Friday, September 30, 2011

September Roses

Overall this September has been a surprisingly good month for my roses here in San Diego, inland. Hope you enjoy seeing them as much as I did!
(you can click on the pictures to enlarge)

'Marie Pavie', an old Polyantha bred in 1888, is still going incredible strong and pumping out one flush after the other. I really like the intense musk fragrance and I am happy that I planted her at the walkway to the front door so that I get to enjoy it often. When the conditions are right (temperature, time of the day, and humidity level) the fragrance even wafts. I am also quite happy with the way the 'Black & Blue' salvia is interweaving with 'Marie Pavie'. 


Not the best photo, but I have to show you this bloom of my new Miniflora 'Overnight Scentsation'. The rose has a very nice flower shape and the scent is fairly strong as indicated by its name. Unfortunately it mildews quite a bit so far. I am thinking of planting it in a container on the terrace and wonder how tall a Miniflora would become here in Southern California. If you have any idea, please let me know!

'Our Lady of Guadalupe' also planted by the walkway to the house is still producing clusters of her astonishingly beautiful blooms. Right now she is getting some peachy undertones, which I like equally much as when her flowers are a cool silvery pink color.

'Captain Christy' a very early Hybrid Tea rose from 1873. I am in love with the cabbagelike flowers and the sublte very light pink coloration that reminds me of the finest porcelain. I grow this rose own-root and it is still only in two gallon pot so I assume, once it is planted in the ground the blooms will be even bigger and prettier.

This is 'Neptune' besides 'Sweetness' my second lavender colored rose opening one of its perfect exhibition style blooms. Its color is a little bit lighter than the one of Sweetness and the flowers seem to have slightly less petals. Foliage is very healthy so far.

Here is a shot from the side of  'Neptune' where you can see how symmetrical the flower is build. As I said: just perfect!


For a comparison on the photo above is pictured a bouquet of 'Sweetness' blooms with only one flower of 'Neptune' (it is the one in the middle facing the wall). With a little good will you can see that Neptune's color is a lighter more mauve/pink lavender than the really blueish lavender color of 'Sweetness'.

I am really happy that some of my rose bushes are finally so mature that they produce enough flowers to cut little bouquets and not just single blooms. I love cutting them for indoors or giving them away to friends. The filler plants are rosemary and lemon verbena and came from a friend (thank you for those Shahrbanu!) and are going nicely with the lavender color of the roses. I would not necessarily think autumn when I see lavender colored roses, but this little plonk definitively has a tough of autumn in my eyes. 

A fully open 'Georgetown Tea' flower photographed with back light. I love the informal, loose style of the  blooms of this rose. It always reminds me of ballerina tutus.

'Stephen's Big Purple' is a new Hybrid Tea rose for me. It is already my second try with this variety. The first band died after it was eaten by rabbit twice at a very young age. Looks like with this one I am having more luck. The canes are still a little bit weak so the flowers nod, but I believe that this will correct itself as the rose matures. The color is even more saturated in reality than my photo shows and the fragrance is truly great.

'Sutter's Gold' an older Hybrid Tea at an early stage of opening.

'Sutter's Gold' again, fully open. Usually orange roses are not so much my cup of tea, but this one is quite fascinating in terms of the coloration. In the meantime I also can appreciate the loose informal style of the blooms. The scent of this rose is outstanding and in my opinion it is worth growing 'Sutter's Gold' for its fragrance alone.

'Sweet Chariot' is a lovely little miniature rose that I acquired by the end of last year. It comes with a really strong damask fragrance, which is fun for the olfactory sense to explore. The rose has been very healthy for me so far. It is a prolific bloomer that produces one flush after the other.

'Pope John Paul II'  looks almost as good as in spring. This is an exceptional good white Hybrid Tea rose for me, even though I have read that some people complain about the lack of vigor. All I can say is that in my garden it is just great!

'Anna Pavlova' is a Hybrid Tea rose that is very dear to me. I find her beauty out of its world and even though there are many, many light pink Hybrid Tea roses out there her flowers are one of the very best to me. Comes also with a very lovely scent. This rose deserves to be grown more widely.

'Charles Darwin' has more orange in its coloration than usual, but it changes into a more yellow color as the bloom matures. This rose is completely healthy for me from day one since I have it. Its a winner in my garden!


Close-up of the stamens of 'Iceberg' with ant. The photo was shot by my husband playing with his new macro lens.

See you in the garden!


