Sunday, November 30, 2014

October Roses

It has become almost ridiculous how late I am blogging about the roses that have been blooming in my garden in the previous month, but I have been simply so busy, I couldn't get up this post earlier. So please bear with me, I hope things get better in the future.

Coming to the actual topic of this post: The roses have seen their share of ups and downs this October. We still experienced very hot days, but also some cooler ones in between. I had nearly everything in the garden from almost perfect rose blooms to fried rose flowers clinging to the bush for dear live, that you simply couldn't feel other than sorry for them. For the latter our strong hot and very dry Santa Ana Winds, that originate inland and come from the Great Basin and the Mojave Desert to Southern California, are responsible. We regularly get them at this time of the year and they are also often causing wild fires, but thankfully not this year in our area so far.

I am starting with the a perfect bloom of 'Sweetness'. The lavender colored roses have become my favorites lately and 'Sweetness' is a rose jewel in this color category in my garden.

Another rose that was flourishing in the heat was 'Auckland Metro'. I love the warm glow in the center of the rose.

The photo above shows 'Stephen's Big Purple', which also didn't seem to mind the heat.

Here is a more open bloom of the same rose. Before I bought 'Stephen's Big Purple' I had read raving reviews about it, but now I am not sure if I really like it. I had expected that the color would be much more purple, but in my garden it takes on a very bold reddish purple coloration, which is a little bit too much for my taste. Maybe underplanting it with some gray leaved and white flowering plants can tone its color somewhat down, but that remains to be seen. 

'Mary Rose' that I featured more prominently in the last monthly rose post (if you want to see it, please click here) kept soldering on.

It is astonishing to me that even though her petals are very thin, this rose can withstand the heat pretty well. 

Another rose that I am not sure about if I really like it is 'Mister Lincoln'. It is a truly good red rose here in Southern California, if you are into red roses that is.

But I have the same reservations towards this rose that I have towards 'Stephen's Big Purple'. The color at times is very bold, almost loud. It starts out as a warm-red rose, but fades to a more cool bluish-red one as the flower ages (not shown here in my photos). I have to admit that it has a fantastic fragrance. This rose is one of my mom's favorites, so there is no question that it will stay in the garden, no matter if I am completely sold on it or not.

One of the pleasures of these very hot October days, that I mentioned in the introduction to this post, were that we have been able to have breakfast in the garden very early in the morning just wearing T-shirts on one weekend. But that is not why I published this photo. It is because our breakfast table was crowned by a small bouquet of 'Frederic Mistral'. 

Close-up of the bouquet, seen in the photo prior to this one. Isn't it lovely? It still gives me incredible joy to be able to go through the garden and almost casually cut a small plonk of roses in October. This is living the California Dream for me!

Here you can see a bloom of 'Frederic Mistral' still hanging on the bush. 

But it is not all rosy. This photo shows the damage that Santa Ana Winds actually can do to roses. The blooms that you see belong to 'The Prince', usually a star of incredible beauty in my garden. These blooms are not spent, they are fried by the heat and dry winds that those Santa Ana conditions bring with them. 

Since months 'Heritage' always has some blooms flowering on the bush, even though it is planted in a less than ideal condition in way too much shade.

The flowers are so very romantic and I really do like the light shell pink subtle coloration of this rose.

Another beauty that was showing off last month was 'Nimbus'. It is a bit of an older floribunda, that was bred 1989 by Le Grice and that you don't see that often.

This rose is exhibiting a most unusual color range, anything from mauve, purple with more or less prominent brown undertones to an almost clear lavender, depending on the temperatures, light intensity and probably soil conditions. I find it a very fascinating rose, that I have come to really appreciate.

I caught 'Nimbus' one morning with all these water droplets glistening in the sun.

A quite lovely sight!

A bud of 'Moonstone'. I simply like the photo, so it made it into this post.

'Rhodologue Jules Gravereaux' is a rose that you don't get to see that often either. It loves the heat and I find it extraordiany beautiful.

