Monday, September 24, 2012

Breakfast in the Garden in September

Two weekends ago my husband and I were having a nice long breakfast in the garden and I thought I would like to share some photos of it with you. While my husband was making pancakes from scratch, I watered the garden like a mad woman (this is what I usually do here on the weekends of August and September) and tried to set the table nicely.

While I was placing our light weight tables and chairs in a position in the garden, where I wanted us to sit it occurred to me that it would be fun to re-evoke some memories of the beautiful visits to British gardens and landscapes, castles, and not to forget the many cream teas that we had. So I got some of the souvenirs out that we brought back with us from our last vacation in England and set the table with them.

I love, love, love the Union Jack cushion, which we bought at the very last minute at London Heathrow Airport, before we had to board the plane that took us back home.

This has nothing to do with England, but with fun. My husband bought this tropical fruit called Dragon Fruit to surprise me. I have never seen a thing like this before.

The color of the fruit flesh is simply amazing. Nothing is manipulated here with Photoshop, this is just as it naturally comes! The peel of the fruit is very interesting, too. It is easy to see how it got its name. The taste was a little disappointing to me, though. There was hardly any at all to detect for my taste buds.

My husband made a decent stack of pancakes, didn't he? He also prepared a delicious sauce out of blueberries, which you can see a tiny bit of in the left pitcher. In the right pitcher is simply maple sirup, which always goes well with pancakes.

 I couldn't wait to sit down and indulge myself. It all looked so tempting.

The lollipops were a nice welcome treat from the friendly owners of the second cottage that we rented in West Sussex on our last trip. We never bothered to try them, because I was expecting to find a hard candy like mass of something super sweet under the cute Union Jack wrapping (after all it was the time of the Queen's Jubilee), but to my surprise they were simply made out of decent milk chocolate! Yummy!

The motto of the mugs should just become mine! Love the crown and the dark blue color, one of my favorites!

Even early in the morning we discovered that the sun umbrella was desperately needed. It comes in handy that we have one that is portable (at least by my husband), so that we can move it wherever we would like to set up our tables in the garden.

Believe me, I enjoyed our little outdoor breakfast very much and was in a really good mood afterwards and I think my husband felt the same. It doesn't require that much of an effort to do and you can get so much out of it. I just can recommend that you should try it sometimes, too, if you are not already doing it.

See you in the garden!


Sunday, September 16, 2012


In April this year I planted six bulbs of amaryllis belladonna 'Fred Meyer Whites', common name 'N---- Lady' in the White Garden Bed (If you would like to read about that, please click here). They looked dead ever since, but suddenly this month two developed a flower stalk and are now showing these absolutely gorgeous blooms.

In September, besides the roses, not too many plants are flowering in my garden so they are a very welcome sight. I just love how the sun light is illuminating the blooms in the photo above.

But there is one catch: the second stalk shows the usual pink of the 'N---- Ladies' that you see here in California all the time. It looks like I got a mislabeled bulb. In my White Garden Bed I can't tolerate that, so I have to find another spot for this one. I wonder if the other four will still do something or not. The one that flowered white is so utterly beautiful that I intend to order more bulbs and try my luck again.

Finally I took the time to pot up this miniature rose, 'Irresistible', from a one gallon plastic container into a nice slightly bigger terracotta one. The rose took a long time to get going but now seems to be fine.

Doesn't it look so much better immediately being planted in a prettier pot?

Close-up of the bloom of 'Irresistible'. They truly do look like mini Hybrid Tea roses, don't they? The petal substance is fairly thick and to be honest the blooms feel a little bit like plastic, which I don't like so much. But on the positive side this miniature rose doesn't "shed" the petals so fast and they don't get brown as they age. I will place the rose by our kitchen door, where I know I will truly appreciate not having petals flying all over the place all the time. 'Irresistible' is said to be a very good show rose

Despite the heat that we were having, 'Mister Lincoln' was able to produce a lovely bloom. When the weather is hot I am not a big fan of the color of this rose because it is too bold for my taste, but the fragrance is always amazing.

