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Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Hello world,

Appointed as a day to give thanks for the bountiful gifts of the land, the first national Thanksgiving day was proclaimed by George Washington and celebrated on November 26, 1789. In 1863 Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday to be celebrated on the last Thursday of November. The Canadian observance of Thanksgiving began in 1879 and is celebrated annually on the second Monday of October.

Thanksgiving Floral Decorating Ideas

  • Accessorize a large table by placing a long, narrow centerpiece in the center of the table. Add a few smaller accent pieces or candles on each side of the arrangement for an added effect.
  • Ask your florist to create a centerpiece in a treasured family vase or bowl, or in seasonal pieces such as a cornucopia or a utility vase surrounded by dry corn cobs.
  • To create a lot of drama and variety, place a topiary at one end of the table leading to a cluster of small potted plants, then two smaller topiaries with candles leading to a tray of votive candles and flower petals, and so on...
  • Ask your florist to use vegetables or fruits as accents in your floral arrangement.
  • Garnish your serving trays with flowers and greens.
  • Scatter colorful fall leaves, flowers and votive candles along the center of your dining table.
  • Float flowers in crystal wine glasses.
  • Place a single long-stem rose on each plate to welcome your guests to the table.
  • Decorate small desserts with flowers or make an ice ring with flowers to chill champagne or wine.
  • Ask your florist to design the arrangements for your buffet table on several different levels to keep the eye flowing all along the table.
  • Place a garland of fruit, flowers and fall foliage over your front door.

Flower Suggestions

Chrysanthemums, bittersweet, gerbera daisies, roses, carnations, alstroemeria, lilies, wheat, solidago, monte casino, marigolds. Potted plants in season include chrysanthemums, daisies and cyclamen.


posted by Labanon @ 1:15 AM   1 comments


Saturday, October 14, 2006
It was roses , roses anywhere

Hello world,

What's in a name? That which we call a rose; By any other name would smell as sweet. — William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, Act 2 scene 2

Roses have a long and colourful history. According to fossil evidence, the rose is 35 million years old. Today, there are over 30,000 varieties of roses and it has the most complicated family tree of any known flower species.

The cultivation of roses most likely began in Asia around 5000 years ago. They have been part of the human experience ever since and mentions of the flower are woven into a great many tales from the ancient world.

Greek mythology tells us that it was Aphrodite who gave the rose its name, but it was the goddess of flowers, Chloris, who created it. One day while Chloris was cleaning in the forest she found the lifeless body of a beautiful nymph. To right this wrong Chloris enlisted the help of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, who gave her beauty; then called upon Dionysus, the god of wine, who added nectar to give her a sweet scent. When it was their turn the three Graces gave Chloris charm, brightness and joy. Then Zephyr, the West Wind, blew away the clouds so that Apollo, the sun god, could shine and make the flower bloom. And so the Rose was...

In another story, an ancient Hindu legend, Brahma (the creator of the world) and Vishnu (the protector of the world) argued over whether the lotus was more beautiful than the rose. Vishnu backed the rose, while Brahma supported the lotus. But Brahma had never seen a rose before and when he did he immediately recanted. As a reward Brahma created a bride for Vishnu and called her Lakshmi — she was created from 108 large and 1008 small rose petals.

Several thousands of years later, on the other side of the world in Crete, there are Frescoes which date to c. 1700BC illustrating a rose with five-petalled pink blooms. Discoveries of tombs in Egypt have revealed wreaths made with flowers, with roses among them. The wreath in the tomb of Hawara (discovered by the English archaeologist William Flinders Petrie) dates to about AD 170, and represents the oldest preserved record of a rose species still living.

Roses later became synonymous with the worst excesses of the Roman Empire when the peasants were reduced to growing roses instead of food crops in order to satisfy the demands of their rulers. The emperors filled their swimming baths and fountains with rose-water and sat on carpets of rose petals for their feasts and orgies. Roses were used as confetti at celebrations, for medicinal purposes, and as a source of perfume. Heliogabalus used to enjoy showering his guests with rose petals which tumbled down from the ceiling during the festivities.

