The Reasons to put grafted part above the ground?

sage_co(z5CO)November 29, 2010

I understand that the bud union of the grafted rose should be at least 2 inches below the soil level in my zone 5 climate to protect from freezing temperature. However, in summer, we don't dig the soil 2 inch to expose this bud union.

So, in warm climate, why is it necessary to expose this bud union above the soil when planting? Is it important to expose to the sun or air? If so, why in a colder climate we don't do that in summer? What happened if you bury the bud union 2 inches below in a warmer climate zone?

It has been bothering me since it sounds like contradiction.

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This is likely to produce many conflicting theories... In my experience, burying the bud union shortens the life of the budded plant in my year round growing season. It reduces the number of new basals each year, causing the plant to more rapidly become geriatric and go into old age decline. Keeping the union above the mulch and soil levels and exposing it to the light encourages the plant to renew itself, keeping it more juvenile longer, hence more productive.

Until recently, many modern roses didn't perform well own root. They didn't have to as budding was the preferred method of production. As costs increased and more have been offered own root, that won't be as great an issue.

You are advised to bury your unions so they don't freeze, causing you to lose the rose you want. Sometimes, the buried modern rose canes can root and the stock die out. If you uncover the union in summer, you could well disturb or destroy those roots and without the stock, kill the plant. With a shorter season, why take the chance? It all boils down to what you should do to make the rose exist, and hopefully perform in your climate.

I've had many roses get buried here due to erosion and mulching and none of them have performed as well as those which didn't end up planted too deeply. Own roots as well as budded just haven't performed nor lasted as long with that treatment. Personally, I don't do it and take steps to avoid it, but "cold" here is high 30s for a few hours! LOL! You do what you have to do.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2010 at 2:27AM
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Roses do seem to do differently if you get enough cold weather. Blooms and basal breaks don't seem to be an issue in our garden--everything blooms in the Spring, even struggling single caners, and roses known to be stingy in warmer zones, like Geoff Hamilton. The closest issue I've seen is some old garden roses with canes that don't die back during the winter--they won't have new basal breaks unless pruned.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2010 at 6:18AM
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You're encouraged to bury it in Zone 5 to prevent losing the budded variety...that's why there are so many Dr. Huey's around my town blooming once and then suffering blackspot! And yes, burying it may lead to the budded variety establishing its own roots (a good thing)...but the reason you don't want to dig every summer to expose the bud union is that you're liable to accidently damage the union and any new canes coming from it. I don't know if I've seen a study that suggest whether or not more basal breaks occur if the bud is may be that Zone 10 gardeners just have more basal breaks then we poor zone 5-challenged gardeners. Zone 10 certainly has more growing time in a year!

And roseseek, I'm not sure that the statement "Until recently, many modern roses didn't perform well own root" is correct. They perform fine own-root. The primary reason most roses were budded is for ease and rapidity of production (i.e. commercial reasons). Yes, the bloom size may be bigger on a budded rose for rose shows, but overall, the move to own-root is being driven by the pocketbooks of gardeners who are tired of loosing the roses they purchased. Many modern Hybrid Teas perform better in Zone 5 on their own roots.

Here is a link that might be useful: Garden Musings

    Bookmark   November 29, 2010 at 9:50AM
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Thanks professorroush. My observation was based upon growing many own root in my old Newhall garden. If you'd like, look at the link below to see what was in that canyon for eighteen years. I went through a number of OGRs, which, as long as they were climatically suited to the area, did pretty much what they were expected to do. Modern roses, as long as they were vigorous varieties to begin with and would root, performed acceptably. There were quite a few introduced from the early 1950s through the 80s which honestly weren't that good own root and performed much better when budded. It was particularly the case when you grow the odd colors, what I have always called "Coffee Roses". There was an Australian nursery woman in the 70s and 80s who punned that the odd colors she offered were more akin to coffee than tea, and I took up her banner. Very few of the gray, green or brown roses grew well own root. It wasn't until McGredy introduced Brown Velvet that there was any real vigor to the class. They would all root, including Meilland's Fantan, but very few made anything more than a weak polyantha type plant. Not there is anything wrong with polyanthas at all, but when you are expecting a Hybrid Tea plant and you can only get the thing to develop into an 18" weakling with thin, wispy wood, something is not right.

