Two Historic French Roses

Peace. The other day when I was bringing in two of my Peace roses, I said to myself, ”I’ll bet not everyone knows her story.” In 1939, the breeder Francis Meilland found a sturdy plant with pale gold blossoms growing from one seed he had nurtured. He sent cuttings to Germany, Italy and the United States. The bundle of stems addressed to a Pennsylvania rose grower was aboard the last American plane that got out of France in November 1940, a step ahead of the invading Nazis. Five years later, after the war ended, many experts considered Peace the best rose ever developed, and within a decade Peace was blossoming in more than 30 million bushes throughout the world. How many more bushes of this hybrid tea rose are blooming now!

photo by Amy Mikler

Souvenir de la Malmaison. “Bad house”? “Sick house”? Well, the edifice was constructed about 1400 as a leprosy hospital. At the beginning of the 17th century, a legal administrator in Paris had it turned into a chateau. It was further renovated later that century. In 1799, the Empress Josephine, Napoleon’s wife, bought it. She was the first person in Europe to collect roses systematically. The rose was originally called the “Queen of Beauty and Fragrance.” When the Grand Duke of Russia visited the garden in 1814, seeking specimens for the Imperial Garden in St. Petersburg, Josephine handed him a blossom, saying, “Voici un souvenir de la Malmaison.” Souvenir de la Malmaison is a Bourbon rose of palest pink with its petals in quarters around the flower. It is fragrant and blooms most of the summer.

Barbara Wittman Alsip was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, of German, Austrian and Prussian grandparents. Her father was a horticulturist, (Texas A&M, Class of 1919), and her mother was active in garden clubs and flower growing. She has two grown sons and two grandsons.

She received her BA and MA in French and Spanish from Texas Christian University and her PhD in French from Emory University. She taught at the university level for a number of years.

At her first home in western Pennsylvania, she had 165 trees, evergreens, flowering trees, perennials, herbs and annuals. She is looking forward to landscaping, with Bedner’s direction and help, at her new home.

Wise Watering

Periods of drought, heat waves and rising water bills can make any gardener more interested in saving water. Fortunately, there are many ways you can be water-wise without skimping on the moisture your plants need to thrive.

  • Make the Most of Mulch Mulches not only make plantings look more attractive, but their most important function is to help retain soil moisture. They keep the ground cool to reduce moisture loss and prevent growth of grasses and weeds that would otherwise compete with plant roots for soil moisture. The recommended depth is 2-4 inches, and there are many mulch types you can choose from to complement your landscaping and garden design.
  • Improve the Soil Prevent soil compaction and aerate regularly to improve the efficiency of how the soil absorbs and retains water. Test the pH and make sure the levels are correct for the plants you are growing. Till in several inches of compost each year and amend with Profile soil conditioner.
  • Plant Wisely When deciding what to plant, consider native species as they are adapted to the area and can withstand the local moisture conditions, including periods of low rainfall or drought. Also consider plants that have been specifically bred as drought-tolerant, particularly for more at-risk areas of your yard. Ask one of our staff for recommendations of native plants.
  • Design Thoughtfully to Save Water A good landscape design can help minimize water use. Start with graph paper and sketch your home, property lines, water faucets, existing trees and other permanent features. Plant large deciduous trees to maximize summer shade on the hot sides of your house. Combine groundcover in your plantings. This can reduce surface temperature up to 20 degrees. Plant a dense windbreak to cut down on drying winds. Group plants together by water needs and concentrate high water demand plants into one area. Plant rock gardens, native shrubs or drought-tolerant wildflowers on southern exposures.
  • Use Water-Saving Watering Techniques Install a drip irrigation system and use other water-saving devices like soaker hoses to minimize water loss. The system of “drip watering” that was originally designed for commercial use is now available to the home gardener. It has become very easy to use and quite effective. Drip watering applies water slowly and steadily directly to root zones in proper amounts. This saves time (less time watering and weeding) and money (less water). It also puts water where it’s needed without runoff or evaporation.
  • Choose the Proper Watering Tools You will want to look at our various styles of oscillating and pulsating sprinklers and choose the sizes and styles that meet your unique landscaping needs. Other assorted nozzles and wands can also make watering easier and more efficient. The Four Channel Water Distributor allows several watering accessories to be used at the same time.

It doesn’t take much to get started watering wisely, and not only will your plants thank you for providing adequate moisture, but you’ll love how much your water bill dries up!

Bedner Bargains through June 16

End of Spring Sale starts today! We’re making room for our fresh, summer crop of hanging baskets and container gardens.

Other awesome reasons to visit us this week– The Food Shack is open and Wine Tastings are happening every Wednesday & Saturday, 11-3pm. And the weekly Jr. Green Thumbs kids’ classes start this Wednesday.

Bedner Bargains through June 2

4″ Tomato Varieties: Early Girl, Big Boy, Better Boy, Beefsteak, Mountain Spring, Carolina Gold, San Marzano, Roma, Opalka, Grape, Sunsugar, Yellow Pear, Marglobe, Supersweet 100, Ponderosa Pink, Black Krim, Box Car Willie, Brandywine, German Johnson, Mortgage Lifter, Mr. Stripey

Bushel and Berry Homegrown Berries: Raspberry Shortcake, Baby Cakes Blackberry, Blueberries– Jelly Bean, Pink Icing and Blueberry Glaze Learn more about the varieties here

Blanket Flowers (Gaillardia): Spintop Red, Spintop Red Star, Spintop Orange Hal, Galya Blazing Sun, Galya Wild Fire, and Galya Yellow

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    McDonald, PA 15057
    (724) 926-2541
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