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!



  1. Wow, thank you for this wonderful grouping of photos of your perpetual rose bed. What a difference. I love all three of those roses and you are blessed to have them in your gardens. Once again I am inspired to keep on working in my own gardens. A little bit different climate miles away, but with the same love of growing these beautiful flowers.


  2. What a great idea! Hybrid perpetual roses add such charm to any garden. You have seen some spectacular growth since planting these, can't wait to see how they cover the fence.....

  3. Love your color scheme! And it's amazing how much they can grow, isn't it? Can't wait to see this bed next summer - it will be so filled out, and when the roses are blooming it will be gorgeous. Your soil did not look so bad to me, then you mentioned having to dig it with a jackhammer and not draining!

  4. FlowerLady, thank you very much for your kind comment! Yes, I also feel like I am a lucky girl to be able to grow these roses in my little yard :-). I am so happy if my blog post inspired you to work in your garden. I often feel the same after I have read your blog!

    redneckrosarian, nice to see you commenting on my blog again! Thanks for you compliment. I also think that the roses have grown tremendously in a relatively short period of time. I am looking already forward to the spring flush next year.

    Holley, I am happy that you like my color scheme. I think, that I am not very good in combining colors so each time it works I feel like I have lucked out. The soil didn't look so bad to you because I had removed all the stones out of the holes that I could before I took the photos, but trust me it is really bad ;-).


  5. Excellent work, Christina ! Beautiful pink and lilac. In the next spring it will be a wonderful bed .

  6. Dani, thank you! I can't wait to see how the hybrid perpetual bed looks next spring!


  7. The bed looks great!! Have you thought about breaking up the concrete border and expanding the bed? Your rose choices are wonderful! I really love the first rose you showed. I love full roses with lots of petals. Beautiful!!

  8. Casa Mariposa, nice to see you visiting my blog, again! I am glad that you like my new rose bed :-)! Yes, I have thought about breaking the concrete border, but unfortunately it goes at least one foot down into the ground and becomes even wider the further it goes down. I guess, someone had the need to use a lot of concrete :-(. Since removing it will be a major undertaking for now it has to stay.


  9. Those roses look really impressive now! GH really took off. You know, you could start bending those long canes along the fence, as you would with a climber, and hopefully get even more blooms :). I can't wait to see pictures of it next spring!

  10. Masha, thanks for leaving a comment! Yes, these "three pretties" took of like gangbusters and are not done yet for this year ;-)! It is a very good idea to bend the canes in a more horizontal way along the fence and I am sure I would get much more blooms. The only problem with this is, that I am probably too lazy to do that. But who knows I may change my mind for the HPs in case they decide to only bloom at the tip of the canes. We will see next year!