Tag Archives: roses

Kiwi & Grape Trellises; also Roses.

Remember last post I said it was too early for roses?  I eat my words.  This is Simplicity.  She is pretty, but she’s lucky she’s well established where she is and grows well, because otherwise I’d uproot her in favor of a different variety.  She has one fatal flaw: she has no scent.  I would never buy a scentless rose now, but this was one of my first rose purchases – before I understood the marvels of Old Roses.  Seriously, Old Roses are the best garden plants ever.  They have hardly any disease (the oldest ones have zero disease.  Zero.)  They have a history.  (I’ve mentioned my newest rose “Semi-Plena” which is the White Rose of York.)  They have gorgeous shapes and colors and SCENT.  Hybrid Teas, bah.

Here’s one of my old roses.  This is Wild Spice.  She has single petals, but she blooms non-stop and has a wonderful spicy fragrance.  She also blooms long before most roses have anything other than tight little buds.

But the real reason I took the camera out into the garden was to show you how the new grape and hardy kiwi trellises turned out.

One the left are two varieties of grape.  Einset and Vanessa.  On the right, are the two hardy kiwis.  You have to grow both a male and female plant in order to have fruit.

To make the trellises, we pounded metal stakes into the ground, then arched hog panels between them and wired them into place.  Hog panels are wonderful things.  They come in different lengths and opening sizes, and are tremendously sturdy.  Plus you can scare the neighbors by letting them think you’re getting a few hogs to compliment your chickens!

They need to be sturdy, for the kiwi.  Hardy kiwi are very strong, and will happily and voraciously tear apart most regular trellises.  The kiwi are already growing by leaps and bounds – since we brought them home, they have already grown about six inches!  I can’t wait until they produce fruit.  They are about 30% sweeter than the fuzzy kiwi you buy in supermarkets.  The only reason the sell the (inferior) fuzzy ones in stores is because the hardy kiwi fruit doesn’t keep or travel well.

And lastly, I went to a plant fair today and bought a couple of perennials, a black currant, and three nasturtium plants.  They are a new variety (Flame Thrower Scarlet), and so pretty!  Everywhere I went in the plant fair, people kept stopping me to comment on their striking beauty.  Hopefully they will self-seed like my other common variety, and I’ll have them in the yard forever.  I love to mingle nasturtiums with my vegetables.  They look pretty there, and since they are themselves an edible plant, it’s nice to be able to add a few leaves or flowers to the salad you’re gathering.

New Roses

I just barely have room for two more roses in my garden; heirloom roses of course, because I have very little use for modern roses.  They aren’t cold hardy, they get diseases, they too often sacrifice “perfect” shape for scent.  I’d rather have a true old-fashioned rose shape, and a scent that can fill a garden, than a rose version of an anorexic blond supermodel.  🙂

So this year I scoured the internet (and I mean scoured – no one seems to sell this rose!) until I found a nursery that sells “Leda”.  She’s a damask rose, originating in England around 1827,  and here’s what my rose book says:

“At first the buds are a deep black-red, but they open to full white flowers whose individual petals are delicately caressed with a filigree of fire red, giving the blooms a hand-painted look.”  (Taken from ‘100 Old Roses for the American Garden’, by Clair G. Martin)

My second rose is one called “Mme Zoetman’s”.  I needed more white roses in my garden (I’ve only got one “Wild Spice”), so I was on the lookout for an old-fashioned white.  The internet says:

“A Damask rose from 1830. Scented like sandalwood, this rose inspires like the loveliest, most desirable layered-up, creamy, silk organza (hue of the flower is described above) with buds that appear modeled at the tips of young, tightly held petals in antique aubergine covered mostly in cream. The newest, just opening, buds are almost lime green.”

Oh, yes.  Now that’s a rose!