Thursday, September 15, 2016

Dahlias, Daylilies, Roses And More...

In this post I would like to fill you in on some of the things that I did in the garden over the last couple of weeks. I also will show you some plants that have bloomed recently.



The end of July is, of course, way too late to plant dahlia tubers, but that was the earliest time that I could find to get the job done. I bought these dahlia tubers, the variety is called 'Lucca Johanna', probably around March already and let them sit in the hot garage.



I was very surprised that there was still plenty of life in them. As you can see the tubers had sprouted new shoots. One thing that is odd though is, that one shoot of the tuber on the right is thick and of a bright light green color and the shoots of the other tuber on the left are much thinner and have a reddish color even though they are supposed to be the same variety. It looks more like that there were two different dahlia varieties in one bag. If I get them to survive, time will tell.



I planted the tubers in five gallon containers, using a high quality potting mix and kept my fingers crossed.



In January this year I bought a bare root daylily called 'Frosted Vintage Ruffles'. I planted the bare root fans into one gallon containers to let them develop a strong root system and also to see the real bloom color, before I place them in the garden (see my initial post here).

In the beginning of August they were blooming for the first time for me. The color is quite different from the sales photo on the bag, but I do like it very much. I intend to combine the daylily with a rose and I think that the pale apricot/pink 'Heritage' would be the perfect match.



I am happy to report that my dug up alstroemeria 'Little Miss Sophie' from the front yard survived the transplant and is blooming in a five gallon container now.



In the front yard I am still working on re-designing this bed. Unfortunately not too much progress is made. The rose on the left side is 'Charles Darwin', which is planted into this spot not too long ago and is growing splendidly so far, even though it is planted in very close proximity to the big Queen Palms. The rose seems to put its energy into building a big bush and hasn't bloomed much so far,...



...but the blooms that it did produce were absolutely gorgeous. The flowers are huge, very fully petaled and have a strong fragrance. In addition to that I love the multi toned color of the blooms.

One drawback besides all the obvious advantages of  'Charles Darwin' is the fact, that the color of the blooms is not so easy to pair up with other colors. I wanted to plant another rose in the front of the bed though, and after much contemplating I settled on 'Crocus Rose'. Briefly after I planted 'Crocus Rose', which was already waiting in my pot ghetto, in the front of the bed, we went on vacation.

I had someone watering and taking care of the garden during our absence, but when I came back, I only found the brown little nothing. that you can barely see two photos above. I don't blame my garden caretaker at all though, since I know it is very difficult to get newly planted roses through the heat of summer.



 I still hoped that 'Crocus Rose' (close-up of the unlucky plant above) would grow new leaves or even come back from the roots, but after a few months of patiently waiting for a miracle to happen I gave up and decided to replace 'Crocus Rose' with another one. 



My choice fell on 'Cymbaline', an older David Austin rose that you rarely find in commerce nowadays and that I had growing in my pot ghetto for a long time. 



Once I had dug up the 'Crocus Rose' I examined the root ball to find the cause of its death, but other than that you could see that the roots hadn't grown into the new environment at all it was inconclusive.



The hole for the new rose was enlarged...



...and I popped 'Cymbaline' into her new home and fertilized with organic rose fertilizer and alfalfa meal.



I am trying to create a small berm in the middle of the bed, so the only thing that was left to do was to fill up the front of the bed with more soil and hope for the best.



Very shortly after that, to my great delight, 'Cymbaline' started to bloom. Color-wise it might not be as good of a choice to pair it up with 'Charles Darwin' as 'Crocus Rose' had been, but I think it could work.



Like many other David Austin roses, 'Cymbaline' changes its colors quite a bit. It can take on a warm apricot/orange tone when the temperatures are very high...



...or a more muted almost cool pink color, when temperatures are more moderate to cool.



I am enchanted by the more informal, blowzy style of the blooms,...



...but the most remarkable feature of 'Cymbaline' is its very strong myrrh fragrance.

 I really do hope that the colors of 'Charles Darwin' and 'Cymbaline' will go harmoniously together, but to definitively judge about that both roses need to bloom more profusely and at the same time. So probably I will only know next year for sure. Gardening requires patience...



These are my baby rose bands that I ordered from Chamblee's Rose Nursery in the beginning of this year (I blogged about them here). They are ready to be potted up from the one gallon containers they came in into two gallon containers, which is what I did.



Usually I use Edna's Best Potting Soil from E.B Stone Organics and I am quite happy with the quality of that potting soil, but when I went to my favorite nursery to buy some more bags of it, they pointed out to me, that E. B. Stone Organics have come out with a new, better potting soil called Ultimate Recipe.

I believe that good potting soil is very important to give my rose bands an optimal start, so, despite the higher price tag, I was willing to try it out. So far I only can say that Ulitmate Recipe Potting Soil looks and feels "richer" than Edna's Best, but the ultimate test will be how the young rose bands will do in it. I will keep you updated.



Here are the small rose bands cleaned up of brown ratty leaves and potted up in two gallon containers. From the left to the right you see: rosa 'Souvenir de la Malmaison, rosa 'Koko Loko', rosa 'Gruss an Aachen', and rosa 'Love Song'. I hope the bands will put on some substantial growth by the end of this year, especially since the temperatures in our climate will cool down now, that we have autumn.



Another casualty of this summer! I am so sad to have lost rosa 'Burnaby'. This is an older cream white Hybrid Tea rose with a darker yellow center and huge wonderfully formed blooms. It will be hard to find 'Burnaby' in commerce nowadays, if at all. But because it is so beautiful, I will make a very serious attempt to see, if I can find a way to acquire it, again.
  


On a more positive note my blue flowering penstemon has had a second decent flush by the end of August. I am really in love with the dainty little bell shape blooms. 



This beautiful looking green bug is a June Beetle hiding in a bloom of rosa 'Pope John Paul II'. These guys are quite large and they feasted on my roses. I have never seen as many in my garden as this year. I have to say I wasn't thrilled and hope next year we will have less, again. Almost as to make up for that nature send much fewer earwigs, which also munch on my roses.



I started to fertilize my roses for the second time and they responded beautifully. Here you see 'Pope John Paul II' delivering another flush. It is one of my favorite roses!

What have you been up to in your garden lately? Please, do share in the comments!

See you in the garden!

Christina



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Saturday, September 10, 2016

August Roses

The roses have responded very well to the fact that I was able to give them a little bit more care in August than in July and rewarded me with plenty of blooms. Most roses that were blooming in July, continued to flower in August as well, but I have decided, so that you don't get bored, that in this post I will only show you roses that I didn't feature already in the July roses post.



Let's start with the gorgeous lavender colored 'Neptune'.



In my eyes this rose has an exceptional color, but it is a little stingy with its blooms.



It is still growing in a container, so maybe it will be happier and more floriferous when it is planted in to the ground.



A true camelion under my roses is 'Nimbus'. It changes its colors like no other rose in my garden, depending on weather, water and fertilizer conditions. This flower has a particular interesting and appealing color blend. I love the brown-orange together with the lavender!



'Auckland Metro' has an exquisite, very noble off-white color.



The flowers of 'Auckland Metro'...



...can take on very elegant shapes.



This one seems to glow from within.



Fragrance is very nice, too.



This is 'Mary Rose', bred by David Austin. The rose has an incredible quick repeat and a very lovely Old Rose shape. Unfortunately it had a bout of powdery mildew lately. It is still growing in a big terracotta container and I will move it into a more sunny spot and see if that helps.



Here 'Mary Rose' mingles with 'Iceberg'.



'Moonstone' showing off its enchanting flowers.



Here is a bush shot of 'Moonstone'. Plenty of new growth, but sadly a lot of the leaves are infected with powdery mildew. 



Another flower of 'Moonstone', shot in the more bluish morning light.



'Moonstone' in its full glory, kissed by the sunshine.



I cut these two lovely blooms of rosa 'Frederic Mistral' on a very hot day to enjoy them indoors. Aren't they beautiful? I am really in love with this rose!



The blooms of 'Frederic Mistral' are very opulent and can get huge.



The flowers are very full and have a very strong, pleasant fragrance, that can fill a whole room with perfume.



The gentle, soft, lilac-pink bloom of 'Charles Rennie Mackintosh'. So romantic!



This is the first fully developed bloom of rosa 'Love Song' from my baby band roses, that I ordered in January this year. The rose has a really nice very clear lavender color and a good form. So far it looks very promising. Hardly any fragrance, though, which is unusual for lavender roses.



Here is the same flower, but the picture was taken later in the day with a different background. I can't wait to see this beauty to become more mature and produce the next flush of blooms.



The first flush of blooms of rosa 'Koko Loko', another of my baby bands from January. The color of the rose is very hard to capture with the camera. It has a a light brown tint. Very unusual and interesting.



I took another photo with our light brown stained concrete terrace as a background to show you how much this rose is matching the brown color. Lately I feel very drawn to these oddball colors and 'Koko Loko' certainly fits the bill!

The like and dislike of colors is highly personal and I am wondering to what colors of the roses that I have shown in this post you feel drawn to. Do you mind sharing which is your favorite in a comment? I would love to hear from you!

Hopefully September will be another good month for the roses. Here in San Diego the chances are very high that with cooler temperatures we will get some more great blooms. 

Wishing everyone a wonderful rest of the weekend!

See you in the garden!