Sunday, September 25, 2011

New Hybrid Perpetual Rose Bed

Okay, maybe calling it a Hybrid Perpetual rose bed is quite a bit of a mouthful for a very narrow strip of dirt containing three Hybrid Perpetual roses. But at least it is fair to say, that I created a new garden area by the North facing fence of our property. Come to think about it, it is also not all that new anymore as I started to work on this project in beginning of this year already, but I think I have never shown photos of it on my blog.

(you can click on the photos to enlarge)

This is how the bed looked by the end of January 2011. As you can see I have not exaggerated when I said that is is a really narrow strip to work with. The concrete boundary, which separates the lawn from the planting beds was already there when we bought the property. Whoever has put it in was definitively not thinking about how to design a proper border with so little space to work with. I think by now a border should have a width of five feet at the absolute minimum, but when it is wider it would be better. Anyway, I have to work with what I have...

Playing with plants already. At this point I was thinking to plant the roses 'Yolande d'Aragon', 'Salet', and 'Frederic Mistral' and at least one day lily as a companion plant, but as you will see later in this post I partly changed my plant choices. One hole is dug on the left side of the bed already and 'Yolande d'Aragon' is sunken into the ground with her container. Usually I design a plan in my head for a new section in the yard, but I like it if I have the plants already available in the garden (pot ghetto) and can position them where I want them to go. I place them where I think they will work, step back and look at the whole picture and change it if necessary. Very often when I actually can see and not just imagine how the roses and plants look together I change my original plan. I am not good at visualizing things and need to check things out in reality to get an idea, if I like a plant combination or not.  

The next step was to dig all the holes for two additional roses and two companion plants, which was done in February. Digging is really challenging here in our dirt, because of the many big rocks and the compacted soil. So with this project for the first time we decided to source the digging out to a gardener (he literally dug with a jack hammer). It was so well worth it! With no disgruntled husband because usually he does the main part of the digging and I am just helping as much as I can, no total physical exhaustion on both of our sides, we could use the energy for the really important part: the actual planting of the roses. 

Unfortunately we had these incredible rain downpours in February and the nice big holes filled up with rain and did not drain, which tells you something about our soil. In the end we had to drain the holes individually by hand, taking a bucket and shoveling the water out. Since the three big holes for the roses are approximately 3' x 2' big that was a lot of work.

But after that was done I could finally start to plant. 'Yolande d'Aragon' was the first rose that went in. This rose had given me already incredible lovely blooms when it was waiting in its five gallon pot to get planted, so I knew I had something to look forward to even though the rose did not look impressive at all at planting time.

Close-up of a bloom of 'Yolande d'Aragon'. This is one of the most sumptuous and beautiful roses in my garden now. I just love it. Fragrance is very strong, too.

My choice for the second rose fell on  'Grandmother's Hat' instead of 'Frederic Mistral'. 'Grandmother's Hat' will most likely become taller, which I like because it will cover more fence. I think, 'Grandmother's Hat' will also need a little bit less sun than 'Frederic Mistral' to bloom well and since it is a North facing fence that needs to be taken in consideration. It was the first time that I planted a rose out of a two gallon container into the ground instead of my usual five gallon pot roses and it was completely fine. 


Here you can see 'Yolande d'Aragon' and the freshly planted  'Grandmother's Hat', which went into the ground in March 2011 on the right side. Even though the roses are still quite small I feel it looked already better because there is just something planted in front of the empty boring fence.

After seeing this incredible bloom color I changed my mind and wanted to plant 'Reine des Violettes' instead of 'Salet' and born was a Hybrid Perpetual rose bed.

On the photo above you can see 'Reine des Violettes' freshly planted into the ground in April 2011.

The photo above shows the whole bed with 'Reine des Violettes' newly planted in the middle between 'Yolande d'Aragon' to the left and 'Grandmother's Hat' to the right.

In the beginning of May the bed is completed with the addition of two companion plants of Scabiosa hybrid 'Giant Blue', the common name is pincushion flower. 'Yolande d'Aragon' and 'Grandmother's Hat' have started to bloom profusely already. The fragrance of these two roses is simply wonderful. The design of this bed is certainly not the most creative, but I think at least the pale lilac color of the scabiosas goes well with the pink and purple of the Hybrid Perpetuals and the color of the roses compliment each other. In such a narrow bed it is really difficult to come up with an interesting planting scheme, since there is no room to stagger the plants behind each other, but so far I am pretty happy with the bed.

The bed in the middle of June. The scabiosas have greened up nicely and all three Hybrid Perpetuals are growing vigorously. In case you wonder: rabbits broke into the garden and nibbled on 'Reine des Violettes' and I had to cage it in with chicken wire to protect it.

