A day in the park

Spent the day with my good friend Kathy at the Wilbur D. May Arboretum. Located within San Rafael Park in Reno, it is a beautiful location to put on your list for the first week of Fall. We hope to be back sometime this next month to capture more of the fall colors in the maple grove.
One reason we chose this location for the day trip......I finally made a decision on a new camera and unpacked my Nikon D5200 this week. I will be on a steep learning curve for the next year I am sure.  I started the morning out in my garden taking sunflower shots, and finished with the sunset after we got home from the park. A beautiful day.


 rainbows.....clouds.....and sunsets. 3 of my favorite things...

Getting ready

Yesterday was spent in the garden at home. I have been trying to keep up with the early fall chores while the weather has been so glorious. With sunny skies, no wind,  temps in the low 70's, IN NOVEMBER,  it was one of those magical days when the garden gloves only came off a few times to refresh my body with the apple juice I made from the harvest from the apple tree out back at the nursery, or take a break with my book. I did take care of two much needed items that have been on my "gotta" list for months, and of course did some deep watering. The vegetable garden that did so well in my new raised bed area is all cleaned up and what was left is now on the compost heap. The areas I raked in the morning were covered again with leaves by the afternoon...but who cares. It was a beautiful day. The temps are supposed to drop to the high 40's by the weekend ~ Mr. Warm Sunshine, I am going to miss you.  

Chore #1 / If you have ever come into the nursery looking for an ornamental tree on the smaller size, you would know, I LOVE ORNAMENTAL CRAB APPLES. I truly feel that they are one of the best trees for our area. heat/cold tolerant, drought tolerant, soil tolerant, easy to grow...the list goes on and on. An abundance of vibrant flowers in the spring, gorgeous green all summer mixed with tiny edible (for the birds) fruit in a mixture of colors depending on the variety, and wonderful fall color. I fight tooth and nail for Robert not to prune on the seven different varieties we have until after they flower in the spring so I can enjoy all the buds and colors.........but this year....I had to do it. My lovely Prairefire (Malus 'Prairefire') in the backyard was so overdue for a pruning anyway, and then it became loaded with fruit this season. The branches hung almost to the ground and I was concerned that if I did not prune back some of them, the weight of the upcoming snow season would snap them. All the tiny little bright red crab apples are now either on the ground for the birds to find or still on the cut branches and stuffed into the pumpkin on display on the front porch. She will thank me in January for this haircut.  

 Chore #2 / I have watched this rose in my back garden go from the striking light pink blush 'Marilyn Monroe' that I planted 6 years ago, to a Dr Huey, a rootstock that is used for grafting for large scale production like the Weeks roses that we carry at the nursery. You probably either know of this rose, or have one and didn't know what it was. I know you have seen them in the older neighborhoods, or sometimes in abandoned properties, it is that hardy it will usually survive when others are long gone. Or perhaps you wondered where your lovely hybrid tea rose went? During an extremely cold winter if the graft was not protected, your hybrid tea probably died off, but Dr. Huey was strong and survived to come back from the rootstock. Dr. Huey blooms in small red flowers in the spring, only once, and then sends out very thick long strong canes throughout the summer months. It's not that I don't like it, I just don't like it HERE. I think every garden should have one actually, if you have the space. I dug it out, and am moving it. In it's place will go 'Aloha' a lovely light pink climber that will drape over the large granite boulder placed behind it. The Dr. Huey ......he is going to the side fence where he can grow and flourish all season.

This morning I slipped on my sweatshirt to walk out to the garden and take in the view and look what greeted me......ahhhhhhhh.....I don't know what could beat a Nevada sunrise, unless perhaps there was an ocean involved. 

A day in my rose garden

Yesterday was a much needed day off and with the sunshining' and no wind it was also the perfect chance to get some roses pruned up. My son-in-law Travis arrived the night before, for a one day, all too quick visit and he helped me put some new ones in the ground, dig out some grass and mulch everything with the sweet sweet smell of chocolate, cocoa mulch. I think that these are the memories that stand the test of time. Getting your hands ~ and feet dirty, working the soil together and talking.....just talking. I miss this man tremendously, he is raising up two wonderful sons with my even more amazing beautiful daughter ... and we never seem to have enough time together. So today as he heads off for the Grand Canyon for a motorcycle adventure with his high school best friend, I will come home tonight, sit on the front porch, admire the hard work we finished yesterday and enjoy.....the memories.  

Failure, it's how we learn.

