"Oh, the weather outside is frightful....Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow."
Merry Christmas, everyone. The temperature here in Manhattan Kansas is a balmy 18°F and the wind is blowing at 12 mph straight from the north (and gusting to 21 mph), feeding the rain and snow storms down in Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. We've got a few snow splotches left on the ground from the storm last Thursday, but I could stand a little more if the 35% chance for flurries actually arrives. Say what you will about the cliche, there's always something special about a White Christmas.
Inside, ProfessorRoush is all warm and toasty from my morning walk and Mrs. ProfessorRoush, her diminutive clone, and the HellDog are all snug in their beds. I'm fully in Christmas cheer here because, before my walk, I checked on several rose cuttings that I started inside about 10 days ago and low and behold, they are starting to leaf out, all secure in their winter greenhouses in a sunny window. The picture you see is of 'Charlotte Brownell', secure in her infant crib, one of four roses that I started using the method recommended by Connie of Hartwood Roses in a post on her blog. I tried it once last summer and it worked great. It looks like it will be four for four this time, in the middle of winter, spring come early to this barren Kansas prairie. Follow me, have yourself a merry little Christmas and let your heart be Light.
I chose to propagate both 'Griff's Red' and 'Wild Ginger' because my plants of those varieties aren't very robust, placed with their southern backs against a row of viburnums who are overshadowing and just plain outcompeting them. I thought I should give them a trial out in the sun, where they can find more water and light to grow. I also started 'Freckles' again simply because I love her and I'd like to make some gifts of her to the KSU rose garden and among other friends (with a second goal of spreading her around to protect her survival from the coming Japanese Beetle horde).
And 'Charlotte Brownell'? I chose her simply because she is so beautiful. My sole plant is a $3.00 bagged rose, grafted to an unknown rootstock and full of mosaic virus, but she still finds the strength to put out blossom after blossom. Virus or no virus, I'm wanting to see how tough this old girl is on her own feet. I'm taking a dangerous chance, though. If those creamy blossoms get any larger, I might faint dead away and Charlotte will be fighting off suitors and in danger of being carried off in the night by gardening thieves. And then 'David Thompson', 'William Baffin', and 'Cardinal de Richelieu' will want to rescue her and that will might set off a war that could annihilate my garden. Oh, the chances one takes for love.