Did You
We use beneficial insects to control aphids and spider mites.
Rosa mutabilis
July 31, 2007
Blog PictureI mentioned earlier that I've been reading a biography of Joseph Banks by Patrick O'Brian. I was hoping to find mention of explorations in China, finding new varieties and especially the asian roses which brought the color yellow to our modern palette. Alas! I have discovered that after a couple of early voyages in his youth, Banks became pretty much ensconced in his three (!) residences and was President of the Royal Society for 41 years. He also became gouty and quite overweight.

So I guess I need to pursue a biography of various plant explorers who went to China such as Father Hugo and others.

At any rate, above is pictured the species rose, Rosa mutabilis, another parent of some modern roses. This is named "mutabilis" because its petals change color through the life of the rose bloom.

Now in the cut flower business, this is not particularly a desirable quality because our customers want to see roses that stay pretty much the same color, so they can see what they are getting.

But part of our job as rose growers is to show some leadership about new and exciting things that florists can use. Since it's the last day of July the blog index and newsletter are about to turn over into August. The August newsletter will feature "roses that look like peonies," or the garden roses which we grow now and maybe some speculation about what we might be planting in the future.

If you are looking for roses that look like peonies, please click on the "Rose Database" or the "What We Grow" tabs and use the rose finder. You can select for shape of the rose, and there is a tab for Peony shaped roses.

It's a Lawn Story
July 28, 2007
Blog PictureMore about the eco-lawn.....

Here's Mom with the tree Dad planted, the Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides! Love that botanical name!) It's an ancient type of tree that was discovered in China not too long ago. Analysis of its DNA revealed it to be an ancestor of the redwood.

The Dawn Redwood turns color in the fall and loses all its needles. This particular one was broken off almost at its base by a deer rubbing against it. A new shoot grew up to take its place, so this tree is a real survivor in many ways.

Dad loved his lawn but he really hated moles and gophers. He waged total war against the gophers especially. After he died it was surprising how many people told me they really had enjoyed talking with Dad and chatting about topics such as the best way to trap these critters.

Back in 95 several of us went to visit our cousins in Germany for the first time. They showed us the church in the old village of Ostenfelde, and the churchyard, which was riddled with gopher pushes. We saw this all over the place in Germany. Apparently there moles are a protected species and you can't kill them. So I made sure to take a picture of this for Dad. He was flabbergasted.

I don't know if Dad ever saw the movie Caddyshack, with Bill Murray as the fanatic greenskeeper who ends up blowing up the whole golf course to kill the gophers. It's one of my favorites.....

So much for rodents. I don't know why I woke up this morning thinking about that! Have a nice weekend...

The Eco-Lawn
July 26, 2007
Blog PictureWhen Mom and Dad built Peterkort Roses at the new location in Hillsboro, they also built a house. One of the things Dad really wanted was a giant lawn, which he would mow on the riding mower. It would take him more than an hour to mow it, so you get the idea of how big this lawn is.

Now Dad is gone but the lawn continues. Over the years it has gradually evolved from a super green, watered, treated lawn to what I call the "eco-lawn."

My husband who is kind of a lawn fanatic doesn't like this and want to call ChemLawn (or have they changed their name to something more politically correct?) to spray it with weed killer but so far we've convinced him that this kind of lawn is okay in the country.

The photo above shows Sunny my yellow Lab cavorting on the eco-lawn. Lots of dandelions! They are pretty in the morning when the flowers are open. They close up in the afternoon.

What's happening with Peterkort Roses these sunny July days? Lots of roses to be picked due to the beautiful weather, but there is still time to work on wiring for the new lights, and our last new plants for this year arrived and were planted.

I am looking forward to the new flowers, including Tropicana, Piano Freelander, Sweet Avalanche, Peach Avalanche, Bordeaux, Marina, Claudia, Beauty by Oger, Helga Piaget, Revival, and Tara. We also planted more Avalanche and Black Baccara. One whole area of Red France was removed and replanted.

We are starting to get some Helga Piaget now. It is a creamy white garden rose with a delicious fragrance. Check the rose database for pictures of our new roses. If you select the "new" box you will get a list of everything new, then you can click each one and see their pictures.

See you at the market tomorrow? I hope so----- Sandra

July 18, 2007
Blog PictureI am reading a biography of Sir Joseph Banks, the famous English botanist of the great age of plant discovery, by Patrick O'Brian. I love O'Brian's books, especially the Jack Aubrey series of British Navy adventures set during the Napoleonic wars. This is something I NEVER, EVER thought I would care about but his writing is so ecstatically good.

Anyway, I am reading along and on page 191 it talks about Banks' sister who helps support all his interests. At one point he was very interested in breeds of sheep and their wool, and "her devotion went as far as the wearing of three dresses made from his wool, dresses called Hightum (for grand occasions), Titum (for occasions not so grand), and Scrub (for ordinary wear)...

For those of you interested in such obscure things, you might remember the books about Lucia which were done on BBC a bunch of years ago. I don't remember the author, but they were things called "Make Way for Lucia," and others. Well in those books which took place in the English countryside, Lucia and her social circle had a protocol for what to wear on different occasions, and they were known as.....Hightum, Titum, and Scrub! Now I know where that came from. Or probably it's some common British thing that everybody knows about. I must ask my source for all things British, my friend Colin from our bridge group. So far he has enlightened me on many things, having grown up in London during the war.

