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Posts Tagged ‘Institute of Ocean Sciences’

I am always looking for great plants to write about and often stumble upon new finds in the most unexpected places. last year while looking for different color forms of Lilacs I came across a plant which was growing through a clump of them which would bloom soon, I decided to come back later and find out what form it was later. I knew it was a rose and it looked familiar, I had seen it somewhere before. In fact I see  it every time I go to St.Ann’s Academy because the rose in question turned out to be a very healthy ‘Felicite Perpetue’ Rose (Rosa ‘Felicite Perpetue’).

 Rosa 'Felicite Perpetue' is a delicate looking Rambling Rose.

Rosa 'Felicite Perpetue' is a delicate looking Rambling Rose.

Rosa ‘Felicite Perpetue’ is a delicate yet vigorous Rambler which has been known since the early 19th century. Antoine A. Jacques  was the head gardener to Louis Phillipe, Duc d’ Orleans  for many years and took care of his estates which included Chateau Neuilly. Duc d’ Orleans( later the king of France) loved plants and had a vast collection for A.A. Jacques to work with. At Chateau Neuilly Jacques made some crosses of roses and named at least 3 which have gone on to become famous on their own. Those roses where  ‘Adélaïde d’Orléans’ in 1826, Rosa ‘Félicité Perpétue’ in 1827 and the less famous ‘Princesse Louise’ was introduced in 1829. Both ‘Adélaïde d’Orléans’ and the ‘Félicité Perpétue’ Rose both are easily found a rose nurseries, while the other is harder to find here at least.

tRosa ‘Félicité Perpétue’ is climbing up the veranda in the Novitiate Garden at St. Ann's Academy in Victoria.

Rosa ‘Félicité Perpétue’ is climbing up the veranda in the Novitiate Garden at St. Ann's Academy in Victoria.

There is some controversy to whether the crosses of Rosa ‘Felicite Perpetue’ and her sisters were done on purpose or where accidentally. A.A. Jacques said at the time they were accidental. other people believe they were planned as one of the parent plants is believed to be Rosa sempervirens which native to southern Europe but not in the area where ‘Felicite Perpetue’ was found. Rosa sempervirens gave ‘Felicite Perpetue’ was it’s nearly thornless flexible stems and attractive clean foliage which is evergreen in most areas. ‘Felicite Perpetue’ is now the most widely grown semperviren hybrid grown in the world.

The foliage of the 'Felicite Perpetue' Rose is always attractive and clean looking.

The foliage of the 'Felicite Perpetue' Rose is always attractive and clean looking.

One of the reasons that Rosa ‘Felicite Perpetue’ has been so successful is its tolerance to a wider range of soil conditions than many other Roses. Often these old Roses are found growing on old homesteads or abandoned gardens, such is the case of the one I found growing through a clump of old Lilacs. The Lilacs and Rose were definitely not part of the planned landscape found at the Institute of Ocean Sciences on Pat Bay near Sidney B.C. You will not find it easily as it is not seen from the roadside, instead you have to look carefully in the thickets of Lilacs to find it hanging down from above.

Here is Rosa 'Felicite Perpetue' at the Institute of Ocean Sciences peeping through the Lilacs.

Here is Rosa 'Felicite Perpetue' at the Institute of Ocean Sciences peeping through the Lilacs.

Rosa ‘Felicite Perpetue’ grows best in fertile, well-drained soil in full sun. It tolerates drought better than many roses and will bloom in more shady places. The leaves do not suffer from the dreaded black spot or mildews here, I have never seen it on any plants. The only thing that is a problem is aphids which are very common here. The stems are flexible and have few spines and have an attractive wine color which is shown of by the flower buds which are pink. This is a vigorous plant which can grow to over 6m(20ft)in height and width in choice growing places.  Here it rarely attains more than 4.5m(15ft) and is often seen hanging down from within trees or shrubs. Little pruning is needed other than the occasional shaping, remember when you are pruning that this rose sets its blooms on the previous years growth of lateral stems and you should do any major trimming soon after it blooms so you do not lose the following years flowers.

A Rosa ‘Felicite Perpetue’  flower has as many as 40 petals.

A Rosa ‘Felicite Perpetue’ flower has as many as 40 petals.

As an old hybrid Rosa ‘Felicite Perpetue’ flowers once a year and produces masses of smaller 3cm(1.5in) diameter blossoms which are produced in clusters. The dense rose-tinted buds contain as many as 40 petals which open a lightly fragrant creamy white, heat and sun exposure does effect color and deepens it. The flower petals do not fall of the flowers therefore deadheading after the blooms have finished is advised. Little pruning is needed other than the occasional shaping, remember when you are pruning that this rose sets its blooms on the previous years growth of lateral stems and you should do any major trimming soon after it blooms so you do not lose the following years flowers.

A large patch of Rosa 'Felicite Perpetue' growing in the shade at St. Ann's Academy and blooms every year.

A large patch of Rosa 'Felicite Perpetue' growing in the shade at St. Ann's Academy and blooms every year.

