GardenSmart :: EPISODES :: 2005 show11
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Show #11

This week we visit Barnsley Gardens in Adairsville Georgia. The gardens of this historic estate have been brought back to the grandeur of earlier times. Today we'll learn about Heirloom Roses, Clematis and other flowering shrubs.

Danny Flanders the garden writer for the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the largest daily newspaper in the Southeast, introduces us to Barnsley Gardens. He has traveled the state for 7 years in search of great gardens. Along the way he has discovered that Georgia really is a gardener's paradise, especially in the spring when Dogwoods, Azaleas and all sorts of flowering shrubs and trees are in their full glory. Georgia is conducive to gardening year round. The top half of the state is in zone 7, the lower half in zone 8 with Atlanta straddling the line. The biggest challenge is battling the rock hard red clay. Georgia gardeners have plenty of resources to help them get through gardening obstacles. Places like the University of Georgia, which offers degrees in horticulture and landscaping, there are botanical gardens in Athens and Atlanta as well as beautiful gardens such as Callaway and Barnsley Gardens throughout the state. Barnsley is unique in many ways, it has the ruins and the great horticulture history, it is a very unique experience. One of the great features of Barnsley Gardens is their Roses and companion plants. Clematis and other Perennial companion plants make Barnsley a gardeners paradise. It is a symphony and the conductor is Robert Stoney.

Robert Stoney is the horticulturist at Barnsley Gardens, he is from the British Isles and an expert in restoring old gardens. When people think of old gardens they usually think of Roses and there are some beautiful heirloom varieties here. He likes Roses because they're hardy and have a wonderful perfume. Many of the newer varieties have had the scent bred out of them.

We first look at a climber, Madame Gregoire Staechelin. Although a difficult name it is worth growing. It has a stunning show of lovely pink blossoms, the kind that hang down allowing you to see into their faces. It has a delicate perfume, like sweat peas. Robert feels that this Rose might grow as far North as Southern Vermont but because it is early flowering it could need protection from a late frost. This is a climber and gardeners always wonder about pruning climbing Roses. The number 1 tip is to train it laterally, in other words get the shoots to grow horizontally because that way anything that develops along that branch will develop into a blossom. This plant is on a trellis, it is anchored every 2 feet with wire in between. This provides plenty of opportunity to tie it up, then take out old growth or dead or diseased growth. That is a great tip. When pruning climbing Roses create a lot of laterals that are the side branches because that is where you get a lot of flowers. Trellis it against a wall or fence somewhere you can keep it vertical. If it gets injured in cold temperatures cut those back in the Spring and let it start growing.

We next look at a Zephirine Drouhin. It is a magnificent early and repeat bloomer. It has a strong pink color, a wonderful fragrance and it is thornless. It works well anywhere in the landscape, in this case Robert has it in a swimming pool area. Robert has placed nasturtium near by and they work well together. The bright orange and hot pink go well together, it would also work well with a bright yellow. Robert, for effect, likes to keep hot colors with other hot colors.

We next look at a Cherokee Rose and they are at their peak. It is a Species Rose, the botanical name is Rosa Laevigata. It is a single blossom, very different from the earlier Roses because they were double blossoms. Species Roses are different than cultivated Roses. Species Roses are wild Roses. Cultivated Roses are normally bred with the wild varieties and another variety producing an all new variety. Again, these are Species Roses, the state flower of Georgia. These are as you would see them in the wild. This is a big brute of a Rose, one you would enjoy in a park or if you had a security issue. It has formidable thorns and no one would want to come through, once planted. That is a great tip. If you need Roses as a boundary between properties or to block an unsightly view Species Roses work well because they get big and bushy, they have thorns and no one is going to go through them. This Rose has a lot of laterals that are the side branches. Little shoots come off those as well as the main lateral. This means there are Roses on top of Roses. As well the flowers come in sequence thus there are buds mixed in with the flowers. This bush will provide flowers for quite a while.

Some of the Roses grown at Barnsley Gardens are the same as were grown in the 1840's. We know that because there are wonderful records, plant lists and receipts, for the old mansion. Although many of the plants have died out in the intervening years they've managed to track down those plants and started them again. Old Blush, or monthly Rose, is an ancient Rose and is called this because it comes in flushes of blooms roughly every month or so. Very often it is the first Rose to come into bloom in the Spring and in this area it can finish blooming into November or even Christmas if the weather is mild. It is a beautiful cascading, climbing Rose. This Rose does have a problem. In this part of the country fungal disease is commonplace. Although Robert tries to pick disease resistant varieties Black Spot can still be a problem. Choosing disease resistant Rose varieties would be the first line of defense but lacking that ventilation is important. Black Spot is propagated from one year to the next by the spores on the dead leaves underneath the plant. If you remove the dead leaf litter and replace it with mulch, putting in fresh mulch every year you will break the cycle and they shouldn't be as badly re-infected. Sprays are also effective. Charlie likes the more organic sprays, things like baking soda and sulfur, Nemoil also is effective. But, remember it is best to use these as a preventative because it is harder to get rid of the problem once infected.

Most people think when you dead head a rose that you go back to the 5th leaflet leaf, back to the bud so the bud will form more flowers. Recent research has shown that all you should do is snip off the flower right below the petals. Don't go back to the 5th leaflet leaf, by doing this you keep more of the leaves on the bush giving it more energy to produce flowers.

