April Showers Bring...Botrytis

I'll make it clear: I'm deeply grateful for every drop of rain we can get. But right as the spring flush of roses begins...ouch. Botrytis will follow.

Botrytis is a fungal disease that in mild cases leaves pink spots on white roses. In extreme cases, it turns the flowers into a slimy ball of grey mush. It looks like we're in for a mild case, since it's predicted to be sunny and dry the rest of the week.

We got enough rain this morning to delay gardening, so I walked around just looking and thinking.

'Cressida' is a weird wonderful case of plant schizophrenia. Fragrance and flower coloration of extreme delicacy and refinement. In contrast, the flower is big, sloppy, and in-your-face bold, while the plant is a nasty monster, with prickles like the spikes on a Pit Bull's collar.

I'm sure 'Cressida' is no longer up to David Austin's standards of grace and charm, but...I have to love it. The ancestry is purported to be possibly some mix of the delicate Tea-Noisette 'Gloire de Dijon' coupled with the big Rugosa hybrid 'Conrad Ferdinand Meyer', and it shows.

The rain snapped off the big Aeonium flower stalk. It was going to snap off soon anyway due to its weight. No problem. Incidentally, a lot of people wonder if the entire plant dies when an Aeonium blooms. Apparently not. The individual blooming rosette dies, but the rest of the plant continues merrily on, certainly if there is more than one rosette, but possibly if there is only one--the stump of last years blooming stalk has sprouted four new rosettes. Cool!

'Irish Hope' the Candelabra Queen holds up well to rain. Just a couple of flowers so far--the huge candelabras it likes to produce will not appear until the second flush.

Rosa 'Irish Hope'

'Just Joey' is one of the few roses here at its best in Spring. Most of my roses reach individual perfection of bloom in the fall, but heat-sensitive 'Just Joey' loves a cool spring. Piles of peach whipped cream.

Rosa 'Just Joey'

The dry front slope that I'm obsessing and agonizing over (still) managed to look pretty good after the rain. I am encouraged.

Tomorrow it will be dry enough to garden again. Wednesday and Thursday are predicted to bring summer-like swelter. Ah, Spring!

Note: I rechecked, and 'Irish Hope' has seven candelabras preparing to bloom. How could I have missed them?


  1. Ohh.... your roses are beautiful! Still waiting for most of my roses to start.


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