Pictures of the "back 40" this year

nippstress - zone 5 NebraskaJuly 11, 2014

Hi folks

OK, when I'd posted pictures contrasting my spring garden with last year's magnificent flush, I had some requests to show photos of this years back yard roses, aka "the back 40". I kept waiting for them to feel brag-worthy, which using last year as a comparison wasn't ever going to happen. The amount of surviving cane contrast between last year and this couldn't be more extreme, and even though we've had sufficient rain so far this summer, it just can't compare.

Still, nothing can keep a rose gardener from taking pictures, and it obviously doesn't take too much prodding to get me to show them. I've gotta say, though, if it weren't for the clematis and daylilies and hydrangeas and phlox, this summer would be decidedly "meh" in the flower department. Let's hear it for a diversified garden, eh?

A few of the climbers put on a modest show, including Laguna and Madame Bovary in the foreground, and Bonica and Cornelia duking it out behind.

Thank heavens for the shade garden - for some reason the mix of foliage and flowers always seems to look good and holds the eye. Here the hybrid musks rule, with Heavenly Pink and Petite de Terre de Franche in the foreground, Gartendirektor Otto Linne making a little hot pink statement, Darlow's Enigma holding down the rear as always, and my usually dependable Wilhelm prostrate on the ground with the barest of one visible reddish bloom.

The two of those areas combine with some other part shade bloomers to make a reasonably good flush for the season (Rosarium Uetersen is in the foreground with Smiling Jean just behind).

The rest of the yard is just scattered isolated blooms like this below. Honestly, if it weren't for the clematis and geraniums, all you'd notice in this photo would be the leaf bags and wheelbarrow at the back (always lurking in my yard).

Another version of the scattered blooms - this is probably 10 roses with about 10 blooms, except for The Prince's Trust at the back in the red. Otherwise, it's the clematis again you notice.

So what am I complaining about, eh? Nothing, of course - there are blooms. It's just that this was the same area in front of the shed last year (sigh). Things will grow...


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Beautiful, Cynthia! I'm envious! Kim

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 2:49AM
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catsrose(VA 6)

I wish my back 40 looked like that!

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 7:27AM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

Cynthia, the casual blooms here and there have a charm all their own--not the same as a bed bursting with rose blooms, but definitely a charm of its own anyway. I like your backyard beds--but I'm also partial to mixed beds. Guess that comes from growing mostly perennials for 20 some years and then expanding into roses during the last 10 years. I'd never complain that my clematis and hardy garden phlox and daylilies and hydrangea were blooming--they are exciting also.

But yes, after our brutal winter, I too wish the roses would pick up steam and burst into glorious blooms. Instead, they are like my Mystic Beauty (Bourbon)--only a foot high, but bravely putting out a bloom or two every day. I was expecting it this year to reach 3.5 ft high and wide and be covered in multitudes of blooms.

I just hope none of my roses runs out of energy before the summer is over. After all, minimal bloom is better than no bloom.

Hang in there, Cynthia--you have wonderful gardens and I really enjoyed looking at your backyard.


    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 7:44AM
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seil zone 6b MI

Wish I had a back 40 and it looked half that good!

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 9:42AM
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*swoon* Can I come hang out in your backyard?

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 11:21AM
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I would be satisfied if my garden looked as beautiful as your back 40 which btw doesn't look like any back 40 I've ever seen lol.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 12:27PM
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Kippy(SoCal zone 10. Sunset Zone 24)

I love your back 40! It feels cool and refreshing. The shade and nice green grass......

Our lower 40 is wood chips, a big upgrade from dust and dirt, but boy do I wish grass was something I could consider. You might not think it looks like you wish, but many of us wish our front 40 looked so green. Of course not reasonable for us in irrigated deserts but that does not mean we can not enjoy your yard.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 12:46PM
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Desertgarden- Las Vegas, Z8b @ 2800 ft.

Beautiful! Everything looks so healthy.

May I ask the name of the pink rose seems on the last image just behind the white rose in the foreground?


This post was edited by desertgarden561 on Sat, Jul 12, 14 at 13:34

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 12:50PM
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And I am interested to know the name of the white rose in the same pic. Garden is just lovely.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 4:05PM
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jim1961 Zone 6a Central Pa.

All in all Nippstress! It looks fantastic to me!

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 6:58PM
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ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9

Cynthia, trust me, compared to my garden yours is a lush paradise. You probably don't realize that green is a wonderful color too. I've nearly forgotten what it looks like but, believe me, it makes a world of difference, and makes the flowers look so much better. Thank you for giving the "thirsty" gardeners among us something so pretty to look at.


    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 8:51PM
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nippstress - zone 5 Nebraska

Thanks for your kind comments and it really does help to see my own yard through your eyes. I'd forgotten by this point that hot places like California are scorched beyond recognition, and I certainly can't be sorry for having enough green this year. Sympathies on the ongoing drought Ingrid, Kippy, Kim, Lynn, and all!

