Tuesday, June 28, 2011

June Roses

I thought, I would have to skip the post about my roses blooming in June, because I have not been at home in the first two weeks of this month, so I could not deadhead and I also did not fertilize the roses for ages. But happily I have to say that I am wrong. Of course, the roses do not flower as prolifically as they could because of my neglect, but they bloom and they even were capable of producing some very beautiful flowers here and there.

Unfortunately I missed the very first real flush of blooms of my new yellow rose 'Charles Darwin', when I was on vacation. The bush was full of buds before I left and when I came home I only found dried up brown flowers. But when I was watering today I saw that he is making new buds, so hopefully I will be able to admire the next round of blooms soon. Going through my photos to pick some for this post I notice more and more how much I do miss the color yellow in my rose collection, so I hardly can wait until 'Charles Darwin', 'Jude the Obscure', and the 'Crocus Rose' (all three roses are bought in the winter as teeny tiny bands and none of them have flowered yet) are cranking out some blooms.

Here is a selection of the best rose flowers of the last two weeks of this month:

(you can click on the photos to enlarge)

'Yolande d'Aragon' growing in a position shaded by some of her own leaves.

Another shot of 'Yolande d'Aragon', this time the bloom is opening in full sun light. I just love this Old Garden Rose! The rose is growing on its own roots and she is very vigorous in my climate so far and reasonably healthy. Fragrance is to die for!

'Frederic Mistral' grown on its own roots. I still have not planted this rose in the ground, which is a shame. The rose is so pot bound in its five gallon container, but despite this pleasing me with flowers like this. The blooms are very fragrant and it seems to be a very vigorous Hybrid Tea in my climate. 

'William Shakespeare 2000' one of my favorite magenta colored roses in the moment. It has a great fragrance, too, but unfortunately suffers from an attack of powdery mildew badly right now. That can take out the fun, even of the most beautiful roses! I hope, that the disease resistance improves with age.

'Scepter'd Isle', a David Austin rose, growing on her own roots. I just love the delicate blooms, which are surprisingly tough in terms of heat resistance. She is just coming into her own for me.

Picture taken of the same two flowers as seen in the previous photo one or two days later. I just love the flower form, so elegant and perfect, but there is still a relaxed, cottage look about them. 

'Rhodologue Jules Gravereaux'. This Tea rose drives me crazy! I think, it is the most beautiful Tea rose that I have with flowers so elegant that it is hard to put in words. The coloration is so refined and subtle that it will wow the most picky rose connoisseur. I caught myself staring at her and just getting lost in time and space. For these moments we grow roses, don't we? She needs the warms to blooms well, but fries quickly in the heat. So the lovely bloom that you see on the photo will be toast by 12:00 or 1:00 pm at the latest. What am I going to do with her? Keeping her or not?

'Mme. Caroline Testout'. This early Hybrid Tea rose, bred 1890, is also fairly new to me. I grow her own roots like most of my roses and she only lives in a one gallon container. Even though still little she is showing now her signature beautiful, big, globular flowers with a blowsy bloom form on a regular base. What a contrast between the modern exhibition style Hybrid Tea flower form and the shape of this one. I guess, every serious rose exhibitor will run away, but I love, love, love her. Can you see the beauty in this one?

'Rose de Rescht' a very lovely Portland Rose. This beauty I really need to plant somewhere where it gets some shade, since she is struggling with the heat of summer here in Southern California and her flowers are wilting quickly. Otherwise a wonderful easy to grow Old Garden Rose with a very heavy damask perfume.

'Grandmother's Hat' hiding under her own leaves. Smart girl! It almost looks like she has produced her own sun umbrella. Lovely found rose, but she is also not particular heat resistant in terms of her flowers, they just wilt. The leaves do fine, though, and are pretty healthy. So she stays and we wait together for cooler temperatures to come back, again.

The photo above shows a bloom of 'Grandmother's Hat that grows in full sun (the photo is taken early in the morning, when the light was casting still a lot of shade). As you can see the color is a much darker pink than the blooms in the previous photo. This rose is changing quite a bit in color depending on the weather conditions, which I find interesting and charming. 'Grandmother's Hat' was certainly at her best in spring here in my garden, but she is fairly new to me and I am curious what she will do in fall and even in winter. She is supposed to almost bloom year round in my climate.