We all have our failures, especially as gardeners. We plant the wrong plant, at the wrong time or in the wrong place. We ask Mother Nature to just bend the rules a little bit and help us out, and sometimes she complies, and then sometimes..like below...she says "Nope, you shouldn't have planted that there." I have been pruning back my vinca for the last several evenings. It is on the north east side of the house and it has performed beautifully for the last five years or so. It fills in the entire 15' quite nice now and in the summer it welcomes people up to our front door with it's little purple flowers. I have a VERY LARGE beautiful red climbing rose "Blaze" that drapes over an arch across the sidewalk too so I thought, well if that rose does so remarkable well, then I am sure that a few more would also, and who couldn't use a few more roses. Well this is where Mother Nature came by to tell me "Nope darling, those just aren't going to be happy there." Guess it was the lack of full sun, or maybe it was because of how wet I keep the vinca and by the time it drains down to the climber it dissipates....but this last year I lost....not one, but two roses.

and one of my favorites, Miami Moon

So what's a girl, a gardening girl, to do you ask? Why plant more this year of course. Just maybe in a slightly differant location. One with more sun, and less water.

The Miami Moon showed a tiny tiny piece of green, so when I dug it up I pulled it off the rootstock and moved it over to my "Wild Area". Hopefully it will take off and be happy there.
Success stories for this long winter....the crab apples are waking up quite beautifully. We had a fellow gardener in the other day that was worried she hadn't actually planted a crab apple last year because there were no flowers, only leaves....."It's OK" we reassured her. Crabs are one of the spring flowering trees that leaf out first, then flower. As opposed to the plums and pears that you are seeing around town now that are starting their show in full glory.
The rhubarb is up and doing beautiful
as are the pink peonies that I transplanted from ones that I had planted for my Mom many years ago.....

and of course the onions.....ahhhhh smell the onions......Happy Gardening and Many Successes to you!

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Rose Care 101

The "black roses" of Fallon are much more prevalent than I ever imagined. Over 60 gardeners arrived for last Saturdays class on rose care and pruning. One even came armed with a semi-dead rose in a bucket that was great to have for demonstration purposes. This has been such a tough winter on many of our plants. We live in Zone 5, which means an average winter low temperature of 10-20 below zero. While we did get that cold this year, I don't think that is what took out so many of our plants. It was the prolonged snow pack and pogonip freezing fog that we had in the month of February that caused us the problems.

Believe it or not, the USDA has just "upgraded" us to Zone 6/7 which would mean average winter temperatures of 10 below-0. Here at the nursery we will continue to advise you to go with zone 5, because as we saw this winter, even that can cause havoc on the garden.

Sunday the weather was 25 degrees cooler and windy, but we still had a good turnout for the class. This coming Thursday, the 15th at 1pm, is our last rose class for this season. The sun looks like it is going to be shining so come on out and prune with me. See you in the dirt soon, Susan

Black Roses

Not the kind that you can get from Ecuador……those beautiful dark burgundy roses that look jet black…but the ones that everyone seems to be calling the nursery about this year – the “Black Roses of Fallon”. This winter was an extremely hard one on a lot of our shrubs and rose bushes. While it may appear that they are indeed dead…please do not dig them up... just yet. Take the time to get down at the base of the bush and really look at it. I think what you may find is while the top half of the bush has indeed died off from the sub-zero weather we had this last winter, the bottom is still very much alive, and starting to wake up. Look for small reddish growths coming from the base of the plant. These are new canes that are forming. They will be tremendously productive this coming year, and you need to take care not to accidentally break them off when you are clearing away your mulch and leaves.

Try to contain yourself from doing any heavy pruning just yet. We recommend that you do not begin that until Mid-April in our area. When you do get the pruners out, you will possibly be taking your roses back to 3-5 main canes. If you just need to be doing something to your roses bushes right now, get some good aphid controls going. I made the attempt to spray mine today with Dr. Earth Rose & Flower. It is a 100% organic spray made from cinnamon, clove, garlic and rosemary oil. Not only does it smell wonderful, but it will cover any overwintering eggs and suffocate them so they don’t hatch. Turns out you can't hook it up to a hose that has a bent connection on it though......so it's off to the store for a new hose later today. While you are at it, check under your mulch. Hopefully you will find 100’s of these little guys under there also, as I did.

Today I did what most nursery people do on their days off, spent it in my own garden. The sun shining, the birds singing......all is well in my world. Have a great week, Susan

Upcoming Rose Pruning Classes @ The Flower Tree:
Saturday, April 10th, 11am
Sunday, April 11th, 1pm
Thursday, April 16th, 1pm

Portland Rose Garden

This is one day I wish I had a better camera with me. The Portland International Rose Garden is one of my favorite parts of Washington Park. It was a beautiful sunny day and our senses were on overload for much of it.