In our alkaline soil with our hard, salty water, violet roses tend to be terminally chlorotic. MANY are quite bad here for that reason. Reine des Violettes, Baby Faurax, Moore's Blue Mist and very many others, were nearly white leaved with white flowers in that canyon unless I worked copious amounts of peat moss into their planting beds, as if I was trying to grow Camellias and Azaleas, and mulched with Ironite. It wasn't until I hit upon using Cardinal Hume as a root stock for them that I could grow them there without extreme, acidifying measures. Rugosas were horribly chlorotic there, too, much worse than their general hatred of desert conditions.

I've always been an own root proponent. Too many "accidents" occur releasing Dr. Huey everywhere. What one person saw as Huey escaped due to freeze damage, I see here due to landscrapers "cultivating" the soil under roses. They break the surface feeder roots of the stocks and far too many more established gardens in our area are forests of Dr. Huey from the broken roots.

I agree, it was cost cutting and speed to market with larger plants that prompted the market shift to budded plants. If it wasn't so labor intensive, requiring as many people as it does, it would still be the preferred method. Homeowners losing budded plants is probably less of a motive for the shift than the fact a handful of people can produce millions of own root plants in computer controlled green houses in little time versus dozens being required over a two year period and many acres of land for two years using traditional methods. What Bill DeVore does with his handful of people at Greenheart is truly amazing. It's going to be very interesting watching the evolution of the rose industry here and the necessary education of the American public to shift from our long held demand for Grade 1 bare roots to the smaller, own root plants we're very likely going to have to embrace to make it sufficiently profitable for the industry to survive.

Here is a link that might be useful: A Hidden Sanctuary

    Bookmark   November 29, 2010 at 3:14PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

I thought crown gall was more of a problem in warm climates when the bud union was buried, but that is mere intuitive speculation.

Most of mine have the budunions below ground. The majority especially the Austins have produced their own root system. The soil is loose and silty here, not the normal heavy clay. Perhaps that helps.

In this garden, the cultivars which are highly reluctant to produce new basals on Dr H. are either also highly reluctant to produce new basals on their own ('Royal Highness', 'Mr. Lincoln') OR produce a lot more basals on their own roots ('Tamora' oh my goodness a gallica-like thicket). Again the Austins are new-basal champs--perhaps from the Gallica and Noisette mixed into them?

At a talk, Carruth said the economics of ownroot vs. grafted are the economics of material (grafted = 1 budeye vs own-root is a piece of material that may contain 3-5 budeyes) vs. the economics of labor (sticking the cuttings in the ground vs. the labor of grafting which is paid via piecework).

    Bookmark   November 29, 2010 at 3:49PM
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michaelg(7a NC Mts)

When I changed from partially exposing the grafts to burying them, I noticed no change except the vast saving of labor from not having to winter protect and uncover. I've been keeping this particular garden for 30 years, and the only plant that seemed to decline from the graft wearing out was one planted with the graft on grade. Buried grafts will spread out and renew themselves.

In warm climates, exposing the graft cuts down on digging and may let the rose start a little faster because the roots are positioned where they want to be rather than too deep. However, roses adapt quickly to changes of grade.

In Florida, Fortuniana grafts must be exposed to prevent own-rooting and consequent nematode problems.

I don't think anyone knows whether sunlight on the graft makes any difference. The notion has never been tested, as far as I know. But wild seedling roses make shoots from the natural crown that develops about 2" below grade.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2010 at 4:01PM
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Light exposure here is more centered on keeping it filtered rather than direct. Our sun is so relentless and intense, it often burns canes making them susceptible to attack from Pacific Flat Head Apple Borers. I lost many roses to them before our State Entymologist identified the problem. Softer pithed varieties are particularly prone to burning.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pacific Flat Head Apple Borer

    Bookmark   November 29, 2010 at 4:16PM
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Everybody, thank you very much for your very insightful responses. I am learning a lot.

What I am not clear is the plant anatomy and physiology of grafted rose. It seems the grafting is just another stem to grow from the original rose bush stock but not. It suppresses the root stock suckering (unless the scion dies) and 100% take over the plant and prospers.

