Travels With Roses

After selling our sailboat we lived on for a couple of years in Texas, I gave away many of my plants, but some are traveling with us as we sojourn to Maryland. My back seats are folded down so I could bring two potted rose bushes (significantly pruned to fit), some herbs, succulents, a watering can, my Felco pruners, synthetic oil just in case and some clothes and cleaning stuff too. The rest of our belongings have been shipped. Meanwhile,Β due to COVID19, I’ve been disinfecting each hotel room’s remote, light switches, door knobs, etc and watering my plants at rest stops. Free puppy pads are underneath the plants so they don’t drain on/in the car.

Just like you don’t leave your pets behind when you move, you don’t leave behind your plants either…especially roses!

Wild West and Unruly Roses

While living in Texas, a friend granted me permission to nurse his plethora of neglected roses overcome by the Houston area’s heat and humidity in Zone 9. His commercial event-venue site, intentionally designed to look like a scene from the wild west with it’s saloon, antique store front, equipped with a functioning old-wooden windmill and railroad track, is a small business with big property and numerous garden beds that needed nurturing attention. Historically operated and maintained by family members, seasons had changed and grown children moved on creating a void in the property’s landscaping maintenance. Thankfully, our friend happens to know a rose-fanatic such as yours truly to lasso up such wild, overgrown, prickly canes and force them to reach their potential of proficient blooms once more.

Over three Sundays this past February, my husband and I tackled the encroaching and overcrowded rose canes. While clearing away debris around one of the roses base, I felt like an archaeologist upon discovering a buried and partially worn off label confirming these roses are ‘Double Knock Outs’ from Chamblee’s Roses in Tyler, Texas, a famous and large rose nursery several hours away. Knock Out roses are a popular, typically disease resistant shrub sold at nearly every box home improvement store and nursery throughout America. Consequently, hot pink and ruby red blooms flourish in the beds of shopping centers, medical office parks, and numerous homes throughout the Country. While ‘disease-resistant’ is a wonderful trait to market and buy into, it should not be confused for ‘disease-proof’ meaning many roses succumb to some form of disease if they are not nurtured at least on occasion as the appropriate season requires.

Planted like row homes in a crowded city, these shrubs were planted far too close to one another, a common error of the previous owner. Additionally, the beds have not been weeded and the shrubs had not been pruned in years possibly ever by the looks of them. Albeit, Knock Out shrubs are usually far more forgiving, but this is hot and humid Texas just southeast of Houston, so both the master gardner and the roses must be prepared for regular attention and robust abuse of the elements. Upon careful inspection of the various shrubs’ canes, I noticed a white-green film smothering it as well as hints of furry spikes. How bizarre and challenging! I had never seen such growth on rose canes before, but I could tell this was not the usual suspects such as powdery mildew, boytritus, or scale, as some examples of more common rose diseases. Additionally, I noticed many of the canes were hanging on fighting for their lives while others had succumb to canker and ultimate rotting death. Moreover, I was intrigued by this peculiar unknown-to-me growth and the quest to overcome it!

Thankfully, we live in an age where anything one could ever want to know can be found on the internet. After typing in a few words attempting to describe the white-gray growth on the canes of these roses as well as the bark of a nearby tree, I was able to diagnose my botanical dilemma. Lichens, pronounced likens (LIKE-ENS), are a combination of both fungi and algae stimulating and propelling one another in their growth, similar to marriage. The other soft spikes of gray launching from the canes and branches are known as ‘Ball Moss’. Neither lichens or ball moss is particularly harmful, but rather a symptom of possibly a lack of air circulation, poor soil nutrition, as well as too much moisture such as high humidity combined with sprinkler usage. Consequently, I significantly pruned all the rose shrubs throughout the sprawling property and had my husband dig up the dead bushes or the one’s clearly on their death garden-bed. In the meantime, a paid worker weeded the beds. I experimented by spraying the canes with neem oil on the mild Texas days of February to ward of the spider mites (another symptom of neglected and diseased roses) and hopefully rebuff the lichens. I hand picked much of the ball moss off the canes as that particular moss easily comes off, but the gray-white-greenish layer of lichens refused to be evicted.

Within weeks of pruning, the roses blossomed once more in hues of hot pink. Evidence of lichens still lingered somewhat, but better soil nutrition as well as much better air circulation after pruning should thwart future growth. Regardless, these roses appear to be ‘ever-blooming’.

My Lady Blooms

Approximately two months ago, my first and much anticipated David Austin rose, ‘Lady Emma Hamilton’, arrived in bare root form. I had been wanting this particular rose for years, but every time I went to purchase her through the elite David Austin Roses website, she was sold out. This year, however, I purchased her early around the New Year with success!

