Monday, January 8, 2024 4 comments

Let's get this party started, 2024

I was not sad to see 2023 end. It wasn’t a horrible year for us, but there were definitely a few scary bumps in the road. 

First, my husband Chris was out preparing his veggie patch last March, lost his balance and took a tumble 25 feet down the mountain. Thank goodness he wasn’t seriously injured. He did have a gash on his leg that needed to be treated for about 5 weeks. But compared to what might have happened, he was very lucky. 
Chris' summer veggie garden. He was working around the back when he fell.

 Then I had a blood vessel burst behind my right eye which led to lots of hand wringing and two weeks of double vision. The follow-up MRI showed no serious problems. We aren’t sure what actually caused the vessel to burst, but like Chris, I was very lucky. 
After those episodes, I am more than ready to put it all behind me and start making garden plans for 2024! I have ordered seven new roses to be picked up or delivered around the second week of April. Where they will go is still a mystery, but never mind. They will all eventually find a home. 
I am very excited about the addition of the polyantha ‘Baby Faurax’. It was introduced in the 1920s and promises to be covered with clusters of deep violet-mauve flowers throughout the season. It is perfect for pots or the front of the garden. 
'Baby Faurax' (courtesy David Austin Roses)
‘Baby Faurax’ will make a great companion for the ‘OSO Happy Smoothie’ I purchased from High Country Roses. The polyantha was bred by one of my favorite hybridizers, David Zlesak, who has given us many splendid roses including the gorgeous climber ‘Above and Beyond’. We also have David to thank for highly rated beauties such as 'Petit Pink' and ‘Pretty Polly Pink’. 
(Dear Readers: I adore Polyanthas as you can see in this 2021 posting.)  
'Cream Veranda’, Distant Drums’ and ‘Gypsy Soul’ are other roses I’ve ordered from Roses Unlimited in Laurens, South Carolina. In the past I’ve waited too long to order ‘Cream Veranda’ but not this year! She’s all mine! 
'Cream Veranda' (Courtesy High Country Roses)
If you are a Dirt Diaries regular reader, you know roses are my thing. But for 2024 I have bought a tree for the first time: A Japanese maple. I always love seeing the magnificent maples in the fall and decided I must add one to my garden this year. ‘Amber Ghost’ I purchased from Mr. Maple in East Flat Rock, NC doesn’t grow too tall (8 feet) and the leaves change from coral pink in the spring to orange-red in the fall. Can’t wait. 
'Amber Ghost' (Courtesy Mr. Maple)
 I also have four plants of Centranthus ruber ‘Albus’ on the way. I grew Centranthus ruber (aka Jupiter’s Beard or red Valerian) in Maryland and I couldn’t kill it if I tried. Here in the mountains, I have completely struck out. I was mentioning my dilemma to one of the "Shady Ladies" at Raymond’s Gardens in Hendersonville and she diagnosed the problem as  vole destruction. Not one of 8 plants I bought there survived. Having written about my vole woes earlier, now maybe I know why. So I am planting these perennials in wire baskets from now on. Will keep you posted. 
White Jupiter's Beard is a perfect companion for roses
Finally, I am ordering more tubers of Hollyhill Spider Woman dahlias. What a show this cactus dahlia puts on! The blooms are so unusual and eye-catching, you can’t stop looking at them. 
So, 2024 is looking to be a pretty fabulous gardening year for me. 
As long as our balance and brains cooperate.