Tuesday, June 15, 2010

'Crescendo' Rose Unveiled on Volunteer Gardener

Hi Everyone--This week I'm passing along a press release about the episode of Volunteer Gardener that will air in the Nashville viewing area on Nashville Public Television this coming Thursday evening, June 17, at 7:30 p.m. and will repeat at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday the 20th.   We air statewide across Tennessee, but at different times in different viewing areas, so if you're in the Knoxville, Chattanooga, Memphis, Martin or Cookeville areas, you'll need to consult your local listings.  For those of you who live outside of Tennessee, if the show becomes available on the internet, I will let you know.

As many of you know, two weeks after we filmed this episode back in March, Jackson & Perkins announced that they were filing for bankruptcy.  Unfortunately, we do not know what that means for the 'Crescendo' rose at this time.  Jackson & Perkins retail mail order business is undergoing re-organization, along with it's parent company Park Seed, but it is my understanding that the wholesale division, which includes all breeding and research, has been re-claimed by the bank.  It is our belief at this time that since 'Crescendo' was set to be unveiled in the 2011 J&P catalog and the catalog/mail order division is being re-organized, that it is already in production fields and we will still see 'Crescendo' come to market next spring.  I will let you know as we learn more.

As always, thanks for continuing to follow along with the blog.  There is much, much more to come!


Pictured: Troy Marden host of “Volunteer Gardener” with Crescendo rose hybridizer Keith Zary of Jackson & Perkins (photo by: Katherine Bomboy)


The Crescendo Rose Honoring the Nashville Symphony is the First Rose to Recognize a Specific Symphony Orchestra

NASHVILLE, Tenn.--June 15, 2010--The Nashville Symphony was recently honored by Jackson & Perkins with a brand new rose variety, aptly named "Crescendo." It is the first rose to be named in honor of a specific symphony orchestra and the latest addition to the Nashville Music Garden. Tune in to "Volunteer Gardener" on Nashville Public Television (NPT-Channel 8) on Thursday, June 17 at 7:30 p.m. and catch host Troy Marden as he profiles this fragrant and beautiful rose. The show re-airs on Sunday, June 20 at 9:30 a.m. Marden was on hand for Crescendo’s star studded unveiling at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center in March along with country stars Barbara Mandrell, Pam Tillis and Brenda Lee and captured all the fun for the show.

"Jackson & Perkins has been creating some of the world's finest roses for more than 130 years and 'Crescendo' is the latest in a long line of rose masterpieces. It was an honor to interview Crescendo's creator, Dr. Keith Zary,” said Marden. “I hope everyone will tune in to 'Volunteer Gardener' to see the Nashville Music Garden’s newest rose unveiled on the show!"

"Volunteer Gardener" also airs across Tennessee on select PBS stations including Knoxville, Chattanooga, Memphis, Martin and Cookeville (check local listings for show times).

About Crescendo:

Pat Bullard, a LifeWorks trustee and founder of the Nashville Music Garden (Located at the corner of Fourth Avenue and Demonbreun in the Hall of Fame Park just across the street from the Schermerhorn Symphony Center) along with Sam Jones and the Nashville Rose Society approached hybridizers Jackson & Perkins with their desire to honor the Nashville Symphony, regarded as one of the most creative and innovative orchestras in the nation today. The Crescendo is a fragrant cream and pink blend hybrid tea rose bred from two award-winning parents, "Gemini" and "New Zealand." The exhibition quality rose was developed by hybridizer Keith Zary.

Crescendo will debut for purchase in the Spring 2011 Jackson & Perkins retail catalog. For information about the Nashville Music Garden, visit www.NashvilleMusicGarden.com and for information about the Nashville Rose Society, visit www.NashvilleRoseSociety.com.

About NPT:

Nashville Public Television is available free and over the air to nearly 2.2 million people throughout the Middle Tennessee and southern Kentucky viewing area, and is watched by more than 600,000 households every week. The mission of NPT is to provide, through the power of traditional television and interactive telecommunications, high quality educational, cultural and civic experiences that address issues and concerns of the people of the Nashville region, and which thereby help improve the lives of those they serve. For more information, visit www.wnpt.org.