Because I live aboard a sailboat named ‘Sailvation’ full-time, I planted her in a 16 inch wide wine-barrel looking plastic pot, which she adapted to just fine. After planting her in Miracle Grow potting soil and compost, I dressed her base with Alyssum, a fragrant, white-flowering dainty flower. I have never “dressed” my roses with companion plants in pots but I was feeling botanically adventurous- or perhaps I should say “BOATanically” adventurous, an alternative name for our boat! πŸ˜‰ She seemed to thrive instantly bursting with buds, leaflets, and eventually green foliage. This past week, she bloomed for the first time upon putting out four buds. I enjoy waking up each morning having my cup of coffee and being able to check on my rose’s development through the portlight (window) of the boat. Both Lady Emma Hamilton and her companion, Alyssum, boast a “sweet aroma” as they choose to be “ever-blooming”. I hope and pray we all can follow their example.

My Very First…

After doing a deep clean on a catamaran β›΅ today (I own a cleaning business, Yachts Maid Ready, LLC), I rushed over to our friend’s house to retrieve my very first David Austin English rose! I had it shipped there because our boat neighbor friend said I could keep it there since my last beloved rose went overboard last Summer 😦 (I live on a sailboat). The rose is currently in bare root form, but I potted ‘Lady Emma Hamilton’, for she will grow to be deliciously fragrant tangerine colored rose with hints of pinks and yellows in her petal edges along with Allysum, a small white flowering plant around the base. It was a good day. 🌹 #davidaustinroses #everbloomingroses #rose

How ‘Lady Emma Hamilton’ and ‘Allysum’ look presently.
How LEH will look soon!
Another photo of Lady Emma Hamilton.

Dew in December

I took this photo of a miniature rose recently in the month of December. Roses grow all year long in the Houston, Texas area, but seem to thrive in the Fall, Winter, and Spring.

Another Glorious Texas Rose Garden

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After living in Texas for a few months, one benefit to living here is the roses bloom all year long! As Spring approached, my need to peruse a rose garden blossomed as usual so my husband and I decided to meander our way over to the Antique Rose Emporium in Brenham, Texas. This charming country emporium is about a 2 hour drive from our sailboat we live aboard (and grow roses on) in Kemah, Texas, just Southeast of Houston towards Galveston. Along the way, we were greeted with the famous Texas bluebonnets and other lovely wildflowers profusely blooming on ranches established along Route 290. We were surprised to see numerous people pull over to take photos in the populated fields of various colors. It became apparent many were planned photography shoots for Easter or Spring in general. What a lovely idea indeed!

Jerry and I were delighted to find bluebonnets and other wildflowers growing on a field adjacent to the Antique Rose Emporium so we too got in on our very own photography shoot!

While browsing the various old garden roses and modern ones alike at the Antique Rose Emporium that mid-April Sunday morning, we took a few moments to stop and smell the roses they had on display.

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‘Savannah’, a highly fragrant and disease resistant shrub rose with an old rose charm.

Out of the roses showcased that glorious Sunday April morning, I think ‘Savannah’ was my favorite (although it was a tough choice for sure!). Savannah’s romantic old rose fragrance and luscious petals of peach and pink welcomed me like the South always does! You can learn more about this Southern beauty, by clicking here.

I also admired the various roses planted throughout the grounds as well as the creative displays and the overall country-like feel of the garden. If you are in the Houston, Texas area, you may want to take an easy drive out to Brenham, which is Northwest of H-Town, to explore the Antique Rose Emporium. To learn more, visit their website: https://antiqueroseemporium.com/ Every rose lover must visit at least once!

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.Β  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! πŸ˜‰ 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.

A Boatanical Experience

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Congo Nursery, Pasadena, Texas

For the first time since being here in Texas, my husband and I traveled to a nearby nursery known as Congo Nursery located in Pasadena, Texas, which is along the Gulf Coast area. The marina my husband and I live at as “liveaboards” on our sailboat generously bestowed us a garden bed to appease my delight in roses. Upon pulling up to this urban nursery just a bit southeast of the Houston area, we were astonished at how many roses this retailer packed in their corner store lot. We have never seen so many roses for sale at any nursery prior to this! To see last year’s list of roses they sold click here –>Roses List. It appeared all of these were present this year as well. Furthermore, all of the 5 gallon rose bushes on display were superbly cared for and healthy. Most of these spectacular roses were in full bloom as they dazzled onlookers bewildered eyes! I thought I must have died and gone to rose heaven! Texas just keeps getting better and better. πŸ™‚

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‘Full Sail’, a hybrid tea rose.

