Sunday, May 29, 2022

Rosa Emily Carr

'Emily Carr'

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.

'Emily Carr', as you can easily see, is a semi-double, bright red bloomer of medium stature and glossy, healthy foliage.   At maturity, she is supposed to become 4 foot tall, although my 3 year old specimen is only 3 feet at present and a 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

Storm Smiles

The weather gods finally opened the spigot and ProfessorRoush's garden got some badly needed rain.   Not from the storm pictured here, a quick downpour that came in last week and left only about 1/2 inch and some pea-sized hail.  No, it was from another, the middle of last week, that left 3 inches in all my gauges.  Three beautiful inches of rain.

But this earlier storm was gorgeous, coming in quickly from the west, while the setting sun kept it all illuminated for the camera.   See how the dark sky highlights the mix of the prairie remnants from last year's growth and the patchy newer growth in the distant hills?   Last week the grass of my front yard still struggled to turn green.  Today, after a small rain and then a deep soaking, it's as green as emeralds.

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.

I feel the danger nearby, and yet my peace is generated by the sure knowledge that life comes with the storms.  Four days later, yesterday, and my garden was this, roses coming into bloom and, at last, the full rebirth of another gardening year.  No dribbles of a bulb here or a wind-damaged lilac there, I now relish the full gifts of a garden.

Here and above, Canadian rose 'George Vancouver' is in the foreground, sprawling over the nearby bench.   Please excuse the weeds you see there at his feet; I sprayed them yesterday, the only way to kill the rapidly spreading ambrosia.   Behind George, bright red 'Survivor' blooms, and then 'Polareis', a hint of pink in her blooms, and then, in the rear, bright white 'Blanc Double De Coubert', ready to begin to make her hips and start another crop of blooms to feed the hungry bees.   
So fear not the storms, I beg you, for the storms bring color and glory to the garden.  Storms make me smile, smile as wide as a mile, a grin to wrinkle my chin.  If I were only a dog, I'd be wagging my tail happy for the world to see.

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Turnabout Transgression

Turnabout IS fair play, isn't it folks? "Any eye for an eye?" Or is it "all is fair in love and war?"   Whichever the case may be, my post today is a sweet and long-awaited revenge on Mrs. ProfessorRoush, who regularly steals my photos from this blog for her Facebook page and whom, I might add, seldom gives credit for the artful photography she pilfers.  I'm, as you might say, "returning the favor" with my photo-heavy blog today.  Today's words are mine, but the pictures are all from HER Facebook.  Ha!

In my own defense, I couldn't help but download these beauties from Mrs. ProfessorRoush's Facebook because she's really upped her photo game.  Many of these photos are not merely the pictures of pretty flowers that she usually captures, they were COMPOSED, artfully arranged according to classic principles such as placing the subject by the "rule of thirds" and using depth of field.  

Look at the beautifully photographed white Columbine above.  Mrs. PR got it perfectly right, with the most focused bloom precisely placed in the upper left third.   But then, as in the second photo, she incorporated depth of field with the same subject, placing the columbine in perspective against the house and cloudy sky behind it.

A few steps back, a shift of a few degrees, and yet another view echoing the first, but a different subject, this time the 'Batik' irises filling the foreground, framed between the evergreen to the right and the distant River Birch to the left.   She resisted posting the 'Batik' head-on, but instead showed off its abundance, its proliferative nature at bloom time.  I was impressed as well by the framing between the evergreen to the right and the distant River Birch to the left

Here, another example of photographic value of thirds, this nice double-flowered purple columbine, it's unblemished foliage in the lower left third balanced by the out-of-focused green foliage in the upper right and contrasted against the bright flowers on the left of center.   The grounding weight of the columbine foliage at the base of the photo is almost palpable.

Mrs. PR has even evoked emotion with her photos!   Can't you just feel here the loneliness of the single native Baptisia australis (Blue Wild Indigo)  among the new prairie grasses, my garden shade house far in the background?   Hear it calling "here I am, here I stand, fragile yet defiant."   What a nice composition and what a vivid message.


