Saturday, April 15, 2017

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - April 2017

Well, the first and only time that I participated in the famous Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day meme hosted by Carol from May Dreams Gardens on every fifteenth of the month was last year in March. The main reason why I didn't participate more often in this great meme is that for time reasons in general, I have trouble to get a post out on a specific day. This month the fifteenth falls on the Easter weekend on Saturday though, and therefore I have time to blog and thought I will give it another go.

So yesterday I ventured out with my camera into the garden to see what was blooming. In the middle of April my roses usually are reaching their spring flush peak, but this year they are a little bit delayed. I feel the same goes for many perennials, but there are still plenty of blooms of any kind in the garden right now.

Unfortunately, when I was done shooting in the front yard and got into the backyard a fierce wind was flaring up and I couldn't take any more photos, but let's see what I got.

In the front yard, my two 'Climbing Iceberg' roses are in full bloom. Here you see the one on the left side of the garage. In the foreground, salvia 'Amistad', which is new to the garden, is showing off her beautiful large dark purple flowers, which emerge from almost black bracts. All in all a very showy salvia, that is visited by hummingbirds, which is lovely, but I have a feeling that it wants to grow a little bit bigger than I would like.

Looking at the left side of the walkway to the front door. In the foreground rosa 'Old Fashioned Girl', in the middle salvia 'Mystic Spires Blue' has just started to flower, and in the background to the left, you see the same rosa 'Climbing Iceberg' that I showed in my opening photo of this post.

Salvia 'Mystic Spires Blue', here a close-up, is one of my favorite salvias. It stays mannerly in terms of its size, which is a big plus for a small garden and it blooms very prolifically once it is in full swing over a long period of time.

Martha Washington geraniums do exceptionally well in my garden, here you can see the variety 'Regal Elegance Rose Bicolor'...

...which is growing in a container near the front door.

Looking to the other side of the walkway to the front door, rosa 'Our Lady of Guadalupe' is starting to bloom in the foreground. In the middle ground, another salvia 'Mystic Spires Blue' is planted. And in the background rosa 'The Prince' has begun to open his flowers,...

...which are absolutely exquisite at this time of the year. Here a close-up.

Walking back to the front of the house my other rosa 'Climbing Iceberg' comes into view. These two roses have really done fabulously this spring and are completely smothered in blooms.

What is nice with the 'Icebergs' is that their pretty blooms...

...are also offering food for the pollinators because they show their stamens, which many of the modern Hybrid Tea roses don't. 

Also in the front yard, one of my favorite penstemons 'Pinacolada Violet' is blooming. It is part of a relatively new series of penstemons that have the advantage of an earlier bloom time and a well-branched compact growth habit.

One of my most beloved roses in the front yard is 'Charles Darwin'. If you follow my blog for a while you know that yellow is usually not my favorite color, but I have fallen for this more muted, pale tone. The flowers of 'Charles Darwin' are large and they come with a very delicious and strong fragrance.

Going into the back yard we pass by rosa 'Pierre de Ronsard', which is becoming bigger and bigger each year. Do you see how tall the newest cane from this year in the middle of the rose is? The rose has just come into bloom over the last days.

Here is a close-up of the top flower spray of the longest cane reaching for the sky. The very large and full blooms are just stunning and I am looking particularly forward to them each year. I think this is one of the best roses that the house of Meilland has introduced so far.

Rosa 'Captain Christy' is a weakling in my garden, but oh the subtle coloration of its exquisite blooms...

This photo was taken by my husband.

Ajuga reptans 'Catlin's Giant' is in full bloom right now and showing off its wonderful shade of clear blue flowers. I am amazed how well this plant is doing in my garden. I am not coddling it, as a matter of fact, it is growing in a very difficult shady position and yet it is able to bloom so profusely. For that reason, I intend to spread it around to other areas in the garden this year.

I will conclude with a shot of rosa 'Grandmother's Hat', which is at her spring flush peak right now. If you want to see more close up photos of her beautiful and fragrant blooms or other roses flowering in my garden, please click on my March Roses post.

That was it from my garden for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, please hop over to Carol at May Gardens Dreams after you are done reading this post and see what is blooming in her and other bloggers' gardens around the world on this lovely day.

One more thing: My blog has recently passed the 500.000 pageview mark! Truly a little reason to celebrate! Thank you so much for coming here to visit and comment, please know that I really appreciate it. This blog wouldn't be what it is without YOU! 

Wishing you a very happy and sunny Easter!


