RSS Feed

Category Archives: Earth Kind Roses

Celebration of Roses in Farmer’s Branch

Saturday I attended the Farmers Branch Celebration of Roses. What a privilege to hear Mike Shoup of Antique  Rose Emporium fame talk about “Pioneer Roses” and Scott Ogden, landscape artist and author teach the subject of  Moonlit Gardens.

Afterwards I happily wandered through the Farmers Branch Rose Trial gardens at 2610 Valley View Lane, Farmers Branch, Texas.

Hundreds of roses are on trial in these gardens from Earth-Kind® Roses to David Austin roses, all displayed and labeled perfectly.

Above: View of Part of the extensive Farmers Branch Rose Garden

Above: View of Part of the extensive Farmers Branch Rose Garden

For example, a rose called Jude the Obscure: “A great favourite of many gardeners. ‘Jude the Obscure’ is very free-flowering, bearing very large, incurved, chalice-shaped flowers. The petals are medium yellow on the inside and pale yellow on the outside. Its award-winning fragrance is extremely strong with a delicious fruity note reminiscent of guava and sweet white wine, which delights all who smell the flower. An excellent short shrub with strong, upright, bushy growth and light green leaves. We recommend planting it near to the house or close a seating area or path, where its delicious perfume can be enjoyed at close quarters. In warmer climates it can be trained as a superb climber. Named after the character in Thomas Hardy’s novel of the same name.”

Thanks to this description from the David Austin website, I will now be reading  Thomas Hardy!

Meet the David Austin Rose, Jude the Obscure

Meet the David Austin Rose, Jude the Obscure

Being a plant nerd, I have always wanted to see the Green Rose.  Yes, there is a rose with green flowers and it is growing in the Farmer’s Branch Rose Gardens.

Close Up of Green Rose

Close Up of Green Rose

Now that I have seen it and compare it to other rose beauties,  I will be shopping David Austin and Pioneer Roses.

Thank you Farmer’s Branch!


Get to know Farmer’s Branch aka the “City in a Park”.  Last weekend’s events included Bluegrass music, a chili cook off, and arts and crafts along with The Celebration of Roses.  Mark your calendar for future events here.

Rose pruning….

It takes a fearless person to prune a rose.  Brandishing its protective thorns, the row of leafless bushes awaits us like the vicious magical Whomping Willow in the Harry Potter series, ready to throw us to the winds.

Armed with loppers, protected with elbow skimming rose gloves—the closest I’ll ever come to Mia Farrow’s favorite length—we faced the prickly branches.

Where to start thinning? Like a yoga chant, the rules started running through one’s subconscious: thinner than a pencil, rubbing, main canes…

Gradually the spindly support of last year’s blooms was cast aside, a faint memory of last May’s flush of happy blossoms.  Old rubbed canes fell to stronger green upstarts.

Eventually, a bare skeleton emerged from the entanglements, a garden star ready for its next act: its primadonna performance in the dance called Spring.


Brush up on rose pruning tips here with Mariana Greene of the Dallas Morning News.

Hearts and Roses Luncheon and Lecture

Click. Click. “Oh, look at that one!”  Click. Click. “Oh, wow!” Click. Cli—Wait is this the Olympic games in Sochi?

No, it’s a bunch of lucky gardeners falling in love with roses.  Well, the first couple of rose pictures had rose expert Vicki Agee a little perturbed; seems her vibrant red roses were coming up blue on the power point.  Jim sprinkled a little fairy dust on the computer cable, and voila! The rose colors were correct, and the audience was entranced.   Vicki, who is also a Dallas County Master Gardener, spoke Tuesday at the Hearts and Roses luncheon held at the Demonstration Garden.

Above: Hearts and Roses Lunch and Lecture, 2-11-54

Above: Hearts and Roses Lunch and Lecture, 2-11-54

The rose world has changed dramatically, Vicki told us.  Breeders are adding many lovely, disease resistant, fragrant roses for the home market.   Look for shrub roses like floribundas and grandifloras, Vicki suggests. She recommended ‘Easy Does It,’ ‘Walking on Sunshine,’ ‘Pretty Lady,’ and ‘Lion’s Fairy Tale.’  Does anything smell better than a rose? For especially fragrant roses, choose ‘Francis Meilland,’  hot pink ‘Beverly,’ pink ‘McCartney,’ or pink ‘Deelish.’