I took a look at the old grafted area of the established rose bush and found a very strange looking growth,some of them were old-dead, and yet some new growth were popping near by. They were quite large and ugly after few years. So does this grafted area remain healthy if they are exposed over the grade, using this old grafted area as a base of future all the time? If under the grade, new roots may grow from scion and is that a happy ending?

Reading everybody's posts, I started to understand that the crown re-forms near the grade. So the crown is grafted area in the south but, when the grafted area is buried, it forms another above.

However, reading some how-to plant the trees and shrubs, I understand deep planting kills the plants due to suffocation and root rot. They are so harassing-warning not to plant trees too deeply. At the same time, deep planting promotes new root growth from above the crown like young tomato plant.

I plant rose bud unions two inch deep here but also I cover them further with mulch and soil in Fall. Then, I don't uncover the protection in Spring. They seem to be doing OK but my friend urges to uncover, claiming more flowers that way.

I have to print your guys responses and show him. Thanks.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2010 at 12:57AM
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You know, it probably varies with each variety just as fragrance varies with each particular nose. In my climate, underground bud unions just don't work well. In harsher climes, it is necessary. Tomatoes form aerial roots to help stabilize the plant due to the usual indeterminate nature of the plant and the heavy fruiting. Roses don't. I can give you an instance of where a buried union and own rooting was detrimental to the plant. I had an old Roses of Yesterday and Today Lavender Pinocchio which was budded on Huey. It became buried due to erosion of the mulch and hill side in the old garden and the Lavender Pinocchio formed its own roots. I could tell something was up as it declined significantly, rather quickly. The stock did die, no suckers from it ever. The bush took two years to finally wither away as it is NOT one which is as good own root as it is budded. Even budded, it's not a great plant, but it does have wonderful (if you like drab) flowers. Read "subtle, sophisticated" for "drab". I've seen a bed of it and it absorbs light leaving a dead spot in the landscape, but up close, it is marvelous. But, I do like the odd colors.

Another reason not to cover the union for own root would be for suckering types. Budded Rugosas here will nearly perform because the Huey gives them the roots which will make use of our alkalinity. Rugosa roots don't like it and even with their dislike, they try to take over the world, as Rugosas are programmed to. Gallicas and many species would also fall into that group.

I honestly have never had a rose go own root from being buried too deeply create as many basals and regenerate itself as well as they do from the bud union. I have encountered many old budded plants where the center of the bud union had died and rotted out, leaving an atoll of pieces of union with scion still growing fairly well. The "Al's Red" story on Red Radiance's page on Help Me Find was one which had split up and was divided like a chrysanthemum or miniature rose.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2010 at 1:40AM
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My problem with grafts above ground is when they become too woody to send new basals. I have an old plant of Just Joey which is just like that - all the growth comes from two huge woody canes. I will not get any more new basals from that. I do have another old plant of Double Delight whose graft I can no longer see which regularly sends new basals (with Double Delight blooms) from underground. Here is pic of with Just Joey in the upper lefthand corner.

Masha From Antiques May2010

    Bookmark   November 30, 2010 at 1:41PM
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Campanula UK Z8

Well, well, Cardinal Hume. I am going to have a little go at hybridising next year and have equipped myself with this rose and a few hulthemias for fun. Also have a number of species roses such as R.Californica and R.nitida to throw in the mix.Have had a few practice runs growing OP seedlings and am following Jim Sproul's efforts with great interest. Completely dimwitted though, about diploids, triploids and so on and will probably just throw pollen around and hope for something, anything, interesting.
Still, we all have to start somewhere.
Masha, just a thought, try helping the woody growth initiate some basals by partially ringbarking - just a nick, really, to delay the sap from hurtling upwards. You will not damage the plant and quite often, doing this has the effect of extreme bending to encourage flowering laterals on main canes. I have done this on lots of gnarly roses, especially hugely leggy Queen Elizabeths which flower somewhere in the stratosphere.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2010 at 2:07PM
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kstrong(10 So Cal)

