Saturday, June 20, 2009

Farmer's Market

Our community puts on a Farmer's Market on Saturday mornings in the summer and early fall. It's held on a covered bridge that crosses between a community parking lot and a lovely park. This is the first year for us to participate. Our table of goodies is shown here, featuring mostly gourds and some cut flowers and tatting/knitting that I crafted to sell. The rest of the bridge filled up with vendors as the morning progressed but by noon it was all over. We made a modest haul, but it was a lot of fun and we're looking forward to our next scheduled weekend.

Oddly, the fresh-cut flowers weren't the big seller for us, but they did draw a lot of comments--as did the tatting. Everyone's grandmother tatted and the sight of me sitting there with my lace and shuttle in my hands drew comments from many passersby. The biggest draw by far was the gourds. A lot of people commented and several were delighted to spend $5 or $10 on a dried, hard-shell gourd. The ones stained red in the photo are apple shaped and sold immediately. Gourdo was pleased.

I heard from other vendors that the day was slow. If that's the case, I can't wait to see what a busy Saturday looks like.

The cutting garden and gourd patch have been keeping us busy, but this first, tentative foray into selling at the Farmer's Market has renewed our faith in what we're doing. That sitting there at the market watching the world go by is fun is the proverbial frosting on the cake.

Oh, and speaking of cake--there were so many delicious baked goods at the market! It was hard to keep from spending every dollar we made on the cakes, fry pies, rolls and jams from the neighboring vendors.

Do yourself a favor and pay a visit to a local Farmer's Market soon. It's a great way to spend a morning and the fresh produce, crafts and baked goods are amazing. Farmer's Market photos by JulenaJo.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Meet 'New Dawn'

If you haven't already met 'New Dawn' you are in for a treat. I planted her early last year along with two other roses on the west side of our pergola in a narrow, six-foot long bed. It quickly became apparent that I'll be moving the other two roses. 'New Dawn' is taking up every bit of room, and she's still a baby. The first year she just "settled in." Now she's about to go wild, sending out thick, healthy canes in every direction.

I had been trying to train the canes up, but finally decided it was not going to work. The vigorous growth demanded space. I fanned the canes out and re-tied them. You could practically hear the plant sigh with happiness. Ahhh.

Dozens of fragrant blooms have already opened from head to toe along the length of the canes, with scads of fat buds in the wings, waiting their turn to burst into bloom. Each blossom has that old fashioned character that I so love in a rose. The petals unfurl like fresh linens billowing on a summer breeze. They are a soft, delicate pink, and the foliage is a dark, glossy green that is the perfect background for the blooms.

Hardy to zone 4, 'New Dawn' does fine in my Ohio garden with minimal winterizing. This spring I had to trim off a few dead ends, but nothing more. The foliage doesn't seem to mind the wind that whips around my yard more often than not.

Friends of ours who live in town have two 'New Dawn' roses growing up and over an arbor. Granted, townies have more protection from the elements than we do here in the country, but their roses scrambled up and over the arbor in short order, and the canes reach to the heavens as though seeking foothold there. Although our friends attack their plants with loppers each year, trying to keep the rampant growth from burying their arbor, I think our rustic pergola can withstand whatever 'New Dawn' dishes out. Twenty-foot canes would be welcome here as I want some shade for my patio.

This is the first year for me to experience the spring flush of bloom for 'New Dawn' in my garden; I am interested to see what the rest of the summer holds. It seems to me that our friends have little bloom after the first flush. An internet search leads me to believe that this is a common occurrence. I'm hoping that the great amount of sunshine here, plus diligent deadheading, will encourage quick and plentiful rebloom.

Notes: 'New Dawn' was introduced in 1930, a sport of 'Dr. W. Van Fleet'. It was the first ever patented plant in the U.S. In 1997, 'New Dawn' was named as one of the world's favorite roses and was inducted into the Rose Hall of Fame by the World Federation of Rose Societies ( New Dawn Photos by JulenaJo.

Monday, June 8, 2009

'Black Lace'--A Sizzler

Black Lace. What a sizzling name for one hottie of a plant.

Here in my Ohio garden one of the star performers is the Sambucus nigra 'Black Lace', a dazzling, dark-leaved elderberry. It's in the back of the flower bed, where the dark, finely cut foliage sets off everything sited in front of it. Right now it's covered with pink flowers similar to Queen Anne's Lace. Sterile berries will follow. The fruit is edible, but I leave it for the birds.

I added this gem to my garden several seasons ago, and as it grows taller I find myself wishing I had two or three more of them. The graceful shrub will attain a size of approximately 6-8 feet tall and wide. It's perfectly hardy in zone 5, and it is reputed to be hardy to zone 4. It withstands the wind, the heat, the cold--everything Mother Nature has to offer. I see no signs of any kind of disease or pests.

'Black Lace' Sambucus may be used as a substitute for Japanese maples in gardens and yards like mine where conditions wreak havoc on tender trees. That's a stellar idea for this sizzler. Black Lace Photos by JulenaJo.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A Rose By Any Name

Some books are irresistible. So, for me, is A Rose by Any Name: The Little-Known Lore and Deep-Rooted History of Rose Names. This book is a charmer on many levels. Most obvious to the casual peruser of books is the eye-catching cover and glorious selection of artwork throughout the book. This is not a straightforward encyclopedia of roses with glossy photos and descriptive text for each entry. No, this is something more--the artwork is culled from heirloom rose catalogs, paintings, rare books, and magazines. The thick, creamy pages are edged in soft green. Each chapter features a rose in text and in art, as well as others of its class or relation. Yet, for all its beauty, the book is not a mere gift book (although it would make a great gift for any lover of art, antiquities or roses). The text is delicious, too: informative and fact-filled, the authors' love of roses permeates every line. It's a delightful and chatty ramble through the history of roses and the people who love(d) them. Want a small taste? Below are the first lines from the entry on 'Dr. Huey', the sturdy rose on whose rootstock many modern roses are grafted.

" 'Dr. Huey' really gets around. In Brooklyn, New York, for instance, this local denizen is often seen lounging against stoops, crowding doorways, and leaning over concrete grottos that house statues of the Virgin Mary. Ninety miles east of there, upscale Hamptons nurseries sometimes tag the same plant "Long Island Red," claiming to have found it on old estates, and price it at $350 a pop. From the rush of buyers you'd have thought they were hawking heirloom Tiffany sterling. Sure, this rose is beautiful--but only for a day or two. Then heat and humidity leave the velvety flowers hanging like rags, their limp petals the color of dried blood. This is 'Dr. Huey', undercover agent of the rose world."

Don't you love it? Check it out from the Library. You, like me, might find you have to get a copy of your own!