A plaque in Shakespeare's Garden
A tribute to the Portland Rose Queen's. Each has their own stepping stone, dating back to the early 1900's when the rose garden was established.

Leading into Shakespeare's Garden

The Roses are Here, the Roses are here!

It was an extremely busy time at the garden center yesterday. The sun was out, we had unloaded a truckload of Dr. Earth & Gardener & Bloome Organics, the flowers were everywhere ~ tucked into every corner we could find. The carts were overloaded with still more flowers to be put away................and I look out of the corner of my eye to see a HUGE semi making the attempt to get in the parking lot. I looked over at Michelle & Lucia..........oh no.............I can think of only one other large shipment we are waiting for ......THE ROSES ARE HERE!!!!!

The roses mark the official start of the gardening season to all of us. It is the time for scratches well earned. We weren't expecting these beauties until some time next week, so once we got over the surprise of seeing the truck driver whip out the paperwork for confirmation, "Yes, they are Roses ~ many-many-many Roses" he tells us, we set about getting prepared for the unloading process. Lucky for us, we had some extra hands yesterday in the form of Ron, who was there helping us put together all the pretty new benches you will see scattered around the nursery. With Michelle on the forklift and Kim, Lucia and I on ground, you have the crew, ready ~ willing ~ and able to unload the first of 2000 roses that will arrive over the next few weeks. We were really missing Marlea though. For the last seven years we have unloaded them together, but we were all happy knowing that she was over at the junior high school watching her daughter Madison's cross country track meet. Wasn't she going to be surprised !!!!, we all thought as the driver opened up the back of the semi to reveal the cart after cart after cart full of roses to be unloaded.

This year we made the decision to scatter our deliveries. For the last 7 years we have taken our shipments all at one time. Now that we have increased to such a huge amount of roses though it makes it very difficult to do them justice out in the rose garden, so we made the decision to take 400 every week until all the shipments have arrived. We searched for gloves for everyone, and started the process of removing these heavily scented ~ absolutely gorgeous plants. Most of you who know me, also know that I Love Roses! There is no easier flower to grow in our high desert area and I love to add a new area to my yard every year just to showcase their beauty. As this shipment started coming off the large 3 tiered metal carts I had to just stop for a moment, and savor the scents that followed them. These plants have to be the most beautiful we have ever received. Ordered last August from Weeks Roses http://www.weeksroses.com/ , they have been lovingly grown for us in anticipation of this springs arrival. They are amazing! As Lucia and I kept pointing at different ones "I need that one", " No , that one", we watched as even Ron got into the spirit of the fun "OK, I think Kathy is going to have to come down and get a few more" he announces.

We finally get them all unloaded, with assistance from our new friends "The Bonnie Boys" our vegetable growers who also happened to show up to make a delivery at the same time.....and then stood back to overlook their beauty. We watched as fellow gardeners started oohing and ahhhing over them, lucky to be the first on site and enjoy the experience with us. Huge metal carts loaded back onto the truck, we sent the driver on his way, happy with a couple slices of pizza left over from the lunch meeting we had been having with a local group of concerned citizens wanting to put on a fundraising event in the back River Garden this summer.

With the forklift parked, the gloves off, and the heavy work done for the day we stood in awe. The scents and beauty of all these flowers, tucked in so closely together to keep each other warm through last nights chill, was a moment to treasure. The rest of the day went along as only a gorgeous spring day at a garden center does. We loaded flowers and soil into peoples cars and watched as the first of the roses found their new homes. Now we wait for the next trucks to arrive. Jackson Perkins will be next www.jacksonandperkins.com , followed by Star www.starroses.com and then more Weeks, in the days to come. Feel free to look at their sites and give us a call if there is a special one on your list. If we have it, we will be happy to hold it for you until you can get in to take a peek. And don't forget, the Rose Garden is always available for that afternoon luncheon, a glass of wine with a friend on a sunny day, or just a quick respite from your busy day. The tables and chairs are there for a reason. We would love for you to please enjoy and take time to stop and smell the roses.

As I left for the evening last night I drove through the back area.....stopping the truck, I got out and looked one more time at all of them tucked in. Bending over to take one..two..three more sniffs. Then yes, I cut one large blossom to take home. Sorry, couldn't help myself. I love roses. See you soon, Susan

ps, Happy Birthday to my dear brother David. You are still older than me!

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