During the fifteenth century, the factions fighting to control England used the rose as a symbol. The white rose represented York, and the red rose symbolised Lancaster. Not surprisingly, the conflict between these factions became known as the War of the Roses.

In the seventeenth century roses were in such high demand that roses and rose water were considered as legal tender. In this capacity they were used as barter in the markets as well as for any payments the common people had to make to royalty. Napoleon's wife Josephine loved roses so much she established an extensive collection at Chateau de Malmaison, an estate seven miles west of Paris. This garden of more than 250 rose varieties became the setting for Pierre Joseph Redoute's work as a botanical illustrator and it was here Redoute completed his watercolor collection "Les Rose," which is still considered one of the finest records of botanical illustration


Cultivated roses weren't introduced into Europe until the late eighteenth century. These introductions came from China and were repeat bloomers, making them of great interest to hybridisers who no longer had to wait once a year for their roses to bloom.

From this introduction, experts today tend to divide all roses into two groups. There are old roses (those cultivated in Europe before 1800) and modern roses (those which began to be cultivated in England and France around the turn of the 19th century).

Until the beginning of the 19th century, all roses in Europe were shades of pink or white. Our romantic symbol of the red rose first came from China around 1800. Unusual green roses arrived a few decades later.

Bright yellow roses entered the palette around 1900. It was the Frenchman Joseph Permet-Ducher who is credited with the discovery. After more than 20 years of breeding roses in a search for a hardy yellow variety, he luck changed when one day he simply stumbled across a mutant yellow flower in a field. We have had yellow and orange roses ever since.

Painstaking cultivation has revealed all of the remaining colors, except blue and black. For many, a black rose is a less than attractive prospect with its connotations of death, but the search to discover how to create the blue rose has been likened to a horticultural Holy Grail. Many have tried and none have succeeded...yet! Progress has started to be made


posted by Labanon @ 5:57 AM   0 comments


Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Rose Meaning
Hello world,

For Generations, the rose has traditionally been the favourite symbol for love and beauty. Whether giving to a loved one or simply for your own pleasure, we are sure that you will enjoy our collection of the freshest roses straight from our nursery.

However, when selecting a rose bouquet, remember roses have a language of their own!

No colour can say “I love you” better than this Valentine Favourite. It not only speaks of passion, but also stands for noble values such as respect and courage.

In general, symbolises grace and gentility, The pink carries that message of happiness. Deep pink says “thank you”. Light pink conveys admiration and sympathy.

Conveys sociability and friendship, modesty, appreciation, admiration and sympathy.

Golden Yellow:
Expresses joy and gladness – the best gift for new mothers, newlyweds or graduates. They are also a subtle reminder for a busy husband, wife, boyfriend or girlfriend.

Has several special meanings – “you’re heavenly”, reverence, humility, innocence and purity, “I’m worthy of you”, secrecy and silence. In rose history, white roses are just as colourful as red ones!

Denotes enthusiasm and desire. Perfect for letting people know that you want to get to know them better.


posted by Labanon @ 2:11 PM   0 comments


Sunday, October 08, 2006
Winter care in the Rose garden
Hello world..

This show to you how to take winter care in the Rose Garden

Rugosa Alba

How good is your soil?
Nature will tell you. With a garden spade, dig down 30cm (or 1 foot). What's the soil like? If it's heavy clay with just a thin covering of darker soil, then you should think about incorporating some well-rotted vegetable matter (compost) and perhaps something to help the drainage. If your soil has good texture and is in good heart, then it will be better able to grow great roses. This is the time to fork in a dressing of lime, preferably Dolomite, which will help condition the soil for roses. If you find worms in your soil, it's a good indication of healthy soil. The more worms the better.