Here is a shot of the same flower cluster as in the previous photo just a little bit more open. I find it very hard to catch the delicate beauty of Tea roses with my photography and have to say that the two photos just don't do 'Rhodologue Jules Gravereaux' justice. It is so much more lovely in person. 

'Irresistible', a miniature rose, puts out perfect little blooms, even though it grows in a container that is way to small for it. 

'Belinda's Dream' also produced perfect blooms of great beauty. 

The last rose that I would like to feature in this post is 'Bewitched'.

This rose is a very classic Hybrid Tea rose, with the typical elongated bud form, with a very good repeat,...

...incredible fragrance,...


...that also makes a wonderful cut flower. I wouldn't be without it!

Hope everyone who celebrates it had a very happy 1st Advent! It is unbelievable to me that Christmas is not that far away anymore. One good thing about it here is, that temperatures finally have come down and even though the weather is still pleasant the really hot days seem to be over. There is rain predicted in the weather forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday this week. Please keep your fingers crossed that it is really reaching us. We need it so desperately!

See you in the garden!


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Enjoying Autumn

Autumn undeniably has reached my San Diego garden. After a scorching hot summer temperatures have finally cooled down and the garden slowly goes into recovery mode from the long hot and dry months. We even had an inch of rain, lately.

On some days the weather has been just glorious, absolutely perfect for gardening and I decided to work on the central bed in the backyard, called the White Garden Bed. Unfortunately, as you can see, there is not too much white about it right now, because hardly anything is blooming. 

But I tried to change that and fertilized the roses in this bed one more time this year. I know, it is late in the season even for Southern California, but this bed gets a lot of sun and the soil is still warm, so the roses hopefully are able to utilize the food that I put down for them and will produce one more rose flush.

So out came the organic rose fertilizer, alfalfa meal and compost and my husband and I got to work. You may have spotted the hole in the ground in front of the left cycad already,...

...I intended to plant this alstroemeria Princess Lilies 'Claire', there. Poor 'Claire' has been sitting in my pot ghetto way too long and has given up flowering, but if I am lucky, she starts again before winter sets in.

The freshly mulched bed looks so much better already and even though the alstroemeria, now planted in front of the left cycad, is small... has quite a bit of an visual impact, I think.

Still the bed appears "empty" to me, therefore I decided to make it my focus in the next couple of months and try to fill it with perennials and annuals.

One of my 'Iceberg' roses clearly indicates that it is autumn by growing hips and flowers together at the same time.

Other roses like 'Charles Darwin' fit into the season by simply taking on a wonderful warm and rich autumn color.

Moving on to the front yard. I feel the front yard has suffered the most from the hot summer and I had to cut back plants quite a bit to remove dried up leaves and branches. In the moment it looks a little bare.

The photo above shows the view from the walkway to the front door. I am really pleased with the height that the obelisk, placed to the right side in front of the garage wall, is adding to the scene. The hummingbird wind chime hanging inside the obelisk is new and I like how it picks up the color of the blue glazed terracotta containers that are scattered throughout the front yard. It also adds some color and visual interest at that level of height. Our front door is still decorated with Halloween banners and...

...these cool pumpkins to the right and left side. I was happy, that I found some more unusual pumpkins than the "normal" squeaky orange ones,...

...since bold orange is really not my color and I think the different colors and shapes of these pumpkins make for a far more interesting display.

Don't you think that these pumpkins have the most amazing textures? I really hope that they will last for a while and beautify our entrance to the house in the autumn time.

This is a close-up of my new hummingbird wind chime, which you could see already hanging in middle of the obelisk four pictures above. Looking at it more closely, I am not sure if it is not too much kitsch. I hope that the weather will wear off a little bit of the sheen and let it become more matte, so that it looks less flashy. On the other hand it didn't cost a fortune and if I feel it is "too much for me" in the long run, it is not a big deal to remove it. I was astonished to find though, that the wind chime itself makes a surprisingly pleasing and soothing sound that really adds something special to the front yard.

At one of my trips to a big box store lately, I got stopped in my tracks by these beautiful stocks. I didn't intend to buy a plant, but simply couldn't pass them up. Besides the very lovely flowers they smell absolutely incredible. So I allowed myself to take two of them home and replaced the purple petunias with them, which didn't survive the heat of summer.

