Rise ‘N’ Shine


According to https://www.chambleeroses.com/order.php?id=143 , this miniature was bred by Ralph Moore in 1977. It went on clearance at https://www.antiqueroseemporium.com/roses/2211/rise-n-shine , Bob got it for me for my birthday (mid-June), I stuck it in the ground, and then I left town for a month. Here it is, six weeks later, a couple days ago, flanked by crabgrass.

After a month that contained about 29 days of rain, it should be defoliated by black spot. It is unscathed. It has not bloomed much yet, but things take time to be established. I’ll keep you posted.

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And the garden looked at the gardener that it had made,


and it saw that she was good.

She laughed and she cried at the birth and the death of a drop of dew.

She filled with the singing the light made

as the leaves breathed it in.

From her porch on the corner of Murray Street, she could see the river.

The black crystals of the road curved out of sight in the sun.

Around her garden the light posts signed the wind

with the oldest sign, that meeting

of the four directions.

The garden looked at the gardener it had made, and saw that she was good.

And the gardener enfolded this knowledge into her heart.

And her heart was filled with such gladness that she wanted

her sisters, and her brothers, and her neighbors, thirsty to hear,

to know what it was

to become a creation

of such a garden,

to know how

those hovering birds would come

to drink and to brawl.


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What rose gardeners do in winter

besides peruse rose catalogs: We get into houseplants.


Suddenly our living room is The Jungle.

Suddenly our living room is The Jungle.

I do fine with outdoor plants that can pretty much fend for themselves, but houseplants are a whole different ball game, as my dad would say.

I’m the Johnny Appleseed of roses, but I’m more like the Adolf Eichmann of orchids. Sad but true.

Yet hope springs eternal. Although I’ve pledged never to bring another phaleonopsis into my house, which it will never leave alive, I could not resist this cymbidium on clearance in the local Kroger last week. (Kroger is a more hostile environment for plants than my house, even, so it was the lesser evil.  Also I’ve never murdered a cymbidium.  Yet).

So far, so good. Its buds are bigger than they appear in these pix taken about five days ago.

Posted in how to make a space inviting, other plants worth the space, seasonal updates & random musings | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The secret life of Lulu

My familiar and I in March 2014.

My familiar and I in March 2014.

Bob and I are missing our cat Lulu.  She was our first cat, our senior cat, and she lived with us for sixteen years.  She enjoyed the time she had. She made the best of everything, even when Teeny bullied her into living upstairs in our bedroom for eighteen months. That was the low point.

Near the end of that time, Lu decided she was ready to come down, at first for an hour or so at a time with me there constantly — she would sneak past Teeny and we’d go into the backyard, and then she’d sneak back into the house and back upstairs when she was ready — and then downstairs with us 24/7 again.

Bob was remembering just now how, several months ago, when he started using a squishy silicone toe spacer to protect his broken toe, Lulu was entranced with it (doubtless by the funky, animal smell of the thing).  When he took it off, she would find it and hunt it all over the house,  “killing it” again and again, bumping into furniture and making war cries as she did this.

Mostly this happened between two and four a.m.  Bob had to start hiding the toe spacer when he took it off at night.

I felt, and feel, terrible for her death.  If I’d been paying closer attention, I could have gotten her to the vet sooner and maybe made her more comfortable, if not extended her life.

But just now I got a message on Facebook from our former neighbor Dean Holt: Buddhist, web designer, yoga instructor, multi-talented guy [renovated-his-100-year-old-house-including-installing-new-copper-linings-in-all-the-box-gutters talented], and kind neighbor.   What he told me blew me away:

I was walking with Hilda McClanahan this morning and she had a Lulu story. As part of her Hambrick Ave. forays, Lulu would go into Hilda and Ed’s yard . . . and was friends with Hilda’s Great Dane, rubbing herself on the Dane’s legs and getting a little attention from the humans, too. Now that is something from Lulu’s Secret Life that I would not have expected to hear.

Lu roamed as far as Hilda‘s house?  She liked dogs?

Who knows what else we never knew about her?

This story really woke me up.  Lu had more power to shape her life than I gave her credit for, and she used it.  Her life was richer than I will ever know.

Posted in seasonal updates & random musings | 1 Comment

Attack of the Swamp Rose

swamp rose

Bob gave me the greatest present for Valentine’s Day — a gift certificate to Antique Rose Emporium [www.weareroses.com] in Texas.  Part of the gift was my getting to choose a rose for our limited space.  He enjoyed my decision-making process:

  • I hoped a species rose might have some extra resistance to the rosette virus, which is really common around here.
  • It couldn’t be TOO gigantic [well, actually, that’s a lie.  There are only a few that would get TOO big for our very limited space].
  • I considered a yellow or a white rose, since I don’t have any of those colors.

As always, I wanted something that would make a good-looking plant, even when not in bloom.

After some serious weighing of options, I decided to buy what is reputed to be a repeat-blooming swamp rose.  [Most species roses bloom once a year, like azaleas].  The swamp rose, Rosa palustris,  is a North American native, and because my dad’s ancestral home is in a Mississippi swamp, Bob calls me “Swamp Rose.”  The fact that this was reputed to be a repeat-blooming cultivar sold me on it.

Good news!  It does appear to be repeat-blooming [blooms on new growth]: it’s already blooming on the new growth it shot out in all directions as soon as I planted it in early May 2014.  This picture was taken late June 2014. And the plant’s form is even prettier than I’d realized — open and airy, with graceful foliage.  It reminds me of Mutabilis, which makes a pretty plant.


swamp rose2

Posted in design rules, recommended rose varieties for the Midwest/Upper South, rose pictures | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Garden design rule: Focus on the places you see most often



For once, I’ve done it right.  I paid special attention to the area around the outside spigot, because — DUH! — I use it all the damned time.  And now every time I see it, it’s lovely to look at.  [The spigot itself is just behind the corner of the house.]

First, I got rid of the overgrown holly bush that scratched me any time I went near the hose.  [Design rule #1 should be, Don’t plant holly or agave or cactus near where you attach your garden hose.]  Then I planted part-shade-loving “Limelight” heuchera, neighbor Nick Petit’s hostas, azaleas, and sensitive ferns (Onoclea sensibilis)that wouldn’t get so big they impede access to the spigot.

Now the area delights me every time I turn the hose on or off.  When I do that, here is what I see:

view from spigot



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The perils of chickens . . . closer to home


[Pecky & Ella above, with Amanda & Mark]

Our ex-neighbors did attain Amanda’s goal of having some chickens.  Mark got a dozen fertile eggs from a friend, and they incubated them with a warmer.  They hatched a day earlier than they were supposed to . . . .  Amanda could hear them peeping inside the shells, so she loaded them in a plastic bin with a rigged-up lightbulb warmer and took them on a business trip with her.  They ended up hatching in a Hampton Inn somewhere.

The warmer was insufficiently warm, so they didn’t dry off as quickly as they ought to have.  Luckily, Amanda had brought a hair dryer on her trip . . . Did you know that it’s not only possible to blow-dry a chicken, but that they also LIKE it (the warmth)?  I didn’t, either.  Sorry there are no pix of the tiny chicks being blow-dried.

The three more recent additions to the family [below] have not, to my knowledge, been blow-dried.  They were bought day-old, and guaranteed to all be girls.



Here are Plymouth Barred Rock pullets, posing outside their little coop, under their picture.