I am linking up to
May Dreams Gardens - Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day  //  Angie The Freckled Rose - Dishing It & Digging It  //  botanic bleu - Monday Social  // Dwellings - The Heart of Your Home - Amaze Me Monday  //  Between Naps On The Porch  - Metamorphosis Monday  //  Coastal Charm - Show and Share  //   Cedar Hill Farmhouse - The Scoop  //  Sweet Sentcations - Celebrate Your Story  //  Savvy Southern Style - Wow Us Wednesdays  //  A Southern Daydreamer - Outdoor Wednesday  //  A Delightsome Life - Home and Garden Thursday  //  Have a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson - Share Your Cup  //  21 Rosemary Lane - Share Your Style  //  Peonies & Orange Blossoms - Thursday Favorite Things  //  Rattlebridge Farm - Foodie Friday and Everything Else  //  French Country Cottage - Feathered Nest Friday  //  Shabby Art Boutique - Creat, Bake, Grow & Gather  //  How Sweet The Sound - "Anything Goes" - Pink Saturday  //  One More Time - Share It One More Time  //

Saturday, April 8, 2017

March Roses

To my surprise, in March there was still only a rose bloom opening here and there in my garden. After all the winter rains that we were having I had expected that I would get an early rose spring flush, but I was wrong.

Maybe I pruned a little late, but I believe that the main reason for the belated rose blooms is to find in the fact that I fertilized very late this year and that I didn't even get to all my roses even until now. Roses are heavy feeders and the lack of fertilizer might have prevented them from blooming as early and profusely as usual. Temperatures were relatively low as well in comparison to the previous years, so that might have been another contributing factor.

Anyhow, each rose that was opening was very well appreciated and here are some that I have captured with my camera last month.

Rosa 'Snowbird', an early Hybrid Tea rose, which I grow as an own-root is finally strutting her stuff and put out some nice blooms.

Same rose showing a more open bloom. Looks like she has the potential to be a good off-white rose in my climate.

You rarely will see a true red rose in my own garden, as a matter of fact, by now I have only two, which are both specimens of the Hybrid Tea rose 'Mister Lincoln'.

I am not a big fan of clear warm red tones, but 'Mister Lincoln' has a strong blue tint in his red which I like much better.

There are special occasions though, you know which I mean when it is nice to be able to cut a red rose from your own garden and give it to someone dear to you, so I keep the two red rose bush.

Thinking about it a bit more, my trouble with red roses is not so much the fact that I don't like them, at least the bluish red ones, but that I find them very difficult to integrate in a pleasing way into the existing color schemes in my garden.

But if you are looking for a red rose you might be very pleased with 'Mister Lincoln'. In my garden, he produces large, fat, dark red roses with an outstanding damask fragrance.

To me, his fragrance is one of its best features.

I think it is always so disappointing that when you get a red rose and you hold it up close to your nose ready to smell the wonderful rose fragrance and..., there is nothing, absolutely no fragrance to detect. This won't happen to you with this one!

All photos in this sequence are shots of the very first bloom of 'Mister Lincoln' this year. This rose is so beautiful that even I can't wait to see more blooms of him.

The next rose 'Marie Pavie', a Polyantha, is a very different kind. Don't you just love all the variety in the rose flowers?

Small, very blush buds open to clear white blooms with a strong fresh musk fragrance that wafts through the air. 

I just love the delicate blooms. 

Rosa 'Marie Pavie' was the first one to start her spring flush in my garden this year. You can see in the photo above that she is full of buds. Usually, this rose is very healthy, but this year she is showing some blackspot.  

Rosa 'Rhodologue Jules Graveraux', my favorite Tea Rose. I think everyone can see why!

Here is a bud shot of the same rose.

I love the very unique pale pink color of rosa 'Souvenir de la Malmaison', but the rose continues to be a very weak grower in my garden.

The image above shows a fully open flower of  'Souvenir de la Malmaison'.

Same bloom completely covered in water drops. I have never seen water drops clinging so densely to a rose bloom.

I realized that this year I am feeling particularly drawn to the very pale, blush pink roses. Rosa 'Old Fashioned Girl' is another good example for this color range.

Rosa 'Gruss an Aachen' is relatively new to me, but so far I like this rose very much.

She changes colors constantly depending on temperatures, sun intensity, and probably some other factors, which makes this rose quite interesting.

Here she is showing almost an apricot center.

The next set of buds had almost red petal edges and a hint of yellow color at the base of the buds. 

The main bud was opening into a light pink rose with yellow undertones in the center. There is something very special about this rose, which is hard to capture with the camera. My 'Gruss an Aachen' is still young, so as it matures I expect wonderful things to come. 

The last rose in today's post is 'Grandmother's Hat'.

This rose was found in California and is an absolute healthy reliable gem in my garden.

It has much of the Old Garden Roses character, which I am so enchanted with and blooms very profusely. It also comes with a strong pleasing fragrance.

'Grandmother's Hat' was, after rosa 'Marie Pavie', the second rose that had started her spring flush last month in my garden.