I find the soft pastel colors and ruffled blooms of the stock quite wonderful...

...and they fulfill my desire to have some flowers other than roses blooming in the front yard at this time of the year.

I was surprised to find stocks blooming in autumn though, as I always think of them as spring flowers. They may have been forced in the green house...

...and for that reason I am a little bit worried about how they may fair outside and how long the blooms will last, but I for sure will enjoy them as long as they are with me. Since they are planted in the front yard, usually I pass by them a couple of times a day and sometimes you will find me stopping and going down on my knees, taking a whiff. I only can say their fragrance is truly heavenly! They are definitively one of the many little autumn delights that my garden has to offer at this time of the year.

I hope you are enjoying the autumn as well.

See you in the garden!


Thursday, October 30, 2014

September Roses

Yikes, I better get this post out before the end of this month, because otherwise I have to skip it and blog about the roses that were blooming in October already!

So here it is: We had miserable heat waves throughout September only interrupted by a few slightly cooler days in between. Of course, that has put a lot of stress on the roses, but some have been soldering on and continued to flower. Altogether though I don't recall having as few rose flowers as I had this September in comparison with previous years. I guess the ongoing heat combined with the severe drought is really taking a toll on my rose bushes. It really makes me a little sad.

One rose that really stood out, was 'Mary Rose', a shrub rose bred by David Austin (United Kingdom, 1983). 

I really love the light pink, big, cupped blooms,...

...which appeared in abundance on my rose bush even during the heat. 

The foliage of this rose is a nice matte medium green, which goes so well with the light pink flowers and seems to even enhance their beauty.

'Mary Rose' is growing in a big container on my terrace, so that I could observe her disease resistance, growth habit, flower shape and color over a couple of months. So far the rose has been relatively healthy, just a speck of powdery mildew at times. The bush seems to want to grow in a compact and bushy way, which I really like. The rose has past the test and will stay in my garden. I hope to plant her into the ground soon. 

'Moonlight Scentsation' is a little bit of an iffy rose for me, but every now and then I get one of these outstandingly pretty blooms like the one above. 

Another rose, that has earned its permanent place in my garden, is 'Sweet Chariot' especially after its performance this September. I am also trying to find it a spot in the ground.

'Heritage' blooms just barely opening...

...and later on. After some initial hick-ups I have come to like the color and the bloom form, but the flowers only last a very short time on the bush, before they drop. The rose also gets powdery mildew very easily when the conditions are right. I am not sure if it will stay in the long run.

'Charles Darwin' on the other hand is a fairly healthy rose, one getting mildew once in a while. 

It flowers freely...

and the blooms are always a delight. 

I rarely report about 'White Meidiland', a shrub rose bred by Marie-Louise Meilland (France, 1987). That is by no means the fault of the rose. I have planted it in an absolut impossible location for a rose. It is in a lot of shade in severe root competition with a cycad and an evergreen hedge, so the rose is not able to show its full potential, but is doing very well considering these difficult growing conditions.

Not surprisingly the rose is still small, maybe three feet wide by two feet tall (approximately 90 cm x 60 cm), but the dark green glossy foliage is completely healthy. I am hoping, that next spring it will become considerably bigger and will have more blooms. 

'Lavender Crystal' continued to present its unusual bluish-lilac blooms. 

A rose that also bloomed quite well in the heat was 'Frederic Mistral'. The blooms are incredible fragrant and I like the color, but I am not too keen on the form. 

'Auckland Metro' has a special glow in the center of the blooms that I find quite fascinating.

It also has bloomed very generously for me last month. 

I finish with another favorite of mine, 'The Prince'. The shot of the bloom above is taken in full sunlight and is pretty,...

..., but this last picture of an just opening flower has been taken in the soft early morning light and makes my knees weak. I think the color is just mindbogglingly beautiful and the strong old rose fragrance matches the beauty of the bloom perfectly.

Wishing everyone who celebrates it a Happy Halloween! 

See you in the garden!