Sunday, May 8, 2011

Early May Garden Stroll

In the middle of this week I was taking the camera with me, when I went for my usual brief morning garden stroll to capture parts of the garden for you to see what it looks like in the beginning of May. 

(you can click on the photos to enlarge)

'Zephirine Drouhin' was undoubtedly the star of my back yard in April, but in May 'Pierre de Ronsard' (see photo above) wants to take over this role. I am growing two roses of this variety, because I love them so much. They are both approaching their spring bloom peak right now. This one is about three years planted  in the ground.  

A cluster of blooms of  'Pierre de Ronsard'. It is very typical for this rose that in the beginning only one rose flower is open already whereas all the others of the cluster are still in the bud stage. I find this "behavior" quite charming.

One more photo of two open blooms of 'Pierre de Ronsard'. The combination of the darker pink petals in the center and the white outer petals of the bloom never fail to delight me. 

This is an 'Endless Summer' Hydrangea, that was transplanted from an area with strong palm root competition in December last year to another area with more shade and hopefully less root competition (if you want to see how it looked in December, please click here). It almost died in its first location, because the palm roots literally had strangulated it. For the longest time I thought that the hydrangea was not going to make it, but since the weather has warmed up it just thrives. If you look closely you can see that it has set many flowers. 

Right now only one single lonely flower is opening, but if all goes according to plan that will change very soon. The one open bloom is pink, which tells me that I have to lower the PH to make the soil more acidic. As a matter of fact I just put down aluminum sulfate, soil sulfur, and fertilized it with fertilizer for acidic loving plants. Hopefully that will turn the flowers blue or at least a lavender color, which I prefer over the pink blooms. But heh, even these are very nice in my eyes.

'Grandmother's Hat' is flowering her head (hat?) off. To me the blooms are very beautiful both in terms of the color and the flower shape. Even if you may not agree with me on the beauty of the color and the flower form of her blooms, you would have to admit that the fragrance is out of this world. If you like pink fragrant Old Garden Roses this one might be just the one for you. It is supposed to be growing well in many areas of California. Unfortunately I do not have any reliable information about how this rose is growing in other parts of the US.

Another one of my rose beds. As initially said this photo is taken early in the morning aka some of the roses are still pretty much in the shade. This will change dramatically over the course of the day and they all will be bathed in much more sun light. From the left to the right: 'Iceberg' in the container with the climbing structure, 'Zephirine Drouhin', and 'Pierre de Ronsard'. The latter is almost in full bloom right now. 'Zephirine Drouhin' is obviously beyond her spring peak and the 'Iceberg' in the container is looking a little bit spindly. The latter is my fault, because I did not fertilize the 'Iceberg' rose in late winter so it did not have enough power to fully leave out and bloom. I fed it just a little while ago and I expect the appearance to improve.

The 'White Bed' in full spring flush. From the left to the right: 'Pope John Paul II', 'Iceberg', 'Iceberg', and 'Iceberg Climbing'.

The first bloom on my 'Black & Blue' salvia. The color is so gorgeous (even though the blue is not as saturated as my camera captured it) and will build such a stunning contrast to the pink and white rose flowers. I can not wait until the salvia matures a little bit more.

On the photo above you can see my second 'Pierre de Ronsard'. This rose is the same age as the one shown in the photos above, but has spent her first year in a large container. It visibly is behind the other in terms of the size. It is also growing in a little bit of dappled shade at some times of the day, which let the blooms be more pink and white rather than apricot and white as they appear if grown in full sun. I like the coloration of the flowers more than in my 'Pierre de Ronsard' rose growing in much more sun light.

Like my other 'Pierre de Ronsard' did last year it is producing one very long and out of proportion climbing cane. Last year on the other rose bush I cut the cane back to the average height of the rose bush to give it a more harmonious shape, with the effect that it sent out shoots from the side of that cane that again tried to reach the heaven and did not bloom. They just wanted to grow to the original intended size. I learned from that experience and this year I will not cut back any of the tall climbing canes and see what happens, even though it looks pretty awkward right now. I have read from other Rosarians that there are some roses out there that really do not like to have their new canes pruned back. 'Pierre de Ronsard' seemed to be one of those.

My dianthus bloomed so beautifully and prolific this year until suddenly it started to lie flat to one side and began to wilt.

In this shot you can see a little bit better what I am talking about. The same happened to another one that I still have and has happened to five others over the years that I have removed from the front yard already. I have been told by a friend that it is some kind of fungi that gets to the dianthus and does them in. So sadly I have to get rid off this one, too. In fact I could not stand the look anymore and did it today.


Moving on with something more pleasant: 'Our Lady of Guadalupe' in the banana-shaped bed in the front yard is already gearing up for her second flush, even though the first one is not even completely over yet. 


Not the best photo but you can see all the new buds much better than in the previous one. I can not believe how prolific this rose is.


This is my first agapanthus to start to flower this year. The variety is called 'Midnight Blue' and it is a much darker blue than the common light blue varieties. I like it quite a bit. It has a medium size, which is helpful when you place it in a smaller garden like my front yard is.

Close-up of an unfolding bud of the 'Midnight Blue' agapanthus.

Thanks for coming with me on this stroll through the front and back yard.

See you in the garden!



  1. How beautiful! I have never seen pictures of Pierre Ronsard, and I think now I may have to have one. It is so full and rounded, and the colors are perfection. I am also a believer in Our Lady of Guadalupe. She is my only floribunda left, other than a very ugly specimen of Iceberg which will get the heave-ho soon I am sure. Our Lady is just so prolific I have to have her in the garden. I have yet to try Zepherine, but she is on my list.

    Your garden is truly beautiful, and I enjoy reading about it each time you post.


  2. The photos of 'Pierre de Ronsard' are stunning. I never seen photos of it before now. Wow! Beautiful garden.

  3. Hi Kenneth, thanks for visiting my blog and leaving such a nice comment about my garden. That certainly is motivating to me! I also noticed that you do not see pictures of 'Pierre de Ronsard' that often and honestly I do not understand why, since it is such a beautiful rose.

    Redneck Rosarian, thanks, so you are the second one who has not seen photos of this rose before. Makes me glad that I posted them. I am delighted that you consider my garden to be beautiful.


  4. Thank you for the virtual tour! I love your white bed and the Edens. You have a beautiful garden.

  5. Thanks Masha, I am happy that you like the "White Bed", the 'Edens' and my garden in general! Since I consider you an accomplished gardener your compliment means a lot to me!


  6. I love the info. you provided for alkaline soil. Much appreciated.

  7. strawberryhill, welcome to my blog! I am glad that you found what I wrote about alkaline soil informative!

  8. What lovely stroll in your garden, Christina! I noticed that you have chicken wire encasing the base of one of your rose bushes? Can you tell me why this is so? Thanks in advance for being so helpful! I'm trying to my hand at planting more roses, and learning along the way!


  9. Jessie, I had an unknown animal visiting the garden that spring and feasting on the new basal shoots of my roses. To prevent that from happening I put chicken wire around the base the roses. It looked really ugly but it helped and the new rose growth got a chance to live. The animal didn't come back the last two years and the chicken wire cases are long gone, yay :-)!