I intentionally wanted to inspect the hybrid tea known as ‘Full Sail’, a very fluffy, or perhaps I should say ‘luffing’ (a sailing term), white rose with delicious honeysuckle fragrance. After all, I do live on a sailboat. I thought this could be the perfect rose to fill the marina garden bed entrusted to us. Upon locating ‘Full Sail’ in the sea of roses, I was more than impressed by her incredibly large and magnificent blooms. I do believe her blooms were even larger than the famous ‘Peace’ rose, which also produces gorgeous petals, but little to no fragrance. After perusing the plethora of stunning roses in various colors and varieties, we purchased ‘Full Sail’ and headed back to the marina.

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‘Full Sail’ in her new home on the bow of our sailboat.

While digging in the garden bed though, we discovered it was plagued with large, thick tree roots, which caused us to forgo planting our newly adopted rose bush for fear it could not compete with such conditions. Naturally, the only other solution was to go to Home Depot to purchase a large pot so ‘Full Sail’ could thrive nicely on the bow of the boat! πŸ˜‰ Now when I open the hatch of the V-berth (within the bow of the boat), I get whiffs of honeysuckle! We used a couple of bungee chords to keep her secure on the bow.

Due to thinking I had some space in a garden bed to plant roses combined with the struggle of resisting roses in general, I had previously purchased two other roses, all of which are dwelling on our sailboat! LOL In addtion to ‘Full Sail’, the largest of the four, yes four total roses, plus a few succulents, a tomato plant, and sweet pepper plant, our sailboat is quite the ‘BOATanical’ experience! When living aboard a boat, you have quite a bit of packing away things before they slosh around in your boat while out sailing, so the plants will have to hang out on the pier whenever we want to go for a sail. Overall, I am overjoyed in this life of tiny living on the water, rocked by the gentle waves, surrounded by wildlife and now roses too!

Here are some photos of the magnificent beauties @ Congo Nursery for your viewing pleasure. If you are in the Houston area, do yourself a favor and visit Congo Nursery. They also have good deals on veggies, fruit trees, and loads of interesting hanging plants too!

 

Compass Rose

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Thankfully, in Southeast Texas roses seem to grow all year.

No matter what course I find myself navigating, whether it be in the valleys of Central Pennsylvania, the crabby shores of Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay, the salty air whipping around my Myrtle Beach condo’s balcony, or now while living on a sailboat along Galveston Bay in Texas, my love for roses continues to bloom. It would seem this obsession only grows the more I age and experience as does my desire to share their enchanting beauty and hope. Although I no longer have numerous rose bushes flourishing in a garden for my garden these days consist of containers on the cockpit of my sailboat, I still smile (border line drool) over photos of roses or rose catalogs. Through it all, I wander the aisles of garden nurseries or even the garden sections of Walmart, Home Depot, and the like dreaming of potential roses I could acquire and eventually share.

Relatively new to the liveaboard lifestyle, I find myself still making a way to enjoy roses for I purchased a “body bag” rose for just $6 recently. The Grandiflora known as ‘Arizona’ will be an experimental rose for me as she grows in Texas’ high heat and humidity partially shaded from the scorching sun by my sailboat’s bimini (awning type of structure over the cockpit).

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Full Sail, hybrid tea

In hindsight, perhaps I should have purchased ‘Full Sail’, a fragrant white rose with a nautical theme or ‘Ebb Tide’, a lovely purple rose.

Nevertheless, this new lifestyle and new gardening zone presents many new exciting challenges. While getting used to living aboard a small yacht and showering in a marina, our dock box is already full of not only fenders (bumper pads for your boat) and boat cleaning supplies, but potting soil, gardening gloves, and pruning shears as well. At first, my husband protested our boat being transformed into what could be appropriately labeled a “BOATanical” environment, but now he is getting on board even wanting to grow tomatoes on our boat. He is easily influenced. πŸ˜‰

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Compass Rose design

 

Soon, we will officially change the name of our sailboat. Initially, I liked the name of ‘Sailvation’ to represent our faith in addition to sailing, but lately, I have been thinking ‘Boatanical’ or ‘Compass Rose’ (the navigational compass on nautical charts) are equally, if not more appealing.

Whichever name or destination we choose, it’s become crystal clear, I will always be rooted in a love for roses.

A Miniature Mystery

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Rose catalogs recently arrived in the mail.