'Easy Does It'

‘Easy Does It’

She also loves an old favorite Buck rose named ‘Quietness;’ its pale pink blooms mask its tough resistance to black spot.  Easy Elegance roses, Austin roses, Flower Carpet roses, and old favorites like ‘Mr. Lincoln’: the beautiful varieties made my head spin.  I wanted one of each.

'Quietness' Rose, a Dr. Griffith Buck Rose

‘Quietness’ Rose, a Dr. Griffith Buck Rose

Vicki also knows how to take care of her roses.  For fungal diseases like black spot use Neem oil for your first spray of the season.  Then spray spring and fall with a product like Banner Max or Honor Guard that contains Propiconazole.  Once temperatures reach into the 90s, stop spraying until fall.

Vicki suggests using Spinosad for thrips, because stronger sprays will also kill beneficial insects and butterflies.  Use a miticide like Floramite, Forbid or Avid for spider mites.  Pyrethrum takes care of cucumber beetles.  Fertilize with Texas T in the spring, and once roses have leafed out, use seaweed fertilizer every 2-3 weeks.  After late summer pruning, foliar feed your roses through October for maximum bloom.

An online bouquet of roses goes to Vicki for her wonderful talk and tips on a frosty February morning.  I know I wasn’t the only gardener who found new favorites to add to their flowerbeds.


Picture of lecture by Starla

Our thanks to Chamblee’s Roses for permission to print from their website.  Click here for Chamblee’s Roses.

Hearts and Roses Luncheon

rose-demo garden“Hearts and Roses”

An Enchanting Valentine’s Lunch and Lecture

At the Joe Field Earth-Kind/®WaterWise Demonstration Garden

Tuesday*February 11, 2014*11:00am

$14.00 per person*Limited to 25 Guests


Apricot-Cheese Truffles

Strawberry Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

Old-Fashioned Chicken and Dumplings

Chocolate Boxes filled with Sugared Raspberries or Red Velvet Cake

Vanilla Cinnamon Pecan Coffee*Herbal Iced Tea


Special Presentation by Vicki Agee, Dallas County Master Gardener and Rosarian

“Landscaping with Roses” (Earn One Hour Education Credit)

  Your check is your reservation.

 Make checks payable to: DCMG.

 Email for info about mailing your check.

Payment must be received by February 1st


2013,A Beautiful Spring in Dallas

Dallas gardeners have enjoyed a long, lovely spring and I don’t think we have glowed enough about it . If you feel like glowing, make a comment at the bottom of this post.  We will send a package of seeds from our garden to the first 10!

Think back to our post, A Texas Spring?  Week after week, we have enjoyed blooms galore!

We planted these Oxeye Daisies in 2009 and this year they have been a “best of show” type exhibit. 

Oxeye Daisies Blooming at The Demonstration Garden

Our Earth-Kind® Roses have bloomed continuously as you can see looking through Lafter and Maggie. 

Earth-Kind Roses, Lafter and Maggie at The Demonstration Garden on Joe Field Road

Our Iris have finished blooming so we must say goodbye to them.

How appropriate this one is called Bye Bye Blue!

Iris with Poppy Blooming in Background


Penelope, An Earth-Kind® Rose In Our Garden

In 2007, we had the idea of having a rose trellis made out of rebar.

Rose Trellis Being Shown Off By Gail, Kim, Cindy, Jane

We planted three Penelope Roses on it.

Here is what Antique Rose Emporium says about Penelope: Massive clusters of large, pale pink, semi-double flowers fading to peaches and cream adorn this chunky shrub during the growing seasons. Fat, orange-pink hips weigh down the bush in fall and winter. This rose is an excellent choice for hedging as the bush is dense with beautiful foliage and fragrant flowers and will mature quickly.

Penelope Rose Clusters

This is the  iron trellis in 2013 smothered by Penelope and  with Abelia, ‘Edward Goucher, Abelia ‘Kaleidescope’, Dwarf Yaupon Holly, and Daylilies at her feet.

Penelope, Abelias, Daylily foliage, Dwarf Yaupon Holly


February Garden Chores

During February Dallas gardeners prepare for spring.   Several of our Dallas County Master Gardeners pruned roses at the Farmers Branch Rose Gardens and developed the confidence needed to remind us hot to tackle  17 varieties of Earth-Kind Roses at the Demonstration Garden.

