I knew it would be a massive job.
In the spring of 2018, I decided to convert my front yard into a Suffrage Garden. The challenge was to transform a 20+ year old established cottage garden and convert it to a simpler theme of yellow, white, and purple flowers. The only lawn we have are paths around the four large borders. Hundreds of plants needed to be transplanted.
I knew the biggest job would entail the move of the red rose bushes. One cannot have red roses in a Suffrage Garden. Red roses were the official flowers of the Anti-Suffragettes or "Antis" as they were often called.
My bushes were vigorous and could grow taller than me when left unattended. I knew I would have to allot at least a day for each bush in the spring of 2019. The bushes were not only huge but they had developed a lot of thorns and some misshapen branches. I along with the other gardeners in our neighborhood wondered what was wrong with the roses.
The following spring our newspaper began to report that our local rose garden had rose rosette disease, a virus that not only infects roses but is extremely contagious. Sure enough, the red roses had the disease. Problem solved; I would have to dig out and remove the bushes anyway. It was a bear of a job but I got it done.
Happily, I transplanted flowers from the front to the back and vice-versa. I dreamt of a garden in yellow, purple, and white and a fitting tribute to our foremothers. I mused about a quilt design that I could call "The Suffrage Garden".
Of course nothing is ever that easy.
Last June, I noticed that my beautiful yellow climber rose had red buds. It didn't seem right. I couldn't remember if the buds always started red but maybe I had forgotten and the colors turned as the buds opened. The rose was at least 22 years old and had been a mainstay on the arbor my husband built.
Then I noticed there yellow buds as well.
Then the blooms happened:
Yes, yellow and red roses bloomed on the climber.
A red rose called "Dr. Huey" is grafted to most roses; "Dr. Huey" makes the plant more vigorous. But if the roses are attacked by disease or environmental problems, "Dr. Huey" takes over. Eventually the plant becomes all red. Some gardeners refer to this as a "Dr. Phoeey" takeover. Obviously the plant was fighting off the Rose Rosette Disease and this had occurred.
I removed the climber. It was difficult to find climbing yellow roses in June but eventually I found two, replaced the soil, and planted them on either side of the arbor.
ALL the roses in my garden (front and back) began to show red flowers...except one small pink rose bush out front.
My husband refers to this episode, as The Revenge of the Antis. I laughed at the time but now I am beginning to wonder about the whole thing. I mean what are the chances the roses would turn red, a pandemic would force me to put the business on hiatus, and we would get a snowfall in May?
Despite gardening challenges, some nice flowers are featured today:
Bill's amazing yellow peony!
Barb's lovely contribution!
Denise has planted lobelia and yellow zinnias!
Lilies of the valley are blooming here in the Lehigh Valley!
If you have flowers in yellow, white, or purple that you want to share with us, please email me at email@example.com!
Have a safe and happy day!