Friday, May 1, 2009

May Day brings Roses

I tend to 4 gardens here in Austin, the Grow Green Demonstration Garden at Zilker Botanical Gardens, Howson Library in Tarry Town, the Crestview Baptist's a developing plan, and of own. The picture below does not give justice to the roses at Howson Library.

They have 9 rose bushes all together, 8 Martha Gonzales and one 9ft. Mutabilis. Last week I began my workday with the roses. I decided to count the 'dead heads,' I quit at 250. I am amazed at how the roses in Austin are growing this year. We are recovering (I hope) from a horrid drought and we've had one rain each week since the second week in March...and apparently June is our heavy rain month! The temp has been mild, mostly in the 80's and it's been strangely perfect...most springs seem like they happen over's cold one day the next you need a Margarita to handle the outdoors and are met with swarms of thirsty mosquito's.

When I first started this job, I didn't care for it because it's on busy Exposition Boulevard, right where the city bus parks and I would gag from the fumes and it didn't feel much like a garden, even though I knew the plants...almost all native and all drought tolerant. It's been a year now and it's one of my favorite places in town. (I try to arrive well before the busses start running and go inside to browse when it arrives.) It's also one of the favorites of birds, bees, butterflies, hummingbirds and favorite people. Above is a photo of a wren nest by the front door, they sing to me while I work...I stop singing for them.

This is Martha Gonzales...looking her best and being ravaged by a honey bee. She stays.

This is tired Martha, she goes into my pocket.

This is Martha's hip...I got to her too late. I try to get them all so they don't waste energy making hips but keep blooming, sometimes I miss one. I let Martha rest December through Valentines Day, that's when she gets a hair cut and shortly after a yummy meal of some organic food. She likes it when I sing Dianna Ross, "Loving you is easy 'cause your beautiful..."
Yes, I'm a dork...I sing to flowers.
Only 5 more to's been an hour so far.

This is the second time my apron pockets are full! And, I have yet to get to the big mama Mutabilis!

2 hours thumbs smell delightfully green and sweet.

And you can find these on the counter inside. The lovely librarians are ever so helpful so I do my best to keep them in the flowers at least once a week.
Rose hip/heads are a main ingredient to lots of potpourri. To prepare them correctly, you would spread them out and let them dry, then spritz them with a mixture of essential rose-oil and spring water, let them dry again. We only have 5 rose bushes at the Green Garden, but over the year I've put 11 in at the Baptist Church and I have 12 at my house. I used to think they were prissy high maintenance girls but I don't anymore. Roses love Texas and vice-versa. They are tough and beautiful and you can't hold that against them! There is a list of Earth Kind Roses online at TAMU, these are roses that have been tested by Texas A&M and prove to be hearty, disease resistant and drought tollerant...check 'em out!
Happy Gardening!


Bob said...

I, like you, go with the tried and true roses. When people say that I'm good with roses I just tell them that I pick the ones that are good with me.

I like the picture of your hand. It's obvious that your a gardener and that youve done a splendid job.

ConsciousGardener said...

I'm not sure what all my roses are...some were gifts from friends and 2 of them, they didn't know because they were at their houses when they moved home I do the rose companion planting and so I haven't had trouble a little brown-spot now and again.

Thanks, I've got two daughters who fret about nail painting and hands have always told the truth...even more so when I painted!

Bonnie said...

What an awesome garden at the library. I have 5 roses behind my house and I feel like I could spend all day deadheading- I can;t imagine what you think when you arrive at the library.

Pomona Belvedere said...

I think that to put a garden amid bus fumes and traffic, and by a library, is to put a garden in a place that's crying out for it...congratulations. (Have you read those studies on lowered crime rates in cityscapes with greenery?)

As fate would have it, I read your profile for the first time today, and now have double appreciation for your work. Speaking of which: what's wrong with having your hands show that you work with them? I'm always feeling embarrassed when I go to town and notice lines of dirt under my nails, but it's clean dirt, as a friend of mine used to say. Maybe we can start a new style.

catmint said...

Dear CG, thank u for sharing your rose gardening and your loving relationship with the stunningly beautiful roses. I understand the profoundly satisfying power of the day's work - and you lucky duck (lol) - you get paid for this as well!!!!! Cheers, catmint

ConsciousGardener said...

Thanks Catmint! I still can't believe it...after being a teacher for years I am in bells, no complaining...just roses:) I am a lucky duck!

ConsciousGardener said...

PB, I have read the stats on greening up concrete spaces...that's what my project across the street is all about...

I also not only sport the brown line on my fingers but toes as well...I love to garden in flip-flops!