We pruned the roses back to about three feet, cut out crossing and interior branches, pruned out the dead wood and excess-voila Earth-Kind Roses ready for spring.

February Rose Pruning, Mutablis Rose and Two Master Gardeners

Sarah demonstrated an ornamental grass cutting technique:  

To cut  tall grasses in a perfect mound……you go around the clump with a bungee cord, cut straight across just above the cord and pop the cord off. Sarah just happened to have a couple of bungee cords in her trunk so that we could try this technique.

Bungee Cord Wrapped Around Grass To Be Pruned

Sarah, Jackie, and Linda take it away:

Master Gardeners Cutting Back Grass

More ornamental grass pruning by Jean, Becky, Michele, and Linda:

Master Gardeners Cutting Back Grasses At The Demonstration Garden

This grass will go to the compost pile:

Clippings Going To Our Compost at The Demonstration Garden

Spring is coming and we hope you will visit us at our garden, 2311 Joe Field Road, Dallas, 75229.   Comment  if you would like to ask a question or set up tour of the gardens.


Fall-What’s Not To Love?

What’s my favorite season? Easy peasy. FALL. Jacket wearing, college football cheering, leaf rustling, turkey roasting, Halloween mini-Snickers sneaking—Fall!

This lovely autumnal season is so much more than pulling up summer-scorched annuals and popping in mums for a few weeks.  At a time when northern gardeners are closing up shop for the winter, Texas gardeners have realized that the fall months may very well be the best time of the year to plant.

Think about it.  A Sweet Innocent Perennial you might plant in the spring is just being lined up for the furnace blast of summer from late May through August.  It’s hard to even survive—much less thrive–in temperatures in the 100s, no rainfall, and nighttime lows that hover in the 80s.  But if you’re a savvy gardener and plant that same Sweet Innocent in the fall, you’ve tucked it in when the future holds cooling temperatures and more frequent rain.  Voila.  Plant Success.

Most plants will put on a fall flush of growth and bloom in fall weather conditions.  Roses can be spectacular in the fall, often with blooms more vibrant than spring or summer.  Trim roses back now, fertilize, and give a deep soaking to promote bloom.

Raised Bed with carrots, radish seeds and trowel

If you’re planting a fall school garden with kids, it’s time to get busy.  If you want a warm season garden, plant bush beans and pinto beans by seed until September 15.  Be sure to baby your seeds; they need to be kept moist until they sprout and are established. 

Dallas County Master Gardeners Busy With Fall Gardening

Fall is Prime Time for cool season crops, those vegetables that love a nip in the air in November and December.  Plant beets, spinach, lettuce, and carrots by seed now through October 15.  Kids love transplants; they’re veggies in miniature.  Plant broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower transplants now through late-November.  Mustard greens, Swiss chard, spinach, parsley, leeks and kale transplants can be tucked in the garden from September 15 through the winter.  (Harvest your warmer season crops in late October, then plant cole transplants for a continued harvest.)

Spring flowering bulbs can be a fun thing to plant with kids.  Purchase your bulbs now when nurseries start stocking bulbs, but wait on planting them until soil temperatures cool significantly, for us in mid- to late-November.  Daffodils are probably your best bet with kids.  They are dependable, don’t require pre-chilling (like tulips), and some will naturalize.  The Southern Bulb Co. in Golden, Texas  is known for propagating old varieties of bulbs, often found in deserted homesteads. 

The best reason to garden in the fall is to enjoy it.  Your garden is filled with new blooms and growth.  Pests have taken a vacation with the cool temperatures.  So nibble a bit of early Halloween candy and enjoy the season.


August Blooms In Dallas

The Earth-Kind® WaterWise Demonstration Garden is blooming even through August.

Fourteen out of twenty days in August have been over 100°.  To maximize our water usage, we have set up drip irrigation in all our beds and we water this garden and others  with rainwater harvested from our large shed with 5,000 square feet of metal roofing.  Usually we don’t get enough rain for our drip system in the latter part of summer and have to revert to city water, but last week we had about 4 inches of rain at the garden!  What didn’t go into our two 2500 gallon cisterns swished into our rain garden for more capture. 

Most of these pictures were taken from our newly planted Color Wheel garden.  Link back to the * July Bloom report so that you also know what was blooming in August in the rest of our gardens. Combine these plant lists to keep your garden flourishing through the summer.

