Thursday, January 26, 2012

David Austin Rose Order

I came home a week or so ago and found a large box of David Austin roses waiting for me. This is my late Christmas/early birthday present. I have six new baby roses! After much consideration, I ordered Munstead Wood, Port Sunlight, Jude the Obscure, Princess Alexandra of Kent, Queen of Sweden and Young Lycidas. 

Those of you from Florida know it has been unusually warm and very dry lately. My plan was to try directly planting these bare root roses into amended beds, but for various reasons I wasn't prepared and the weather wasn't the best. On the Austin website I read that bare root roses may struggle to get established in temperatures consistently over 70 degrees. I just don't want to experiment with these expensive and dear treasures, so I decided to give them a year in large pots before planting in the ground. Maybe I'll try planting one of those cheap bare root Odd Lots roses to see if bare roots can thrive in Florida.

The order came wrapped together in a plastic bag. I think it benefits me to live close to the distribution center in Texas and to get one of the first shipments of the year. All of the roses were fresh and most were in good condition. One rose, Port Sunlight, had some pretty serious damage to two of its main canes. Poor little thing is sending up many basal breaks to try to replace them. It looks like a vigorous trooper. I did contact customer service though because I was worried it wouldn't make it, and they promptly took care of the problem to my satisfaction. All of my new babies have broken dormancy and have tiny sprouts all over them. I am all anticipation now

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year means New Catalogs

As I say hello to 2012 and hope for a better year than the last, I am reminded of nature's cycle of renewal and change. This philosophical reflection is at least somewhat due to the deluge of new plant and seed catalogs in my mailbox. Oh how I love the pure childlike anticipation of the promises contained within these pages.
What horticultural greatness could be possible in my future garden? What manifestations of God's love may grow from these tiny seeds? Well time will tell, but for now I'd like to review some my favorite new seed catalogs of 2012.      
For the rose lover: Heirloom Roses and David Austin: Handbook of Roses. Both have lovely full color photos. Heirloom has modern and old garden roses. David Austin has, er David Austin Roses. Enjoy at your own risk though because you WILL be tempted to buy.

For big time Heirloom seed enthusiasts: Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, Seed Savers Exchange, and Bountiful Gardens. All three catalogs have a ton of semi-rare, not at Kmart, heirloom and open pollinated veggie and flower seeds.                             

For a nice mix of heirlooms and hybrids: Territorial Seed Company and Pinetree Garden Seeds. They have both heirloom and hybrids and lots of exciting unusual stuff.

For the hardcore cutting edge new hybrids with good disease resistance: Johnny Select Seeds and Twilley Seeds. Johnny's is more home gardener friendly and Twilley's is more geared to the commercial farmer.

For those who long for the good old days: R.H. Shumways. It has both heirloom and newer hybrids, but the entire catalog is hand illustrated just like your grandparents' seed catalogs. I love it.

For international flare: Thompson & Morgan. This English company has an American catalog, but still has mostly English seed.

For a good selection of veggies and other plants too: Jung Seeds & Plants, Park Seed, Burpee, and Gurney's Seed & Nursery Co. These are your main stream catalogs.

For specialty Seed: Tomato Growers Supply Company (tomatoes and peppers) and Vermont Bean Seed Company (lots and lots of beans and some other stuff too). If your obsession mainly centers on tomatoes or beans, check these out.