Veilchenblau Gets a Trim

May 18, 2009 025 (2)One of the rambler roses, R. ‘Veilchenblau’, which means violet blue, was grown at our Texas house in The Woodlands, Texas, a planned community north of Houston that was about an hour’s drive from the Antique Rose Emporium. Completely smitten with that establishment, many trips were taken to Brenham and the gas guzzler never came home empty. Climbers were our favorite purchases for there were many structures to cover around our brand new house, including a tea house we built from pine thinnings on the property for the orchids. Bamboo blinds were the roof covering and Veilchenblau was trained up a corner post to spread out over the blinds for beauty and shade from the glaring Texas summer sun. When the move was made back to Tennessee, the plan was also to add many old varieties of climbing roses at the new abode. Combing the local nurseries, a weed filled pot with a sad but large trunked rose was spotted way in the back. We like to investigate every inch of nurseries, especially ones that have been in business for a long time and seem somewhat neglected. Treasure hunting you could say. The tag said Veilchenblau and we carried it to the older gentlemen who seemed to be in charge. “Ten bucks and good luck with that old thing”, he said. May 21, 2009 019 (2)The shed had just been moved from the end of the old driveway to the top of the newly cleared and mulched hill by the backhoe. The vision was for the shed to be covered in dripping roses, blueish on the right, white on the left that would mingle at the peak of the roof and be wonderful. The white rose planted on the rebar tripod at the front left corner was none other than the infamous Killer, R. ‘Alberic Barbier’. On the right was the bargain Veilchenblau. Killer did his part to cover the shed roof the very first year. It was time to revamp the plan. Killer was moved to the far rusty metal clothesline pole by the privet hedge that lined the property on two sides. It was replaced by the hybrid musk R. ‘Penelope’. Veilchenblau has failed to grow to its full potential to cover the shed, but does nicely drip over the edge. Or would drip if the wind didn’t keep blowing the canes off the roof, for this rose is thornless and cannot grab the shingles to hang on. We have tried weights of various sorts, found on site rusty auto brake shoes, rocks, boards, nothing seems to hold against the strong winds at the top of the hill.May 21, 2009 021 (2)Trying to include the new copper rain chain at the opposite diagonal end of the shed, this shot shows the solution to the rose catchers of two metal tubs hung on the side. Why only two, we ask ourselves while writing this post? Because we had those on hand, but three would look better and do a better job of holding the rose canes. On the ground is a boxed raised bed that was once home to tomatoes and other veggies before the surrounding Pyracanthas and Hemlocks grew so large that the area became too shady for veggies. Three dwarf blueberries, V. ‘Sunshine Blue’ were planted in the eight foot box. Dwarf is right, for they are so very tiny still after three years, but the mature size is to be four feet by four feet so eventually it will work out. Maybe. Two larger blueberries were planted last year in hopes of having something to eat from this bed, but they perished in the drought. They provide protection as skeletons to the little Sunshines for now. An old wagon wheel from Texas, fence posts with scary cats with marble eyes to keep the birds away from nonexistant blueberries, a volunteer Aquilegia ‘Barlow Black’ and various weeds can be seen above.May 21, 2009 027 (2)The first bud opened May 4 this year. The shrub was covered in buds, like it is every year, for it is a one time bloomer giving its all for one grand gala of gorgeousness galore. The flowers are still beautiful, and the fragrance is intoxicating but the petals are dropping even as new blooms open from the few remaining buds.May 18, 2009 033 (2)As viewed from the center of the knot garden with the armillary sundail surrounded by Lavandula angustifolia ‘Hidcote’ ready to pop open illuminated by the first rays of the day, it is time for the annual rose haircut. To be honest, we usually wait another week or so, but we are leaving town for a big trip to Chicago soon and have to get some chores under our belt before we go.May 22, 2009 014 (2)Felcos in hand, the small handed ones, I also have an older pair of left handed ones, why don’t they make small handed left handed ones? To the point, the cuts were made resulting in the pile at the base of the lilac to the left of the chain sawed curly willow that is allowed to resprout for useful cuttings to make wreaths, etc. Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ is everywhere up here with volunteers gone wild. Small diameter branches, old brittle non growing stems and anything blocking the paths were removed. What is left are new growth larger canes and a few flowers close to the tripod.May 22, 2009 009 (2)The after shot. The sun was too high in the sky by this time and washes out the finished project, but you get the idea well enough. We accidentally cut the longest branch that was draping over the metal tubs but placed a broken cinder block on the roof to hold the remaining canes. Another metal tub might be hanging around here, possibly under the deck, the storeyard for many long forgotten garden goodies. Surely something can be found to rest on a nail next to the tubs and hold the longer rose stems securely.May 22, 2009 012 (2)In the past pruning years all smaller stems were removed and the long stout canes were rebraided up the poles, not pretty but functional. This year several still blooming pieces were spared including this little darling. While we were cutting and photographing a buzzer kept whizzing by our recently retouched cinnaberry cranium. Camera in hand, the old Canon Powershot A720 IS, we thought a good bee photo would be a nice ending to this story.May 22, 2009 011 (2)Imagine the surprise when this appeared in the viewfinder, well the LCD screen but viewfinder sounds so much better. Good guy, bad guy? Anyone know what this is? All I know is that it is solid green and buzzed like a bee as he flew onto the roof, seemingly angry at me for thinning his hideaway. It doesn’t really matter whether he is friend or foe, he is bird food and will not be sprayed or bothered.