While confined to my sailboat, which I live aboard full-time, listening to the rain pellet the boat’s roof much like the sounds of rain on a tin-roof, I found myself thumbing through recently received rose catalogs dreaming of spring’s first flush. Upon pondering which roses would best suit this hot, humid climate of Texas while considering the limited space on board my vessel, I decided to preview photographs of rose gardens I’ve visited in days gone by. My cheeks swelled as my eyes remembered luscious petals of pink, apricot, yellow, and red. How I look forward to another year of walking the aisles of nurseries and the splendor of masses of roses growing side-by-side in a rose garden of my choosing!

Admist my smiling and rapturous memories of gardens gone-by, I stumbled upon a photo of a delightful, but unnamed beauty. Discovered and photographed at Portland, Oregon’s International Rose Test Garden in August of 2016, I fondly remembered her deep-pink precious petals beckoning me to capture her appeal.

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The mysterious rose…

Unlike the other plethora of roses throughout the lush, Portland garden surrounded by lording evergreens and art-worthy views, this petite gem’s “name” placard only read, “In Honor of Ingrid Rose, 2012”. Surely this isn’t the name of such a darling delicate rose, I pondered to myself that cooler summer day in Oregon. Each rose I captured behind my lens, I was sure to also photograph it’s placard identifying the rose’s name, species, and class among other listed credentials. Much to my disappointment, I left Portland not knowing whom I had just met. Over the years, I casually wondered if the rose’s name was ‘Ingrid Rose’ and tried to find through the internet a rose like her, but alas, no connection was found.

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International Rose Test Garden, Portland, Oregon, USA

Today, however, while trapped aboard a gently rocking sailboat and experiencing the good fortune of receiving moderate WiFi signal despite the stormy weather, I decided toΒ  attempt to solve her mystery. Initially, I was hopeful the International Rose Test Garden may have a website with a list of all their featured roses, but instead I discovered a generic website with no list and not even an email to contact them along with a photo. Not that I blame the garden-keepers for there, at the top of the City, resides thousands of roses. I imagine keeping a current list available would be a full-time occupation in of itself.

After studying her petals, curvatures, and other botanical features, I typed in clues like, “button eye pink rose” and “pompon rose” and even “pink miniature roses” hoping to find her in Google images. Still no such luck. In my next attempt at identifying this attractive deep-pink rose with tiny petals seemingly lined in white edges, I thought perhaps Portland’s Rose Society could introduce me to this rose.

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The gardens @ Pittock Mansion, Portland, Oregon.

After visiting the Pittock Mansion in Portland, I knew such a society has existed for decades, if not nearly a century a by now, for they once met and still do meet at Pittock Mansion, a large once-home now open to visitors that overlooks the “City of Roses”.

Upon my WiFi making acquaintances with Google, my laptop produced the website of the Portland Rose Society. Immediately my eyes and finger-mouse on my laptop were drawn to the Photo Albums link, then the recent Mini Rose Show album. Much to my excitement, while clicking through the pictures, I found my roses’ twin! It even had a label, but the writing was too far away to see her illusive name. I immediately downloaded her photo and zoomed in to hopefully decipher the distant cursive writing on her tag, but still, I could not read it.

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Photo Credit: Portland Rose Society

Despite my squinting 42 year old eyes, I could only make out the name started with a “M” and had perhaps a couple of “t’s” in it, but even that I could not say for certain. Nevertheless, my zeal and determination would not give up now!

In the background of my mysterious rose was a certificate with human names like an award of sorts so I used Google once again except this time to research the names of these alleged rosarians hoping their names could link me to the name of the mysterious beautiful rose. While I found a list of the miniature-rose-show’s winners with their names on it, I still could not find an image that matched the numerous roses listed nor any that started with “M” and had a couple of presumed “t’s” in it’s name. But at least now I knew for sure two important clues: 1) The mystery rose is indeed a miniature rose if it was featured in a miniature rose show and 2) the Portland Rose Society would be able to identify the rose if my own results produced unfruitful. Hope is a marvelous motivator!

Now I began researching “pink miniature roses”, “magenta miniature roses”, and the like, which produced photos of a similar looking miniature rose known as ‘Sweet Chariot’. While casually admiring the features of ‘Sweet Chariot’, a photo nearly identical to my own populated in the images results – on Pinterest, of course, another favorite site for dreaming gardeners such as myself! I nearly shouted for joy, in fact, my husband will testify I indeed DID shout for joy! The deep-pink delicate, tiny petals, which captured my heart while I captured her one summer day in Oregon finally had a name and it began with a “M” and had two “t’s” in it afterall.

Ladies and gentlemen, rose-lovers, and readers alike, it is my pleasure to introduce you to the mystifying ‘Marriotta’. A miniature mystery solved!

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