It has been a long time since my last post. Sadly, due to lack of time, I’m giving up my rose garden, but luckily I have found a new place for my roses to grow. The Dutch arboretum Belmonte in Wageningen has kindly agreed to take care of my collection. Next week the roses are going to their new planting grounds. I hope to post more information soon.
Yesterday all 16 Moss roses, that I ordered a few months ago, were delivered and with an extra bonus Moss rose. There is only one slight problem: the extra land I was promised for planting the roses isn’t yet available! Since I now don’t have room for all of these extra roses I will have to overwinter them close together in the ground and hope they can be planted in their definite place by the end of winter. Today I potted the roses in containers and placed the containers close together in the ground. Hopefully they survive the winter that way. If it gets realy cold I can cover the roses maybe with some fleece.
My collection of rare Moss roses is gradually expanding nicely. At this moment I have already almost 50 different types. Wouldn’t it be nice if – in a few years – I will have all the Mosses that are still available in my garden? It sure is something I’m trying to achieve: over 150 different old Moss roses and maybe some of the new varieties that where recently bred. For now it seems that the most difficult thing to achieve is, to acquire more land so I can plant the roses!
The new Moss roses are: Alice Leroi, Angélique Quetier, Blush Moss, Césonie, Comtesse Doria, Delille, Elisabeth Brow, Eugène de Savoie, Général Drouot, Jenny Lind, Mme Moreau, Mlle Aristide, Maupertuis, Mme Rose Chéri, Oscar Leclerc, Princesse Royale and Raphaël. The latter I already have in my garden, but it is always a good thing to have two different roses with the same name, so to be sure they really are the correct ones.
I just got back from my visit to this unique rosarium in Cavriglia (Tuscany, Italy), founded in the middle of the 1960s, and developed thereafter by Gianfranco Fineschi. The most important principle of this rosarium is that it should be conceived as a museum: a collection of ancient and modern roses. In this blog I will write some of my first impressions about the rosarium accompanied with photos. Later I’m hoping to write a more detailed report about this rosarium and my visit to it.
To my shame I must admit that I’ve only heard about this rosarium a few years ago, but I got very intrigued by the place and by the end of last year I planned a trip to Cavriglia to do research for a book I’m writing about Moss Roses. In the rosarium of Fineschi I found some 62 of the old (and a few modern) Moss Roses; luckily the timing and the weather were perfect so I was able to see the roses in their full glory and took lots of photos (about 3.600!). Also I had done my homework in advance and had a notebook with me with most of the known Mosses, so I was able to easily make lots of notes of each and every Moss Rose I could find.
My first impression was the overwhelming scent of the different roses when entering the rosarium; also lots of color (mostly from the more ‘modern’ roses). The rosarium is spacious, although the roses are planted close to each other and are tied to small wooden poles. There are lots of terraces and terracotta (?) statues; olive trees (and other large trees) are amidst the roses and everywhere there are chairs to rest and enjoy the surroundings. It is nicely quiet and the sound of birds and peacocks is everywhere.
The rosarium looks well maintained; the soil is heavy red clay, which after a few sunny days is hard as a rock; it looks to me as very hard work to keep the soil free of weeds. Sadly lots of spraying is done, because I hardly saw any insects (accept very large beetles, sitting in the center of the rose flowers). The roses where covered in a blue layer of Bordeaux mixture and maybe that also is the reason that not many insects survive this treatment.
I was fortunate to meet Antonella Fineschi, one of the daughters of Gianfranco Fineschi, and we had a nice talk about the roses, the problems and the responsibility of inheriting the rosarium (a private rosarium without subsidies) and just roses in general. Of the 4 full days I was in the rosarium, I’ve spent three and a half at the Old Roses section and more specific at the Moss Roses part. The first two days were a bit cloudy, but the temperature was a warm 27 to 30 degrees. On the third day I noticed that the Moss Roses where already starting to fade a bit, so I was glad that I got to there just in time. I love the Old Roses, but for us rose lovers there is only a short time each year to enjoy their flowers.
I don’t think that we ever had so many of the old roses flowering by the end of April, but due to the mild winter lots of roses are starting to bloom. Only the real old ones, like the Gallicas, Albas and Mosses are waiting a bit longer.
