Veilchenblau

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Veilchenblau was introduced in 1909 with claims that here, at last, was the blue rose.  Alas, it is not blue: rather, the flowers open purple and pass through shades of lilac and mauve and then to pale lilac grey – but, in that last stage, it is as close to blue as any rose gets.  I am assured you can, sometimes, see the odd old flower that could be described as blue without bending the truth too far.  I am yet to see it.

The pigment that makes flowers blue, delphinidin, is absent from the rose.  Mauve roses look that way because of the breakdown of the red pigment, cyanidin, in combination with tannins.  Purple and lilac roses are just reds and pinks suffering from premature old age, and no amount of crossing them will make them any bluer than they are.

Veilchenblau has heads of small flowers, opening to reveal a lilac and white eye and occasional white streaks on the petals. They are small, semi double and incurved, and show prominent yellow stamens. The flowers remain on the bush a long while so there is a pleasant mix of colours at any one time.  It flowers early in the season, with no repeat flower.  The scent, while not very strong, is fresh and pleasing.

The plant is thornless, with light green leaves.  It roots very easily from cuttings and is sometimes used as understock.

Descriptions of Veilchenblau say it grows anything from 3 metres to 10 metres.  I don’t know about that.  Mine sends up long arching canes (about a metre long) from the base.  It does not get any bigger than the length of these canes.  It is, otherwise, strong and healthy.

This is one of the few roses that does well in light shade.  In shade, the colour is softer and the blue tones more convincing.

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Veilchenblau is classified as a Rambler which is a subclass of the Old Garden Rose. It is in the Rosa multiflora style.  A critical feature of Ramblers is: their branches only flower once and should be removed entirely to make way for the new shoots from the base that will bear next year’s flowers.  This is important to remember when pruning – rather than cutting back, old canes should be removed completely.

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Veilchenblau was introduced by Schmidt of Erfurt.

What about me?

What about me? It isn’t fair
I’ve had enough, now I want my share
Can’t you see, I want to live
But you just take more than you give

Garry Frost and Frances Swan

On the night President-elect Trump was elected, I wrote a post about the David Austin rose, Sharifa Asma. It took all my strength not to comment on the outcome of the election because, along with many, many people, I was devastated.  But, I reasoned, this blog is about food and gardens.  A safe haven from political comment.

But then I read Francesca’s post and Cecilia’s post and Sawsan’s post and I thought, “Why not?”

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Pumpkin espresso loaf cake

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I was going through my emails the other day, deleting like mad.  In this household, we get five of every email, we have two computers, an iPad, and two iPhones.  That is a lot of deleting.  To make matters worse, when we arrive at either Bridgetown or Perth, the in-box is chockers after not being open for up to two weeks.  On the night of arrival, I delete like crazy and, again, on the night before departure.  Sometimes, I get carried away and delete an important email or one I had saved to read – que sera, sera.

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Hoisin pork with beans, snow peas and noodles

p1000688copyThe snow peas have really gone mad.  We are, at last, getting some sunshine (although it is raining as I type) and now we have more snow peas than we can possibly eat.

We also have more avocados and asparagus than we can eat.  And soon it will be broccoli with this and broccoli with that.

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Sharifa Asma

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It seem like ages since I wrote a post and it is ages since I wrote one of my Rose of the Week posts.  I was very slack last year.  I dropped the ball.  I got it into my head that no one was interested in my rose posts so I lost interest in them.  This is notwithstanding every day a number (and some days a large number) of my rose photos are copied and the posts are regularly visited.

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The recalcitrant mower and the meaning of life

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See the torn belt on the cutting deck?

This photo is for Robyn.  She asked for a photo of our baby.

Although this post is going to sound like a rant, I want to say at the outset, “I like my mower”.  We could have bought a nice car with what this guy has cost us but we bought a mower and would again.  Why?  Because this mower and the woes it presents are part of the life we have chosen. Continue reading

I had a bad day today …

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It started innocuously enough.  Maus had to go to Manjimup, 40 kilometres away, to pick up our ride-on mower and I was going to make a cake.

As anyone who has a ride-on knows, they have a lot in common with ink jet printers – both send you broke.  In one instance, it is replacement ink cartridges and in the other, ongoing repairs.  The situation has been made worse of late as the only guy in town who seemed to know what he was doing retired, so we were trying out a repair man from the next town.  Maus had arranged to borrow a trailer but, as luck would have it, it wasn’t available.  That meant we had to hire one. Continue reading