That ALSO reminds me of a book I just finished reading, "Auntie Mame," by Patrick Dennis. While I was reading it I thought, hmmm, this reminds me so much of the Lucia books, but of course Mame is so American and they are so British. But a lot of things in common!!!! Mame and Lucia, maybe a scholarly paper on the differences and similarities? Maybe when I retire I'll spend my time doing those things!!!

Now that I've thoroughly drained that subject, today's picture above is a new rose called "Tropicana." Somebody today asked me about Circus, and this is going to be our Circus equivalent. I think we could try to grow Circus, but the head of it would be rather small. This one looks really nice. We should start having some of them pretty soon.

If you have a wedding project coming up, be sure to let us know what you want. Very busy wedding weeks ahead!!!!

Chinese Garden
July 17, 2007
Blog PictureJim and I attended a beautiful function at the Chinese garden last week. It's like a jewel on the edge of the Pearl district. If you haven't been there, it's a walled, traditional Chinese garden between NW Everett and Flanders and about 2nd and 3rd avenues.

Check their web site for more information, including extensive plant lists if you're into plants (like I am) and a monthly list of what is blooming in the garden: www.portlandchinesegarden.org

Some of the great things I saw there were a LOT of "Kleim's Hardy" gardenias (a single gardenia, with that great scent, tough and more suited to our climate than the double florists style gardenias), and a Rosa chinensis 'Mutabilis."

I am sure that Mutabilis is one of the ancestors of my one and only climbing rose in my yard, "Climbing Joseph's Coat." Mutabilis is known for its flowers which change color and display a wide range from yellow through dark pinky red. Also my Josephs Coat does this.

One of the highlights of this event for me was the traditional Chinese music provided by the erhu player. This is an instrument which is played somewhat like a cello, with strings, and a bow.

This garden is an oasis in the city!!!!

July 14, 2007
Blog PictureI was reading my copy of Floral Management, a very good magazine by the Society of American Florists, and I ran across this add featuring J. Schwanke. I decided to take a look at his website because I think he is the closest thing we have to a "personality" in the floral industry. Click this link to go there too:


I just love his little kewpie doll thing he has going on in his hair and also the little goatee.

Plus I was studying the flower arrangement pictured, trying to figure out the pink rose. I think it is called "Sanaa", a new rose by the breeder Lex+ in Holland. Have to check out this rose in October at the Hortifair.

I think J's blog is the interesting part of his web site. It takes $$ to subscribe to JTV and I wasn't ready to go there yet.

More yard work today. Trying to get ready to put in my little bubbler fountain in the back yard. It requires my in-house engineer, Jim, to figure out the power situation. Doing it in a great dragon pot I got from Eric at Dragon Gardens. Wow, another link possibility!


Enjoy the rest of the weekend!!!

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
July 13, 2007
Blog PictureSaw this musical the other night with my husband. We have seen the movie with Michael Caine and Steve Martin, loved it, thought we'd check this out. It's hard to equal Steve Martin in the role of Freddy, the rough around the edges American con man in the making. I'd say the musical compared with the movie amped up the crudity ratio quite a bit - too many pelvic thrusts by Freddy!!!

I'm also conscious now of the deterioration in my hearing - or else the orchestra was loud. Probably my ears though.

My favorite part - the dance by the Oklahoma woman - she's much more of a wild character than in the movie. Love those thigh-high boots!!!!!

What's happening in the greenhouse - still hot but our new roses seem to be taking it in stride. The straggler varieties, Beauty by Oger, Peach Avalanche and Piano Freeland are arriving from Holland via Los Angeles this week. Hope they are staying cool. Hopefully they will be in their new spots in the greenhouse during a cloudy period.

Have a nice weekend!!!!! --Sandra

I Know I Know...
July 13, 2007
Blog PictureI was supposed to be telling you more hideous bridal stories today. But it's just too hot! Above pix is the temp at the farm on Tuesday.

Well maybe just one story... A florist of my acquaintance has a wedding where the aisle will be covered with white rose petals.

Then when the bride walks down the aisle the guests will lean out and throw rose petals in a delicate shade of cream just a little different than the white petals...

Augh! This is going to be hard to do... Does anybody know (or care) how to tell white rose petals from cream rose petals??? Guess what, they look almost exactly the same!!! Plus this is just a little too much. Is she the Queen?????

That's my rant for a hot Thursday.

July 7, 2007
Blog PictureIt's Here! Today's the Day! The famous triple seven lucky day for everyone in the universe and their mother and their sister and their mother's cousin's stepmother's daughter to get married.

In keeping with the day I have recently acquired and read this book, Brides Behaving Badly, Wild Wedding Photos You were Never Meant to See, by Bev West and Jason Bergund.

This book is full of tacky photos that got edited out of the wedding album. My personal fave is on page (oh no there's no page numbers) well near the beginning. Entitled, "Talk to the Bustle Cuz the Tiara Ain't Listening" and it must be the bride's mother in the background trying to talk sense into her. Lots of pictures of brides smokin' and drinkin' in their white dresses. And throwing up.

Some really hideous cakes too.

One of my customers who shall remain unnamed to protect her, says that her bride this weekend has seven attendants, seven candles on each table, each arrangement has seven flowers. Really.

Quite a few skeptical florists have expressed the cynical view that if getting married on 7-7-07 is supposed to keep your marriage together, better try a little harder!

Other great photos from the book: Bride of Beetlejuice, Glinda, is that You? and the Japanese flying wedding couple. In a shopping mall.

Reality remains far stranger than fiction, especially in the bridal world. Stay tuned for more bridal mayhem from the underground...

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