Sunday, April 15, 2012

Making Changes to the White Garden Bed

A couple of posts ago I was writing about that I was not completely happy with my White Garden Bed in the backyard and that I wanted to make some changes to this area (click here to see the initial post). Today I am sharing with you, what I have done so far.

The project started out with an impulse plant buy in December 2011, which you can see in the photo above. It was the Christmas week and I felt I deserved a treat, so a trip to a local nursery let me come home with this random selection of white-flowering and silvery leaved plants simply chosen because I liked them. At that point I had no idea what I really would do with these beauties.

Also still waiting in the garage to be planted at that time were these amaryllis belladonna bulbs 'Fred Meyer Whites', common name belladonna lily or n---- lady, which I bought in autumn 2011.

Here is a photo to show how the bed looked, before I started out to make changes. It was taken in November 2011.

In the photo above the white 'Iceberg' rose in the middle between the two cycads is taken out already (for those of you who worry, no, I have thrown it away, it went to another good home). On the other hand the white flowering irises or what was left of them, which were planted behind the white column I tossed angrily into the trash bin. I was so disappointed that they simply refused to grow and flower for me. As a substitute for the irises the white flowering anemones are planted behind the white column now. The lamb's ears in front of the column were looking pretty ratty and I decided to cut them radically back and see if they will come back with nicer foliage. Also the dusty miller 'Silverdust' and the artemisia schmidtiana 'Silver Mound' are removed so that I could have a fresh start in that section of the bed. My husband had started to dig a monster hole for the rose that should go in between the cycads. I wanted the new rose to be more set back in the direction of the fence than the 'Iceberg' rose was, so that I can walk on the rim of the pool without getting poked.

The belladonna lily bulbs started to leaf out briefly after planting.

The bees loved the anemones and so did I.

I had planted seven anemones, but one died. So I learned that next time I do a planting like this I will keep one or two extra plants at hand as a replacement in case I loose one in the area, which is very visible. It probably will be impossible to find the same variety of anemone to replace the one, which died on me, but I will still try. It would be so nice to fill that little hole in the planting.

This is how the bed looked last weekend. The lamb's ears in front of the column have recovered nicely, except of the middle, so I decided to plant white pansies Delta Premium 'Pure White' there.

'Pope John Paul II' is outdoing himself this spring producing big, gorgeous, white, sumptuous flowers. Last year the first flush was ruined by thrips, but this year the blooms are almost free of blemishes They look amazingly good for a white Hybrid Tea rose, which is not sprayed. White is my favorite color, but good white Hybrid Tea roses are so rare to find. White blooms show the slightest assaults by insects and can look ruined very quickly, but not so this year. The Pope is really showing off.


One close-up of the 'Pope John Paul II' flowers. They remind me of big, delicious, vanilla ice cream scoops. The fragrance of this rose is breathtaking. I think I need more than one Pope in my garden in the future.

The 'Iceberg' rose to the right of the little bed around the white column is also almost ready to burst into its spring flush. Should look lovely!

In the photo above you can see the belladonna lilies planted in a half moon shape behind the anemones. Right now they don't look like much but they add green foliage to this part of the bed and let it appear more lush. So I am quite content with them. I am wondering when they will bloom the first time in the garden, though. The anemones were blooming non-stop from December until now, which is a much longer flowering season than I expected. They are a little bit past their prime but still looking pretty good.

I was pondering the question what rose to plant between the two cycads forever since this is a very prominent position in the backyard. In the end I decided on 'Moonstone', a Hybrid Tea rose bred by Tom Carruth in 1998. I have seen absolutely stunning flowers at rose shows of this variety and just couldn't resist it. I know that usually rose exhibitors spray their roses quite a bit and that a rose, which can be beautiful for them with all the pesticides and fungicides used to protect it, can be a looser in my organic no-spray rose garden. But I spoke to a member of the San Diego Rose Society, who is quite knowledgeable about roses and she assured me that she believes that 'Moonstone' can be grown successfully without spraying in San Diego. I so hope that she is right!

