U.S. Climate Report: April 2015

The April contiguous U.S. average temperature was 53.1°F, 2.1°F above the 20th century average—the 17th warmest April on record and warmest since 2012. Much of the contiguous U.S. was warmer than average, especially the Southeast. The April Lower 48 precipitation total was 2.78 inches, 0.26 inch above average, and ranking in the wettest one-third of the historical record.

Drought continued to intensify in the Upper Midwest and Northern Plains, while flooding rains impacted the Ohio Valley. The wet season ends in California and the Pacific Northwest by the end of April, minimizing the chance for significant drought improvement going into summer.

This monthly summary is provided by NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, North Carolina.

The maps below show how the average temperature, and precipitation values for the month of April 2015 deviate from the 30-year normals (1981-2010).

– Click on Map to Zoom In –



Roses: Old is New Again

Rose Rustling
You’ve probably never heard those two words used together before. They conjure up images of an outlaw in a black cowboy hat. Having decided that cattle were just a little too large and smelly to steal, he instead grabs his six-shooter and a pair of pruners, pulls his bandana up over his face, and heads off to rustle some roses from the neighboring ranches instead.

Quite to the contrary, a “rose rustler” is really the good guy in the white cowboy hat, riding in at the last minute to rescue long forgotten rose varieties. Scattered all across the country in old cemeteries, on abandoned homesteads, around old barns, along fences and back country roads are roses that have survived for decades. These “found” roses are hardy survivors and prized for their beauty and history.

Unlike our villain in the black hat, rose rustlers have strict rules of etiquette. When an old/new rose is spotted, care is taken to identify ownership, ask permission to visit the site, and ask permission to take a cutting for propagation. Information is usually gathered from the owner on how long it has been there, who planted it, and the plant’s blooming cycle.

A newly found rose is given a study name that usually relates to where it was found or the original owner. They are often identified as a known rose variety, but many go unidentified and thus permanently take on their study name. “Georgetown Tea”, “Highway 290 Pink Buttons”, and “Caldwell Pink” are just a few examples.

Antique Roses
Along with these “found” roses, many other “Old Garden” “Heritage” or “Antique” roses, many introduced into the U.S. before 1867, are being rediscovered. They are prized for their beauty, ease of growth, heat and drought tolerance, and adaptability to a wide variety of soils.

Research Proven
Horticultural experts at Texas A&M University have conducted an extensive eight-year field research study on these roses. During the study period, no pesticides were applied in order to evaluate their resistance to disease and pests.

Full Sun
All roses require “Full Sun” to thrive. Check out our handy Sun or Shade Tool. Here you will find definitions, and graphical representations to help determine what areas of your yard are in Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade, Full Shade, or Dense Shade.

Air Circulation
When planting roses, it is important to place them in a location that has good air circulation and to plant them at their recommended spacing (ex. 4’ apart). Good air circulation around your roses will help to prevent fungal diseases.

Although these roses will grow in almost any soil, ranging from well-drained acid sands to poorly aerated, highly alkaline clays, they will really thrive in well-drained soil that has been amended with plenty of organic matter or compost.

No, we’re not back in our cowboy analogy. Deadheading roses is the act of cutting off the spent rose flower blossom once it has finished blooming and lost all of its petals. Deadheading helps encourage the rose plant to produce new flowers.

Know Your Zone
Each rose variety will grow in a certain range of “Plant Hardiness Zones” (ex. Zones 4-9). Be sure to check which zones each rose will grow in. Use our Plant Hardiness Zones Tool to learn about Plant Hardiness Zones and to find which zone you live in.

The table below shows several varieties of roses along with their characteristics. With the large variety in sizes, shapes, growth habits, colors, and fragrances these roses offer, you are sure to find at least one to fit your landscape. Use them in mass plantings, as specimens, in containers, to cover an arbor, to hide the doghouse, or as an extremely effective barrier to “varmints” of all sizes.

Plant some and enjoy them today. And maybe, just maybe, a long, long time from now, a rose rustler will discover them still growing right where you planted them.


