Friday, May 22, 2015

Despondent Dog

Woeful, she waits.
Outside, her love, ceaselessly puttering.
A glimpse she sees, then gone again,
A wisp, a phantom, endlessly muttering.
Moving through chores as hours march on.
Spraying his poisons into the air,
Pumping and misting with no time to spare.
Fretful, she waits.

Sadly, she waits.
Outside, blue sky and green grass beckon.
Scents, they abound, echos of sound,
Roll across hills and over horizon.
Breezes carry the fury of life.
Sunlight blesses the restless soil,
Earthworms squiggle in endless toil.
Fitful, she waits.

Doleful, she waits.
Outside, out there, is her friend and her love.
Lost to the world, intent and tired,
Her father, her playmate, her gardening other.
Inside she barks as her patience wears thin.
A world to explore, a garden to smell,
A drama to track and a story to tell.
Forlorn, she waits.

At last the door opens.
So joyful is she.
A wag of the tail,
And a few licks for me.
Then out she bounds to the world that awaits.
So happy, she laughs as she dances and shivers,
Short legs are pumping, whiskers aquiver.
Bella, my dog.

Mrs. ProfessorRoush took this photo last Sunday while I was spraying to keep the bagworms out of the evergreens and the worms out of the cherries.  Mrs. ProfessorRoush hates worms in the cherries, and as much as I hate insecticides, I surrendered my garden ethics quickly in the face of spousal demand and potential withdrawal of affections.  Meanwhile Bella has become my steadfast garden companion over the past month of warmer weather and has become extremely attached to me when I'm home.  She's headstrong (I'm referring to Bella right now) and I was afraid she would run away after the first bird or car that appeared, but I slowly trained her to stay within my sight and she is now allowed off leash in the garden while I work.   Bella didn't understand why she couldn't join me within the haze of poison spray this weekend, however.  Nothing looks more dismayed than a beagle separated from the outdoors and her love.

p.s.: and, yes, "aquiver" is a real word.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Lilliputian Garden Drama

Just a few evenings ago, ProfessorRoush was madly capturing a few photos with his Nikon, plausibly preserving images of about 30 rose blooms for such purposes as posterity, public lectures, or potential future blog entries.  In full disclosure, however, he was just taking pictures of pretty flowers and enjoying the moment.

As he labeled each photo later, however, he noticed that a number of the blooms had insects or arachnids on them.  As an example, he noticed this tiny spider on shockingly pink 'Duchess of Portland':

For another example, ProfessorRoush had taken this photo of 'Souvenir du President Lincoln' at 6:27 p.m. See the wee spider at the lower left of the bloom?


                                                                                                        Here he is closeup:

                                                  Talk about your itsy-bitsy spiders!

By accident, and with no particular purpose in mind besides flitting madly from flower to flower like a honey bee on fast forward, ProfessorRoush randomly wandered later past the same 'Souvenir du President Lincoln' blossom and took another photograph at almost the same angle.  This one was taken at 6:44 p.m.  Look again at Mr. Spider on the lower left of the bloom.

He doesn't seem to have moved very far, but he appears a little less distinct, doesn't he?  In closeup, you can now discern that he has captured a tiny green insect, one that I would naively call a "leafhopper" but I don't really know the genus.

Whatever the identity of this spider and insect, these photos pretty much sum up the microscopic war hidden within our gardens, don't they?  We lumbering apes think it's just all about color and growth and sex, but we too seldom get a glimpse beyond the veil like this one.  There are likely lots of lessons lurking in this unfolded drama, but ProfessorRoush has gained yet more evidence that a garden can ably manage to protect itself in the absence of synthetic insecticides.

If we could please keep this between us, however, I'd appreciate it.  Some of these roses come inside, hitchhikers and all, and Mrs. ProfessorRoush takes a dim view of even the most microscopic spiders on her kitchen countertops.


Monday, May 18, 2015

Violet Veilchenblau

My first 'Veilchenblau' bloom
Okay all you rose experts, have you seen this one before?  This rose is about 1.5" diameter, blooms in clusters, and is also known as the "Blue Rambler."   Yes, I know, she's not very blue right now, but her red-violet tones fade to violet as she ages.  Her name, 'Veilchenblau', literally translates to "violet-blue".

One of my Zonal Denial efforts last year was to once more obtain and plant, and to overwinter for the first time, 'Veilchenblau', a  Hybrid Multiflora rambler-form rose that was introduced by Johann Schmidt of Germany in 1909.  I first glimpsed 'Veilchenblau' at Wave Hill in 2008, where she was in full bloom on June 18th.  I included her the following year as a "bonus" rose in an order of own-root rose bands, but the rose I received had one root in the grave when it came and died almost immediately after planting in the hot Kansas sun.  Fortunately, good sense took hold as I read about her habits and hardiness, and I put aside my budding infatuation for 'Veilchenblau' and resolved not to try again.  Last year, however,  when I ordered 'Red Intuition' and needed to choose a minimum of three roses to complete the order, I saw her name in the catalog and filled her name in on my team roster.  She may have been chosen last, but I put her in my starting lineup and I've told her to not be a shrinking violet.

'Veilchenblau' at Wave Hill, June, 2008
'Veilchenblau' did overwinter this time, so although she is on R. multiflora roots, I'll forgive her as long as she continues to grow and covers the split rail fence I placed at her back.  She not very tall yet, my 'Veilchenblau', but she is supposed to reach 10-20' in a couple of seasons and be a fairly vigorous rose.  Although the bud above is the first to bloom, there are many clusters of buds on her and three vigorous canes have already sprouted and are approaching two feet high.  I'm hoping that next year she has stretched around the corner of the fence and is touching the two 'Red Cascade' infants that I transplanted recently.  'Veilchenblau' only blooms once a year, but I can forgive her since she is also nearly thornless.  References state that she is hardy to Zone 4b and she proved that to me this past winter, so another year or two and I'll get an idea what the old gal can really do.

In Empress of the Garden, by G. Michael Shoup, 'Veilchenblau' is listed in a section called "The Elegant Climbers", and Shoup writes "A must for the garden, 'Veilchenblau' rarely suckers or spreads by seed. Easy to train and graceful, she blends peacefully into landscapes...her cooling colors settle softly over her foliage like a translucent fog..."  She?  Her?  It is comforting for me to see that even the experts attach gender to individual roses and therefore it may not a sign that I'm missing a marble or four.   Either that, or at least I might have an interesting cell-mate (Shoup) after they come and lock me away.  If you are in the mood for a more gender-neutral but engaging discussion of 'Veilchenblau', read Mac Grisold's essay on her in Roses; A Celebration, edited by Wayne Winterrowd.  Mac calls 'Veilchenblau' her favorite rose, and "beautiful and vulgar," "indecently purple," and "outrageous", but still manages to keep "it" a genderless friend.  Who's fooling who?


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...