Traditionally roses were sold in mid-winter with bare roots. This was because roses were field-grown and dug up for sale in the winter. Now most roses are sold in plastic pots or planter bags, which means they're available all year round. Most roses are still field-grown so will have been heavily root-pruned when they are lifted. The root growth will be approximately the same as the top growth. As a consequence of this drastic pruning, you should expect them to take a while to acclimatise and for new root and top growth begin.
Be tolerant and allow a season before expecting the best from new roses.

Some roses are grown "on their own roots" which seems to confer substantial benefits. There is considerable evidence to suggest that own-root roses are tougher and more able to cope with drought and adverse conditions. Unlike budded or grafted roses, any suckers will be from the plant itself, not the dreaded rootstock.

When planting roses, make sure you dig a big enough hole and try to incorporate some good soil or compost.
If you are planting where roses have grown before, beware of specific replant disease. Just like farmers use crop rotation to ensure that the soil is not exhausted by continual growing of the same crop, we should try and give roses new healthy soil. When planting in previously rose-inhabited soil, to avoid SRD you should dig out and replace at least a wheelbarrow full of soil before you plant your rose.

Don't incorporate chemical fertiliser in the planting hole. Compost is great, blood and bone (slow-release and won't burn roots) is good, but keep away from conventional rose fertilisers at winter planting time.

Think about mulching. It's a great way of conserving moisture, suppressing weeds and making you garden look tidy. Remember that as mulch decomposes (bark especially) it leaches out nitrogen to feed the decomposition process. If you don't provide a supplementary source of nitrogen, you may see you mulched garden looking a bit pale and wan in the summer. Easiest way is to incorporate a handful of blood & bone per square metre when mulching. This has all sorts of benefits.

Holistic Rose Growing
Healthy plants don't need a lot of care. Tough plants thrive without much attention. Why therefore do we bother with plants that are inherently unhealthy?
Old fashioned roses, the sort that have been with us for hundreds of years are eminently capable of growing without care and attention. If they survived in Victorian times without today's hi-tech sprays, they'll survive today. Try them.

Sally Holmes
Sally Holmes
Select only roses that you know will do well for you. It sounds simple, but it's worth remembering. Have a look at the plants that do well in your neighborhood and consider whether that suit your garden style. Select from the large number of roses that 'do well' in your environment. Rugosas, for instance grow well in all environments. They are salt-tolerant and will even grow at the beach. Sally Holmes, the splendidly vigorous Hybrid Musk will grow almost anywhere and doesn't need spraying.

Winter Pruning
When plants are dormant and without leaves is the preferred time to prune. What happens if we don't prune ? Nothing much. Our roses will grow taller and our fruit trees will produce fruit out of reach. The quality of the blooms and the fruit will largely be unaffected. The sky will not fall in.

Pruning could be considered as man's dominance over nature. Before we discovered pruning, plants thrived. They flowered, fruited and carried on perfectly well. We prune for a variety of reasons, many cosmetic.
Modern roses unpruned will produce flowers higher up than one might like, but worse will have ungainly leggy growth with bare canes at the base. Pruning to ensure tidy plants and blooms where we want them makes sense. Even more sensible is the encouragement of new healthy growth. It is widely accepted that the best blooms and fruit are produced on young growth. For this reason, a process of renewal makes sense. Old growth should be removed to stimulate new healthy growth.
The more vigorous a plant or tree, the more likely it is to benefit from heavy pruning. Many old fashioned roses, climbers & ramblers will cope quite well without pruning, save for some renewal of old wood a few years after they are established.

As far as cutting to an outward-facing bud is concerned, treat this with a measure of contempt. Better to encourage new growth where you want it. Sometimes selection of inward-facing buds make more sense when shaping a plant.
Many shrubs, ramblers and patio roses will benefit from a routine winter 'shaping' with the hedgecutters. Don't feel obliged to lavish too much pruning care on your roses, they'll survive without it, despite what the experts say.