In July 'Yolande d'Aragon' and 'Grandmother's Hat were flowering generously, again.  And if you look closely 'Reine des Violettes' had a bloom, too. I believe that at that time the new rose bed had reached its peak.

The photo above shows an in my eye very beautiful flower of 'Grandmother's Hat'. The flower quality has improved so much in comparison to growing her in a container. The blooms can change very much in color and also in petal count depending on the temperatures and time of the year.

Unfortunately I could not find a photo of the Hybrid Perpetual bed from August this year, but this is how it looked in the beginning of September.

This is the last shot taken recently that I have from it. It is amazing to me how tall roses can get in less than a year in Southern California. All three roses have reached a size of at least six feet and 'Yolande d'Aragon' is even close to seven feet. I have to admit that I was a little bit disappointed that all three Hybrid Perpetuals did not rebloom for me neither in August nor September. Especially from 'Grandmother's Hat' I had expected more. But it is their first year in the ground, so next year they might be able to repeat in late summer or early autumn, too. Still I think even a bed of "just green" roses is so much better...

... than staring at an empty strip of dirt with a pathetic green column in the middle!

See you in the garden!


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Some Impressions from the Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

Last weekend my husband and I spent quite a bit of time in the Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, California. This Park is really big and quite beautiful in parts and has many attractions that are worth seeing. In this post I just want to share with you some random things that we came across.

(you can click on the photos to enlarge)

Can you guess what this is?

It is a close-up of the back of one of the leaves of this wonderful blueish/grayish agave. To me it is quite fascinating how the outer leaves have left a permanent "imprint" on back side of the inner ones before unfolding. 

Here is another stately specimen. Unfortunately there were no name tags to find. I wonder how old both of these giant agaves might be.

I find their look so fascinating. Each one is almost like an art sculpture.

Just loved the way this planting around the old bridge is done. Usually I am not a big fan of grasses but I liked those.

Similar view, but shot from a little further away.  Here the flowerbeds are much better to see. They say autumn to me in a cheerful way.

There is a rhododendron walk planted with a lot of rhododendrons, but this was the very last one that we spotted that was still in bloom. Surprisingly to me it was quite fragrant.

I guess, that this is some type of ajuga, which grew very well there. I love the bronze color of the leaves and the blue flowers are quite nice, too. It went on my plant-wish-list.

A white flowering oakleaf hydrangea that I liked quite a bit. I would love to plant a white hydrangea in my own garden. So far I only have some blue flowering ones that refuse to bloom blue and stubbornly stick to pink flowers despite all my efforts to acidify the soil!

This plant looks like some type of forget-me-not to me. Is it possible that forget-me-nots are blooming in September? I am wondering if there is a perennial forget-me-not out there, hmmm... If you know this plant, I would be happy if you could leave a comment and let me know its name. 

This photo was taken at the museum complex of the Golden Gate Park. To the right you can see just a little bit of the relatively new de Young fine arts museum of San Francisco, which was hosting an exhibition of Picasso. But that day I was just interested in plants and landscape design so we did not go in. What do you think of the formal planting of the small trees in the middle of the plaza? I am not sure what to make of it...

In the same area they had planted a border with a couple of specimen of this rose. I do not know what it is, but it sure is gorgeous!

Mass planting of Tibouchinas or Princess Flowers (common name). They seem to love the fog and humidity in San Francisco. This is a plant that can be grown in San Diego, too, and I am thinking about trying it.

Just love the contrast between the purple flowers and the red buds. Normally I would never plant red and purple together, but when mother nature does it it works!

Close-up of one of the flower buds of the same Tibouchina plant shown above. Isn't it awesome how the stamens come out first in their blue/purple color?

I think the blooms are so pretty!

Just love the lushness and opulence of this bed and of course the color of the blooms. I think this plant is also quite pretty together with the palms in the background.

On the way to the Rose Garden we past this lovely Japanese building, belonging to the Japanese Garden, which is also located in the Golden Gate Park. Japanese architecture never fails to impress me.

I loved the lines of the roof and the detailed wood work above the doors.

Here is a shot from the front. I always admire the Japanese art of trimming shrubs and trees. This little building and the surrounding landscape radiates so much calmness. This time we did not visit the Japanese Garden, because we have seen it for quite a number of times and wanted to check out the Rose Garden and the Botanical Garden that day. The Japanese Garden in the Golden Gate Park is very beautiful though and I highly recommend to visit it, if you are in San Francisco and have some time to spare.

See you in the garden!