There are many good sites on the web with information about this rose. A google search will turn up whatever strikes your fancy with zone hardiness facts and other growing specifications.

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35 Responses to Veilchenblau Gets a Trim

  1. Darla says:

    I love the look of the shed with the tubs hanging on it. Everything looks so peaceful and comfy Frances.

    Hi Darla, thanks. I do love that shed and everything around it, kind of folksy and very Tennessee with the tubs. The wood is kind of weathered, the roof is not in the best shape, there are weeds and weird metal bits laying around and Veilchenblau hanging out. Now to find that third item to train the rose cane across the top.

  2. gail says:

    Frances, What a beautitiful rose…the first picture actually makes me think of a clematis! Husker Red looks fantastic in the second photo…I don’t know the bug, but those legs are a great zigzag! Have a good day and be safe out there;-) gail

    Hi Gail, thanks, I am okay now. I am bringing you several huskers, as they are pulled up because they are blocking paths, they are going into your bucket. πŸ™‚

  3. tina says:

    That little creature is quite interesting! What a shock indeed to look thru the viewfinder and find it. Your rose is lovely and thanks for the background on it. It is nice to see how the master designer reasons these things out-and I for sure could use some tips on my own garden so it helps to follow your thought process.

    Hi Tina, thanks. I was expecting a bumble so was quite surprised. He kind of blends in with all the green too, I didn’t even see him at first, the buzzing let me find him. I was thinking of you as I was writing about the yearly pruning of this rose, it would be good on my own monthly to do list, if I had such a thing anymore. There used to be one written down long ago, well before taking such an interest in the computer. For me, it is more problem solving than design ideas. I know you do the same thing. πŸ™‚

  4. What an interesting little critter you captured through your lens .. I’m wondering what it is too.

    Hi Linda, thanks. I don’t remember seeing one of his kind before, but he blends in so well, hard to notice him. The rains this spring have made the garden quite overgrown, and full of new insects type thingeys. πŸ™‚

  5. Dave says:

    Frances that shot of the sundial and the lavender is perfect! I raised 7 lavender plants from seed this year but don’t have a spot to put them yet you may have given me an idea. I suspect that that bug is a green stink bug. Check this photo out to see how it compares:

    Thanks Dave, I do believe that’s him! The stripey antennae are exactly the same, even though this view is from the top instead of from below like mine. Stink bug doesn’t sound so good, does it? The lavender in the knot garden has really worked out well. This particular variety is small and the flowers very blue, unlike grosso or provence types. I prune it after the flowers have faded to about a foot tall. These are all from heeled cuttings taken in January two years ago and planted right into the ground then with hormone. I’ve done some others from the same Hidcote plant and most of them rooted nicely as well. They don’t like to be moved, so plant them where you want them! πŸ™‚

  6. Frances — Your shed is so wonderful! What a great thing to have. That’s a great lavender. I need to add another variety or two.

    I’m late to blogs today. Charm was attacked by our new neighbor’s german shepherd. She’s on pain killers, antibiotics and valium (traumatic experience for a sweet dog). She’ll be okay as long as there’s no infection.