After all these photos of roses in muted colors I would like to finish strong with the bright red 'Mister Lincoln', caught in the perfect moment regards the opening stage of its flower. This is another rose I am going back and forth with, if I should keep it or not. Its red color is a true clear and bright red when the rose opens and "too red" for my taste at that point and it really clashes with almost all of my other roses,...

... but 'Mister Lincoln' fades to a, in my eyes, very attractive blue-ish, dark magenta red color (my camera did not get it completely, but you can see definitively a big difference in the color of this "aged" little bouquet of 'Mister Lincoln' in the photo above) and the fragrance is heavenly. This rose perfumes a room, if you take it inside of the house. For now he will stay, but I am not so sure about the future.

In the process of selecting photos for this post I thought to myself that my roses really deserve another round of fertilizer for blooming so willingly despite a very lean diet. So I started out to feed and mulch again, all 77 of them. That is quite an undertaking in this current heat! 

See you in the garden!


Friday, June 24, 2011

The Rose Garden in Hyde Park, Part II

Today I want to continue my post about the Rose Garden in Hyde Park. If you have missed the first part click here and it will take you to my first post about this astonishing public rose garden. When my husband and I were exploring the Rose Garden in Hyde Park further we came to an area, where the climbing roses were trained in an interesting way. They had set tall wood poles into the ground in a circle with openings to walk through after every quarter of the circle. The poles were placed in a distance of a couple of feet from each other and were connected by metal chains, which were attached almost at the top of the poles. The chains were arching between the poles. At the base of each pole they had climbing roses planted, which first covered the wood pole itself and were then trained to grow horizontally along the chains in both directions towards the adjacent poles. Even though most roses did not yet, I think, the idea is that the roses will "meet" in the middle of the chains between the poles eventually.

(you can click on the photos to enlarge)

I have seen this kind of design in drawings in gardening books but never in real life and found it quite interesting. I have to admit though, that I think it works fine for a big public park like this one or a huge private garden, but for a relatively small urban garden like mine I feel the design is too dominating in its formality. I believe, you need a lot of space to give the design "room to breath", so that the poles and the chains do not become the dominant feature but the roses themselves and the surrounding vegetation like in the picture above, the tall trees, the yew hedges and the rose beds that were positioned in the center of the circle of climbing roses. But as so often it might just be a matter of personal preference and I think, that I personally simply like roses to be grown a little bit more natural and informal. But see and feel free to judge for yourself.

On the photo above you can see a close-up of one climbing rose on a pillar starting to climb along the metal chains.

I liked a lot that they have planted these spiky leaved yellow flowering plants at the bottom of the feet of each rose. And if you look closely you can see that they even planted another companion plant there, too. I have seen climbing roses planted on pillars with bare legs and I have to say I like this look much better.

View of different quarter of the circle of climbing roses. I feel, that on this photo you can get a better idea how big the circle is in reality. It is such a great thing if you have the space to play with roses. I appreciate so much that the Brits are willing to design such an extravagant rose garden feature with the high maintenance that comes with it and that it is worth spending the public money on something like this to them. In general on our vacation I got the impression that public gardens and parks are much more valued and appreciated in England than here in America, if the high quality of the design and the amount of maintenance that is put into them is any indication for the value of a park to the public. You often see actual professional gardeners working in these public parks, which I almost never do in the US.

Beautiful magenta red rose, which was growing in close proximity to the climbing rose circle.

Another amazing combination of colors. I just adore the pale apricot rose in the middle flanked by two magenta colored roses to the sides. Too bad that I do not know the names of them.

Close-up of the pale apricot rose from the photo above. Isn't the color just melting you away with its softness?

Look at the abundance of rose blooms. It is almost like you are swimming in an ocean of roses. They must take really good care of them to make them bloom in such a prolific way.

