There are various old-fashioned roses climbing up the wild cherry trees at the Baiting Hollow Hummingbird Sanctuary. Of course hummingbirds almost never visit roses, because they seem to have little nectar - they were bred for looks and perfume instead. This is a (rather long) compilation of clips of the climbing roses (and some ramblers), separated by clips of various other plants, taken in early june. The sound track is the original one for each clip, in some you can hear bird song, in some the sound of the Sound on the beach below, and in some the overpowering noise of aircraft commuting overhead from Manhattan to East Hampton. The roses featured are: Francois Juranville, Albertine, Frances Lester, Don Juan (the red rose climbing up the front pergola), Alberic Barbier, Darlow's Enigma, Perennial Blush and Etain.
It's been quite difficult to grow these roses up trees. The problems are: (1) the "soil" here is pure sand (2) the numerous deer here love roses (3) the trees compete avidly for light, water and nutrients (4) direct exposure to winter north winds arriving across Long Island Sound from the North Pole (5) very few vigorous antique climbers/ramblers are available on Long Island. Given these difficulties it's amazing I have had any success at all! I have to (1) dig very big holes and fill with leaf mold, compost, peat moss and imported topsoil (2) grow the roses in pots on the deck until at least 5 feet tall (3) try many though only a few succeed.
But there is nothing more beautiful and romantic than a flowering rose climbing up a tree (except for a hummingbird visiting other types of flower). Of course, hummingbird activity is quite low when the roses are blooming, and they offer little nectar, so I will probably never see a hummer visiting one of my roses (except in sweetest dreams).
You can see 2 unusual hummer-friendly flowers : those of crossvine (Bignonia capreolata) and the small tree Red Buckeye (Aesculus pavia, one of the parents of the Fort McNair pink horsechestnut I featured earlier). Also bleeding heart, peony, foxglove and others.
Several people have already emailed me asking to visit. All visitation is by personal appointment, however the exact dates and times (august only) will not be announced (on this blog) until late july.
I'm sorry you cannot make reservation now, but visitation is now complicated by the ongoing lawsuit (see sidebar): a couple of neighbors are suing me for $3M, and they have demanded that the Supreme Court judge in the case issue an injunction prohibiting me from receiving guests. My apologies for the hassle. In the mean-time, enjoy the video and commentaries at this blog!