Monday, June 22, 2009

Writing Time

I've written somewhere between ten thousand and fifteen thousand words in the last couple of days on a couple of different novels.  I try not to rely on grooves to write, but when I'm in a groove I run with it, because who knows how long it'll be before the next one comes along!  

I'm also excited because a couple of short stories are a little overdue.  Overdue is good.  Fast responses are also good and very much appreciated, even though fast responses at my stage me no.  A fast no means I can get that story out quick to another market, a market where the editor might say yes.  Anyway, I'm pretty happy about being a writer right now.  

In gardening news, my garden exploded.  The other day I was weeding around some David Austin roses, specifically my favorites, the clump of three Abraham Darby roses, and I about fainted with pleasure.  Even with spiders dripping down my arms, all I wanted was to bury my nose in those shrubs.  The scent is so intense you may not necessarily want to stick your nose in the flowers themselves unless it's late afternoon because in the morning they might knock you right out.  But hanging around close in the leaves, jostling them, the fragrance wafting all around--it's a gardener's heaven.  My Abraham Darbies aren't full sized yet.  I can't wait until they are.  They'll all grow together into a giant mass that people won't even have to bend down a little to smell the roses.  Beautiful.  

If you want to try out some Austin roses in your garden, there's some things to know in advance.  First, these are very, very heavy blooms, generally speaking.  A few will remain upright, but most are nodding, due to the weight of the bloom, even though they have stiff stems.  Second, most of them are very large shrubs, and some qualify as out-and-out hedges.  If you have a small area, be sure to check the growth habit on the roses.  He does have some very, very fine smaller roses if space is tight.  Lastly, these are high quality, and generally very expensive roses.  It's typical to see them sold for $25 a piece or more.  You can order them for slightly less direct from the grower, but then you pay shipping.  If you learn by heart (or keep a list in your purse) the roses you're looking for, sometimes you'll find them at nurseries for far, far less than standard retail during the main 'rose season' that starts as early as January, depending on your location, and goes no later than the end of May.  After that you can still sometimes find them, but it's usually at regular prices in one to five gallon containers.  Costco (yay Costco!) does carry them, but again, you have to know the names, as they may not be marked clearly as English or Austin roses.  This year I saw Golden Showers, Abraham Darby, and Gertrude Jekyll.  I've also seen Princess Margareta at various nurseries (highly recommended, though it hasn't yet managed grow higher than the giant ball of daylillies.)  Othello and Falstaff are also gorgeous and easily found, but if you can have only one Austin rose and your space is somewhat tight, but you still want a vigorous rose, I highly recommend Shakespeare 2000, a red rose that leans a tiny bit toward the blue/pink.  It won't get ginormous immediately, so you won't have to prune it several times a year to keep it from poking unwary passersby.  The flowers are to die for and the scent is intoxicating.  They're red roses, always attractive and lovely.  They're hardy, so if you forget about them, they won't die on you, and if you plant them in a less than perfect spot, it won't go limp or protest by putting out a few leaves, one flower, and then quit until next year (*cough* Sterling Silver *cough* Tigress *cough*)  Also, it nicely exactly matches the color of my Karl Rosenfield peonies and the flower size and style are extremely similar.  I planted them close to each other deliberately for this reason.

Personally, I look for rose descriptions like "sometimes can be unruly" or "aggressive" or "not for small gardens" or "can also be grown as a small climbing rose."  I also like descriptions like wild, arching, very large, hedging, spreads through roots, vigorous, fast-growing, and highly disease resistant.  When I have lots of choices, then I look for rebloomers or everblooming varieties.  Even in the 'everbloomers' the first show will always be the best, but it's nice to have lots of flowers at frost.  Oh, and speaking of frost, many of the hardy, cold-tolerant roses will develop buds well after the first frost, though it's unlikely they'll open.  Every year, I have at least one bud late in December (I don't prune my roses all the way back until Valentine's Day) for the winter solstice celebration.

Ah, roses, my gardening passion.  Yay writing.  Yay roses.

No comments: