Sunday, April 13, 2014

Surf & Turf Spring Garden Tour: Out of Asia

Last Saturday my husband and I went to the annual spring garden tour of the San Diego Horticultural Society, titled Surf & Turf Spring Garden Tour 2014. Featured were twelve gardens of very different styles. We only made it to five and after that we were so full of impressions, we couldn't take in any more. Altogether it was a very enjoyable day!

The only thing that I found a little bit off-putting was the price tag for the tour: Twenty five dollar/person for non-members of the San Diego Horticultural Society. Even though it was for charity, I think that is a little bit high. I wonder how a low income family should afford it.

Anyway, lets start with the tour. The first garden that we saw was the Asian style garden of Barbara Jenkins-Lee. I believe, that this is the first private garden of that type that I have ever visited and was most impressed by all the statuary, lanterns, temples, benches, that were artfully placed in the garden. I spoke briefly to the owner and she told me, that she is a travel agent and had bought all these outstanding pieces on her travels throughout Asia and had them shipped home. Now that is cool, isn't it?

I just loved this stone bench. The design is so special.

This dragon also certainly didn't get overlooked...

...and, of course, the classical head statue of the Buddha was there to find as well.

Tea house or garden shed or something totally different altogether? What ever its use is, this small outbuilding was done very tastefully and fit right in with the style of the garden. 

It is a little hard to see in this photo, but this part of the garden features a large Koi pond. All the evergreen plants are so soothing to the soul. At least I feel this way. 

This was my favorite piece in the whole garden. Barbara, the owner, told me that it is a temple from Thailand in which traditionally flowers are placed as offering to the spirits.

The garden was very well visited and had a nice big patio with a comfortable sitting area of which you can only see a very small part in this shot.

Neat idea to cut a barrel vertical in two halves and use them as planters.

Another beautiful Buddha statue.

One last look at my favorite temple...

...and we excited the garden through this curved pathway with a lovely lantern in the middle as a focal point. 

Please be aware that my photos don't do this garden justice. It was hard to get an image without having at least one person in it, so I didn't take many shots that show whole scenes from the garden. I would love to come back and see this garden just by myself and take it all in, especially pay more attention to individual plants and group plantings and take all the photos that I wanted. Of course, most likely this is not going to happen. But still, I hope I could give you a delightful little peek into this serene and beautiful garden, even though it is a superficial one.

I plan to feature more of the gardens of the Surf & Turf Garden Tour that we saw that day in future posts. They were all very unique and interesting. Hope you come back another time to continue the tour with me!

See you in the garden!


Monday, April 7, 2014

March Roses

Since I wrote my last post about the beginning of the rose flush in my garden, there was a lot happening in terms of rosy affairs. Even though between the previous post and this one lay only eight days (the time frame in which I took the pictures for this post) and we had relatively cool weather, the roses changed visibly every day. Some reached their full spring flush peak, while others just shyly started to open their first blooms.

'Yolande d'Aragon' is certainly one of my favorite rose blooms, the shrub itself not so much, but we will come to that later.

Her fragrance is outstanding...

...and the flowers are petal-filled beauties.

The blooms of 'Grandmother's Hat' are a little bit more simple, but absolutely pretty in their own way. 

The blooms of 'Reine des Violettes' opened in an almost cerise color, but they are fading to the gray-violet tone that this rose is so famous for. 

Here you can see my whole Hybrid Perpetual rose bed. From the left to the right: 'Yolande d'Aragon', 'Reine des Violettes', and 'Grandmother's Hat'. For me the bush form is as important as the blooms and you can clearly see, 'Grandmother's Hat' is the most graceful, full, arching shrub. 

Even though all roses are three years in this bed, 'Reine des Violettes' doesn't seem to be mature, yet and I think, this rose has not reached its full potential.

'Yolande d'Aragon' is a little bit of an unruly shrub with a tendency to form candelabra canes, but it is possible that the shape of this rose will improve. A nasty rat ate almost all of the new basal canes of 'Yolande d'Aragon' and even though you can't see it on the photo, she is making some new ones that, I think, will fill in the gaps that are visible now in the bush. Also we had some very windy days and some rain showers, which contributed that the canes are bending outward under the weight of the very heavy blooms.

Nonetheless moving our lightweight garden furniture over and having breakfast or afternoon tea in front of this bed holding these three very fragrant roses feels a little bit like being in heaven. Although each one smells slightly different, all three of them have this very enchanting Old Rose perfume, that I just haven't found in any of the modern roses. Definitively my favorite spot to be in the garden right now!

This is 'Old Fashioned Girl', a Miniature Rose, that is growing happy and healthy under the most challenging conditions. I planted it in front of a South facing wall, that gets hot like an oven even in spring already, but this little gem of a rose is just blooming away.

Here is a photo of a spray of 'Old Fashioned Girl'. Isn't it amazing how many buds there are on just one single spray?

One rose that I have very high hopes for in the future is 'Belinda's Dream'. I just love the big, fat, light pink blooms. The flowers are so heavily petaled that sometimes they balled and they are also very sensitive to water damage. But I believe, that as soon as the weather really warms up, things will get better with this rose.

'Marie Pavie' is a sea of buds. Each year I am amazed how floriferous this rose is.

The individual blooms are very lovely and dainty.

Another of my favorite roses at this time of the year is 'Pierre de Ronsard', aka 'Eden'. The blooms are just so stunningly pretty.

Even though I have a small garden I have two roses of this variety, because I like it so much. One is planted in front of the fence that faces the open space area behind our property. This specimen was in full swing when I took the photo above.  

Blooms of 'Pierre de Ronsard' in different stages of opening.

Each flower a piece of art!

My second 'Pierre de Ronsard' is a huge specimen (just as a reference point, the fence behind the rose is six feet high) that has just started to flower. I enjoy that this rose blooms a bit later than the other, so that they are peaking at different times.

Moving on to the front yard, where 'Sweetness', an incredible fragrant Hybrid Tea rose, has begun to flower. This rose bush is approximately five years in the ground and has become quite an impressive, healthy and full bush.

I can't help myself, but I have a weakness for lavender colored roses. 

Here is a shot of the whole banana-shaped bed with 'Sweetness' in the foreground and 'Our Lady of Guadalupe' in the background. The latter is also packed with buds and it will be a delight to see them all opening. 

'Moonstone' has formed a nice bush over time, too. Even though a very beautiful rose, I am not very happy with it, because it almost always has more or less severe problems with powdery mildew. 

Opening bud of  'Moonstone'.


'Auckland Metro' is also having some disease problems, but in her case it is rust not powdery mildew. I try to pick up the infected leaves from the bush and since the rose is fairly small that is doable. I hope, that with reliable warm weather the rust will disappear. 

The shading of the flowers of 'Auckland Metro' is very pleasing and subtle.

We are expecting a brief hot spell in the next three days, with predicted temperatures going up to 92 F/33 C, which will make the roses opening much faster. Today my main gardening chore was to hand-water the roses thoroughly, so that they are as prepared as possible for this. We will see how they fair through this weather!  

See you in the garden!


Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Beginning of the Rose Spring Flush

The last two weeks I was out of town and only returned yesterday. When I did my garden tour this morning, I couldn't believe how much the roses had changed in this short period of time. While I was gone, they started their spring flush! I was giddy with joy and excitement and simply have to share some photos with you!

'Pierre de Ronsard' is almost in full bloom already.

Each flower of this rose is a masterpiece.

'Pierre de Ronsard', also called 'Eden', truly blooms in abundance.

An immaculate flower of 'Pope John Paul II'.

'Yolande d'Aragon' has wonderful blooms...

...and is one of the roses with the most intoxicating fragrance in my garden.

We planted 'Auckland Metro' into the ground the weekend before I left and the rose has churned out these big lovely blooms already. 

'Grandmother's Hat' has never bloomed as opulent as this year.

The flowers have a beautiful subtle coloration ranging from a darker pink in the center to a lighter pink in the outer petals of the bloom, that usually is only found in Old Garden Roses. She has a lovely and intense perfume as well.

One more close-up of 'Grandmother's Hat'.

Somehow I still can't believe, that it is happening. Each year the rose spring flush is a magical experience for me. I am so looking forward to the following weeks. And the best thing is, that I don't have to travel anywhere anymore and will be able to enjoy the roses to the fullest.

Wishing all of you all a wonderful week!

See you in the garden!


Saturday, March 8, 2014

February Roses

Since my last post the weeks have flown by as usual. I wanted to blog about what has happened in the garden in general this winter, but now it is already more than time for my traditional monthly post about which roses have been blooming in the previous month.

February was an odd month for my roses. Hardly any were flowering, because I didn't take good care of most the ones in containers and the ones in the ground were all freshly pruned. I had started to prune the roses around the 15th of December last year and was done with it by the 15th of February.

Normally in February I get the majority of my rose blooms from roses growing in containers. The soil in a container is much warmer than the soil in the ground, especially when the rose is growing in a black plastic pot. That promotes it to grow faster and bloom even in the middle of winter, when they are taken good care of, which means being fertilized and watered.

As I said already, this winter I wasn't able to look after all my roses in containers properly, especially the ones waiting in the pot ghetto to be planted, but the few roses growing in containers that I was able to look after and that were growing well got pruned a second time by a rat. To my big surprise the new canes, leaves, buds, and flowers have been irresistible to the rat as well as new basal growth on the roses planted in the ground. The damage it did was quite substantial. I didn't know up to this point that rats are rose connoisseurs. Do you ever had rats eating your roses, too? So frustrating! Normally, February is the month with the least rose blooms in the cycle of a year, but for the reasons mentioned above there were even less than usual roses flowering last month.

Anyway, here are a few photos from roses that despite all the odds that were against them, still made it to flower in my garden in February.

First up is 'Chandos Beauty', a Hybrid Tea rose, which is a new one for me. Although I have her quite a while growing from a band to a size that fits into a two gallon container this rose had never flowered for me so far. So I was anxiously waiting to see the first bloom. It was planted into the ground last January and the flower on the photo above is the very first that it ever gave to me. Isn't it beautiful? I am completely smitten!

Here is the bloom at an earlier stage.

And here is another one of 'Chandos Beauty' in the bud stage. The photo was taken after it finally rained last week on Friday.

This is a shot of the whole rose bush. You can see how small it still is, but it is healthy and has started to actively grow. It also has set quite a few buds already. I have a gut feeling that this could become a very good rose in my garden. 

Above is pictured a bloom of 'Madame Alfred Carriere', a Tea-Noisette rose, that just starts to open. I love the subtle coloration of it.

Here is another flower of the same rose that is a little more open. We planted 'Madame Alfred Carriere' into the ground last July. She is growing vigorously and decided to start to flower in December and has continued ever since. There are not many blooms on this rose, yet, but I believe that she is still settling in and probably putting her main energy into producing roots.

One last shot of the same rose. Even though it is supposed to be a tough drought tolerant rose, the blooms are very delicate and have an ethereal beauty, which really speaks to me.

My most floriferous rose in February was 'Georgetown Tea, a Tea rose.

She has a tendency to hide her flowers in the foliage, which I find quite charming.

No bloom is the same and they can vary quite a bit in color from very pale light pink to a more intense cool pink mainly depending on the temperatures.

Unfortunately this rose gets powdery mildew on and off in my garden and at times it is really bothersome.

I have tried a few other Tea roses and many of them had this problem in my yard, which is too bad, since this is such a beautiful class of roses. 

'Vi's Violet', a Miniature rose continues to blooms since January. The color of the flowers can be a very clear lavender...

...or fade to a pink lavender. This rose continues to have mild problems with blackspot in my garden. I am always astonished about that, since we don't have high blackspot pressure here in Southern California and only very few roses get it.

'Belinda's Dream', a Shrub rose planted in December last year. The blooms are very full and have a delightful medium pink color.

Unfortunately earwigs like this rose very much, that is why it has a lot of small holes in the petals. I certainly hope that this gets better over time. 

Here is a full bush shot of 'Belinda's Dream'. Since we planted her, the rose has not been growing too much in size, but is rather blooming her heart out. For such a young rose she has set exceptionally many buds.

The next contender is 'Auckland Metro', a Hybrid Tea rose with beautiful cream colored blooms and a pleasant fragrance.

I got my 'Auckland Metro' as a band. Until this morning it was residing in a five gallon container and was big enough to be planted in the ground, which my husband and I did today. It went into the 'White Garden Bed' replacing a 'Climbing Iceberg' rose.

To my surprise I found a cluster of flowers hidden deep in the foliage of 'Grandmother's Hat'. It feels like I just pruned this rose and now it has already started to bloom again. Of course, I am not complaining! 'Grandmother's Hat' is the third year in the ground and has grown very vigorously after pruning and I expect a wonderful spring flush from her. 

The last rose that I would like to show you is 'Pierre de Ronsard' also know under the name 'Eden'. This is the very first flower that I got from it this year. 

The same bloom a little more open...

...and in the fully open state.

This is an image of the full bush. 'Pierre de Ronsard' is a climbing rose, but the canes are sturdy enough that it can be grown as a free standing shrub without any support. My rose is approximately five years in the ground and has put on a good size. It grows in a bed that is ridiculously narrow, but when sufficiently watered and fertilized it does well, as you can see. It is not so apparent in the photo, but the rose is loaded with buds and I think it will produce a glorious spring flush. This was the first rose that I pruned this winter season on the 15th of December. Only three month later it is ready to bloom again. Roses never cease to amaze me here in Southern California!

Hope you enjoyed reading this post as much as I did putting it together. Can't wait for the spring flush of the roses! I am sure next month many more roses will be blooming and some already in abundance, since the winter has been so warm here and everything is very early this year.

See you in the garden!