Christina



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Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Hidcote Manor Garden I

The first public garden that we visited during our vacation in England in June this year was Hidcote Manor Garden, located in Hidcote Bartrim, near Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire.

Hidcote is a world famous and very influential 20th-century country garden, known for its extraordinary design and plantings. The garden covers 10 1/2 acres (4 hectares) and is designed in the Arts and Crafts style by the American anglophile Lawrence Johnston (1871 - 1958). It is divided into formal garden "rooms" close to the manor, each with its own character and planting scheme, and spreads out into a more naturalistic planting style the further you come away from the house, that blends with the surrounding beautiful landscape of the Cotswolds. Hidcote is under the custodianship of the National Trust since 1948 and is one of its most visited gardens.



Given the reputation and description of Hidcote, understandably my expectations were quite high, when we arrived and I couldn't wait to finally explore the garden myself. The photo above is taken from the The Circle looking back to the manor house showcasing the magnificent, attention commanding old cedar tree and part of the Old Garden.



But let's start with the beginning of our garden visit. The entrance of Hidcote is quite nondescript and if you didn't know better, you wouldn't guess that you are about to visit one of the world known English country gardens.



Once you are through the entrance gate you are finding yourself standing in this courtyard. I like how the huge climbing plants are softening and embellishing the buildings. You enter the garden through the door that both signs are pointing to. We were one of the very first visitors there that day, but after we had renewed our membership with the National Trust and were ready to enter the actual garden, unfortunately already coach loads of tourists had arrived and flocked into the garden.



You can't visit the manor house itself, only two rooms are open to the public that you have to cross through to get into the garden. Loved the build in bookcases.



I tried to imagine that Lawrence Johnston has been standing here looking out into his garden already plotting the next garden room that he was about to develop.



Johnston transformed this former stone barn into his personal chapel.



I don't know anymore in which part of the garden this white flowering shrub was located except that it was relatively close to the house, nor what its name is, but I think it is quite beautiful.



Looking back at the manor house from the Old Garden. I was surprised that in June so many alliums were still in bloom. They always look great when planted in masses. 



In this part of the garden the color scheme was rather traditional, with different shades of lavender and pink blooms at the time of our visit. I think these colors go rather well with the house and are soothing and pleasing to the eye. To me this area looks like the quintessential English country garden.



I did love the old cedar tree,...



...but wasn't so keen on the gaps in the borders where lots of bare soil was to be seen. Maybe the cold and wet spring this year in England had taken its toll?



This extraordinarily beautiful shrub caught my eye. Could it be a type of mallow?



Here are two close-ups of the flowers.



Aren't they pretty?



A long tunnel constructed out of beech, I believe.



One of the parts of the garden that impressed me the most were The Red Borders. I think they are truly a masterpiece. At the time when we were vising there weren't many red flowering plants in bloom, but the combinations of green, dark red, burgundy and purple foliage were exquisite.



Zooming in at the green and burgundy (Beech?) hedge. A lush foliage feast for the eyes.



Beautiful combination of bright green ferns, purple-leaved smoke bush, gunnera, cannas and bronze colored cordylines.



People, who read my blog regularly probably know by now, that if there is one color that I don't like, it is red. But I was so fascinated by these borders, they truly changed my mind. My biggest takeaway from Hidcote is that there is no color per se that I dislike. It all depends on the color combinations and surrounding plants, then any color can be totally stunning.



The Red Borders seen from the other side. Unfortunately there were boundaries made out of pliable wood branches that prevented you from strolling over the grass path through the Red Borders to admire the plants up close. Such a pity! But they probably tried to preserve the lawn.



I have read that there are red flowering roses and dahlias and orange-red daylilies planted in these borders. Imagine the vibrancy that these blooms would add.





There are big patches of bare soil to be found in these borders, too. I am surprised by that, since one of the planting principles that Lawrence Johnston would follow is to "plant thickly".



Love the beautiful terracotta container with the cordyline planted in it.



One plant, that was in bloom, was this red beauty, which identity is unknown to me. I would love to find out what it is. So if you, dear readers, have any ideas about its name, please leave a comment.



The Red Borders were created by Lawrence Johnston between 1910 and 1914, and I wonder how original the planting scheme is that you see today in comparison to what Johnston may have used when he designed these borders.



In any case the color scheme and plant selection of these borders must have been mind-boggling at the time of their creation and probably have caused quite a stir. Even nowadays you can't help but be in awe of them and admire Johnston's braveness in garden design and his great plantsmanship. No wonder that Hidcote is considered to be one of the most influential gardens of its time.

I intend to write more entrees about our visit to Hidcote, so if you liked this one and are curious to see more of this great garden, please come back and pay my blog another visit until then:

See you in the garden!

Christina



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