All About Roses

I’m studying up on roses. Over the Thanksgiving holiday, my Canadian friend gave me a bunch of her books about roses. She instructed me on how to propagate roses from soft wood stems, which I’m attempting to do with the flowers from my grandmother’s funeral.

When I was 16 years old I planted a Peace Rose in my mother’s front flower bed for a project in my home economics class. It was my first attempt at flower gardening. That rose grew for nearly 20 years before a drought and grasshoppers got it. One fall it had such big, beautiful blossoms it could be seen from 100 yards away.

It’s amazing how many varieties, cultivars and classifications of roses there are. I’m just now reacquainting myself with the vast varieties of roses available.

But I’m excited to start learning more about roses and experimenting with them in my garden. More to come…
IMG_0229.JPG

Advertisements

Big-Girl Camera: The Sky and the Lens

Today the sky was beautiful. The high, wispy clouds and bright sun and blue, blue sky, made everything seem to drip in light. I’m a hobby photographer, with a very good friend who loaned me her lovely [and expensive] lenses.

Occasionally I can make my images represent what my eyeball actually sees. And sometimes, I can frame an image that I couldn’t have seen without the camera.

Today I experimented with wide angel and telephoto lenses.

I’m standing in basically the same spot; I did adjust and position my body to frame the photo. I started by trying to capture agriculture in action with the beef cattle in the foreground and the tractor planting wheat in the background.

But I ended up going to school in the difference between the two lenses, which is remarkable. Can you see it, too?

These next four photographs are not cropped or edited other than adding text labels for a visual point of reference. (they are also saved down into smaller files for web publishing).

Telephoto: I can’t get all the cattle in the shot. And look at how “flat” the sky appears.

Wide angle: amazingly all the cattle fit in the shot– all I did was change the lens. And you can see both tractors. Notice how “curved” the image looks. Much closer to the way our eyeballs see the world.

Telephoto: I repositioned to catch the tractor as he made another pass, and to frame out the parked tractor and hay bale.

 

Wide angle: The tractor is farther away (he was moving the whole time I was shooting). Notice the difference in the color saturation the wide angel captures v. the telephoto– how blue, blue the sky is.

And the sun flare – I would have been marked down at least 10 points in Ashton’s photo journalism class at Texas Tech. I personally love the sun flare in photos like this one.

 

My favorite sky images from the day: the wide angle wins for today and does the best job at capturing the glorious sky.

 

 

 

Experiment: Propagating Roses

I am experimenting with rose propagation. I don’t really know what I’m doing, but I have read about it and gotten advice from my rose-expert friend, who has successfully propagated roses clipped from bar ditches and yards with a caved-in houses.

According to the internet and my friend, a stem that is about the diameter of a #2 pencil with multiple nodes is ideal. It’s recommended to use a seed starter mix, perlite or vermiculite as the medium and rooting hormone.

These roses came from the flowers at my grandmother’s funeral. They were beautiful and smelled amazing, so I figured I’d give it a go and see what happens. I can’t identify these roses (although they are technically not roses, but rather floribundas,) and I don’t know if they are GMO freaks or their growing history. I’m sure they were bombed with all kinds of chemicals and preservatives.

1. Since it’s off season, I got what they had at the hardware store, putting the starter mix into a tub and watering thoroughly. Water, stir, water, wait, water, stir.

2. Once the starter mix is sufficiently moist, I packed it into a couple pots.

3. Made planting holes several inches deep with my handy chopstick.

4. Clipped the roses down to use just the stems with multiple nodes.

5. Dipped the stems into water, then into the rooting hormone so it would stick, and placed each stem into the holes.


6. Covered with plastic sacks to create a mini greenhouse. I left the pots on the ground in the greenhouse in a partially sunny spot.

Now we wait and hope.

The last time I tried this it didn’t work, but it was July, in Texas, during a drought, and we left for vacation, etc. A north Texas November and a commercially grown floribunda may not work either, but I figure it’s worth a try.