Last year I had to wait until mid June to see the first flowers in the old roses. This year it will be exciting if there will be flowers left when I visit the rosarium in Sangerhausen in June. Next week I’m going to Italy to see the rosarium of Fineschi in Cavriglia and I’m hoping to see the old roses there on their very best. I’m looking forward to be seeing the Moss roses that are growing there, as of course all the other roses.
With this year’s mild winter I’ve started pruning the climbing roses New Dawn and Blairii no 2 early, but not to drastically. Because my garden is facing North I never prune my roses very hard, in order to make life not too difficult for them. Thus they can profit the most (I think) from the sun, since most of the sun only reaches the top branches.
The other Old shrub roses in my home garden require for know only the removing of dead wood, with the exception of the English rose Gertrud Jekyll. I find that the English roses need harsh pruning in order to maintain their shape.
I can’t wait to see the roses bloom and smell the heavenly fragrances.
Not all the seeds of La Belle Sultane have germinated yet, but the little rose babies are growing rapidly and are doing fine under the growlight. Also I was very happy to see that two seeds of the moss rose Général Kleber have germinated last week; hopefully some more will follow soon.
Already a few seeds of La Belle Sultane have sprouted and the first true leaves are starting to unfold. For me this is truly a miracle to see.
A few seeds of La Belle Sultane were left in the plastic bag and today I saw that some of these seeds also have begun to sprout. The seeds of Général Kleber are still dormant, but I’ve decided that they probably have been long enough in the refrigerator and I have put these seeds in pellets and placed them under the growlight. I’m very anxious to see if the seeds of this moss rose will germinate and maybe grow into a new moss rose.
Today the first sign of germination of the seeds from La Belle Sultane, after being in the refrigerator since November 2013. The seeds of Général Kléber are also looking promising. They will have to stay for another week or so in the refrigerator. I have placed the seeds of La Belle Sultane in small peat pellets and placed them in a plastic container, covered with a transparent lid under a grow light. I read that the light should be on for 16 hours a day.
Hopefully in six to eight weeks the rose babies form their first bud and can I see the color of the bloom.
This winter so far is a very mild one. Exactly one year ago we had temperatures of minus 18 degrees Celcius; today it is some 10 degrees Celcius in the day time and 5 degrees at night. I’m sure winter will eventually arrive, but every day that we have these mild temperatures are fine by me. Side effect of course is that the roses allready are starting to sprout. This week the roses that I ordered last year from rose nursery De Bierkreek were delivered and today was a perfect day for planting five of the six new moss roses. The roots of the roses were this time beautifully wrapped in compost and plastic and the tips of the stems are dipped in wax, as to prevent them from drying out. It also saves time in digging; because of the compactness of the roots I don’t have to dig extra big holes, for spreading out the bare roots. It wil be interesting to see if there is a difference in growth for the first year.
Today I’ve planted ‘Centifolia Muscosa’, ‘Marie de Blois’, ‘Pelisson’, ‘Soupert et Notting’ and ‘Zoë’. The sixth rose, ‘Whichmoss’, a Hybrid moss Wichurana, is temporarily ensiled, pending her planting in my homegarden. I’m very anxious to see how all these beautiful moss roses wil develop in the coming years. Luckily this year I can rent some more land adjacent to my plot, so hopefully more (moss)roses will find their way to my garden in the near future.
The first ‘new’ ordered roses arrived this week and Friday was a perfect sunny day for planting. After clearing the plot by removing the runner beans and lots of weeds I found a nice place for ‘Précoce’ and ‘Mme Clémence Beauregard’. For the white moss rose ‘Blanche Double’ I found a good place near the purple ‘Cardinal de Richelieu’ and the soft pink Hybrid rugosa ‘mme Ballu’.
When planting I noticed that the hips wich where still on ‘Blanche Double’ where very smooth and that the plant itself is very thorny; not at all like a moss rose, but more like a Centifolia (or like the Autumn Damask ‘Quatre Saisons’). Now I’m afraid that this rose sadly is not the real ‘Blanche Double’. Maybe it is the Centifolia ‘Unique Blanche’, only that is something I will probably discover next year, when the plant will be in flower.
The owner of the nursery where I bought this rose, said it is a rare rose, which she had for the first time. When she took the rose out for me, she also noticed that the hips looked like a Portland or a Damask. That could be normal, because there are mosses, that have damask genes. She decided to watch this rose, because she is especially interested in Portlands and Damask. So now there are two ‘detectives’ watching this rose next year.