Winter Cleanup sprays
While plants are dormant is also the best time for winter cleanup sprays. The idea is to 'break the cycle', ensuring that in the spring there are no eggs to hatch or fungal spores left over from last season. Forget the evil sprays that damage you and the environment. Stick to the good old organic remedies. Lime Sulphur is a wonderful fungicide that will kill any overwintering fungal spores and go a long way towards inhibiting next summer's fungal problems. It smells so awful it must be good. Gets rid of lichen, too.
A fortnight or more after this, try mineral oil combined with copper. Oil smothers any eggs that will otherwise hatch insect pests in the spring. Copper is another organic fungicide.

Having cleaned up with these winter sprays, you shouldn't need much else. If you can resist spraying with insecticides, the natural predators in your garden will maintain the balance of nature and you plants will survive and may even thrive.
If you really must spray, bear in mind some simple rules :

  • keep a separate sprayer for weedkillers. Roundup residue is not good for roses
  • be sure to dress sensibly when spraying (rubber gloves, no exposed skin, mask)
  • wash thoroughly after spraying
  • don't spray insecticide when bees are visiting flowering plants
  • think about 'holistic' sprays. They're kinder on you and the environment


posted by Labanon @ 8:25 PM   0 comments


Wednesday, October 04, 2006
A Daisy A Day

Hello world..

You belive that flowers can brighten an entire room?

I am no miracle worker, but I can bring sunshine to the dreariest winter day. It's not hard, really-I do it with the help of a simple flower.

This little bit of magic I learned years ago from my green-thumbed mother, who could always coax something to bloom in our yard. Around this time of year, she would clip deep-red camellia blossoms and group them carefully in a prized vase. Her timely arrangements were able to transform even our seasonally dark dining room.
Nature's Gifts

I didn't inherit my mother's gardening talents, but she instilled in me an abiding appreciation for nature. Although I don't have a yard full of flowers like she did, I still enjoy their benefits. Every week, when I'm shopping at the grocery store, I pick up a single cut bloom, usually a boldcolored gerbera daisy.


posted by Labanon @ 8:51 PM   0 comments


Tuesday, October 03, 2006
Moss Rose

Hello world,

Of all the old roses families, the Moss is the odd one out. The name comes from the strange mossy bracts surrounding the buds, otherwise moss roses behave very much as their Centifolia parents.

Centifolias (a hundred petals) are often called cabbage roses, for their large blooms and abundance of petals. They were developed by the Dutch from the sixteenth century, being once-flowering hybrids probably of the Gallica family.

Many's the time we've heard people remark about the dreadful crop of aphids on some of our roses. This is the reaction of some to the mossing. Rub your fingers up the mossy stem to the bud and you'll experience sticky moss and smell a strange turpentine fragrance. Some varieties are more mossy than others but all are quite recognisable.

Moss roses are mostly very prickly, wonderfully fragrant and deserving of a place in your garden. They range from short-growing bushes through to lax arching shrubs. In their heyday there were 135 in the collection at Roseraie de l'Haye in Paris, owing their popularity to the attentions of the Victorian hybridists of Holland and France.

Today there are thirty of forty Moss roses available, which is sufficient to ensure their continued popularity. Their parentage is believed to descend through the Gallica family via the Centifolias, but one often finds reference to Damask Mosses, suggesting the influence of the damask family. While most Moss roses are once-flowering, there are some that will oblige with repeat flowers later in the season.


posted by Labanon @ 12:35 AM   0 comments


Monday, October 02, 2006
Red Roses

Hello world,

Red roses are a timeless, elegant present. These freshly cut medium stem roses accented with greens are sure to please. They arrive wrapped and ready for the recipient to arrange in their own special way.

