Thursday, July 7, 2011

Planting a New Rose...

... for me is still one of the most exciting things that I can do in the garden. This has not changed since I planted my very first rose in a container on a tiny balcony many, many years ago. On the last long 4th of July weekend it was time again to get one of my rose babies out of the pot ghetto and into the ground.

(you can click on the photos to enlarge)

I looked for a rose to plant in between a group of Queen Anne Palms and since this is a very prominent location in our backyard, I thought quite a bit about which rose deserves this prime spot of real estate in our garden. I wanted a rose that I have already waiting in a container to be planted, which first of all produces very beautiful blooms in a lovely shade of pink, reaches a respectable size when mature to not get lost in the palm group (preferable 6' x 6' - 8' x 8' tall and wide). Fragrance would be an additional bonus, but not a must.

The candidates that I considered were 'Le Vesuve', 'Belinda's Dream', 'Georgetown Tea', and 'Mme. Ernest Calvat'. After a while of contemplation I excluded 'Le Vesuve' and 'Georgetown Tea' first, because the spot where I wanted to plant the rose gets partial shade from the palm fronds at certain times of the day and I believe Tea Roses ('Le Vesuve' and 'Georgetown Tea' belong to this rose class) really need full sun to be happy.  I also still have some very hot spots left in the garden, so I wanted to save the Tea Roses for real "baking conditions", where maybe another rose would cave. 'Belinda's Dream' might be too small, even though I am really not sure what the final size of this rose might be for me here in Southern California and she is also growing too upright and stiff for the look that would I love to create in this spot. I realized, that I like her more in an area where I have some Hybrid Tea roses planted, which leaves 'Mme. Ernest Calvat' being the winner of this "difficult decision" (can you also think about a "where to plant what" - problem for the longest time?).

Even though 'Mme. Ernest Calvat' is with no doubt a very beautiful rose, I know that I am taking my chances with her, though. Mine came as a gift from Ivy (thank you very much again!), a very accomplished Rosarian, who rooted it and gave it to me as a present when I first visited his extraordinary rose garden. I had it for almost two years accumulating size in containers. Last year it was absolutely splendid pumping out an astonishing amount of very beautiful light pink blooms with a wonderful warm, damask fragrance, but this year the rose was severely sick with some kind of black spot for the longest time. I have to say to Mme. Ernest Calvat's defense tough, that this year almost all of my roses struggled with some kind of disease, since we had an unusual cold and wet spring. It only got better a couple of weeks ago when the weather warmed up and summer finally arrived. Since I feel 'Mme. Ernest Calvat' is one of my finest Old Garden Roses I simply had to try it out, if she would grow happily for me planted in the ground and decided to put her in this prime location.

I do not know about your experience, but I am afraid that I can do as much research about a rose as I want, in the end it is always somewhat unpredictable how they will perform for me. It can even make a big difference in the appearance and health of the same rose, if it is growing in a container or if it is planted into the ground. I have some roses growing well for me, which are not supposed to according to other people's experience and some that simply sulk even though they should be winners in my climate. So if I like a rose I will try it myself no matter what I have read or what others have said about it.

But back to 'Mme. Ernest Calvat'. My gardener and I had a misunderstanding about the size of the hole that needs to be dug and he excavated an even bigger hole of the size of 3' by 3' instead of my usual 3' wide and 2' deep holes. You may think that this is overdoing it, but my soil is really bad and contains an incredible amount of rocks of all kind of sizes. So normally I make sure there is a decent size hole dug, get rid of the stones and dirt that came out of the hole and fill it will organic rose soil. That works very well for me and most of my roses thrive provided that I water and fertilize them enough.

All rose photos in this post so far are pictures of 'Mme. Ernest Calvat'. Have you also fallen in love with her?

This photo shows 'Mme. Ernest Calvat' growing in an approximately ten gallon pot, photographed briefly before planting.

And many bags of rose soil put into the giant hole later, she is finally planed into the ground. After I watered her in 'Mme. Ernest Calvat' was immediately perking up, so I assume she was not all that happy anymore to live in a container. I observed this with most of my roses. It doesn't matter what size the container is, at a certain point it always becomes too small and the roses are much better of planted in the ground.

Here you can see a shot showing the further surroundings of the spot where 'Mme. Ernest Calvat' is planted now. 'Mme. Ernest Calvat' is in the center of the Queen Anne Palm group. From there going to the right: 'Iceberg' in the container with the white climbing structure, 'Zephirine Drouhin', Pigmy Date Palm, and 'Pierre de Ronsard' line up in front of the dark blue metal fence. Going from 'Mme. Ernest Calvat' to the left: Strelitzia nicolai, and Hydrangea 'Endless Summer' are growing in front of the brown wood fence. When I had 'Mme. Ernest Calvat' still on the terrace living in her ten gallon pot I was under the impression she had reached a decent size, but now seeing her planted in between the palms she almost gets lost. Hope she takes off and acquires some good size soon not to forget starts to bloom!

See you in the garden!



  1. What a beautiful rose in a lovely garden setting. Another inspiring post, thank you very much. And yes, I fell in love with her via your pictures.


  2. You moved the Hydranga. I love this rose. I can not wait to see all of your unique roses mature. Good news. Gosh i just love your view!!!!!!
    The two basil brakes look so healthy on your baby austin. I think it will be ready to come home soon. Let us make plans soon.
    I have not been able to publish any of of my posts on blogger. They are all in saved in my drafts, so I am still blogging, it is just bloggers fault.

  3. What a beautiful rose! She is lovely, and you have given her a setting that will show her off well. I hope she does well in her new home.

  4. Flowerlady, thanks for your nice comment. I am glad that you fell for 'Mme. Ernest Calvat', too.

    Stephanie, it is great that you are a fan of 'Mme. Ernest Calvat'. I can't wait to see her mature either! I knew it would be a good idea to leave my baby Austin Crocus Rose in your hands a little longer. Thank you so much for taking care of her! I would love to meet with you soon!
    Oh, that is upsetting that you can't blog. Hope, they fix the problem soon.

    Holley, thanks! I hope that 'Mme. Ernest Calvat' will really become big and beautiful there in between the palm group. My concern is though that the root competition might be pretty strong. But let's see how tough the rose is. If it doesn't work out I can always move her to another location.


  5. Christina, I wasn't aware that you'd consider this rose for that position, but I'm delighted. I think you've made a perfect choice, and this rose is unbelievably beautiful. I have a feeling that she'll take off like a rocket because this is a large rose. The fragrance alone makes it worthwhile, but the flowers are so beautiful. To me, you couldn't have picked a more perfect rose for that location. It's going to be stunning. Congratulations!

  6. Great choice, I think it might fill that corner very nicely. I grow its mom, Mme Isaac, and it is getting to be a big rose that blooms a lot and is very fragrant. You are right, thinking about where to put what can be agonizing - I just planted September Morn, but I considered four other roses that were all possible there...

  7. Ingrid, thank you so much for your encouraging words in terms of my rose choice. It means a lot to me! Hope you are right and she is taking off like a rocket!

    Masha, thanks for complimenting me on my choice. I am relieved that you can also agonizing over a "where to plant which rose" - problem, I feel much more "normal" now ;-)!


  8. Christina, 'Mme. Ernest Calvat' is a beautiful rose. I know it will be happy planted in your garden. I can report that my "Our Lady of Guadalupe" roses are putting on a spectacular show. Such a beautiful rose.

  9. redneckrosarian, thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment again! I am really happy to hear that your 'Our Lady of Guadalupe' roses are flowering profusely! Even though it is a really good rose here, you never know how it will behave in a completely different climate...