I Could Tackle That To Do List……

Or I could just sit for awhile…………………

As Winter gives way toward Spring, that urge to clean up, fix up, organize and generally put our lives and gardens  in order seems to just be hard wired into our DNA.   As the first promise of warmer weather and sunshine glimmers distantly in the air, off we go, rushing almost in unison, often still in our boots and sweaters,  to our favorite sources for garden delights and the local Home Improvement Stores.

Here in the subtropics, Spring comes early and is very short lived.  If you don’t get that Garden To Do List done early, then the heat, humidity and bugs soon put a damper on your enthusiasm.  So even though it’s early January, my Spring Cleaning clock has begun ticking in earnest.

In making the rounds this morning with my brand new shiny 21st century version of the notebook To Do List (my first ‘Smart Phone’).   I passed by the spot where the summer dog days stopped all but my most essential garden chores dead in their tracks last season.   I could spend the rest of the day just making a list of the work that needs to be done in that one 12’x12′ area.  The bougainvilleas are overgrown and desperately need to be pruned, a gate needs to be installed, the door painted, the stepping stones  laid,  the umbrella stand put up, and on and on.  That feeling of being overwhelmed and annoyed at what was not achieved was fast pushing out the satisfaction and pride in what was accomplished last year.
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History of the Heirloom, Antique Rose Louis Phillipe aka Cracker Rose

The Louis Phillip Rose was likely introduced into the Southeastern United States by a Texas politician, who was Minister to France in the 1830s, Loreneza de Zavala.  It is believed to have been a gift from the French to Zavala who planted it at  his home in Lynchburg, Texas near Houston.  Louis Phillipe was originally hybridized by the well known French rose breeder,  Guerin in 1834, and was named in honor of the King of France  Louis Philippe, who had returned to France around this time after a long period of political exile.

More than 100 years later this beautiful gift from France had become a staple in the southern landscape, and has become so associated with the South that it is commonly called the Cracker Rose.   This popularity is no doubt due to how easy and rewarding Louis Phillip is to grow.  This  rose bears flowers profusely and often, with very little effort.  The bush grows to be between 3 to 6 feet tall depending on climate with a busy rounding habit.  It is generally considered winter hardy in Zone 7 and south, some sources rate it to Zone 6.  But, we would caution Zone 6 growers to plant a large mature plant early, in as protected a location as is possible, and then mulch heavily well ahead of freezing weather.
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