Thursday's Visual Treat - Day 4/ Flowers That Make Me Swoon


     The weather changed quite drastically without any warning and suddenly it's 92F in the shade, about 99F out in the sun, and feels like 1000F if you are a construction worker mixing cement or pouring asphalt on the new connector bridge near the Merrifield/Gallows Road exit off the Beltway.  Seems almost cruel to expect human beings to work under such brutal conditions as we attempt to finish the Purple Line within schedule and budget which realistically has already been exceeded as local/state/federal officials, transportation boards, special interest groups, and concerned citizens demand/lobby/negotiate/coerce/beg/maneuver for concessions, add-ons, exceptions, increased funding, additional lanes, and so forth--not quite pork belly yet certainly more than pork chops. 

     On a lighter note, it's day four of the flower show and the featured star is the rose; I can't imagine any garden or gardener's list to be complete without the inclusion of this all-time favorite.  Roses are quite easy to grow and respond well to hot, sunny days provided that a light mulch is applied to keep their roots cool; plants should be watered in the early morning instead of late in the evening as this allows them to dry out and lessens the chance for disease and bugs.  Watering at the root base instead of standing from a distance with the garden hose (or sprinkler) and getting the leaves all wet is really counterproductive and can actually spread disease to neighboring plants.  Feeding roses at the beginning of the growing season with a organic fertilizer such as Plant-tone or Rose-tone is fairly easy as directions are provided.  Most roses respond favorably to the cutting of blossoms, and pruning is best undertaken in late, late winter or early spring when the itch to get outside and do something becomes almost unbearable and another episode of Mad Men seems somehow maddening (as well as redundant). There is a rose type for all locations ranging from shady to hot/dry to coastal dunes, with the added feature of a obtaining a hybrid tea/climbing/shrub/grandiflora/miniature or min-rose in almost any color short of green or black.  

     The scent of roses has long been the basis of sonnets/songs/poems/prose/legend/lore/fact/fable; and Texas A + M (long time pioneers in agriculture) reports that, 'Some of the mystery and illusion of rose fragrance may, in part, be due to the fact that there are actually over two dozen different sorts of rose scent, with some roses having a mixture of these various perfumes. The seven basic scents that are most often found in hybrid tea roses include rose, nasturtium, orris, violet, apple, lemon, and clover. Some of the other scents are fern or moss, hyacinth, orange, bay anise, lily-of-the-valley, linseed oil, hone, wine, marigold, quince, geranium, peppers, parsley, and raspberry.  In general, the most highly scented roses are ones that are either darker in color, have more petals to the flower, or have thick, velvety petals. Another correlation is that the red and pink roses are most likely to smell like a "rose," while white and yellow ones lean to orris, nasturtium,violet, or lemon. Orange-shaded roses will usually have scents of fruit, orris, nasturtium, violet, or clover.

     Seems to me the next best thing to reading this treat is getting down to the local nursery, chatting up the cute sales-person, and getting yourself something to plant that is going to bring you countless years of beauty.  And all this (even a David Austin hybrid rose) can be had for less than the price of one of Nordstrom's overpriced T-shirts on sale at $49.99.

Stay cool tomorrow and thanks for being a dedicated peep,


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