Then we moved on just to enter another stunning area with a wonderful fountain. I like that the Rose Garden in Hyde Park was divided into distinguished areas that were almost like seperate garden rooms. They were enclosed by shrubbery and trees so that the roses could show off against a wonderful green and lush canvas. It also had the effect that you as a visitor felt sheltered in a very intimate space rather than getting lost in the vastness of the park.


Close-up of the centerpiece statue of the fountain. The statues that we saw in England were so well done, they never failed to amaze me.

Walking further we came across another huge rose bed. I realized one more time that I prefer roses planted together with companion plants rather then planting them alone in masses in separate beds. I feel a bed like this is so much more interesting to look at in comparison to a plain rose bed.

I just love the airy combination of the yellow flowering companion plant together with the cerise blooms of this rose. The yellow flowering plant with spiky leaves was used quite a bit in the Rose Garden in Hyde Park. If you know the name of it, I would appreciate if you would take the time and leave a comment.

Another section of the Rose Garden with paths meandering through the lush rose beds. This part of the garden has such a dreamy romantic feel to it, you just want to get lost in all this beauty. Love the old fashioned lantern on the right side, by the way.

Looking a little bit closer at the tongue-shaped bed from the photo above. Here you can see very well the staggering of the roses in terms of height. This is so well done and thought through. I am wondering if the rose in the front could be 'The Fairy'. Whatever it is it so charming!

Another rose bed with a more bold combination of colors (red, blue, yellow, and white), which I rarely saw in the garden. Usually the combinations were more muted, which I mostly prefer, but if you have so much landscape to play with like they have in this park why not being a little bit more brave in the use of color? If everything would be pastel in such a vast garden it would probably get boring.

Yet another rose bed mainly composed with cerise and magenta colored roses and different colored companion plants, which provide nice and interesting contrasts.

Close- up of a rose that was planted in this area. Would love to know what variety it is.

The lilac color of this rose blew me away. So stunning! Another one that I would die to know the name of. Too bad that most roses were not labeled. It would be so cool to know what it was.

I love these two beds so much I just have to show them to you from a slightly different angle, again.

Our visit of the Rose Garden in Hyde Park, London was such a pleasure. Even my husband was fascinated by the way it was designed and by the beauty of the beds and the roses. If you ever have the chance to go, don't miss it.

See you in the garden!


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Being Back Home

My husband and I are back home from England, since yesterday night and today I had a first chance to look at the garden in day light. I have to say partly I am really pleasantly surprised. I hired my neighbor's daughters to water the garden and under the supervision of their mom they did a wonderful job. Nothing has died because of lack of water and some plants have grown tremendously in the last two weeks, like this hydrangea:

(you can click on the photos to enlarge)

It is an Endless Summer Hydrangea and it has been bursting into blooms. How pretty it has turned out to be, exceeding my expectations. One thing I would like to tweak is the color. I had put out soil sulfur and aluminum sulfate a couple of weeks ago, but obviously not enough to "blue up the hydrangea flowers". Will try to put  more soil sulfur underneath the bush soon. 

What I am not so pleased with is the look of my roses. Almost all of them are in desperate need of deadheading. A rose bush which is not deadheaded is quite an ugly sight I have to admit. Therefore no photos of those.

My one and only white agapanthus, sorry I don't have the name of the variety at hand, also is in full bloom.  It is part of the white bed and I really like it quite a bit. In California agapanthus is a no-brainer to grow. They are even drought tolerant and flower reliably, a few even do repeat.

In the next couple of days my first job will be to deadhead all the roses to make the garden look more maintained and also to encourage the next rose flush. All roses need to be fertilized, too.

'Scepter'd Isle' is pleasing me with one of her lovely blooms.

My dark, violet, velvet gladiolus are flowering profusely. My dreams was that they will bloom together with the 'Iceberg' rose to be seen on the left side in the front of the picture, but for the last two years it didn't become true. The glads were always blooming in between the flushes of the 'Iceberg' rose, but luckily they can stand their ground on their own. They are still impressive and very pretty! This year I noticed that they even started to multiply for the first time, how cool is that?

