Saturday, January 19, 2013

Garden Activities

January is the month where I am mainly busy with rose pruning in the garden. Since my roses have grown significantly over the last five years and I have planted more and more of them, it has become quite a bit of a task that feels overwhelming to me at times. Therefore I intended to use the holiday week at the end of last year to get a head start, but the weather was just nasty, cold with a lot of rain, so hardly anything happened. On the photo below you see the beginning of the pruning. The first rose I tackled was 'Our Lady of Guadalupe', which looked like her twin in the foreground before I pruned and deleaved it.

Consequently I have to get all my rose pruning done this month as usual. I seem to be more behind than ever, but I will just focus on the rose in front of me and not think of the rest and see how far I come. It always feels so satisfying when I finished one rose and I am filled with anticipation of the new fresh spring growth and beautiful blooms to come. 

Besides that I am working on another garden project. My husband and I cleared the bed between the two giant Strelitzia nicolai. That was not too difficult, since most of the plants have been in containers and just had to be moved. To the very right was a hydrangea 'Endless Summer' planted into the ground, which died for some unknown reason and had to be discarded.

 Then the gardener installed sprinklers in that section and dug big holes for us.

My husband and I planted an unidentified hydrangea to the very right, which looks like nothing at the moment to replace the dead one and...

...put in a repeat blooming hydrangea 'Penny Mac' in the hole to the very left to replace a Geranium maderense, that is a binial and had died as well.

Not much visual change is achieved by now, but I hope when we have planted two more camellias and most likely a gardenia in the middle of the bed it will be more appealing. By the way, we are basically repeating the planting scheme that was there before. Now that we have irrigation in place I assume that the plants will grow much better and I am definitively relieved that I have to water one area less by hand. If you want to see the bed how it looked in January 2011 after we tried to do a "quick fix" until we could get to re-do it properly, please click here.

Unfortunately I haven't made much progress in the White Garden Bed. But at least I found the silver gazing ball that was still hidden in a moving box. I am pleased to say that the amaryllis belladonna bulbs 'Fred Meyer Whites', common name N---- Lady's, that I planted in April 2012 have filled in nicely. Even though the lamb's ears in the foreground are not looking at their best right now, I am happy that I am finally getting the layered look that I always wanted to achieve.

It is amazing to me, how clearly the gazing ball reflects large parts of the backyard. Each time when the sun hits it in the morning it lights up and is a real eye catcher. I just love it!

We had unusually cold temperatures lately and I covered my Cymbidium orchids and other tender tropical plants with bed linens trying to help them survive a possible frost.

The orchids and even their emerging flower stalks came through the cold spell just fine, but I got it done to break off the tips of two flower stalks when I removed the bed linens one morning. I was really mad at myself and thought the orchids would probably have done better, if I wouldn't have covered them. Oh well, at least I tried!


In the bed by our front door there was a gap between the cycad and the small decorative wall, which always bugged me. So I decided that it was finally time to change that. It is a little bit of a shady place for a rose, but I decided to plant one anyway and see how it does, because I don't have too many spaces left were I can plant a rose, but many more roses in my pot ghetto. If it doesn't work I can always move it. Even though I have to admit, I hate doing that.

When the gardener dug the hole, we were in for an unpleasant surprise. Plenty of pipes! Luckily he didn't cut through any of them with the spade while digging. I still decided to go ahead and follow through with my original idea to plant a rose here. I think, the roots will not be strong enough to damage the pipes and I hope they can grow around them so that the rose can root in firmly and be happy.

Now what rose should I plant? My choice fell on 'White Meidland', which has been waiting to get planted in my pot ghetto for quite a while already. This rose is supposed to be somewhat shade tolerant, so I hope it will thrive in the chosen area. I think, it will look great with 'The Prince', the deep crimson colored rose to its left and the blue flowering geranium 'Rozanne' in the foreground. 'White Meidiland' doesn't impress right now, but I think it could be a winner.

After I deleaved it, it looks even more puny, but I think it will take off once it is in the ground.

Again, not much visual change right now after the rose is planted, you almost have to get a magnifying glass to find it, but at least the hole is filled. I hope in a few months this part of the bed will look much nicer.

That summed up the garden activities that have taken place here lately. It is not too much, I know, but I am happy about every step that I am able to make to maintain and develop our little green paradise even further.

See you in the garden!



  1. Hello, I have enjoyed reading about growing roses in your part of the world, a bit different from growing roses in London :-) We don't have to de-leaf the roses here, that happens naturally over winter.
    I usually cut down my roses in February, but they have already started growing new shoots and I have roses all year round, even though they don't flower that much in the winter.

  2. Must be lovely having temperatures to go out and do some work in the garden. Overhere I prune my roses in march. To me always a difficult job because I don't know how to do it. But I am happy with every flower I get. Your garden lookes lovely and your photo's bringing warmth. I hope your orchids will survive. I bring out my cymbidium in to the garden this summer as you told me to do so and hope it will bring flowers. How wonderful the strelizia is growing in your garden. I love it's flowers.
    Have a wonderful day Christina.