So far 'Moonstone' has grown quite a bit since I planted it into the ground from a two gallon container. The rose is grown own-root and came from Heirloom Roses. It has some rust in the moment, though. I try to remove the infected leaves and hope that 'Moonstone' will become more healthy as the weather is getting warmer and as it matures.

Here is a close up of the latest bloom of 'Moonstone' that was just developing when I took the photos for this post. I assumed the pink edges of the rose petals would be a little bit of a less intense pink and I hope they will become a lighter color as the weather warms up. Even though this a a white bed, I thought that a bi-colored rose will loosen things up a bit and will overcome monotony and boredom that can occur when planting a one color scheme bed. Right now I am not so sure if the pink is a bit to garish for what I had in mind, though. Time will tell for sure and by the end of this year I will know more. If I don't like it there I can always transplant it.

One last look at the White Garden Bed from the other direction. Even though it still a little bit bare in the middle and to the right side I like it quite a bit. My dream would be to plant the bed as densely with plants as I did around the white column and I hope I will get there in time.

Wishing all of you a good start into the new week.

See you in the garden!



  1. It looks great, Christina! I hope the remaining little anemones will grow and bloom for you. I hope Moonstone continues to perform, too, it is such a beautiful rose. I am sorry that the Iceberg is gone, it was so magnificent, but I find that a big part of having fun in the garden is changing things around. I hope you enjoy your new plants.

  2. Masha, thanks for your kind comment! When I had removed the 'Iceberg' I first thought I made a mistake and missed it terribly, but it was simply too big for the location. So hopefully 'Moonstone' will grow well there and be a good substitute for it.


  3. What lovely plants! I especially like your cycads :-) I have one that is having the hardest time after our severe drought and hot winds last year. You have some really great photos here :-)

  4. Hi Christina
    The white border looks great. I especially love the white anemones. I haven't seen them in my country yet. But I found something that we have common even continents apart :o)... the white ball in front of the Moonstone rose. It seems as if I've got exactly the same ball :o).
    It's great that you garden in the organic way. My roses get no chemical treatments too. That means they have to be strong or not worthy to stay in my garden :o).
    Have a nice day and thanks for reading my blog.

  5. bleufleur, welcome to my blog! We have three cycads in our garden and I really like them, too. The two ones in the white bed, which are pictured in the photos of this post, were looking ratty as well. I found out that the sprinklers were not working properly in that area, when I re-worked that bed. I fertilized , mulched and gave them some extra water on a regular base and at least one of them made a new layer of fronds. The great thing about cycads is that no matter how bad they look, when they produce a new top growth all is good again. Hope you can revive yours, too!

    Alex, thanks for visiting my blog and for your nice words about my White Bed. That is amazing that we have the same white terracotta sphere! I have to check your blog to see yours :-)! I am on the same page with you regarding the roses, they need to be tough and healthy otherwise they have to go.


  6. Jeg kom tilfældigt forbi din blog.
    Tak for de mange smukke billeder.
    Ha` en god dag.

  7. Your white garden looks great and I love the view from your garden! Jeannine

  8. Landbohaven, thanks for the visit! I am glad that you like my photos!

    Jeannine, I am happy that you are "approving" my White Garden. The view of our property is one of its best features, certainly not the size of the garden ;-)!


  9. Your roses are so beautiful--what a lovely garden!

  10. Mary, thanks for your nice comment!


  11. Your white garden is just beautiful. I'm one who absolutely loves white in the garden and a whole corner of white is heaven to my eyes. I attempted something similar in a part of a garden bed outside my shadehouse, but it all went pear-shaped when the wallabies decided it would all make a lovely feast. Your new rose looks spectacular too. I know I'm looking forward to seeing this spot develop further.

    Thank you so much for becoming my latest follower too, by the way. I just had to pop over to see what was going on in your garden, and now I'm your latest follower. I can't wait to see more.

  12. Hi Bernie, thank you very much for your nice comment! Sounds like a "real" garden lover is speaking there :-)! It makes me happy that you like my White Garden Bed. And thanks for becoming my follower as well. I am looking forward to see and read more about your garden in Australia.