There are lots of products for fertilizing Roses and Roses need fertilizing for the best blooms. A household product that works well is Epsom Salt. The Magnesium Sulfate in Epsom Salts is great for Roses. All you do is take a half cup of Epsom Salt Crystals and sprinkle it around the Rose, once in the Spring and once in the Fall. That will be enough when you water it in to get those blooms going. The only thing to be concerned about is if you have high magnesium levels in your soil. It is always a good idea to have your soil tested periodically.

Another great old Rose is Perle D'or which is French for "pearl of Gold". Robert thinks it is more peachy than gold but it still is a delightful Rose and it is Black Spot resistant. It stays more like a shrub so it's great to have around the front or your house or mixed in with a perennial border. It will repeat bloom, blooming all Summer long.

Abraham this week takes a wood picture frame and gives it a distressed antique finish. He starts by sanding. He will keep the black base coat but scuffs it a little. He then adds a nice yellow cream color to give it a little lightness yet doesn't take away from the photo of the rose garden. Once the paint dries he again sands lightly, rubbing off the edges allowing some of the black to come through. When Abraham is done the frame has a distressed look. He then adds a glaze to the crevices to give it more character.

We next look at a Clematis, Nelly Moser. It is a wonderful old standard with a large flower and is very reliable and easy to grow. It has bloomed early this year but normally blooms late Spring to mid Summer and will produce flushes all the way through. It flowers on new and old wood but will flower better on old wood. A good tip to remember-when growing Clematis - different varieties have different flowering habits. Some flower on new wood, which means the growth that came up that Spring, some flower on old wood which means the growth from the past year. It is important to know which one you have because if pruning them and you prune off the old wood the plant will then not flower much that year. If in doubt, just shape it up after it's finished flowering. In November Robert created a string trellis for this plant, this provides needed support. Once it gets going it will cling to its surroundings. Its leaves or tendrils act as a support. Clematis like good fertile, slightly moist soil and they "like to have their heads in the sun and their feet in the shade." Some people place a big flagstone on top of the root to keep it cool. In this case the root goes underneath the porch and that provides the cool roots and of course the head in the sun. It looks great behind the Pampas Grass, the contrast between the two is attractive. Robert next shows Charlie a beautiful burgundy Clematis. This is Niobe and is a wonderful deep velvety purple. This also starts flowering late Spring to mid-summer and will go on blooming all the way through the year. It is a Jackmanii hybrid, has large flowers and it flowers on new wood as well as old wood. The foliage is attractive and Clematis is normally disease free. One disease, Clematis Wilt, is usually caused by poor soil. The soil is normally not well drained allowing fungal disease to get in and attack the shoots. To correct this make sure your soil is well drained, maybe add gravel or put mulch down and make sure the plant is in full sun. Even if a shoot or 2 dies back don't worry, it is such a vigorous plant it will come back. This Clematis looks great next to a Lilac tree. If you cut them early in the day it is possible to bring Clematis indoors. Chill the water, put the bloom in and float it in the dish. It is very decorative.

Grancy Greybeard or Fringe Tree, Chionanthus is a great plant. In the Spring it produces a wonderful white froth of blooms, it has very finely cut petals which don't look like petals rather almost like hair on a beard. It blooms for several weeks in the Spring then it is rather nondescript the rest of the year. But it provides a wonderful show when in bloom. It grows to about 12 feet tall and 10 feet wide and is a native in the South. It is always prudent to remember the flowering period for flowering shrubs. Determine, does it bloom in Spring, Summer or even Fall or Winter and is that a time you could use color and is the plant sufficiently attractive the rest of the year to warrant planting in your yard.

We next view some Azaleas. The native Azaleas have a wonderful smell. This one is based on Rhododendron Austrinum, it is a Florida Azalea and has a wonderful perfume. It comes in a variety of colors all the way from light pale yellow to hot yellows to orange to scarlet. These are easy and trouble free plants. They grow to about 6 feet in height. Just put them in and as long as they're mulched they do fine. They are shallow rooted plants so and don't use herbicides, weed killers, because the roots could be effected. They are normally under-story plants thus do well in partial or half sun. They tend to flower better in half sun rather than deep shade. They like a low PH, something around 4 or 5 thus in other parts of the country they will usually need the soil amended. If you can keep the PH around 4.5 they can do well. They will grow up to Canada, it is just a matter of selecting the right Azalea group. Since there over 30 different groups of Azaleas, there should be one that's right for you.

There are some exciting new hybrids available. One is called Southern Indica and is native to the South and based on a plant native to India. One variety is called George L. Taber and has a beautiful pink, bell shaped flower. It is stunning when you look down the throat and see the marbled red. Although it looks like a Rhododendron it is in fact an Azalea. It's deciduous which means it looses its leaves in the winter. There is a pure white variety, GG Gerbing. It has a massive white blossom which almost completely covers the plant.

We saw some natives and some hybrids. Robert likes both. The natives are great if you like the pure strain and they have wonderful fragrances. The hybrids are slightly more showy and reliable. But they are both good in their own way.

Thank you Robert for showing us Barnsley Gardens. It has been a joy to visit. We hope our viewers will see and enjoy the beauty of Barnsley Gardens. Links:

Barnsley Gardens

Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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