  3. Dear Christina,
    I hadn't heard of White Meidland before so I looked it up and I see that it offers a profusion of white flowers in summer and autumn (at least it does in England). I think it will look lovely with The Prince.
    Whenever I read gardening blogs like yours I am left champing at the bit to get gardening too but I must wait until we have one! However that time is creeping closer and closer.
    Bye for now

  4. Dear Christina ~ I think you accomplished a lot. Your garden soil is so rich looking. I always love seeing your 'Our Lady of Guadalupe' roses. Your gardens are so lovely and serene and I look forward to seeing them as things fill out and bloom. I never heard of deleafing roses. I am very timid when it comes t pruning roses, well, anything for that matter. That's why it turns into a jungle around here. :-)

    Have a lovely Sunday ~ FlowerLady

  5. Hallo Christina
    Wow, ich bin ja gar nicht neidisch *lach*... Ihr habt noch blühende Rosen in dieser Jahreszeit? Da fällt es bestimmt doppelt schwer mit der Schere einzugreifen. Bei uns geht die Schneiderei ja bekanntlich erst im März los und in meinem Garten sind es nur so an die 50ig Rosen...hmm, ich wundere mich immer, wo die sind, denn wirklich gross zur Geltungkommen die irgendwie nicht. Naja, ich habe eben auch nicht wirklich den perfekten Rosengarten was das Licht und die Bodenverhältnisse angeht... hihi, ich schieb's jetzt einfach mal da rauf und weit von mir :o).
    Die Silberkugel liegt auch in meinem Garten, ich mag das Spiegeln ebenso sehr wie Du. Euer neues Beet wird bestimmt mega schön und ich freue mich schon auf weitere Fotos.
    En liebe Gruess

  6. Hallo Christina, hab vielen Dank für deinen netten Kommentar auf meinem Blog.
    Ihr habt ja hier in Californien ganz andere Bedingungen für die Pflanzen. Das stelle ich mir sehr spannend vor.
    Wir in Deutschland bibbern schon wieder um unsere Rosen, da der Frost momentan wieder so erbarmungslos zuschlägt und ihr habt das ganze Jahr gemäßigte Temperaturen....da kann man wirklich neidisch werden :-)
    Bei uns muss die Gartenarbeit noch ein bisschen ruhen..dir wünsche ich noch viel Spaß beim pflanzen und schneiden.
    Lieben Gruß von Heike

  7. Enjoyed reading about garden activities on the other side of the world, I still have to keep quiet for we have lots of snow and frost. Strelitzias are wonderful, I had one plant in my greenhouse for a lont time, but when it was very cold it died. And you can plant a Gardenia in your garden, that sounds terrific, I can imagine the lovely scent in your garden when it flowers. The white garden bed now already looks beautiful with the silver ball and the grey foliage.

  8. Hello Christina, I enjoyed reading your garden work! I usually start pruning my roses in January,too but I haven't done it yet this year. Pruning roses are tiring job, but we can do it dreaming its bloom in spring:) Have a good new week!

  9. So you have started with the roses :) I pruned the first today :) And hydrangeas ? Beautiful ! Must plant a new one too ...
    Great job, Christina ! I looove to see the changes in your garden. Thank you so much for sharing !

  10. You've done loads Christina, I know you've said it doesn't feel like you've done lots but you both actually have. Some nice new plantings there and looking forward to seeing what they look like in the coming months :)

  11. I would have a hard time pruning roses when they were still blooming! Mine are starting to put out new little shoots on the stems, and I'm not supposed to prune for another month! I'm wondering if we will have an early spring this year. (fingers crossed) I agree with you that irrigation to an area makes a big difference. Somehow, no matter how long we hand water, it just doesn't do as well as an automatic system.

  12. Hi Christina, I think you are doing a wonderful job locating your roses, and you do have the most beautiful roses! I hope your hydrangeas do well. I love their fluffy heads. I think they add softness to the landscape. I think you picked just the right gazing ball. It marks your white garden which could also be a "moon garden!" This will be rose pruning week for us, and I was going to fertilize, but someone just told be to hold off until March 1st. We have had a string of frosty mornings, and I can't wait for spring to get here!

  13. Helene, I would love if Mister Winter would do the deleaving of the rose for me ;-)!

    Marijke, it was pretty chilly not too long ago here, but in the last couple of days it has warmed up quite a bit. Today we had 73 F/23 C! I really enjoyed being out in the warm weather and pruning the roses today. Good luck with your cymbidium orchids. I hope they will bloom for you this year!

    Kirk, I really do hope that 'White Meidiland' will bloom profusely! I wish you that you get a garden soon. It can give so much joy!

    Lorraine, thanks, I am also looking very much forward for the plants to fill in, again. Right now my garden is kind of bare. I think it works for you that you are not too keen on pruning, I love your "jungle"!

    Alex, oh you also have a silver gazing ball in your garden? I guess, I must come over to your blog and see if I can find it ;-)!

    Heike, thanks for the visit and becoming a follower! Hope your roses make it through the frost and that you can get out into the garden soon, again!

    Janneke, I feel the fragrance of gardenias is truly special. If you once have smelled it, you will never forget!

    Keity, you are very right, pruning roses is tiring, but the anticipation of the new blooms keeps me going!