The lesson that I learned this year is that in my garden with my soil and in my climate roses need to be fed properly and on time. It really makes a big difference in the amount and size of blooms that they are able to produce and also in the blooming time.

Thanks for stopping by today! Wishing everyone a wonderful rest of the weekend.

See you in the garden!

Warm regards,


I am linking up to
Angie The Freckled Rose - Dishing It & Digging It  //  botanic bleu - Monday Social  //  Dwellings - The Heart of Your Home - Amaze Me Monday  //  Between Naps On The Porch - Metamorphosis Monday  //  Coastal Charm - Show and Share  //  Cedar Hill Farmhouse - The Scoop  //  Sweet Sensations - Celebrate Your Story  // A Stroll Thru Life - Inspire Me Tuesday  //  Savvy Southern Style - Wow Us Wednesdays  //  A Southern Daydreamer - Outdoor Wednesday  //  A Delightsome Life - Home and Garden Thursday  //  Have a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson - Share Your Cup  //  21 Rosemary Lane - Share Your Style  //  Peonies & Orange Blossoms - Thursday Favorite Things  //  Rattlebridge Farm - Foodie Friday and Everything Else  // French Country Cottage - Feathered Nest Friday  //  Shabby Art Boutique - Create, Bake, Grow & Gather  //  How Sweet The Sound - "Anything Goes" - Pink Saturday  //  One More Time - Share It One More Time  //

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Catching You Up

I have gotten behind with blogging about the happenings in my own garden and I would like to catch you up with its development and what I have done from February to mid-March. All photos shown in this post are from this time period.

Let's start with the White Garden Bed in the backyard. Not too much white there at the moment, but at least plants are actively starting to grow and green up.

I removed a self-seeded hardy geranium located between the small white sculpture and the green mount of a plant to the left which is an alstroemeria. First, this hardy geranium looked so promising, because it was nice, healthy, and grew strongly, but then it turned out that it had insignificantly small flowers and I decided to discard it.

Close-up of a bloom of hardy geranium 'Biokovo'. Somehow I really like this photo! The blooms of 'Biokovo' are a very light and soft pink, but I think they are still acceptable to have in a White Garden Bed.

Looking a little bit more to the left of the White Garden Bed. The "brown bushes" that you see behind the white column with the silver gazing ball are the old flower stalks of gaura lindheimeri 'Belleza White' which needed to be cut back.

The gaura is new to me since last year and I didn't know at what time to cut it back. Well, I definitely waited too long and next year I certainly won't look at these brown, ugly, and dried up flower stalks that long anymore.

All cut back! A little spring clean-up can make such a difference in the garden!

Looking to the right side of my backyard. The huge rose that has started to leave out is 'Pierre de Ronsard', one of my most beloved ones. I finally planted rosa 'Charles Darwin' to its right. Even though in the photo the new rose looks tiny, in reality, it is not. Both roses are freshly fertilized. I keep the fertilizer in place by putting some mulch over it, hence the darker color of the soil surrounding the roses. The mulch itself becomes a mild fertilizer for the roses over time.

This year the leaves of 'Pierre de Ronsard' look so juicy and healthy, but...

...if you take a closer look at the longer canes you see that they have trouble to leave out. It is high time that the organic fertilizer gets broken down by microorganisms so that it is accessible for the rose. 

Instead of only showing things that go well in my garden I will also present photos of areas that don't do so great. In the background, you see my calla lilies. They don't seem to like growing in this location. The rose in the foreground is 'Heritage' and also seems to have trouble to leave out properly. This whole bed needs to be fertilized and a good layer of mulch and I bet things will become better. I often struggle to get all the garden chores done timewise. I guess that may sound familiar to some of you.

Talking about things that don't go so well: Not all rose leaves are so healthy like the ones of 'Pierre de Ronsard' that I have shown further above. Some roses have responded to the seasonal conditions with lots of rose rust. The leaves above are from rosa 'Bewitched', 'Auckland Metro', and 'Moonstone'. I also see much more blackspot than usual this spring. I believe the increase of both of these rose diseases is due to all the lovely winter rains that we were having.

I don't spray and won't do anything about these infected leaves other than pulling them off and/or wait until they fall off by themselves and the roses grow new leaves. Rose varieties that consistently show very little disease resistance in my garden get eliminated.

Here is another wonderful example of healthy rose foliage: These are the new leaves of rosa 'Grandmother's Hat'. This rose has shown exceptional disease resistance in my garden over a couple of years.

On a totally different note: I have sown Sweet Peas in February. Probably too late for my climate though, but I just had to give it a try, since I didn't get around to do it earlier. Maybe I am lucky and I see a few blooms before the summer heat sets in.

Moving on to the front yard. I was going back and forth forever if I should plant another rose between the two existing roses, 'Charles Darwin' to the left and 'Cymbaline' to the right, in this bed or an evergreen plant.