    Hope you have a great time in Chicago. I spent all of my travel money for the year. LOL


    Hi Cameron, thanks. I am so sorry about your Charm, that is horrible. I do hope she fully recovers soon. This is my favorite lavender by far although harder to find here, most of what is sold is the larger Provence. We will miss you Chicago, but understand your travel decisions and would have done the same. πŸ™‚

  7. commonweeder says:

    the color of Veilchenblau is amazing. I don’t know any hardy roses that come anywhere near. And that is a fascinating project with the tubs and shed wall. you are a good engineer.

    Hi Pat, thanks. It is a unique and wonderful colored rose. HA about the engineer, around these parts, tubs on sheds are the norm. πŸ™‚

  8. Joanne says:

    Vielchenbleu is a lovely rose ours like yours has the white flecks which I think adds to the charm although not all Vielchembleu roses have the white fleck. Ours has not started to flower yet. I hope I don’t miss it as I will be away again as Dad is not well.
    We don’t prune our roses until much later in the summer when the long shoots start to wave around.

    Hi Joanne, I am so sorry to hear about your Dad, our thoughts are with you. As for Veilchenblau, he gets his haircut right after the petals fall to allow the sunlight to better reach the blueberries. The other roses are pruned whenever I feel like it and on Valentine’s day if not already done by August of the previous year. I like the white flecks too, not all the blooms on this plant have them either.

  9. Somehow I missed the whole “Killer” saga, and so I spent a pleasant quarter hour reading all about that rose and thinking it has a lot in common with Rosa eglanteria, which is not a climbing rose, thank heavens. I can’t even imagine what she would be like if she was!

    I love the pictures of the pruning job, and have developed a need for that blue rose. Must put it on my “want” list.

    Hi Hands, there is even much more to the Killer saga, another three or more posts I believe. There was a vote as to the replacement, which was won by Madame Alfred Carriere. As for planting Killer, Alberic Barbier, give him lots of room and a very sturdy arbor, or better yet a tree to scramble up. Veilchenblau is a good one, nothing like Killer and thornless, always a good trait. πŸ™‚

  10. Kathleen says:

    Camoflauged as well as that bug is, I hope the birds do find him. I like the way you plan and think and reassess constantly Frances. It’s good. I’m trying to do more of that. How do you like the rain chain?? You’ve been getting lots of chances to try it out, right? I’d love to have one but I know the minute I bring one into the yard, all signs of moisture will dry up and dissipate! Happy Memorial Day weekend.

    Hi Kathleen, HA, he may be hidden, but that buzzing really gives his location away! Since the rain chain has been put up, all signs of moisture have vanished! Happy Memorial day to you too. πŸ™‚

  11. Hi Frances, as you may or may not know, I’ve never grown a rose and, honestly, I’ve never been found enough of them to do the work. Veilchenblau may yet change my mind! I love that she’s not red or pink and that she’s not overly floofy (=technical term). Also, I didn’t realize that Texas has so many rose gardens. One of my good friend’s mom lives in Tyler and my friend raves about the rose garden there. πŸ™‚

    Hi Monica, this might be the one for you, don’t know the hardiness though. Roses love that Texas heat, but honestly I never saw roses grow like they did in southern California, no bugs or blackspot at all. They just needed watering. You wrote in a comment somewhere that the name meant violet blue, I always thought it meant veil of blue, or even veil of night, so mysterious. But the real name describes the color of the flowers best and I love to say it drawn out at the end, blawwwww, right? πŸ™‚

  12. nancybond says:

    While the closeups are always lovely, I think I actually prefer the shots that show the roses in their surroundings…and these are simply wonderful! Oh, and that rain chain. Absolutely gorgeous! πŸ™‚

    Hi Nancy, thanks. I agree with you. The long shots show the garden as it really is, even if the photos are not as fancy. I am trying to show more long uncropped shots here lately too. The rain chain is as yet untested, but looks great. πŸ™‚

  13. Catherine says:

    That rose really is a pretty color, I love how it looks growing on your shed.
    Love the bug shot at the end, he looks like he’s doing a tightrope act in a bug circus!

    Hi Cathine, thanks. I was happy with the bug shot, he let me get so close!