Just Joey and some of the other older apricots have always been shy about sending new basals. I wouldn't use that variety as an example of the norm. I always recommend either not pruning that one at all, or if pruned, then not very much, for just that reason -- it is a plant that wants to dog leg, and if you don't let it just go ahead and do that, it will die. Over the Moon is a better plant for exactly that reason -- it does not refuse to grow new basals like Just Joey refuses.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2010 at 2:15PM
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I actually think the variety does not matter in this case. Nothing can send a basal through all this wood.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2010 at 2:18PM
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The only suggestion I would make about causing any break in the bark on the older plants would be to make sure everything is very clean. Crown Gall is rampant in the South West and it makes good use of such wounds. Some years ago, there was an article about using wire brushes on old wood like that pictured, to reduce it and permit the plant to push new basals. This issue was raised then, and the few reports of people using it included increased gall infections. I would think making sure the plant is well nourished and that drainage is good would do more to stimulate any new basals possible. The geriatric wood pictured on Double Delight is very much what I've gotten when unions are buried here, only the new growth coming from them never approximates that which is usual from the union.

Campanula, don't bother with ploidy. Ralph Moore never did and he accomplished some amazing things from just being pragmatic. Do what works. Try everything and use what is given you from your efforts. Beginning with self set seed is excellent. Why waste your efforts creating seed if you aren't sure how to germinate it yet? Doing what you've done also teaches you which of your roses are good "mothers", and potentially "fathers".

When I first asked Mr. Moore about using Fedtschenkoana in breeding, one of my reasons for selecting it was that it is tetraploid, 28 chromosomes, the same as many modern roses, which I figured would make it easier and faster to get results. I also asked what he thought about using Cholchicine, a highly toxic substance from the Sweet Autumn Crocus, which increases the potential for doubling chromosomes, and killing the person using it! He asked why I would want to waste the money and expose myself to such poison "when the rose will always find the way". "Just as soon as you think you know the rules, the rose changes them". He ignored ploidy and even if he never became fabulously wealthy, you have to admit he succeeded in doing things no one else ever did. He observed, listened, explored and experimented. He took advantage of every "break" he found or discovered. Until his death, he never stopped asking, "What if?", which is what kept his mind as young as it was and his body chugging along as long as it did. Even when he couldn't see or hear well, and had great difficulty getting around, he still sat creating potential crosses to carry out as soon as possible.

You're doing much the same. What works here where there is much more intense light and heat, likely won't where you are, and vice versa. But, you can and probably have taken what you've gleaned from those who have gone where you want to do so you have starting points. Watching what works and being pragmatic about it will quickly teach you what's going to succeed for YOU where you are. Even Jim Sproul freely admits his son's chance seedling is as good, if not better than anything he's ever plotted out! It's like that. I believe it was the story about Sheila's Perfume, where the breeder hadn't raised that many seedlings and they grew on his window sill. Instead of tens of thousands being required as stated by many articles about breeding, he raised just a few and hit upon a really GOOD rose in many areas. If I remember the variety incorrectly, I apologize, but the moral of the story remains. "Luck" is often just that, luck. You have as good a chance of being the lucky one as anyone else and you'll probably hit upon breeding choices no one else thought of. Go for it! Just please keep us all up to date on what you've done and how it's worked. It's fascinating seeing things through everyone else's eyes as none of us can make every possible cross, nor are conditions the same for all of us. That's the fun of it! Good luck!

    Bookmark   November 30, 2010 at 5:01PM
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Looking at your woody "Just Joey" picture, I am amazed how HT behaves in a warmer climate. The cane survives year after year and gets too old to produce many flowers.

In my zone, this old cane is dead after Winter and a new basal growth will start in Spring. Although I don't know anything about roses in warmer climate, I am wondering if you can prune the old canes, imitating the winter die-back of Northern climate.

I know, even here, a survived cane of HT, which happens not so often with some varieties like "Blaze" and "Olympiad", never performs well and I have to prune it in the mid season.

But, then again, I assumed your Spring pruning of HT roses are the same as here. I don't prune hardy roses like Canadian roses except to rejuvenate them. As far as I experienced here, pruning does not deter the flowering capability of hardy roses, though the bush size remains small.

So, I am wondering if tender HT gets the same treatment of pruning in warmer climate.