This rose, 'Marie Pavie' is planted into the ground exactly three weeks ago (I remember that so precisely, because my husband and I did it together the last weekend, before we went on vacation). When we left, she didn't have one single flower and now look at her. It really amazes me how this rose has developed itself since it is planted. She really seems to like her new location in the ground, which is partly shaded by Queen Anne Palms. I have high hopes that she will become very pretty when she is more mature. 

A wonderful flower of 'William Shakespeare 2000', of which my camera simply can not catch the true beauty of the color of this rose. I am so glad that I did buy it, even though I didn't need "yet another rose"!

This bed of my garden you know already from a previous post (click here, if you want to see it in an earlier stage). The gardenia and the hydrangea have developed themselves nicely. You won't believe how strong the fragrance of the gardenia is. It is really a special treat for the olfactory sense. The "hole" on the left side between the camellia and the strelitzia nicolai is caused by the death of geranium maderense. After two years these plants simply die, since they are biennials and there is nothing that you can do about it. I am contemplating what to plant in this bare spot and think about a second hydrangea, since I love the other one so much and a symmetrical planting will be pleasing to the eye.

An unfurling bud of Heritage. Also a reliably pretty sight.

My 'Reine des Violettes'. Sorry for the chicken wire in the photo, but we have rodents that love to chew on my newly planted roses and on new basal canes in general, so I need to protect especially young roses from them. Chicken wire or not, you still can see the special color of this rose. Right now it is a truly stunning gray-lilac. I have a gut feeling that this will become one of my favorite roses.

I hope, I have the garden whipped back into shape after the next weekend. I still can not get over it, how much there is to deadhead after my absence of only two weeks. 

See you in the garden!


Friday, June 17, 2011

The Rose Garden in Hyde Park, Part I

After we finished our tea in the Orangery at Kensington Gardens we walked back to Hyde Park to see the Rose Garden there, not expecting too much. But we were in for a surprise. The Rose Garden was bigger than expected, beautifully designed, and maintained. It was a great finale of our first day in England.

(you can click on the photos to enlarge)

Entering the Rose Garden our eye was caught by this amazing rose bed with a huge structure for climbing roses in the back. 

Beautiful cerise colored rose growing in one of the beds. Unfortunately almost none of the roses were named, so I will just show you the pictures of them, even though some of the roses looked quite familiar to me.

Different view of the rose bed in front and the big climbing rose walk in the background.

Again, shown from a different angle.

Pink beauty.

 Another rose bed in front with the same climbing rose walk in the background.

I do not know about you, but I never can get enough of pink roses!

Walking through rose beds towards the tall climbing structure.

Finally we entered the climbing rose walk ourselves. It was simply stunning. My photos do not do it justice.

Another rose bed. I love the gray weathered wood benches. They are unobtrusive and integrate themselves so well into the flower beds leaving the show up to the roses and other blooms.

Lovely combination of different colors and plants.

What an abundance of roses and other flowers!

I really loved this fountain!

Close-up of one of the yellow roses near the fountain shown in the picture above.

Another shot of the fountain from a different angle. The yellow flowering tall shrub was quite impressive. Again, unfortunately I have no idea what it is. If someone of you, my dear readers, knows it, please leave a comment.

This rose had almost a pompom like shape. Very nice red color.

I am finishing up this post with one of my favorite rose bed shots from this area of the Rose Garden. I totally love the combination of the dark heucheras in the foreground the blush-pink roses in the middle ground flanked by some spiky-leaved yellow flowering plants and some gray ones with the repetition of the dark brown/red color carried on by some shrubs in the background. Don't you think that this is a quite stunning design? I guess, the first thing I do when I come home is getting some chocolate colored heucheras.

Talking about getting home. Today is already the last day of our vacation. My husband and I had the most wonderful time in England and we took literally thousands of photos. I intend to continue to post about the gardens of England that we saw when I am back in California, alternating with more current posts of my own garden.

How my humble small garden might be doing? I have to say that I am really sad that we have to leave England soon, but I have missed my own little garden and my roses and I am looking forward to seeing both, again.

See you in the garden!