Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Roses, flies and fledglings

What gardener is not looking forward to spring and the garden kicking in to gear for the season? In a couple of months the cold dark days will be replaced by warmer brighter ones and we will all be pottering in our gardens once more.

What nature lover is not looking forward to spring and young juvenile birds visiting the garden? If you have a Nestbox I’m sure you will be like me and hoping that this year will see broods successfully fledge.

What gardener looks forward to greenflies on roses? I somehow don’t think I would see a show of hands for this question! However, believe it or not I am. Why? Well, I have a camera Nestbox and last year we watched for the first time a nest being built, eight eggs being laid and hatched. The Blue tit pair did all they could to find food for their chicks but a warm April and a wet May made it difficult for them to get caterpillars and other insects to feed their young. They even tried offering sunflower hearts but all the chicks died.



Roses are well known for attracting greenfly so I thought this year I would try a little experiment. If it doesn’t work at the very worst I will be left smelling the roses - seems like a good deal to me! One problem though – I don’t really like roses! I do enjoy making fondant ones, but roses and my garden have never really mixed at all. However I do like seeing them in other people’s gardens.

Cardinal de Richelieu broke my abstinence of roses in my garden two summers ago. When visiting a garden centre I walked past the bench of roses - as I always did. The beautiful deep colour on the label was blowing in the wind and called out to me. Strangely, I found myself reading about this rose. It was thornless – yep if I had a rose I would look for that! I read on. It was scented – yep that would do too. It needed an open sunny situation – only my front garden gets that. Oh.. I remember thinking that the flower colour would look good with one of my ornamental grasses and my catmint and my…

Driving home I looked across at the box with the rose in it. Had I really bought a rose? Now only if you knew me would you understand why I questioned myself on this. I found myself delighting in my purchase! When it came into flower I certainly wasn’t disappointed and the perfume it gave was wonderful.

Last summer when I was planting up my new silver border we were given a gift of another rose ‘Silver Anniversary’ see first photo. It didn’t have many flowers but they were beautiful and so reminded me of fondant cake roses that I could smell the icing sugar. I expect I’ll get more flowers from it this year but this summer it has some company. Yesterday, I had a very special delivery.

Mme Alfred Carrière arrived safely in a rather pretty bag from that nice man David Austin. I was very anxious to open the bag as I knew there was a chance that it could be out of stock and they would have sent a replacement. Ah... a sigh of relief to see my two bare rooted roses were exactly what I ordered. These roses are climbers and will mix well with clematis ‘Miss Bateman’ and clematis ‘Silver Moon’. I cannot wait to see them all grow together. The blooms of this rose are scented and white tinted with flesh pink and they will look wonderful on my willow green stained arch and trellis. This rose promises to be disease free – but so did Cardinal de Richelieu and it got greenfly.

Win, win is how I see the roses in my back garden. They are in an area close to my nesting boxes so I have no doubt whatsoever if there are insects on any of these roses that the blue tits will find them. Photographs of that would be great! So my roses will be looked after by the birds who in turn will be able to look after their young. I dearly hope my experiment works. On the other hand maybe this rose will really be disease free – we will just have to wait and see. Tonight as the light was going down I planted my new roses – trying to avoid digging up the tulips that are coming up now! Ah… it was good to be planting in the garden again.

All photos above were taken in my garden.

8 comments:

Pam/Digging said...

Lovely photos, Shirl. Thanks for sharing the sad but interesting story of the birds in the nesting box.

Barbara said...

Good luck with your rose experiment! I have A. Carrière too, it IS a wonderful rose, but desease free? Well not exactly, however, very uncomplicated and easy to grow!

Frances said...

The camera in the nesting box is intriguing. Is it a video camera? How does it work? I love your roses and Madame Alfred is going to be purchased as soon as the new arbor gets built. Paper drawings have been done, , maybe the roses should be ordered now so they don't sell out!

Frances at Faire Garden

shirl said...

Hi again, Pam, Barbara and Frances :-)

Pam – Thank-you, the whole Nestbox story is really fascinating to watch especially when we are seeing it live. Fingers crossed we get strong healthy chicks this year :-D

Barbara – Thank-you! Good to hear it is easy to grow although it also promises to flower in partial shade so this too will be interesting :-D

Frances - We bought the Nestbox as a unit with a small camera inside it. A wire connects the box to my PC (this could also work with a TV) through a small hole in the wall. We added software so we could record from it but the unit itself is a live feed. So, I can sit here at the PC looking out my window and see the birds fly over to the Nestbox then by opening a program on the PC I can see what is going on inside. I can then select to take photos or video the action. There is also a microphone in the box and I can hear the birds calling to each other and entering the box through the speakers of my PC. Like Blotanical it can be addictive viewing! I am looking forward to watching the progress of your arbour and how your rose will flower compared to mine – bare rooted and in partial shade :-D

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Hi Shirl, I know just what you mean by not really wanting roses. They are just so lovely I try one every once in awhile.

I do hope you get plenty of the flies for your tits. I am sure they will appreciate your efforts.

We want to be able to watch those sweet little birds grow up to be fly eaters on their own. Good luck.

Jim/ArtofGardening said...

Thanks for stopping by Art o Gardening. No, I have never been to Floriade in Holland. To be honest I've never heard of it. I will look it up now though - always looking for one more place to visit!

I have been to Keukenhof and the Aalsmeer flower auctions though. Eventually I'll get to posting about those, too.

Jayne said...

Oh, I hope that works too Shirl. It must have been heartbreaking to see all those babies perish.

shirl said...

Hi again, Lisa, Jim and Jayne :-)

Lisa - Interesting to read you have the same thoughts on the rose – the one I have picked has such beautiful colouring that I am hoping for great things of it! With the rose being sited in partial shade it is possible some buds won’t open and therefore greenfly will probably show some interest in the buds – I just hope this is at the right time! It really would be wonderful to share a happy ending from the Nestbox this year :-D

Jim – You are welcome! I look forward to seeing your posts on the flower auctions. I hope you make a return visit to see that I have just posted on the Floriade – especially for you. Check out the link :-D

Jayne – Thank-you! It really was, my heart sank every time I looked in on the Nestbox in the last few days as more and more chicks disappeared from the nest. The parents remove the dead chicks to protect the remaining ones :-(