  14. I can say “Veilchenblau” to you in person at SF! Veilchen is also the name for the flower violet as well as the color. Sometimes German has more words for things than English, you see. It just dawned on me the other day that in English, diamond means the stone, the shape, and the suit of cards, whereas in German the stone is Diamant, the shape is Raute, and the card suit is Karo. Erm, I like words.

    Hi Monica, I can’t wait for you to say that it to me in person! I like words too. We are going to have so much fun. πŸ™‚

  15. Randy says:

    We just planted 2 Veilchenblau this weekend with a Zephirine Drouhin between them on a fence in the front yard. We fell in love with it when we saw it at Phillip’s garden. I agree that your friend is a stinkbug. They are all over the place down here.

    Hi Randy, that sounds yummy! The roses, not the insect. I didn’t have time to smell him though! πŸ™‚

  16. Racquel says:

    Veilchenblau is a beauty, love that unusual coloring. Hope your washtub project does the trick. πŸ™‚

    Hi Racquel, thanks. Offspring Semi has an extra tub she is willing to let me use.

  17. lynn says:

    Hi Frances! Veilchenblau is such a pretty and unusual color. I also grow one of the few thornless climber, Zepherine Drouhin (a pretty pink bloom). Very fragrant but wished they bloomed longer! The picture of the hidcote with morning sunshine…beautiful πŸ™‚

    Hi Lynn, thanks. I have heard of Zepherine Drouhin, Randy just commented that they added one with Veilcheblau. Having been attacked by the roses so many times, thornless is a huge plus. Hidcote is the most wonderful color of blue, I never tire of seeing it.

  18. Now that is really a pretty rose. But I like the shed best. I’m just nuts about sheds. I like the pans hanging on the wall, the new location, and how you talk about it. A gardener is just not complete without a shed.

    Hi Anna, thanks. Aren’t sheds just great? I agree with you completely. This one is about as small as they come, but I still love everything about it. I know your copper top is much fancier and how much you love it too. πŸ™‚

  19. Laura Z says:

    What a beautiful color! I can’t believe that’s really a rose. I love treasure hunting around old nurseries too. That’s just the sort of treasure I’m hoping to find too.

    Hi Laura Z, thanks and welcome. It is unique in color and form, being thornless is such a help too. Poking around in the dark corners is just fun at all sorts of places, isn’t it? πŸ™‚

  20. He looks a bit a like an elongated shield beetle.

    I like your shed by the way!

    Hi Rob, thanks. The shed is one of the proudest places here, even though it is nothing fancy. I put the window in myself. I believe the bug is a stink bug, what an unfortunate name. I didn’t smell anything though luckily. πŸ™‚

  21. Ramblers are great, aren’t they? I just bought 2 new ones last week while on holiday. Can’t wait to see them scramble up a tree or hedge in the Bliss garden. I bought Wedding Day and Paul’s Himalayan Musk, both have scents to die for.

    BTW I plan to prune mine with a manchete. πŸ˜‰

    Hi YE, wow! I have heard stories of Paul’s Himilayan Musk, certainly a tree for him or you will need a machete to keep your lovely garden free of rose! HA

  22. Rose says:

    Guten Morgen, Frau Frances…sorry, the Veilchenblau rose made me start thinking a little in my rusty German:) I would say you got a real bargain when you found this rose; it’s lovely.
    It’s been a busy week here, too, with my self-imposed stress level getting higher by the minute as I try to get “everything” done before Chicago. I think we’ll all be ready for a break by then!

    Ah, the same to you dear Rose. You have hit the nail with the self imposed stress thingey. Trying to get things done that have been sitting around for months is happening here too for some reason. Trying to get the garden in self sustaining mode is taking a lot of the time. Trying to think what to pack has been throwing us into a tizzy too. Can’t wait for the fun to begin! πŸ™‚

  23. Jenny B says:

    The Antique Rose Emporium is one of my favorite places. I have only been to the one in Brenham, but one of these days, I’m going to get to the one in San Antonio too. Did you know you can order online from TARE?

    I’d say you had good luck with your Veilchenblau. She is a beauty even if she hasn’t done what you envisioned…sometimes these plants have a mind of their own, and don’t ever mind the Head Gardener (much like children)!

    Hi Jenny, oh yes I do know about online ordering. The rose we call Killer, Alberic Barbier was mail ordered from them, two of them in fact, before we even moved to Texas in ’97. We have ordered many more since moving back to TN too. You are so right about the children too. If the hose would reach that spot for supplemental watering, Veilchenblau would probably cover the shed if we could secure the canes somehow. Good rains this year should help. I love San Antonio, I have seen photos of the Rose Emporium there, wonderful!

