Robert Stoney introduces us to Barnsley Gardens and the home created by Godfrey Barnsley in the 1840's and 50's. Barnsley created a showplace for plants and gardening at that time and under the direction of Robert it is a showplace today. Barnsley loved and specialized in Roses. We look at many of Barnsleys' Roses today and discuss how to prune them, how to feed them and discuss disease control. Robert prefers these Old Time Roses because they are survivors, many of them date back to the 16th century. Most, though, were developed and bred in the 18th and 19th century. They are remarkably hardy, very few develop Black Spot or Mildew and they have a wonderful fragrance.
Robert shows us Old Blush or Monthly Rose. This Rose comes in flushes of blooms every month. It is the last Rose of the summer and often will flower into December. It dates to the later part of the 18th century and has been used in breeding a great number of old fashioned Roses. Another Rose that would have been in Barnsley's collection is the Chestnut Rose, so called because the little buds, before the flower opens, look exactly like chestnuts. This Rose came from China in the later part of the 18th century and is resistant to diseases. In the winter it has a chest nutty exfoliated bark and looks quite decorative. It is a large Rose and makes a wonderful hedgerow because it creates a terrific barrier because it is well armed with thorns. The Chinese Variable Rose changes color as the bloom ages. It starts out as a bud rather Apricot in color, then turns a creamy yellow, over the coarse of two days it darkens to pink, eventually changing to a deep Cerise color.
The Green Rose is more a curiosity than beauty but a signature plant for Barnsley Gardens. It produces masses of Calyx like leaflets and has a smell of freshly ground pepper. The Galica Rose dates way back in history and has a wonderful aroma. These Roses are not repeat bloomers, they bloom in the spring only. They have a wonderful perfume, a combination of scent of musk and attar of Roses. The foliage is clean and free of diseases, resistant to what nature might throw at it. The Moss Rose dates back to the last kings and queens of France, the last part of the 18th century. Its' history is tangible.
Empress Josephine, made roses more famous and popular than anyone else. The plants we have today date back to early times because these plants came from cuttings from other plants all the way back to the original plant one of which might have been grown in Josephine's garden. These Roses are a piece of history, more tangible and satisfying than something in a museum. New Dawn is the one concession to the 20th century at Barnsley Gardens. This Rose is a climber and will cover the arbor. To train its' growth push the sprays and branches up through or over the wires and lodge them there.
Robert feels that one thing a gardener should do is make time to sit back and enjoy your garden. There is always something else to do, but appreciate the display.
Mermaid, is a large, sprawling, vigorous, climber. It needs a lot of space but has a gorgeous, big, single bloom with five pedals. It has a lemon perfume with bud after bud appearing. Big black ants have started to work on the buds this year, eating the nectar at the base of the petal. Robert will take a wait and see approach to see if the problem persists before treating with anything.
Although most Old Roses are resistant to disease, Robert notices one with Downy Mildew. Normally his cure for this disease would be to try another variety of Rose, one less susceptible to Mildew. This Rose variety called Vanity gets Mildew every year. Mildew is caused by poor air circulation and stop and go growing conditions. Particularly in the early spring when there is vigorous growth, then cold. The plant slows and Mildew starts. If possible "evenize" the growing conditions by judicious watering or increased ventilation. If that fails you can use bio-compatible sprays. These won't hurt the beneficial bugs and bees, dogs or children and are widely available in garden shops. You can make your own mixture by mixing baking soda and oil. In a gallon of water add a teaspoon of baking soda, then add a drop of Canola or most edible oils and a drop of vinegar. Spray the mix on the plants till the liquid drops off the leaves. Do this every 7-10 days if the problem comes back, which is rare. Don't put too much oil in the mix because it can scorch the leaves. This should clear Mildew from Roses very well.
Robert discusses a Rose with three problems, Rust, Mildew and Black spot. All three diseases are caused by poor circulation and generally speaking from reinfection of diseases. Garden hygiene is important. You'll probably never completely rid your garden and Roses of Black Spot. Clear leaves and debris from underneath every Rose bush to stop or at least slow the reinfection process. The bio-compatible fungicide mentioned earlier works well on these diseases, as does Flower Sulfur. The most effective method is choosing Rose varieties that are resistant to the above diseases.
A trouble free Rose is Polyanthus Rose, Pearl Door. It is resistant to Black Spot, Rust and Mildew. It has an Apricot bloom and a beautiful, light perfume. It remains a neat, small shrub rose.
Pruning Roses is easy. It is always a good time of year to cut dead wood from roses. It is probably best in late spring because you can see what is dead wood and what isn't.
Deadheading gives you a chance to be near your Roses and enjoy them. Deadheading encourages the flowers to continue blooming. Take off the entire head (not just the dead petals) with the fruiting body, the little fruit behind the rose. That tricks the Rose into thinking that it hasn't set seed and it tries to produce new seeds, or flowers, thereby encouraging flowering throughout the summer. To do this you can use pruners or scissors, either bare handed or with gloves, whatever is more comfortable to you.
Climbing Polyantha Rose, Platulus Superb, is a wonderful Rose, very rampant, different habit, unruly and tends to sprawl. It has a wonderful scent and a repeat bloomer, it will go on all summer. In Wet weather, a wet spring, it bulls and the Roses may stop at the bud stage and never open. They have Boytritis, which is mold which causes the flowers to just brown and drop off. Deadheading, removing the infected buds, will allow the plant to produce blooms later in the summer.
Godfrey Barnsley died just short of his 70th birthday, in 1873. He was an extraordinary businessman and horticulturist with a particular fondness for Roses. On his gravestone is his family crest, a Yorkshire Rose and the Latin inscription which roughly translated says "As the Rose, so is life." Sometimes thorny and sometimes fragrant."
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