You're right Kate that the scattered blooms have a charm of their own and I should be appreciating the fact that I notice each and every bloom. It's much easier to disbud the sneaky buds trying to grow on my first year plants, since the established ones are not much higher, and they stand out. My DH is loving the fact that the plants are all the same (short) height this year and he thinks I did this on purpose to neaten them up. Yes, I did trim them back when we had the house painted, but mostly I couldn't help it with everything dying or dying back to its roots (right, Seil??) I go ahead and take the credit anyway (smile).

And yes, let's not dis the plants that do grow and flower this time of year! I've just been out planting around 65 daylilies to fill in around the poor kneehigh roses, so that when they do have years with these scattered blooms the roses don't look so lonesome. Somehow to me daylilies pack a powerful punch of color that is really needed in July, and they make a nice counterpart to roses since they couldn't be easier to take care of and thrive in my zone. My Blue Paradise phlox is glowing neon against the hydrangeas in the shade area now, and that one alone is worth the price of admission for me.

Oh yes, the white rose in the last picture is Champagne Moment (Kordes) and the pink is Dame des Chenonceau (Tantau). They're in the front of this big bed because somewhere I read they were supposed to be no more than 3 feet tall. Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!! The only thing that keeps them lower than my head is ruthless pruning back as soon as an octopus arm finishes blooming. I was just out today trimming a good 3 feet off Champagne Moment today, and the plus side is that both plants branch out extremely well from wherever I cut, so I have to make sure to try to cut them back lower than I want them to bloom or they start eating the fence again. Not a bad problem to have, particularly in this slow year!

Thanks for all the encouragement!


    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 12:21AM
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Kes Z 7a E Tn

Cynthia, I am so impressed with your shade garden! If you don't mind my asking, how much shade does it get? I wonder if I have a spot for Heavenly Pink and Smiling Jean? Your lovely garden makes them look so tempting.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 12:42PM
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nippstress - zone 5 Nebraska

Hi Kes - heavens, we're all happy to talk roses here so I'm glad you asked. This bed is mostly "part shade" meaning that it gets at least a few hours every day of direct sun and filtered sun off and on the rest of it. The shade is provided by two limbed-up pine trees (you can see one at the back of the main shade picture). Darlow's Enigma - the tall white bush you can just see at the back of that photo - gets nothing but filtered sun since he's directly under the trees. He seems quite happy about that and blooms throughout the summer.

You can tell the garden is more shade than sun by looking at how happy the hostas and forget-me-nots and coral bells are. A few feet behind Smiling Jean, I'd taken out a sorry looking tree and the hostas I had there got more than 4 hours of direct sun and started browning, so I had to move them. I'd guess that Smiling Jean gets more sun than Heavenly Pink, but both get some direct sun as they are on the edge of the shade. Mostly that's a good rule of thumb for even shade tolerant roses - they'd like at least some direct sun if they can get it, so planting them at the edge of the shade usually works better.

I think both would work nicely for you, and those two are among the top 10 most dependable all-summer bloomers for me among my 750+ roses. You have to keep trimming back the clusters of blooms on Heavenly Pink, and it likes to sprawl (that's all one bush in the photo and it will get wider if I don't prune back). Smiling Jean stays a nicely compact bush of no more than 3' X 3' in my zone, less if I prune it back. It literally blooms all summer and appreciates deadheading but will even bloom without it.

BTW, I took the liberty of checking to see who sells them. Angel Gardens is listed as selling both, and Rogue Valley sells Smiling Jean. I don't know if they're in stock but both are great reliable companies. Nothing like a little enabling from your GardenWeb buddies!


    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 4:01PM
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Kes Z 7a E Tn

Thank you! The spot I have in mind gets several hours of direct sun and dappled shade the rest of the day. One rose that is doing well there is "Little Mischief", new this year, and another is "Sweet Chariot" which I've had for 7 or 8 yrs. At one time I also had the ARE rose "Winecup" planted there and it did well for years too, until the attack of the killer voles. Granted, they would flower more in full sun, but they still flower well enough to look nice and they seem healthy.

I think that I may put one or the other (or maybe both) of your roses my list for next spring.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 11:26AM
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I hope Smiling Jean is as bullet proof for you there as it is here. Absolutely spotless in this climate and it endures quite a bit of shade and neglect. Sean McCann did well when he raised this one. I wish he knew what the parents were. That seems a cross well worth repeating! Kim

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 1:47PM
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nippstress - zone 5 Nebraska

Sounds like you have a great plan, and some success already in the spot you have in mind, Kes. Do share some pictures with us when you get that area expanded!

Kim, I have to agree on the bullet proof nature of Smiling Jean - not a speck of blackspot in my zone, and a tough lovely rose all around. Ironically, I got this one as a bonus rose from Ashdown in their later years because it wasn't selling well yet and Paul thought I might enjoy this one. I try to return the favor by recommending it whenever I can, as it's an absolute keeper!


    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 3:37PM
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I'm glad Cynthia! Sean has made some extremely good roses which seem destined to disappear, unfortunately. He's a wonderful gentleman and a good friend. This one appears to be one of his best for vigor and health. I cherish it. Kim

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 3:47PM
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Cynthia - It's beautiful and everything looks so healthy.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 5:57PM
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