Too big to fit in one picture

This is Peggy Martin, seen from the front porch, in a kind of DIY panorama


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I have coveted these natives of the Pacific Northwest for many years, and now finally have planted some — insanely late, but I was a gambler with a Van Engelen gift card burning a hole in my pocket


I look forward to seeing them naturalize.

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Swamp rose, day two

May 16, 2018. It’s ramping up for this blooming season. It’s before seven AM, so these blooms are not yet fully opened.

They’re semi double rather than double.

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The President climbs aboard Peggy Martin

That sounds fairly scandalous! I’m leaving it as is.

We’ll see how far the clematis vine gets. It would take many of these to match this pink rose, which continues to get huger by leaps and bounds.

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Sometimes, when you’re a cat

And it’s very hot, you have to stretch longer and longer to let the breeze cool your belly.

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Swamp rose about to bloom

This everblooming sport of the North American native Rosa palustris gets better every year. It’s about six feet tall and six wide, a nice sphere of delicate foliage that stays full all season and is never without bloom.

It smells light, delicate, and heavenly. And it’s thornless.

I got mine from Antique Rose Emporium in Texas.

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Mystery rose

This is a once-bloomer I’ve seen a lot in the Bluegrass area. In the heat of summer it looks pretty scrawny, but it’s the first rose to bloom, and it looks spectacular when it does. Wicked sharp thorns.

It suckers heartily, and is dead easy to start by digging up one of the suckers. This one flourishes on a steep, dry slope.

Does anyone know what it is?


Frozen roses

frozen square nov 16.JPG

November has been very warm until today, and the roses took advantage of the long Indian summer and fall to bloom and set hips. Last night we got some frost.

I woke up to this.

And this:


frozen red rose nov 2016.JPG

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He or she shed his last skin sometime yesterday. At first he was the same color with the same markings as he was when a gobbling caterpillar, and I could tell he had changed form only by his new shape and his “safety harness.”

Now he has developed his protective coloration and blends in better with his surroundings. I’m assuming that he will overwinter as a pupa. 

You can see the safety harness better here. It contrasts with the lavender ribbon on the azalea stem.

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Metamorphosis 2

Right beneath the lavender ribbon I tied on the azalea to tell the painters not to trample it this spring, I saw this Eastern black swallowtail caterpillar, and I knew he was getting ready to pupate. His body language is completely different from when they’re pigging out on parsley or, in his case, rue. He’s very straight and compact and — not eating.  For a caterpillar, “not eating” is not an option. 

Here’s what they look like while they’re eating:

Relaxed, curvy, stretched out, shoveling it in. That’s their job at the larval stage.  

In the picture at top of this post, he’s on an azalea twig – not a host plant, and too woody to eat – and perfectly straight, and still.

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