Monday, June 7, 2010

A Banner Hydrangea Season

Wow, time flies!  I've been trying to be good about posting and then suddenly I look up from what I'm doing and it has been THREE WEEKS!  Where does it go?!?

I'm happy to say that it has been one of the most spectacular hydrangea seasons that I can recall in the 17 years I have lived in Nashville.  Why?  Well, as much as I disliked the cold winter weather that seemed as though it might never end, the hydrangeas loved it.  More importantly, they loved the fact that once it got cold this past winter, it stayed that way.  We didn't have nearly as many wild fluctuations in temperature as we normally have and that caused tender hydrangea buds to stay dormant!  Usually, we have one of those early warm spells that lulls unsuspecting hydrangea buds into a sense of false security, so they swell, turn green--and get zapped!  That didn't happen this winter and now we're being rewarded.

My Hydrangea macrophylla varieties are beautiful this year.  They're usually the most prone to damage by early frosts and in the Nashville area we usually have one good Hydrangea macrophylla year out of every five.  But it's the Hydrangea serrata cultivars that are truly remarkable.  Words just can't describe how loaded with flowers they are!  Hydrangea serrata 'Blue Billow' has outshined anything else in the garden by far and Hydrangea serrata 'Beni' is proving itself to be an exceptional plant.  If you're unfamiliar with the "serratas", the plant resembles our common garden hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla), but the leaves are typically a little smaller and usually have a matte surface to the leaf rather than the glossy or semi-glossy leaf of the "macrophyllas".  The other difference is that the "serratas" are almost all lace-caps, with their delicate flowers seeming to float just above the plant.

I am frequently asked about the proper culture for hydrangeas.  Generally speaking, they prefer moist, rich, well-drained soil and plenty of water.  In my estimation, one of the most common mistakes is planting them in too much shade--even in the South.  At minimum, they really need to be sited in morning sun and the more sun you give them, the better they will usually flower.  Sunlight helps to ripen their semi-woody stems late it in the season and the more ripened and hardened off they are before winter sets in, the more likely those stems and the buds they carry are likely to survive the winter to flower the following year.

Wilting vs. Flagging.  I think it's very important for gardeners to know the difference between a plant that is "wilted" and a plant that is "flagging".  A wilted plant is one that has drooped because the soil around it has become dry and it can no longer pull water from the soil.  Water is pulled out of the leaves and into the stems for storage--a defense mechanism to try and stay alive.  A plant that is flagging has plenty of moisture at its roots, but is responding to another environmental factor--usually sun (especially with hydrangeas), but it can also be a response to a dramatic change in air pressure or humidity.

How do you tell the difference?  Easy.  Does the plant stand back up and look "normal" once the sun is no longer on it (or after the weather front passes)?  If so, then the plant has just "flagged" in response to some change in its environment.  Openings on the back of the leaf, called stomata, have closed in order to conserve water inside the plant and the plant droops.  Hydrangeas, specifically, may flag every day if they're in the sun, but as long as they have moisture at their roots, they'll be fine.  If, however, your plant has wilted from being too dry, the leaves won't perk back up, even after the sun is off of the plant or the weather has finished changing.  If you have hydrangeas that wilt in the afternoon sun but do not perk back up once the sun has gone down, they probably need a thorough soaking around their roots.

In the fall, usually around Labor Day weekend, I stop watering my hydrangeas altogether--only supplementing them if they wilt and stay wilted for more than 3 or 4 days at a time.  This is a little bit of "tough love", but I want their woody stems to ripen and harden off and a little bit of stress helps to do this.  I don't go overboard and will give them some supplemental water if their wilting persists for more than a few days, but I've found that this "hardening off" process helps me to have more reliable blooms the following season.

Guess I had better sign out for now, but I'll be back again in a week or so!  Hope your hydrangeas are outdoing themselves this year!