Monday, October 24, 2011

... And What is Cooking in my Own Garden?

After publishing two posts about someone else's garden I feel it is time to report about my garden, again. Well, it has definitively become fall in my neck of the woods, and even though some people say we do not have four seasons in Southern California I strongly have to disagree. Things are changing here quite a bit in autumn and winter, too, even though the changes might not be as drastic as in areas where you have long cold winters.

 (you can click on the photos to enlarge)

Since roses still play the lead in my garden I would like to start with writing about one of my most beloved ones. It is 'Georgetown Tea', a found Tea rose, that I just planted into the ground in the beginning of August (click here to see the rose at planting time) in between a group of Queen Anne Palms. I feel the delicacy and beauty of the blooms of this rose is hard to top. What I am the most happy about is that is has grown in well and even though I am sure the underground root competition with the palm roots is quite fierce it manages to grow and bloom. I have read that Tea roses have the ability to bloom through the winter in our mild climate and I can not wait to see if I will get year round blooms from 'Georgetown Tea'.

On this photo you can get a good glimpse of how the bush is looking right now. The blooms are much lighter in color than I know them. I assume, that is due to the relatively cool days that we were having. The rose responds immediately to changes in the temperature with color changes in the blooms. I think that makes it very interesting to look at. I have read that 'Georgetown Tea' can mildew quite a bit, but in my garden the foliage is squeaky clean right now, even though some of my other roses are suffering from powdery mildew at this time. I keep my fingers crossed that 'Georgetown Tea' stays that way.

The shot above shows the area surrounding 'Georgetown Tea'. Sorry for the quality of the photo, it is quite dark. The reason for this is that there is shade in the morning and when the sun comes around I can not photograph anymore because I am facing the sun directly.

Anyway, 'Georgetown Tea' is the rose in the middle of the group of the Queen Anne Palms with its pink flowers standing out in the little spot of sunlight. Then moving to the right there is 'Iceberg' planted in a big terracotta container, followed by 'Zephirine Drouhin', a pigmy date palm, and 'Pierre de Ronsard'. I am a little bit disappointing that 'Zephirine Drouhin' is not blooming at all and 'Pierre de Ronsard' has kind of one flower. The whole area looks a little bit plain for that reason, but at least the roses are green and have relatively healthy leaves for this time of the year.

By the way I am on my last round of fertilizing the roses for this year. I am almost done with all the roses in the ground, except three, but then I still have to get to the potted roses. Hope this will coax some roses into flowering in this autumn and early winter.

This is the bearded iris ‘Immortality'. Now that I was just thinking to pull it out it is teasing me with the one and only flower stalk this year. To be even more precise the one and only flower stalk from three different plants. Sure it is very pretty, but the performance is really unsatisfying so I think I will remove them anyway.

This is how the irises look right now. Certainly not the way they are supposed to. Contrary to their promising name they seem to be quite mortal in my garden. I really don't know why I am not able to grow irises well in my yard. If you have any ideas what the reason might be, please let me know in a comment.

This is a shot where you can see the area where the irises were supposed to grow. I planted three rhizomes and they were meant to form a half moon shape circle around the back of the white column as the lamb's ears do in the front of the column. But nope that was not working out. Actually seeing this on a photo makes it even more clear to me, that is looks plain ugly right now. Even though I am always having a hard time to get rid of a plant, there is not doubt in my mind anymore that those irises have to go.

This is what I encounter when I leave the house. In the front yard the roses are still blooming pretty strong and things are a little bit wild and overgrown, but I like it this way. Soon enough I will cut the roses back and order will be restored. 

Here is a cluster of the flowers of 'Climbing Iceberg', which you saw already in a "full body shot" on the photo above peaking around the corner of the garage. Aren't they pretty? I have to admit that my 'Iceberg' roses have started to mildew a little bit but in the face of these lovely blooms that little flaw is forgiven.

The salvia 'Black & Blue'  has conquered 'Pretty Jessica'. I feel they give quite a nice pair together. The salvia is still a food source for the hummingbirds, which visit it at least twice a day.

Yesterday we were really having lovely autumn weather. It was almost hot at lunchtime, but had already cooled down to a very comfortable temperature when I finally found the time to garden in the late afternoon. I wanted to get rid of this basil for quite a while already, which definitively had seen better times. Does that happen to you too, that potted plants are way past their prime or even dead but you don't get around to put them out of their misery? Instead of that you allow them to make a whole area in the garden look miserable. Well it happens to me from time to time. After I had tossed this one and its sister in the garbage I was ending up with two empty pots, which are also not a pretty sight. So I decided to plant some of my Miniature and Miniflora roses into them, which were still hanging in there in their small band size black plastic containers.