Finding ‘Felicite Perpetue’:

A little about Antoine A. Jacques, gardener and rose breeder: http://www.historicroses.org/index.php?id=40

Rosa sempervirens: http://www.rogersroses.com/gallery/DisplayBlock~bid~152~gid~15~source~gallerydefault.asp

Someone else stumble upon the rose and posted here: http://www.heritagerosefoundation.org/discus/messages/269/1924.html?1148962455

St. Ann’s Academy in Victoria B.C.: http://stannsacademy.com/HistoryResearch/Places.aspx

Where will we meet next… here I hope!

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Every year this late in the season many of the native trees and shrubs here are suffering from drought conditions and start shedding their leaves. Fall here is drab with dried brownish leaves caused by the dryness. My mother commented on how drab it is here compared to the interior where glorious golden Birch and Poplars color swaths along hills and valleys. Happily there are good plantings in the mot surprising places which are enlivened with the best of fall colors from around the world. One place near me is a big mall which has spectacular shades or orange, peach and reds starting with the Sweet Gum(Liquidambar styraciflua) which provides a backbone of crimson running through the parking lot.

The Sweet Gum trees in Broadmead Village Shopping Centre in Saanich B.C.

The Sweet Gum trees in Broadmead Village Shopping Centre in Saanich B.C.

We are lucky here that we can grow plants from anywhere in the world. Sweet Gum come from south eastern North America, growing from Connecticut in the north moving west to the very southern edge of Ohio and south to Florida and down through mexico into mountainous areas of Guatemala.  They have long been used by the various native groups medicinally. Medicinally the resin(sweet gum or liquid amber)  was used as a balm for various ailments but has been found to be not particularly useful. It’s sweet scent has meant it has been used in the as a fragrant adhesive, the manufacture of incense as well as in perfume industry. The resin was collected and used as a chewing gum. At one time the gum was mixed with wild tobacco and smoked at the court of the Mexican emperor.

Liquidambar styrciflua (Sweet Gum) are amoung collection of trees at  the Institute of Ocean Sciences in North Saanich.

Liquidambar styrciflua (Sweet Gum) are among collection of trees at the Institute of Ocean Sciences in North Saanich.

Francisco Hernández (1517-1587) was a botanist studied Mexican flora and was the first to write about Sweet Gum trees in his work published in 1651. He wrote about a large tree which produced a fragrant gum which was amber in color. The tree was brought to Europe by John Bannister( a missionary) in 1681 and specimens were planted at Fulham Palace Gardens. At that time it was called Styrax liquida.

The fruit of the Sweet Gum tree is a multi-capsuled bauble which is unpleasant to step on.

The fruit of the Sweet Gum tree is a multi-capsuled bauble which is unpleasant to step on.

One of the main reasons for planting Liquidambar styraciflua is it’s wonderful fall colors. It has a very wide range of shades ranging from a black plum through reds and crimson into oranges and peaches. This quality makes many people long for this tree when they move to other places. There is nothing like seeing the hills dotted with the flaming reds as autumn  as it starts to cool off. The leaves of this tree seem to keep their color for extended periods than many others, so we get to enjoy the effect for longer than most other species which drop their leaves quickly after they start to color up.

A crimson bed of Sweet Gum leaves under a crispy brown Red Oak leave.

A crimson bed of Sweet Gum foliage under a crispy brown Red Oak leaf.

Sweet Gums are often mistaken for Maples and they are not. Liqiudambar styraciflua are members of the Witch Hazel family. You can tell they are not maples by their fruit which is a spiky ball. Their leaves are attached to branches in an alternate pattern, whereas Maple leaves are always in opposite pairs. Sweet Gums also have interesting corky twigs which are ditinct from smooth Maple branches.

The very 'Maple-like' leaves of Liquidambar styraciflua.

The very 'Maple-like' leaves of Liquidambar styraciflua.

Sweet Gums do grow to be stately trees of up to 40m (130ft) so placement is important.  They tolerate zones 6-10 (-5c and up). They grow best in deep, rich, slightly acid moist soil. These are trees which like wet conditions and often grow in swampy areas. Full sun is a must to get the best color display in autumn. I see these trees used in many places, boulevards, parking lots school yards and other tough places.  They are also used as specimens. there are quite a few cultivars (clones) to choose from which give options in hardiness, shape and form, less seedy and color options. There should be one that will fit into any need.

Shades of Liquidambar styraciflua in a pond.

Shades of Liquidambar styraciflua in a pond.

Be sure to be on the look out for Sweet Gum in the coming weeks as the autumn season becomes  more pronounced in your area.

More About Liquidambar styraciflua:

Some excellent photographs of the flowers, fruit and bark of Sweet Gum: http://www.duke.edu/~cwcook/trees/list.html

The Institute of Ocean Sciences in North Saanich has good specimens of many trees: http://www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/science/facilities-installations/ios-ism/index-eng.htm

Description of growing the tree and list of common cultivars(clones) available: http://oregonstate.edu/dept/ldplants/list.htm

In depth description of growing and knowing Sweet Gums:

http://www.hcs.ohio-state.edu/pocketgardener/source/description/li_iflua.html

Until We Meet Again Later…..

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