Seasonal and regional conditions affect the supply and cost of flowers and greens. Specific varieties or colors may not always be available or meet our quality standards. In some cases, substitutions may be necessary to fulfill your floral and container requirements. The dimensions given for arrangements are approximations. However, you may refer to them for general size guidelines.


posted by Labanon @ 5:42 AM   0 comments


Sunday, October 01, 2006
Hybrid Musks Roses
Hello world!!

All roses are subject to fashion. This article chronicles a family of roses developed in the twentieth century that enjoyed huge popularity, but then fell from favour, for no other reason than the arrival of a new rose fashion, the floribunda.

Many of us grow Buff Beauty, some recognise Ballerina and Penelope, but few appreciate the breadth and beauty of this hardy healthy family of shrub roses. Fear not, by the time you've finished, you'll better understand the enduring beauty of a family of roses that deserves your attention.

The Heritage Rose police will doubtless take me to task for applauding roses from this century. Nonsense ! Age does not confer greatness, nor are all modern roses to be sneered at. Equally we should resist the temptation to eulogise David Austin's expanding family at the expense of all other interesting roses.

The name is confusing. We know the Musk rose which descends from R. Moschata as a huge summer-flowering family coming from the Middle-East several centuries ago. Vigorous climbers, mostly with wicked thorns, the Musk Hybrids we know today include The Garland, Paul's Himalayan Musk, Moschata floribunda and the Persian Musk Rose, Moschata nastarana.

Hybrid Musks should not be confused with these monsters.

The family is the product of an Englishman Rev. Pemberton who devoted twelve years of his retirement to the breeding and growing of roses. His early interest, encouraged by his sister, was growing and showing roses. He was one of the early members of the National Rose Society. Jack Harkness writes 'He served the rose and the National Rose Society with unusual flair and vigour'. His book Roses, their History, Development and Cultivation' published early this century, before his retirement became a standard work. When he died in 1926, his gardeners, the Bentalls carried on his work, releasing further examples of the family. Ballerina & Buff Beauty were their most important introductions. They undoubtedly owed much to Pemberton's work. In 1932, Ann Bentall released The Fairy, which remains popular today. Mention should also be made of Kordes in Germany, Thomas in California and latterly Beales in England for the production of further derivatives.

Many early Hybrid Musks have Trier as a parent, an interesting shrub produced by Lambert in 1901. Named after the German town, it was a seedling of the Multiflora/Noisette hybrid Aglaia, and was the first recurrent shrub rose. Trier is a tallish shrub bearing clusters of small dainty creamy-apricot blooms, with good fragrance and repeat-flowering. Pemberton must have seen something desirable in Trier, using it for his early releases. It occupies a special place in our garden, both for its style and class, as well as its historical significance. Its style exemplifies much of the Hybrid Musk family.

Some say that its fragrance is of musk, which would have been inherited from the links to Moschata via Noisette and Multiflora parentage. Certainly many Hybrid Musks have relatively thornless wood that is reminiscent of these families. Equally certainly, the links to moschata are tenuous.

Today there are over 30 Hybrid Musks commercially available in New Zealand, with new members occasionally extending the family. We grow 28 and like obsessive collectors, we seek to complete the collection. Where to put them becomes a problem in a garden approaching its limits.

Hybrid Musks produce blooms in very large clusters, are fragrant and recurrent. It is said that dead-heading will stimulate remontancy, but left alone you can still expect them to flower from spring to autumn. Many produce hips, generally quite dainty. Some will climb if given the chance, most will grow to 1.5 metres if you let them.

They are not out of place anywhere in the garden. As shrub-climbers they provide cheerful background colour, especially with their healthy foliage. As shrubs they look good in a mixed border; as specimens they stand alone well, while they grow well as free-standing hedges. They fill the colour spectrum from soft pastels to startling vibrant scarlets. These are the Hybrid Musks we grow (in order of introduction) * rating is my subjective opinion.


posted by Labanon @ 10:57 PM   0 comments


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