Monday, August 8, 2022
Saturday, July 23, 2022
Sunday, July 17, 2022
It's not my fault, I promise. My pyromaniac neighbors are responsible for the demise of several promising saplings. Despite protection within stone circles of bare earth, several near the boundary fence lines were regularly scorched by the annual prairie burns and simply gave up their efforts to survive. Rutting deer have killed several by scarring the trunks during antler growth. Of 4 apple trees, two were lost to fire and, although I have a love for 'Jonathan' apples in pies, the cedar rust here annually consumes my 'Jonathan', preventative spray or none. The 4th apple tree, a 'Honeycrisp', has never borne fruit and I don't know why. I've also learned that peaches of any kind are impossible here, the blooms destroyed by frosts every year, bearing any fruit at all only one year in five. And that 5th year will be the one in which I neglected to spray them for peach leaf curl and worms. Worst of all, perhaps, I completely underestimated the competition for water and nutrients from the prairie native grass, even when I kept it mowed beneath the trees. Consequently, I gave up maintenance of the orchard and any spraying routine several years ago.
I'm going to monitor the heck out of these until harvest now, because I do like an occasional ripe pear, although I'm sure I'm setting myself up for frustration again. If they survive the Japanese beetles which are munching nearby on the grape vines, and if the raccoons don't come in and eat them all before I realize they're ripe, and if the birds and worms don't ruin them, maybe, just maybe, I might have a tasty bite of pear this year before winter sets in. Hope springs eternally from a gardener's heart.
Sunday, July 10, 2022
|'Hope for Humanity'|
|'Blanc' with 10 beetles|
Yes, there will be innocent casualties. The bumbles in my back yard had better stay away from the roses, or they'll be swept up in friendly fire. This fat bombardier on 'Raspberry Rugostar' was minding his own business, but less than 4 inches from this guy a beetle feasted on another bloom. Must I chose a Silent Spring over a summer smothered in beetle frass? It seems the answer is "yes." Victory is by no means certain, but defeat and capitulation are no longer viable choices.
Sunday, July 3, 2022
|'Space Coast Color Scheme'|
|'Cardinal de Richelieu'|
|'Cosmic Struggle' late-day|
Saturday, June 25, 2022
Sunday, June 19, 2022
Mowing also forces me towards some new vistas of my yard, making me see from angles that I wouldn't normally walk or chose to photograph. This last photograph doesn't do justice to just how deep the shades of green were across the back yard today. I don't know whether it is the i-Phone not picking up the depths of the green tones, or if it was the photographer not choosing the correct exposure, but I apologize for not helping you to live in the moment with me.
I guess you'll just have to take my word for how good this looked today. However, for those who can't, I am taking names, first-come, first-served, for those who wish to experience mowing here on the Flint Hills. Just let me know what Saturday or Sunday you want to be here between now and October. I'll be happy to accommodate you.
Sunday, May 29, 2022
Please allow me, in the midst of the late May flush of roses, to begin in the next blog entry or three to introduce you to a few "new" friends. New, at least, to me, nearly new to my garden, survivors of at least one winter without protection and survivors of my general lack of proper garden attention.
This week, I bring you 'Emily Carr', a refined Canadian lady that I was introduced to in 2019. She was, at that time, only 12 years past her debutante ball, for 'Emily Carr' was debuted to the world in 2007 (another less-reliable source says 2005) as one of the later introductions of AgCanada. Bred by Lynn Callicott in 1982, she is a member of the AgCanada 'Canadian Artist Series', the only member of that series that I believe I grow. Her namesake (12/13/1871 -3/2/1945) was a Canadian Post-Impressionist artist and writer of British Columbia who was inspired by the Northwest Indigenous peoples and the British Columbia landscape.pair of posts on Houzz suggest that she goes over 5 1/2 feet in some instances. She struggled her first two years in my garden, an uncertain survivor of the triple plagues of cold, drought, and deer, but this year she popped up strong and solid, a striking arterial-blood-red scream against the pale pink tones of 'Blush Alba' behind her. According to helpmefindroses, she is a direct descendant of 'Morden Cardinette' and 'Cuthbert Grant'. I tried and lost the former, but 'Cuthbert' is a solid, healthy rose for me, slowly ending his own first bloom flush in his 22nd year. Father to daughter, those deep red genes held strong.
'Emily Carr' is supposed to repeat reliably in flushes, but as she didn't have much of a bloom over her struggling years, I'll have to see what she can do for me this year. At least she seems to be rose rosette immune, having survived the onslaught of virus in my garden even during her struggles. I sadly can't detect much in the way of fragrance from her, a disappointment since I've always thought 'Cuthbert Grant' had a decent fragrance here in my garden and he, himself, was a descendant of fragrance legend 'Crimson Glory.' It's a pity that fragrance can be lost in so few generations if breeders don't pay attention.
One never knows where research on a given subject will lead in these days of Internet bounty. In this case, my searches for 'Emily Carr' led me down a rabbit hole to the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre and it's "49th Parallel Collection of Roses." And now I'm left wondering what 'Chinook Sunrise' would look like and how it would perform in Kansas. A little late to obtain this year, but maybe next year I can find her.
Sunday, May 22, 2022
While these storms can also bring trouble, and the time-lapse here might make many uneasy, they only bring me calm and a sense of wonder at the power behind it all, the power building at my very doorstep and passing me by, God and the Grim Reaper together at once, mysterious and yet always nearby.