Recent Activities

Saturday, Apr. 24, 2004 – 9:47 a.m.

2004-04-24 9:47

This week I have been up taking care of Anne’s dogs. I figured I could do some rose research while I am up here. Originally, I was going to go back to the National Gallery but decided to investigate the gardens and stuff here in southern VA. The first day (Wednesday) up here was pretty much blown between having to get my new truck checked out (the air-bag warning light was coming on) and getting a call from the office where they were having a production problem.

Yesterday (Thursday), I drove down to the Norfolk Botanical Gardens and look at their rose garden. They have a very large rose garden and are a test garden for AARS. However, they are all modern roses (Hybrid Teas and florabundas) and most did not even have flower buds on them yet. Why is it that I seem to visit gardens when the roses aren’t blooming?? I am betting it is pretty spectalular when they ARE in bloom. That is not to say they didn’t have some OGRs. As I wandered around (the azaleas were spectacular), I came across a small bed of OGRs near the colonial herb garden. They had a Rosa moschata! and I took pictures of it, not that it was in bloom or anything. I think this was a relatively new bed because the bushes were not very big. One of the other things the NBG is known for is their camellia garden. They have one of the largest collections of camellias in the country. However, the highlight of the day was the bald eagle. It seems that the garden has a pair of bald eagles nesting in one of its trees. They actually blocked off part of the garden so the public would not disturb the birds. There was a very good observation tower from which you could get a pretty good look at the nest on the other side of the creek. The gift shop had two rose books I didn’t have so I bought them for my library.

Today (Friday), I decided to go out the other direction (west) and get some roses from Sherando Roses. This place doesn’t ship so you have to come in person. It is a small one-guy operation (from what I could tell) with a couple of greenhouses and a nice garden. Most of what he sells are in 2-gallon pots and are nice size plants. I bought 6 bushes: Alba semiplena (alba), Autumn Damask (damask), Tuscany (gallica), Tuscany Superb (gallica), and 2 Mermaids (hybrid brac[something]… I don’t remember so I will have to look it up). The Mermaids are for the Steele Creek property my parents and I own. Of the other four, the first three are definitely period and Tuscany Superb is a post-period sport of Tuscany. That will make 5 period roses in my garden! Only the Mermaid is repeat-flowering though the Autumn Damask should give a flush in the fall. It would be great if it bloomed THIS fall but I am not holding my breath. Generally, the once-a-year bloomers don’t bloom the first year you have them because they are putting their energy into getting established rather than blooming.

I realize now that I should have taken some time at Sherando Roses to photograph some of the plants in his garden. They are not in bloom yet but it would give a good idea of what the plant looks like, what its growth habit is, etc. Hey, another field trip for the future!!

As it was, I was also planning to go to the library at Lewis Gintner Botanical Garden in Richmond. I had contacted them last week about what materials they had on medieval gardens and roses and got a quite impressive list of books they have. I got there a little before 3pm and since they close the library at 4, I only had an hour. It turns out that one of the librarians had pulled a whole bunch of articles from journals for me. Good thing I went! I also got to look at a Dover reprint of the 1633 copy of Gerard’s Herbal. This appears to be a much better version that what I was working from in the past. Between the herbal and the articles, I used up my hour. Well, I can come back; the books aren’t going anywhere.

Well, enough for now… More later!

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