    Dani, happy rose pruning! I love hydrangeas, but so far they don't love me back. Hope the two new ones will do well.

    Mark and Gaz, thank you very much for your motivating comment! I am always impressed with how much work you guys put into your garden. And it pays it back with being one of the nicest in the blog world that I know of.

    Holley, I have hardly any blooms on the rose bushes left and most of them look pretty ratty by now, so I am actually itching to get them pruned. I can't wait to see the new sprinklers come in handy.

    Dorothy, thanks, there are so many opinions out there when and how to fertilize roses. I have already started to feed the roses with some organic rose fertilizer and alfalfa meal. My understanding is that the microorganism only can break it down when the temperatures are warm enough, so it will be available for the roses, when they are ready, too.


  14. Your pruned rose looks just like the ones in the how-to books! Clearly you are very skilled at this. Mine never look that good, but they grow all right anyway. Every winter I decide I won't buy any more roses, as I really hate pruning them, but somehow the numbers creep up when I see them flowering in late summer and autumn. I don't have nearly as many as you do, though. The gazing ball is such an interesting idea. I have been thinking about getting a garden mirror,but hadn't considered a spherical one! I really like the way you explain what you're doing in the gardens, what you've changed and what you're hoping for. I also think the white Meidiland will look great behind Geranium 'Rozanne', which is one of my favourites because it keeps flowering so well in the heat.

  15. Thanks for your message: the white roses are decorosier "OPALIA".
    je t'embrasse!

  16. Thankyou for becoming a follower of my blog. I really like your silver gazing ball its beautiful and makes a great focal point in your garden.
    I love roses, but have severely reduced the numbers of plants in my gardens, to a few Austin roses. They are too much work for me at this time. I love other plants as well, I think its good to have a variety of different plants. I especially love foliage plants. Have a great day.

  17. The gazing ball looks well situated! I did some pruning on my couple of roses recently and managed not to get scratched. Sadly I am thinking of taking my Cecile Brunner climber out this year--it is enormous on top of the patio cover and although I love seeing the blooms every Spring from my bedroom, it drops lots and lots of leaves every day. Jeannine

  18. Lyn, thanks for your nice comment, I feel flattered! I am on a rose buying stop until I have planted all my roses into the ground that are waiting in the pot ghetto. Let's see if I can stick to it!

    Sophie, thanks for letting me know the name of the white rose that looked so beautiful on your blog. I will go to HMF and look it up.

    Karen, thanks for becoming a follower of my blog as well :-)! Roses are undeniable a lot of work and I can completely understand that you have been downsizing. My garden clearly has the emphasis on roses, but I would like to plant more companion plants as well. Hopefully I get to it this year!

    Jeannine, I haven't figured it out how to prune roses, without getting scratched, yet ;-)! I love 'Cecile Brunner, Climbing' but I can imagine that she makes a lot of mess growing over a patio. Taking her out or not, must be a tough decision. Hope you find the right answer for you!


  19. Your garden updates look good, and your OLOGs look wonderful. Mine got crown gall. :(

  20. Liebe Christina,
    heute habe ich mir alles erstmal übersetzten lassen.
    Dein weißes Beet sieht auch super schön aus. Habe mir ältere Posts
    von dir angeschaut. Das ist natürlich interessant. Mit diesem so ganz
    anderen Klima als hier in Deutschland. Aber wie ich sehe, wächst bei dir
    der Storchschnabel Rozanne sehr schön. Den habe ich auch im Garten.
    Es gibt ja auch weiße Storchschnäbel. Und die machen ja wunderschöne
    große Polster. Vielleicht wäre das auch eine schöne Idee für deine
    weißes Beet? Ich mag Storchschnäbel als Rosenunterpflanzung jedenfalls
    sehr gern. Hier ist ein Link. Da haben sie so schön nach Pflanzbedingungen
    sortiert. Trockene oder schattige Plätze. Vielleicht ist das für dich interessant?,Stauden-Geranium,E84392268CA540E1865CD7B212A70F2A,de.html

    Ich schaue hier zu gern nach, wie die Pflanzen so zusammenpassen könnten
    und welches Klima gut für sie ist.
    Ganz viele liebe Grüße Urte

  21. The updates are lovely the new plants sure will look good once they get established for you.

    Claire Diligent Gardener

  22. You have done a lot of work, Christina! I love the clean look of your pruned roses and fresh mulch. Lucky you to be able to grow gardenias, I haven't had much luck here....

  23. Hoover Boo, thanks for your compliment. Sorry to hear that your 'Our Lady of Guadalupe' had crown gall. So far I only have read about this problem in books and I hope it stays that way!

    Urte, I agree with you geraniums are lovely companion plants for roses. It is a great idea to search for a white one for my White Garden Bed. Thanks! Also thank you very much for the link, I will check it out. I am very excited to have found someone, who also has created a White Garden Bed!

    Claire, thanks, I so hope that the newly planted hydrangeas and the rose will grow in well. In my garden you just never now...

    Masha, thanks for your kind words! Gardenias have a reputation to be a little finicky here as well, but I simply have to try them because of the wonderful fragrance.