Space for roses is scarce in my garden and I always try to plant another rose wherever I can, just because I love them so much, but I think three roses planted in a row would look boring in this area. They would roughly have the same height, the same leaves and in the winter time, I would have to live with three dormant plants. So I decided against it.

Initially, this bed was totally flat, but over time I have tried to build a small berm by just putting more and more soil down. The photo doesn't show it well but this bed is slightly elevated by now.

Before I planted anything I dumped another big bale (three cubic feet) of garden soil in the middle of the bed. This is why this part of it looks darker than the rest. I can't tell you how much soil this border has simply "swallowed". The soil just decomposes and raising the level of the area seems to be a Sisyphus work.

The evergreen that I decided to go with is this yucca-like, drought tolerant plant that I got from a very nice gardener that I hardly knew on a garden tour and who generously gifted it to me along with five of its siblings a long time ago. The mother plant had formed a nice trunk roughly about the height of the Pygmy Date Palms of my neighbor in the background and that is exactly what I want for this area.

I intend to underplant the yucca-like plant with some flowering perennials to bring color and a little bit of diversity to this bed. 

And here it is planted in its new home. It still looks tiny but I expect it to grow relatively fast. 

The gardener who gifted me this plant told me the proper name and I jotted it down on a tiny piece of paper that unfortunately is long lost. Can anyone of you, dear readers, identify this plant? I would be thankful if you would let me know in a comment. 

Going over to the other side of the front yard my containers of stock are still looking nice and fulfill their purpose of bringing some spring color into the yard, especially when the roses were just leaving out.

To the right of the scene in the photo further above is a "problem area" I have been struggling with since we moved into this house: A small strip of soil only about fifteen inches deep. Underneath the soil level, the footing of the decorative wall comes out a couple of inches which makes the growing space for plants even smaller. And as if this weren't enough the whole area is densely rooted through by palm roots from a huge Queen Palm which is planted in the very front of the front yard. You can see the trunk in the photo above this one.

No plants have been able to withstand these conditions for a longer period and I am helping myself out here by placing another container filled with beautiful stock. Nonetheless, it is about time to replant this strip. The puny plant to the left is a miniature rose called 'Lavender Crystal', which has very lovely blooms, but isn't vigorous and is suffering from blackspot. I was tempted to throw it away for that reason, but couldn't do it. So I rescued and planted it into a container to see if it would recover if the growing conditions aren't that hostile. To the right, you see the daylily 'Gentle Shepherd' which barely hangs in there, but I hope will recover with a dose of fertilizer, more water, and the sun reaching it a little more as the season progresses.

Here you can see the root ball of rosa 'Lavender Crystal'. What was left over once I entangled the palm roots from it is tiny! No wonder the rose wasn't doing well.

Stepping a little bit back you can see a wider shot of the area. I planted a Martha Washington geranium 'Regal Elegance Rose Bicolor', which had been outgrowing its container, in place of the rose. Martha Washington geraniums have been pretty tough plants here, which can take a bit of shade and still bloom, so I have hope that this plant will like it here.

Here you can see the geranium a bit better! This place is very hard to photograph because of the harsh contrast between sun and shade. In the foreground rosa 'Our Lady of Guadalupe' is leaving out well after a hard pruning this winter but is already suffering from powdery mildew.

In one of the next posts, I will show you how I fixed this area. I am quite pleased to say that I found a very nice solution!

To end on a rosy note I leave you with a photo of rosa 'Bewitched'. I just love the elegance of her very elongated buds. It turned into a big fragrant flower which I enjoyed cutting for the house.

Hope the new week is going well for you and nice warm spring weather is allowing you to be outside.

See you in the garden!


I am linking up to
Angie The Freckled Rose - Dishing It & Digging It  //  botanic bleu - Monday Social  // Dwellings - The Heart of Your Home - Amaze Me Monday  //  Between Naps On The Porch - Metamorphosis Monday  //  Cedar Hill  Farmhouse - The Scoop  //  Coastal Charm - Show And Share  //  Sweet Sensations - Celebrate Your Story  //  Savvy Southern Style - Wow Us Wednesdays  //  A Southern Daydreamer - Outdoor Wednesday  //  Have a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson - Share Your Cup  //  A Delightsome Life - Home and Garden Thursday  //  21 Rosemary Lane - Share Your Style  //  Rattlebridge Farm - Foodie Friday and Everything Else  //  French Country Cottage - Feathered Nest Friday  //  Shabby Art Boutique - Create, Bake, Grow & Gather  //   Peonies & Orange Blossoms - Thursday Favorite Things  //  How Sweet The Sound - "Anything Goes" Pink Saturday  //  One More Time - Share It One More Time  //  My Soulful Home - Sundays at Home