I could choose from these Miniature and Miniflora roses (seen from the right to the left): 'Lavender Crystal', 'Moonlight Scentsation', 'Overnight Scentsation', and 'Herbie'. By the way this is how roses look which have been in their band size containers for way too long. They are all not really happy anymore and started to get yellow and brown leaves and had even cane dieback. Really time to pot them up into bigger containers.

In the end I decided to plant 'Herbie' into one of the containers in which the basil had been growing...

... and 'Lavender Crystal' into the other.

I even made it to clean one more pot that was sitting empty in a remote corner of the garden and planted 'Moonlight Scentsation' into that one. I also trimmed of the brown canes and cleaned up yellow and brown leaves on all three roses. I hope all of them will perk up soon. 'Overnight Scentsation' unfortunately has to wait a little longer until I get around to pot it up. But I have another container with a dead herb waiting already to be replanted...

Even thought this was all I got done yesterday I was pretty happy that I took time to garden at least a little bit and enjoyed being outside in the autumn sun. And every little step towards my organic dream garden counts, right? 

I would like to finish the post with this incredible flower of 'Sweetness'. This rose managed to produce yet another flush of blooms. The flower on the photo is the first one to open of the latest flush. The cooler weather probably helped to create one of the most beautiful clear lavender/grayish blooms that I have seen on this rose so far. I just love, love, love it! It also comes with a wonderful strong fragrance. The foliage is still completely clean, which is quite unusual for a lavender Hybrid Tea rose. 'Sweetness' is certainly one of the best Hybrid Teas that I am growing in my garden. I will tremendously enjoy its last flush of this season and intend to cut many blooms for indoors. 

Wishing you all a good start into the new week!

See you in the garden!



  1. Śliczne róże przy Twoich palmach są takie malutkie :-). Pozdrawiam

  2. Giga, thanks for leaving a comment. Yes, against my tall Queen Anne Palms 'Georgetown Tea' still appears tiny. But I hope that will change over time :-)! It is supposed to reach a mature size of 6' x 6', which I think can stand up to the palms.


  3. Your roses perform beautiful, for this time of year, Christina. The Sweetness is sensational !
    The mini roses look great in the pots .
    Love the blue salvia and the pink rose, such a colorful picture .
    Those irises ... the foliage is soo ... inexistent . I would do the same .
    Have a nice day, my dear !

  4. Your Georgetown Tea looks wonderful. She will fill that area beautifully. Not sure about your irises. If it were me, I would be tempted to leave them in the ground anther year to see if they would improve. But I'm lazy. What I'm bowled over by, though, is the walk outside your front door. Absolutely stunning! I'm not sure I'd ever be able to leave that area. It is picture perfect.

  5. Dani, thank you very much for your nice comment! I am also very pleased with the majority of my roses in the moment! It makes me happy that you love 'Sweetness'. Wishing you a nice day, too!

    Holley, your comment about my front yard made my day! Thank you so much! 'Georgetown Tea' seems to be a gem of a Tea rose for me. Can't wait to see her mature. Regarding the irises, they are in there for at least two years. I really have no hope anymore that they will come around, especially since I have problems to grow irises in other parts of the garden, too. I think it is something in the soil that they don't like!


  6. I really like your front walkway. I like it when gardens are a bit wild. :o) I don't grow bearded iris so I can't help you much. The last time I tried to grow them a squirrel ate the corms!

  7. Casa Mariposa, nice to see you visiting my blog, again! I am happy that you like my walkway to the house. Arrgh, squirrels eating your iris rhizomes? Would drive me crazy!


  8. Hi Christina, You have some beautiful roses! Just a thought about your irises...could be they are planted too deeply or too heavily mulched. I went to a class on iris division this summer and we were told to not plant too deeply. In fact it's ok to leave part of the rhizome a bit exposed! Think of the rhizome as a "solar cell." Hope this helps!

  9. Hi Dorothy, welcome to my blog! I am happy that you consider my roses to be beautiful. Thank you for taking the time to give advice regarding my irises. My iris rhizomes have definitively sunken into the ground and the rhizomes are not visible anymore. Maybe I just should dig them up and try to plant them higher instead of throwing them out?! Hmm...


  10. Wow, I love that path with roses! What a great job you did. I am really glad you love Georgetown Tea, it seems to grow so fast for you.

  11. Masha, nice to see a comment from you on my blog, again! Thank you very much for your nice compliment regarding my walkway to the house. I have to admit I really like it in the moment, too. Yes, 'Georgetown Tea' grows like gangbusters in its new spot. I hardly can wait to see what it does next spring!