Photos from Arcadia

I’ve been writing all day for paying gigs and it’s been raining all day long—hallelujah. So tonight I’m going to do my post in photos.

 

A bee on a marigold.

 

A flower poking through the fence pickets. I’m not sure what it is … maybe a butterfly weed, standing cypress or cardinal flower.

 

Some kind of freaky wasp. It was huge, much larger than a [root] beer bottle cap.

 

A flag, because it’s Election Day, because it’s advanced citizenship, because your vote counts, because it’s your voice.

 

All photos ©2014 Arcadian Experience

Garden Variety Peace

Almost every night I go out into my greenhouse and garden and look at all the wondrous things that are growing. I’m always surprised when I see little sprouts emerging, even when I’m expecting it. It’s the awesome miracle of life in one tiny little seed and the journey of nothing to something from start to finish. I love witnessing the plant’s lifecycle, growing from seed to blossom then returning to its genesis.

Seeds: nothing to something in 10 days or less

Seeds are a beautiful promise of the future. They represent both the result of nurturing and just plain science. There are some seeds that need coaxing to sprout and coddling to produce fruit.

Then there are those seeds that need nothing more than a drop of water and something for roots to cling to. Some seeds need to be in the cold for extended time while others need fire to crack the hard seed coat. Some seeds lay dormant for years waiting for the perfect conditions before they will sprout.

I’m thankful that I have this hobby and get to see the true value of time. A garden helps you understand the difference a day, week or month can make. It also teaches delayed gratification and the payoff of hard work.

Micro greens day 1
Micro greens day 5
Micro greens day 8

I’m fortunate to have a handy husband who has been willing to work beside me while I guide (more like boss) him on what goes where and when to do this or that. We don’t eat exclusively out of our garden and I’m thankful that there are many, many farmers around the globe who produce food abundantly so that we have plenty with a variety on our plates nightly.

Strawberries in February
Strawberries in April (the difference 2 months can make)
Strawberries — it’s almost pay day

Most days I go to look at the plants, monitor their progress and contemplate whatever comes next – what’s for dinner, what’s the weather going to be like tomorrow, did the washer’s spin cycle work … Sometimes I get to harvest the crops and enjoy a special dish or meal – maybe it’s the one rewarding, sweet bite of strawberry that makes me offer thanksgiving. Some days I look out on our garden plot and feel like shouting—prideful Tarzan style—”I have grown this!”

Then there are times when I go to my garden at the end of a hard day to find peace.

On those days I go looking for something to be hopeful about, something positive, something to remind me of why I have made certain choices. It helps me right myself and to remember that all I really need is all that I already have.

Fun Photos from Arcadia

It’s been a very long time since I’ve posted fun photos from our life here in Arcadia.

Black eyed susans from my front flower bed. This is a perennial favorite of North Texas gardeners.

Jdubs on the “Fastcat.” His grandfather rigged up a stampede string from a left-over strip of leather.

The real deal.

Textbook wall cloud. A few minutes after I snapped this, the sky opened up and hail stones rained down.

This photo represents the “why” of living where I do.

Spring is Here

Spring is here in North Central Texas. It is obvious in all the sprouting and flowering plants.

Icelandic Poppy
Daffodil
Ornamental Pear

The winter wheat practically glows in the sun. The daffodils are a bloom and the perennials are starting to come back to life. But I happen to have a greenhouse so I’ve got a bit of a jump on things.

Today it was 78 degrees. It’s February 28. I don’t know what that is going to mean but I don’t think it bodes well for the garden season this year. We’ll see.

But for now I’m happy with what I got going on in my little garden.

View into the greenhouse to the left.
View into the greenhouse to the right.
The herb project.
Someone spilled some of my seeds ... I'm not saying who (Jdubs) but I didn't want to throw them out so I just stuck them in a pot to see what sprouted. I have no idea what this is, maybe tomatoes or peppers
A little tomato is forming. And considering how warm it's been, early season is best.
More tomatoes ... these are Celebrity.