'Pope John Paul II' is flushing for the third or fourth time this year. This is such a great rose in my garden. The strong fragrance even wafted this time. I never had this happen before.

I wanted to pot up 'Jude the Obscure' into a bigger container,  because he surely didn't look good and I thought it was because of that he had outgrown its pot. But when I took it out I saw that the bark was splitting away all around the main cane. I felt that this one couldn't be rescued and I tossed it into the trash bin. Luckily this is not a very rare rose and can be easily acquired again.

My Hybrid Perpetual Rose Bed is certainly nothing to be proud of in the moment. The roses don't bloom, they have bare legs and altogether are simply not a pretty sight. By now I have the suspicion that this rose class as a whole is not very suited for our warm climate and to be at their best need cooler conditions to grow in. But the bed is relatively new and the roses are still young so I am willing to wait and see how they do next year.  I also have to admit that I didn't take very good care of them, but in my garden there is no space for a whole bunch of divas!

Anyway, I decided to try to do them something good and fertilized and mulched heavily. I am curious to see if they will make an autumn flush of blooms in return for my loving attention. In any case a mulched bed looks immediately better even though the plants haven't changed (yet!).

A little bit of excitement at the end of this post. The rose above is 'Nimbus' an older floribunda. I potted it up recently from a one into a two gallon container and got rewarded by one of the most unusual blooms that I have ever seen in my garden. 'Nimbus' is showing a true tan color, which was almost brown. As exciting as the flower color is on its own, the plant will be very difficult to place in the garden, because it doesn't blend well with others. For that reason I am not even sure if I will keep it, but I for sure enjoyed this bloom.

See you in the Garden!


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Plonk of 'Charles Darwin'

First of all a heartfelt apology to all of my dear regular readers, who might have come back here to my blog, maybe even a couple of times, just to find out that I still hadn't published a new post. Unfortunately my life was like such that it didn't allow me to blog. I also did only get very little gardening done, mostly watering, very much to my dismay. But Labor Day weekend gave me the opportunity to work in the garden for a few hours and to start writing this post as well. Believe me, I am so happy that I had some time for these two things that I really love to do.

Even though my garden is in very much neglect right now it still is capable to surprise me with some beauty here and there. One of the roses that is just stunning and blooming through the heat that we were having in the last couple of weeks is 'Charles Darwin'. It is a relatively new David Austin rose in my garden and I have two specimen of this variety. A couple of weeks ago I planted the two own root roses from two gallon pots into big terracotta containers (diameter 22 inches), fertilized and watered them well, and they bloom and bloom and bloom. This is certainly one floriferous rose!

'Charles Darwin' is producing many flowers for such a young rose and repeats so quickly that I can even cut some blooms for indoors without the two bushes looking 'n----'. In this post I want to show you a plonk that I simply had to take the time to photograph.

'Charles Darwin' is supposed to be a mustard yellow rose, but as you can see it is anything but in the heat of summer. I like very much that it fades to a creamy white color as the flowers age and I think the contrast with the almost orange yellow buds is quite lovely.

I read comments from people really not liking this rose, although I hardly can understand why. But, of course, when it comes to roses it is all very personal and that is a good thing!

I find the flowers utterly charming and in a vase arrangement like this, the nodding habit of the blooms only adds to its romance for me. 

So far the rose is very healthy in my no-spray organic garden and has only shown a few leaves with powdery mildew now and then.

I will keep the two 'Charles Darwin' roses in the containers as long as I can (I assume they will outgrow even the biggest container eventually, like many roses do here in Southern California). They are positioned on both sides of our kitchen door, which leads into the backyard and can be seen from indoors, too. They look truly wonderful. I have to show the whole bushes to you in another post!

That this rose changes its color so much from yellow to a creamy off-white depending on the weather conditions, temperatures and maybe also on the acidity or alkaline level of the soil makes it very interesting to watch for me!

Hope you enjoyed my little plonk as much as I did!

See you in the garden!