Saying all that, my "Just Joey" planted this year took some time to grow vigorously and, yes, the number of canes are less than the other HTs. For such a huge flowering rose, it is somewhat disappointing to me.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2010 at 11:07PM
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I didn't say too old to produce many blooms, just too woody to send out new basals. And no, I don't think I am going to do any surgery on it, just dig it out once it declines. It blooms just fine off those two canes:-)

    Bookmark   November 30, 2010 at 11:25PM
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That it does! Simply gorgeous!

    Bookmark   December 1, 2010 at 1:41AM
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Now I am wondering if I planted my "Just Joey" too deep. Definitely, this rose performs much better in a warmer climate. I am just jealous :)

    Bookmark   December 1, 2010 at 2:46AM
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Campanula UK Z8

fabulous encouragement, roseseek, thank you so much.There is nothing, absolutely nothing better than advice from a seasoned pro - and i guess you must have started out from scratch yourself at one time. Anyway, I have 400 odd seedlings (already, the labelling has gone awry)so there should be something worth keeping.
Yep, it's true, Mr.Moore was a total one-off and it is with deep disappointment that it is so impossible to source any of his treasures here in the UK (Dresden Doll and Mr.Bluebird and a couple of stripey ones are the most we can get our hands on. I also admire Jack Harkness as a go-to breeder for his innovation and imagination. In some ways, I think a little ignorance can almost be an asset as we then have to rely on our eyes (and, some would say, hearts). Observation is, I swear, a pleasure and not a chore but and a useful skill in its own right. I have always grown plants from seed or slips but have never really bothered with hybridising before - I am sort of surprised to feel such an urgent curiosity and have concluded that I am finally ready to go to the next level. I have always loved roses and always grown them but it is only the last 5 years that I have fully acknowledged the primacy of the rose. I don't really have much of a garden, just a lot of plants and the odd path - but I think that breeding a new rose is mainly a way to learn even more about these fabulous plants. Or just life, really. So fascinating.
It is going to be -22C tonight - bloody hell, this is england, not alaska! Enforced idleness means a lot of mooching around the web, reading, eating and sleeping. Even so, there are still 200 tulips in a box by the back door - if it comes to the worst, I will fill 4 pots with 50 at a time and bung them outside the front door - it will be a good show in April.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2010 at 1:22PM
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"fabulous encouragement, roseseek, thank you so much. There is nothing, absolutely nothing better than advice from a seasoned pro"

I guess that's better than "an old fart!" LOL! Thanks. Campanula, I have been very blessed to have known people who were supportive, knowledgeable and gracious enough to freely share everything they knew and had discovered. Knowledge is nothing, worthless, if not freely shared. Nothing in this world is as exciting, as satisfying as seeing the light bulb light up above someone's head.

No worries, the labeling always goes awry. I had extreme problems in my old desert garden with rodents removing them from the seedling beds, even though I did my best to keep them enclosed in hardware cloth to prevent it. They wash out with watering; the squirrels take them here and I've actually had people pick them up from the cans thinking they're "helping", like the ones who used to walk through the old garden snapping off hips to "help" deadhead. Odd that the paper tags hanging from them didn't alert them something was DIFFERENT.

400 seedlings is nothing to sneeze at! Particularly if your garden is as tight as you describe. I hope you have access to somewhere else to plant them out so you can really see what they will do!

As for the Moore roses, what are the ones you have your eye on to grow? There ARE ways to move things around, some of them even legal! LOL! How easy is it getting things from Belgium into Britain? I agree about Mr. Harkness. I was blessed to have a few mail exchanges with him about an article I wrote years ago on his Hulthemia efforts, and the pleasure to meet his brother, Peter, at The Huntington a few years ago when he accepted the Great Rosarians of the World award. My jaw hit the floor when I introduced myself to him and thanked him for his family's wonderful nursery and roses, and he KNEW who I was and the nature of our correspondence. Surprised? Wow! Very little wonder the Harkness' and Moores were friends. Several years ago, Mrs. Harkness wrote Mr. Moore to inquire how they were and if he had another generation from Mr. Harkness' Tigris. He had several generations and asked me to photograph the most "species-like" flowers to send her.

Harkness and LeGrice roses have always excited me. Both gentlemen were Masters and created so many incredibly imaginative and beautiful creations!
Both were amazing writers, producing my favorite rose works, which I've worn out with use.

" In some ways, I think a little ignorance can almost be an asset as we then have to rely on our eyes (and, some would say, hearts). Observation is, I swear, a pleasure and not a chore but and a useful skill in its own right."

Isn't that the truth? A child can do anything...until we tell him/her they can't. I am too frequently surprised how out of touch with Nature people have become. We're too used to being spoon fed, not having to rely upon our own eyes and brains for anything so we become blind, deaf, lazy and stupid. Observation IS a great pleasure! I've often stated, one of the greatest legacies Mr. Moore left me, and many others, are "new eyes". He led you to see things other than the "pretty face". It was education as sure as any other kind but it was so subconscious, so gentle and never realized until it became habit. The perfect teacher.

"I have always grown plants from seed or slips but have never really bothered with hybridising before - I am sort of surprised to feel such an urgent curiosity and have concluded that I am finally ready to go to the next level."

Wonderful, isn't it? So many "what if" to satisfy! Each one stimulating dozens more before their answers are known. That child-like curiosity will carry you for decades and keep you young and vital. The most wonderful "elderly" people I've ever known all possessed and exercised it. Those who didn't, got real old, real fast. Thankfully, the next level doesn't require anything other than time, imagination, effort and a bit of space. The perfect hobby!

"but I think that breeding a new rose is mainly a way to learn even more about these fabulous plants. Or just life, really. So fascinating. "

Thank Heavens, yes! Everything you observe extrapolates to everything else. All organisms follow very similar rules. Once you learn them for one, you can easily figure them out for most everything else. Like the "grammar of life". Everything is mathematic and it all has grammar. Learn to conjugate for one and you can figure everything else out.

"It is going to be -22C tonight - bloody hell, this is england, not alaska!"

Argh! I don't think I want to know what that translates to in degrees F! It SOUNDS like something to avoid! We are complaining here because it was in the low 50s F here last night. It's all relative...Ouch! The news just reported forecasts of blizzards for Britain for the rest of the week. My prayers are with everyone! Your tulips should be spectacular!

"Enforced idleness means a lot of mooching around the web, reading, eating and sleeping."

Eastern and Northern gardeners complain and brag about their garden down times. It does give time to digest the garden catalogs, take luxurious time determining what new treasures will arrive by Post for the upcoming season and rest while the garden rests. I think I would climb the walls and end up in a rubber room! A few days of rain, extreme wind or too-low temps and I already climb the walls! I am too tropical for that and require sunlight. Absolutely solar here!

"Even so, there are still 200 tulips in a box by the back door - if it comes to the worst, I will fill 4 pots with 50 at a time and bung them outside the front door - it will be a good show in April."

Tulips, peonies, rhododendrons... all beautiful and things dreams are made of for us. Tulips are annuals here. They hate our alkaline adobe, lack of drainage, lack of sufficient winter chill, high summer temps and too numerous underground vermin. I love them and have clients who beg for them each year. It kills me they are compost fodder for next year. Please, post pictures from your good show in April! I'll look forward to them as a 'birthday present"! Thanks. Kim

    Bookmark   December 1, 2010 at 3:34PM
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Campanula UK Z8

Blimey, Roseseek/Kim - I won't embarrass you with a love-fest, but how lucky we are to have your wonderfully generous and enthusiastic responses. I think there are many of us who have read, discussed and absorbed as much information as possible...but information is not wisdom. This really does come from long careful hours spent learning the trade. Those of us still a long way down the trail really, really appreciate and benefit from such hard-won experience.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2010 at 6:13PM
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Thank you, I am honored. Kim

You didn't answer my question about getting roses from Belgium into Britain. "Ve haf vays..." to get things from here through a nursery in The Netherlands. If it is not too difficult to get them from him to you, perhaps we can work something out?

    Bookmark   December 1, 2010 at 7:15PM
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Oops, sorry, The Netherlands, not Belgium! Honest, I DID study geography! LOL!

    Bookmark   December 1, 2010 at 7:28PM
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