And what of the contrast of the rustic look of the old trellis that stands attached to my gazebo, here with the newly blooming 'Ramona' clematis?   That trellis is a decade old, weathered, splintered, and, in truth, probably held up only by the young, beautiful and vigorous clematis.  Somehow here, in the back of Mrs. PR's mind, there may be some semblance to the old weathered ProfessorRoush and his eternally young and beautiful bride.  Or is the similarity sitting in the back of my mind?

Gaze for a moment on the perfect pinkness of this 'Scarlett O'Hara' peony in silhouette, all life and color among the healthy green foliage.  Since 'Scarlett O'Hara blooms early and brazenly, I refer to her as Scarlett the Harlot and so I might title this "Silhouette of the Harlot".    Titles are fleeting, but beauty eternal.

We might have had to admonish Mrs. ProfessorRoush this lapse into  the "Oh, Wow" centered composition of my massive and spreading 'Harison's Yellow.'   In her defense it is difficult to ignore the sheer floriferousness and vivid yellow of this Hybrid Spinosissima when she's in full bloom.   But even here, as you can see in the photo below, Mrs. ProfessorRoush suddenly redeemed her artwork, stepping back to use the 'Harison's Yellow' as a mere color spot in the line of the bed connecting with the Cottonwood of the background, framed within the confines of the nearer Purple Smoke Tree to the left and the American Elm to the right.  Bravo! Belisima! Magnifica! Mrs. ProfessorRoush!  

My garden, through another's eyes, through a lover's eyes, is new again.

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Longhorns Ho!

Yesterday was an outside day in ProfessorRoush-land, work to be done, and some exploration in areas that I don't frequently explore.  I mowed and piddled in the garden to my heart's content, the second mowing of the year starting at 9:30 a.m. and then doing other chores until I looked up at last to see it near 5:00 p.m., the afternoon vanished seemingly in seconds.   Most of the work was prompted by the arrival this week of the Longhorn cattle that a friend (actually the son-in-law of a neighbor), summer pastures on our land and the neighbors pasture.  Aren't they beautiful?  ProfessorRoush likes having cows around, even skinny cows with big menacing horns, and they make a conversation piece for neighbors far and wide, creating a little traffic on the road from the townies coming to "Aw" and stare.  

The Longhorn appearance, however, prompts me annually to walk the far fence, the one that I DIDN'T rebuild when we purchased the land, my border line with the golf course.  It's an original, easily over 50 years old, maybe more like 80 years old, with Osage Orange posts that occasionally get caught in the burns, and I often need to hike up the back hill with a new T-post to shore it up.  The picture below is a view of my back garden and the house and grounds from the far hillside.  Yesterday, all was well with the fence and I opened the gate to let the cattle into my pond area.

White-Eyed Grass
Walking that fence line means I walk down through the prairie and cross the woods in the draw and come as close as I get in this area to shady woodland.   This time of year, that means looking at the flora of the prairie more closely.  The prairie is coming alive with its flowers, native Babtisia starting to bloom, and this White-Eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium campestre) blooming everywhere.   White-Eyed Grass is, of course, not a grass but a member of the lily family, a bulb, used by Native Americans to treat stomachache and hay fever.

Garlic Mustard
I also ran across this unusual plant, an invader of course.  Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata) is a biennial weed that came from the Old World and escaped cultivation.  It isn't very prevalent on my prairie, requiring a bit of shade and moisture to thrive, but it seems to have found a spot here in the woods for it's temporary liking.

And speaking of invaders, while on my travels through the pasture, I also came across this unusual plant, seemingly beginning to spread in this area.   This is Purple-Leafed Honeysuckle, an escapee from my landscaping, which I made sure to come back and spray with herbicide yesterday.   I believe this clump was actually transplanted by the bulldozer that cleared it out from a bank where I placed the barn and pushed it into this area, but I surely don't want to see it begin to spread on it's own in the pasture

Poison Ivy
The woodland plant pictured here is, of course, not so desired in a woodland, but it's everywhere, hiding among others and waiting to cause pain and misery in some.  As shown here, among several similar plants, it effectively camouflages itself in early spring and then stands out in early Fall with bright red leaves to match the bright red blisters of the afflicted. Luckily, I'm immune to the toxic effects of  the urushiol in poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans), but I know it causes misery in others.  "Leaves of three, let it be," say some, but I say "Leaves of three, I don't care."  It probably has some place in the ecosystem, a native to North America, so I leave it alone.


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