  24. That is a very handsome insect. I like the accordian folding of its legs underneath, and the spiffy striped antennas.

    Your roses look charming, even if Veilchenblau has trouble getting a grip. At least you can prune the thornless one without safety gear.

    Hi Shade, thanks. He is quite dapper. The thornlessness of Veilchenblau is very much appreciated.

  25. Brenda Kula says:

    I too love those old tubs. Wish I could find some at a garage sale. Multiple uses for them both indoors and out. That bug sure is cute. Don’t know what it is.

    Hi Brenda, that would be a good place to find them, but most people don’t want to let theirs go! The bug is a stink bug. I didn’t smell anything though. πŸ™‚

  26. Jan says:

    I am feeling a bit under the weather and have been catching up on my blog reading while coughing intermittently. I have enjoyed seeing your garden in your last few posts. It seems as if I have actually visited Faire Garden in person. Thanks for the tours.

    Always Growing

    Hi Jan, I do hope you are feeling better by now. I love to hear that it seems like being along beside me walking up the paths and getting the tour. That’s our intention. πŸ™‚

  27. Jean says:

    Stink bug maybe?? How on earth did you get so close to it without it flying away? πŸ™‚ Thanks for the views of that rose. It’s really a pretty one and the shed seems like a perfect place for it. And I like your solution with the tubs too.

    Hi Jean, thanks and yes, that seems to be the correct identification. I don’t know how I got so close. I was pruning and the camera was in my pocket so I reached in slowly and pointed without really looking at the screen so my head was farther away from him. As soon as I clicked he buzzed off. HA I will locate one more shed to help secure the rose. Maybe one of these days I can get it on the roof too. πŸ™‚

  28. What a beautiful rose Frances. It looks good going up over your shed. I like the idea of a thornless rose.

    Hi Lisa, thanks. The dark color of the rose does look good with the light grey shed. Thornless is a blessing, especially with so much pruning done each year.

  29. Frances, it is a type of sting bug. They suck the juices out of plants and seem to especially like tomatoes here. Can you believe that veilchenblau is one of the few roses I don’t own. After seeing your photos and Phillip’s, I’m trying to figure out where I could put that purple/blue beauty. I just don’t know.~~Dee

    Hi Dee, thanks. Yuck, I will make sure to pick them off the tomatoes. I have trouble telling the good guys from the bad guys with that type of bug. I do know Japanese beetles however. This is a once bloomer, but worthy of a spot in any garden, especially a rose lover’s like you. πŸ™‚

  30. Lythrum says:

    That rose is so beautiful!

    Thanks, Lythrum.

  31. RobinL says:

    Today’s blog-reading has me in love with purple roses! I have lavender, not purple, and now I am lusting after them. But where will I put it!

    Hi Robin, thanks. The beauty of the climbers is how small the footprint is. Veilchenblau only takes up one square foot of earth space! πŸ™‚

  32. VW says:

    What a project. I love the note at the end about the buggie attracted to your hair. I wore a hot pink shirt outside this week and the bees thought I was a flower. Mental note to stick to subdued clothing colors when out in the garden!

    Hi VW, thanks. My hair is often an attraction for the insects, sticks and even one time a bird tried to fly away with some while it was still attached to my head! My gardening attire is very plain, but my hair is not! HA πŸ™‚

  33. Maggie says:

    Stink bugs are also called shield bugs. They pierce plants and suck out sap, which is what this one appears to be doing. Not usually a problem unless in large numbers.

    Apparently, I inherited with this house some of the most boring roses ever. Would it be a crime against the garden to replace them? Garden guilt. It’s a terrible thing.

    Hi Maggie, beautiful name, but I did like Mama What The as well. Thanks for the bug info. I am determined to not interfere with the bugs unless the damage gets too bad, then it will be hand picking. Japanese beetles excepted, they get pushed into the soapy water milk jug of death at first sight. As for the boring roses, hey! It’s your garden! Do whatever makes you happy! And don’t look back, like life itself, it is about the journey, not the destination. πŸ™‚

  34. Marie says:

    Beautiful post πŸ™‚

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