Read the list of blooms clockwise from the  large, top left picture.

Flowers Blooming in August Dallas Gardens

1. Pink Gomphrena and Cuphea 2. Gomphrena Fireworks, Gomphrena globosa ‘Fireworks’ 3. Periwinkle-Cora Vinca blackberry, Catharanthus roseus 4. Hot Pink Moss Rose Portulaca olerancea ‘Samba Hot Pink’  5. Jewels of Opar, Talinum paniculatum 6. Moss Rose, Portulaca olerancea 7. Trailing Lantana, Lantana montevidensis 8. Yellow Zinnia

Flowers Blooming In Dallas August Gardens

1. White Lantana and white coneflower 2. Orange Zinnia 3. Mexican Petunia-Lavendar, Ruellia brittonia 4. Lafter, Buck Rose 5. Mexican Bush Sage, Salvia leucantha 6. Orange Lantana, Lantana horrida (camara) 7. Bell Flower,  Campanula rotundifolia  8. Gregg’s Mist Flower, Eupatorium greggii

Flowers For Dallas Summer Gardens

1. Salvia coccineas with  Cora Vinca 2. Pink gomphrena, Gomphreana globosa 3.                       4. Red Gomphrena, Gomphrena aageana ‘Strawberry Fields’ 5. Summer Poinsettia or Mexican Fire Plant, Euphorbia cyathophora 7. Sunflower, Helianthus annus

Flowers Blooming In August In Dallas

1. Mexican Honeysuckle, Justica spicigera 2. Pearlie Mae, Buck Rose 3. Onion Chives 4. Maggie 5. Althea, Hibiscus syriacus ‘Helene’ 6. Esperanza or Yellow Bells, Tecoma stans 7. Canna-dwarf-Tropical Series 8. Quietness, Buck Rose

*Refer to the July Blooms report . Only  Phlox #11,Autumn Sage #16, and Salvia guaranatica#21 are taking a break and not blooming in August.  All the rest on the July list are giving us that last bit of summer pleasure.


Avoiding Picky Plants


My refrigerator is filled with open cans of cat food, one spoonful taken out, each encased neatly in a sandwich bag.  Offerings to a sick—now well—cat.  Each refused.

Black and White Cat

Adopted kittens should come with a warning label: once you offer the smelly, canned stuff, they’ll starve themselves before eating dry kibble.  Charlie was perfectly chipper, although on the skinny side, before her yearly checkup and shots.  Then, two days later, the dish with dry kibble was untouched. 

A flurry of vet visits, calls, pokes, and blood tests, always with a flashing credit card, ensued.  She still wouldn’t touch the dry kibble, but thought she might be able to bring herself to tuck into the $2.50 a can vet variety of Good Stuff.

She started again to eat and over a matter of days felt Much Better. 

Then this morning with reasons known only to cats, the $2.50 Good Stuff didn’t look appetizing anymore.  Only the cat food from the pet store would do–which we were out of.

But this is it.  My final trip to the Pet Store for canned cat food.  You black-and-white-adorable-shorthaired-domestic-tuxedo cat have got to again embrace Kibble. Food in a bowl, dump it in in the morning and have at it.

Which brings me to Picky Plants.  I simply must stop this swooning at the plant nursery.  Take me home, whispers a maidenhair fern.  All I require is perfect soil and constant moisture.

Some very organized people have—and actually keep notes in—a garden journal.  Mine would be filled with Did I Really Fall for That Again? plants.

Since working at the Earth-Kind®/WaterWise Demonstration Garden, my plant choices have gotten more savvy.

Need a splash of blue in my landscape? Look to Henry Duelberg or Indigo Spires Sage found in the Wildlife Habitat Garden. 

Salvia Blue Spires Blooming at the Demonstration Garden

Or lovely roses that bloom profusely and rarely get blackspot? Belinda’s Dream, Maggie, Perle d’Or, or La Marne fill the Rose Trellis Garden.

Earth Kind Rose Maggie Blooming in a Dallas Garden

Or a fun little fern that will love the dry shade under my huge red oak?

Wavy cloak fern is thriving in the Shade Garden.

The Demonstration Garden is a wonderful source of plant ideas. It’s filled with more than 70 trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals, and roses perfect for low-water yards in North Central Texas.  Come visit us!


%d bloggers like this: