Apr 23, 2016

Spring Rose Show

For the first time the Charleston Lowcountry Rose Show will be held on James Island because Cypress Gardens is still closed. 

Colorful modern hybrid teas, fragrant old garden roses and many others blooms will be on display during the 24rd Annual Charleston Rose Show on April 30 at the James Island Town Hall, 1238-B Camp Rd.
The show draws both novices and experts exhibiting 100’s of local grown roses of every color and form.
This year, there are over 25 exhibition categories from Noisette Roses, Shrub Roses and Hybrid Teas to Miniature roses. There will also be a Rose Photography Exhibition open only to members of Charleston Lowcountry Rose Society. Information about the society and how to grow beautiful roses will be available during the show.
Having membership in a rose society is not required to participate. Specimens entered must have been grown by the exhibitor in his or her own garden. Stems should be as long as possible and blooms should be open, vases will be provided.
Entries will be accepted 7-10 a.m., with judging set to begin at 10:15 a.m. The show will be open to the public noon-5 p.m.

Rules, judges and guidelines for judging are found on the society’s website at https://charlestonlowcountryrose.wordpress.com/ or our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.

Mar 7, 2016

The Sustainable Rose Garden for the South (Part 1)

Kathy Woolsey
Let’s face it growing roses in the South can be a real challenge with high humidity and temperatures which can last for months.  In Charleston we have 4 seasons:  Almost Summer, Summer, Still Summer and Christmas.
A sustainable or low maintenance rose garden is possible if disease resistant cultivars are selected and the site is carefully prepared. In the first part of this series I will explore low maintenance rose cultivars. 
A queen is a very high maintenance person indeed and it is no wonder that hybrid tea roses are often called the queen of flowers. A weekly regiment of spraying for insects and diseases will pay off with beautiful blooms. There are a few folks who have the time and money to wait on the queen of flowers, but most of us just want a few nice rose blooms to enjoy in the garden or in a vase. 
There are many types of roses and some are better suited for southern climate than others. There are some that can stand the heat and humidity and will not succumb to fungal diseases and some that are not appealing to bugs. 
Before the invention of pesticide, roses had to survive.  Weak cultivars faded away and were lost to history.  After chemical fertilizers and pesticides came along, hybridizers bred flowers with big showy blooms and southerners relied on chemicals to keep them alive.  Now hybridizers are breeding roses that are earth friendly or low maintenance. Still many rose lovers look to old garden roses that have stood the test of time.
Antique or Old Garden Roses are usually roses that came along before Hybrid Tea Roses.  ‘La France’ was hybridized in 1867 is considered the first hybrid tea rose but it was the French ‘Peace’ rose that made modern hybrid teas popular . ‘Peace’ was introduced in 1945 and its big showy blooms propelled the hybrid tea class in to garden spotlight. Soon every southern gardener was planting hybrid tea roses even though they were very susceptible to fungal diseases like ‘Black Spot’.  Not to worry, because as fast as hybridizers turned out roses, chemical companies could produce pesticides to keep them alive.
Rachel Carson’s Book “Silent Spring” (1962) was a wakeup call against the use of pesticides, but it would be many years later before rose hybridizers would realize that gardeners did not want roses that needed constant spraying. In the year 2000, Will Radler introduced the ‘Knock Out’ rose as a low maintenance rose and in the past 15 years many other low maintenance roses have come on the market. These modern roses are often marketed as “Low Maintenance”, ”Landscape roses” or “Earth Friendly” but be aware that these roses may still need pruning in late winter. Also insects can still be a problem with these roses.
Some gardeners took a different approach to growing roses. They sought out old cultivars that survived in cemeteries, church yards and old homesteads with little care.   These Rose Rustlers shared their finds with each other and rose nurseries.  Now there are rose suppliers that specialize in old types of roses.  There are several types of roses that do well in the South. I recommend Polyanthus, Noisette, Tea, China, Hybrid Musk and some Species.
 Polyanthuses are darling little roses. The small clusters of flowers are found on neat compact plants that need little pruning. ‘The Fairy’, introduced in 1932, ‘Marie Pavie’ in 1888, ‘White Pet' in 1879, are a few to try if you have a small space. They also do well in pots.  An old southern favorite is the ‘Sweetheart’ rose whose real name is ‘Cecile Brunner’, a French rose from 1881. The ‘Cecile Brunner’ most often found in the south is the climbing form. 
If you have plenty of room and a large trellis you should try some Noisette roses. This was the first class of roses hybridized in America by John Champney of Charleston.  “Champney’s Pink Cluster” 1811 and Noisette Blush are large bushes with small pale pink flowers. Other Tea- Noisettes are vigorous climbers like ‘Crepuscule’ and ‘RĂªve d'Or’ 1869 with large flowers.
Noisettes are fragrant and will repeat bloom almost year round.  They are vigorous and tough and will survive black spot and other fungus. Noisettes tend to bloom heavily in the spring and again in the fall with a few blooms in the summer. Dead heading will encourage more blooms.
Most old garden roses have soft pastel colors, so if you need a bold red than try a China Rose. They are not very fragrant but will bloom almost year round as long as the temperature is above freezing. 'Louis-Philippe' is a red rose with a pink center that has been growing in lowcounty gardens for years with little care. Some of the old timers’ call it Charleston Red China. Other good China Roses are ‘Old Blush’ and ‘Mutabilis’, the butterfly rose.
Hybrid Musk roses are an odd group of roses bred in Great Britain from multiflora, Musk and Noisette roses.  They produce huge amounts of small to medium size blooms in spring and will bloom a little through the summer.  The bushes tend to be medium size and tend to sprawl and cascade in the garden. ‘Penelope’ produces pale peach colored blooms that will fade to white in the summer heat. “Prosperity” is a small climber or rambler with clusters of pure white blooms. ‘Ballerina’ is a vigorus climber with dainty single pink flowers with white centers. She blooms the same time as Confederate Jasmine and they do well planted together.
Tea roses should not be confused with modern Hybrid Tea roses. Tea roses have large flowers that are mostly pastel colored from rose pink to white. There are a few yellow ones but the colors are soft. Flower stems are weak and the large flowers often nod. There is a variety of flower forms--flat, cupped, quartered, and globular. Most are very fragrant.  Tea roses produce large shrubs that only need light pruning in the spring. If you have room try ‘Duchesse de Brabant’, ‘Mrs. Dudley Cross’. There are also some wonderful moderate climbers, since the flower heads look down, they work well on arbors.    ‘Sombreuil’ has a flat cream colored flower and is a 6 to 8 foot climber.
There are a few good species worth trying but most only bloom for a few weeks in the spring. The ‘Cherokee’ rose is a native species rose from southern China and the state flower Georgia. ‘Cherokee’ is a vigorous climber covered with thorns and not recommended. The popular ‘Lady Banks’ rose is another China species rose, it too is a vigorous climber but nearly thornless. , the Chestnut rose, is an odd rose. It has large deep pink blooms on a large bush. The buds have prickles like a chestnut. A good care free rose if you have room. If you want a Carolina native rose then try Rosa palustris, The ‘Swanp Rose’, it is one of the few roses that will live in wet ground. This rose can be found growing along fresh water rivers around here. It blooms late in the spring for about 6 weeks. The swamp rose is very fragrant an ideal plant for rain gardens.
Lady Banks
Rosa roxburghii

Recommended reading: The Organic Rose Garden by Liz Druitt, In Search of Lost Roses by Thomas Christopher and Antique Roses for the South by William Welch. 

Dec 9, 2015

Sorry, Cypress Gardens is temporary closed due to October Floods. Maybe the gardens will open in the spring of 2016. The office is open Monday - Friday 8 am to 4 pm. 843 553-0515

Sep 4, 2015

Creating Hypertufa Pots

There are many blogs and websites on making Hypertufa but I feel many leave off important information and details. We have been doing Hypertufa and Sand-cast leaf workshops at Cypress Garden for about 15 years. The 2 day workshop is usually given in July or August. 

Aggregates are generally peat moss, coco peat, and perlite or vermiculite. I do not like perlite because it is white. Perlite does not look natural to me but it will make a light weight pot. 
The peat moss or cocoa peat must be sifted through ¼ inch hardware cloth to remove lumps and sticks.

Hypertufa made with the classic proportions for mortar (1 part cement: 3 parts aggregate) has a composition of
·         3 parts Type I Portland cement
·         4 parts peat sifted
·         5 parts vermiculite or perlite
For pots 1 parts cement: 3 parts aggregate
For stepping stones & bird baths 1 parts cement: 2 parts aggregate
To increase strength, polymer fibers, liquid acrylic fortifier, and fiberglass fibers may be incorporated into the mixture. Add the fibers to a quart of water and mix thoroughly and add to the mix. 
 Other aggregate like sand, pebbles, sea glass and crushed oyster shells can be added though they increase the pots weight. Powdered or liquid concrete dyes can be added to the water first to tint the hypertufa to resemble natural rock. Buff, red and brown are the best colors to use. Fibers that protrude from the pot after it is finished can be burned off with a lighter.
How much water depends, less water or a dry mix will make a lightweight pot but it will need to cure longer or it will break easily. Shaking or vibrating the mold will make a heaver pot because the air has been forced out but it will be stronger.
Molds should be coated with oil for easy release. 
Old nursery pots make great molds. Duct tape the holes on the outside. You will  need  two pots, one larger than the other there must be at least 2  inches between the pots. The inside pot should be filled with wet sand to keep it from floating up. You might need to cut the pot the next day to get them out. 
 Cheap or broken foam coolers can be used but they must be reinforced with duct tape or they can split. Foam blocks cut with an electric knife can be used for the inside mold. 
Foam molds need to be cut to get the hypertufa out, but they can be duct taped back together and used again. 
Stepping stones can be made out the bottoms of 5 gallon buckets, Pizza boxes and heart shapes candy boxes  covered with plasticOr  made from 5/8 plywood and aluminum flashing attached with flat head screws. Use cookie cutters for patterns and enlarge the design. Minimum thickness is 3 inches. 
Hardware cloth and chicken wire can be sandwiched in between for reinforcement. Sea glass, broken pottery, tiles, marbles can be placed on the bottom or top of stones when molding.  Press them in deep or they will pop out later. Unmold the next day and bevel the edges with an old file or rasp so water can flow off the stone  freely.  Brush with a wire brush. Use an old nail or ice pick to dig around the pottery and other stuff. After the stone has cured, wash with vinegar to remove any cement film from glass, tiles and pottery. 

 Home made molds made with 5/8 plywood and aluminum flashing attached with flat head screws. Only about 1/2 of the mold needs to be unscrewed to take out stone. Just like taking a cake out of the pan. Use a 5 in-1 tool lift the stone off the board. 
You only need to remove about the flashing to get the stone out.Use the 5 in 1 tool to lift it out of the mold. 
Use a wire brush to clean the surface of the tufa this will help expose the peat and vermiculite . Brush the stones until smooth. If you not not brush it your pot will just look like a concrete pot. 

Use a drill to make the hole in the bottom of your pot.
use an old bit 

Drill the holes 1-3 days later, large pots may need more than 1 hole.

Foam coolers from the Dollar Store make great molds
 Add duct tape for support
 Inside block form covered with plastic and oil. weighted down with  sand or a brick or it will float up

 Feet were made with blocks of foam placed in the bottom of the cooler before tufa cement was added.
 ( this pot is upside down)


we made 2 batches to fill this mold the first pour was too wet and the second too dry.

finished pot
Edges were filed down  to give the pot an old worn look.

Adding Feet on the Bottom of your Pots

I like to add feet to the bottom of my pots. Feet help improve drainage by raising the pot up. Also I think they look look smart.  
I use wet sand to make these feet. This is called sand-casting
Make a raised cross shape in the bottom of your mold.
 shape tufa mix in a ball and add in the empty space between the sand 
add more tufa about 2 inches thick for the bottom of the pot

Next add a ring of tufa mix around the edge 
Add the inside pot, this should be weighted down with wet sand. This is important because the pot will float up as you add the tufa mix. Keep add the mix until you reach the top. 
Pick the pot up and drop it on the table a few times to settle the tufa mix.
 sand on the bottom also helps the mold come free more easily. Next step is to wash away the sand - usually the next day.

Decorating Your Pot

be sure to press the decoration in deep while the tufa mix is still damp, 

the fluting on this pot was from the fluted nursery pot used as a mold

After the pot has cured for a few weeks the decorations can be cleaned with vinegar to remove any cement film.

To make sea glass: add broken glass to a rock tumbler with a hand full of sand with water and tumble for about 3 days.