Souvenir de St. Anne's

Blooms: Spring, Summer and Fall

Size: 3’ tall x 3’ wide

Spacing: 5’ apart on center

Fragrant: Outstanding

Plant Hardiness Zones: 6-9
The Fairy

Blooms: Spring, Summer and Fall

Size: 3’ tall x 4’ wide

Spacing: 6’ apart on center

Fragrant: No

Plant Hardiness Zones: 4-9
Georgetown Tea

Blooms: Spring, Summer, and Fall

Size: 4’ tall x 4’ wide

Spacing: 6’ apart on center

Fragrant: Yes, tea like

Plant Hardiness Zones: 7-9
Belinda's Dream

Blooms: through all warm months

Size: 5’ tall x 5’ wide

Spacing: 7’ apart on center

Fragrant: Moderate

Plant Hardiness Zones: 5-9
Knock Out®

Blooms: Spring until first frost

Size: 5’ tall x 5’ wide

Spacing: 6’ apart on center

Fragrant: No

Plant Hardiness Zones: 4-9
New Dawn

Blooms: Spring

Size: 15-20’ tall x 10’ wide

Spacing: 12’ apart on center

Fragrant: Yes

Plant Hardiness Zones: 4-9
Sea Foam

Blooms: Spring, Summer, and Fall

Size: 8’ tall x 4’ wide

Spacing: 6’ apart on center

Fragrant: No

Plant Hardiness Zones: 4-9

A Day at Calloway’s Nursery

After several days of much needed rain here in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, yesterday dawned bright and beautiful. Just the sort of spring day where you gladly heed the beckoning call of your yard to get out and plant something. So it was with a hint of reluctance that I decided to commit a few hours of my day to listen to someone else talk about gardening rather than actually gardening myself. I usually reserve such things for dreary winter days when spring is but a distant hope.

I had seen that P. Allen Smith, garden and design expert as well as host of the PBS television show P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home, was going to be speaking at Calloway’s Nursery in Hurst, Texas. So I made the short drive and arrived early enough to have a look around, take some pictures, and unexpectedly partake in more than a few freshly baked cookies made with Allen’s Aunt Jamie’s recipe.

Tahiti Wind Hibiscus
Tahiti Wind Hibiscus
Not to be overly dramatic, but I really was amazed at the huge variety of flowers, trees, shrubs, and vegetables there. As I wandered the isles, I was approached several times by pleasant employees, each asking if I had any questions or needed any help. It was obvious to me that they were very knowledgeable about what I was looking at and truly interested in helping me. What a nice change from the ever so common “my boss told me I had to ask people if they needed help, so what do you want” attitude that pervades many retail establishments. I saw Allen walking the isles with several Calloway’s employees and a pull-cart gathering plants for his presentation. And quite frankly, the employees helping me showed the same amount of courtesy and interest in my questions as those helping Allen.

Soon the crowd began to take their seats for Allen’s presentation, so I grabbed a chair. Before the actual presentation, Allen wandered through the crowd just saying, “Hi,” and asking people how they were doing. He came across as just a regular, albeit very knowledgeable and very famous, guy who was genuinely glad to meet you.

The presentation started, and Allen talked about his horticultural P Allen Smith at Callowaysbackground, design principles, concern for the environment, his beloved Garden Home Retreat, and his desire to make gardening easy yet rewarding for everyone. I loved his analogy of trying to create for the home gardener what the Garanimals clothing line has created for many youngsters. If you’re old enough to remember, that was where as long as you wore one of your shirts that had the giraffe label, and a pair of pants that also had a giraffe label, your Mom wouldn’t send you back to your room to change before the school bus arrived. Now that I think about it, I’ve got a couple friends who regularly wear a tiger shirt with a pair of aardvark pants; it makes for an interesting sight.

A little over an hour and a half of interactive demonstrations, amusing anecdotes, questions and answers, and just good gardening advice went by before the audience know it. Hey, I even won an autographed copy of P. Allen Smith’s Seasonal Recipes from the Garden cookbook. I’ll share some of Allen’s garden design ideas in future articles.

So, was I glad I went to Calloway’s Nursery yesterday? You bet! I left with some great ideas, some really cool plants, and the knowledge that I now have a new favorite place to shop for gardening supplies. Any day is a good day to go to Calloway’s Nursery. Even if P. Allen Smith isn’t there when you go, you’ll still be treated like a celebrity.

Expert Gardening and Home Advice