hopeful bud from blooming. Aphids often camouflage with the greenery of many plants, although they can come in a variety of colors. Perplexed as to why an abnormal amount of aphids were clinging to my canes this Spring, I reached out to my local rose society for answers. Despite my roses’ healthy foliage, nutritious soil, and lack of disease, most likely the mild winter didn’t suppress the previous year’s aphid population and their eggs allowing for more to flourish this year. Thankfully, with rose gardening comes an informative community of rosarians ready to help one succeed in growing beautiful roses whether through your local rose society or online. Facebook groups offer a fun way to see blooms from all around the world while getting answers fast! Regardless if one is educated through the web, books, experience or all of the above, gardening, particularly rose gardening, requires an attitude of ever-learning!

Similarly, I have found as a rose in God’s garden, we too need an ever-learning attitude for there is always more to learn about God, His Word, and His principles. After all, it shouldn’t surprise us that there is an infinite amount to learn about an infinite God. If you aren’t growing in God, then you probably are shriveling just as the aphids do to the foliage of a rose. Perhaps now is the time to reach out to your local body of Christ, being the church, to get the answers, accountability, and the encouragement you need to thrive just as I needed to reach out to my local rose society for help.

To learn more about treating aphids and other insects commonly found in the garden, get a copy of my book Ever-Blooming During the Good, the Bad, and the Bugly.

Receiving Full Sun

Previously, I discussed the importance of roses receiving at least 6 hours of direct sunlight
also known as being in Full Sun in order to maximize their bloom potential and to help fight off disease.

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“Oregold” is planted in Full Sun.

We know that some roses can get by when planted in areas that will receive somewhere between just 3-6 hours of direct sunlight known as partial shade, but their growth tends to be limited, the blooms are smaller, and the foliage more apt for fungi to cling to.

Similarly, when Christians receive several hours a day of Jesus Christ’s direct SONlight through prayer, reading His Word, listening to Christian radio, worship, or attending a Bible study for example, they are positioned to reach their maximum potential. Unlike those who rarely receive God’s Light, their decision to remain in the partial shade will limit their growth and their blooms will be smaller while being more likely to fall prey to sin and disease. Today, ask yourself, am I firmly planted in a position to receive Full Sun or am I limiting myself to Partial Shade?

 “Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, ‘I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.’ “ John 8:12