Wednesday, December 31, 2014

November Roses

Dear Readers, with these photos of roses that have bloomed in my garden in November, I would like to wish all of you and your loved ones a happy and healthy New Year 2015! I hope you enjoy seeing these images and I am glad, that I was able to get this post out literally in the very last minutes of the old year!

To my delight the mild warm weather of November this year brought out almost as beautiful roses as you can find in spring.

Here is a scene from the front yard. On the left side from the front to the back you can see 'Old Fashioned Girl', 'Pink Pet' and 'Climbing Iceberg'. From the right, there are peaking a few branches of 'Our Lady of Guadalupe' into the photo.

'Pink Pet' outdid itself this autumn. 

The 'Climbing Iceberg' roses to the right and left side of the garage were very lovely, too. Here you can see the one growing on the right side...

...and these blooms are the top of the 'Climbing Iceberg' growing on the left side of the garage. 

Iceberg roses, no matter if it is the climbing or the shrub rose are always so cheerful. It just makes me happy to look at them. 

In the front yard another 'Our Lady of Guadalupe' rose was strutting her stuff. To the right side of the rose I planted a new perennial that I am quite fond of. With its lavender colored delicate flowers it compliments 'Our Lady of Guadalupe quite nicely, I think. The name of the plant is plectranthus 'Mona Lavender'. We will see how it will fair in the long run in my garden. If you wonder what the piles of dirt do on the walkway, well, that was the work of racoons. They were "beautifying" my front yard every night for quite some time last month, grrr....

'The Prince', also growing in my front yard continued to delight me with its incredible colored blooms.

'Sweetness', the last rose for today from my front yard, also let you believe that it was spring.

Moving on to the backyard, 'Moonstone' was the indisputable star there.

The flowers of 'Moonstone' can be sheer perfection when it is good!

And the rose was certainly in top shape last month.

One rose flower was more beautiful then the other... these photos document.

The faithful 'Pope John Paul II' never ceases to amaze.

'Stephen's Big Purple' came out with some more blooms, too.

I still don't know what to make out of the bold dark pink color. To me this rose doesn't look purple at all. The name seems to be a little misleading at least in terms of the way the roses turn out in my climate. 

 'Irresistible' had some nice flowers, too.

'Nimbus' continued to fascinate me with its exquisite colors.

The combination of rose, mauve and brown tones are quite fascinating in this rose.

Thanks for stopping by today!

See you in the garden in the brand New Year 2015!


Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Best Gift Ever...

Last Thursday my husband and I made the decision to adopt a dog! I still can't believe that this is for real! It is a beautiful, red, male Doberman Pinscher, approximately one year old. This is him:

Those of you, who are following my blog might remember that we were contemplating to get a dog for quite a while now. I posted about our visit to a dog show, to have a closer look at breeds we were potentially interested in, back in July. If you missed that post or are just simply enjoy seeing some beautiful photos of dogs, please click here. There were many steps involved until we finally found "our boy" and the fact that we got the dog around Christmas is pure co-incidence, but he is certainly the most precious gift we ever received.

To help us find a dog that fits our personalities, our life style and the things, we want to do with a dog, we enlisted a dog trainer, Alexandra Gant ( She acted as a matchmaker, helping us to decide which is the appropriate breed for our wishes and needs and then finding the right specific dog that suits us.

After narrowing down the breeds, we ended up eyeing a Doberman Pinscher. We wanted to foster a Doberman first and see if we felt we could handle this powerful and intelligent breed and then maybe adopt the dog, if it was a good fit. But according to Alexandra Doberman Pinschers rarely show up in shelters and if so they are immediately snatched up, because it is a sought after breed. For that reason we just had started to look for a responsible Doberman breeder to get a puppy, when Alexandra became aware that this amazing boy, actually turned up in a local shelter.

Alexandra called me in the evening with the exciting news and first thing the next morning she and I went to have a look at the dog in the shelter. Alexandra evaluated the dog for human and dog aggression and any other severe neurotic behavior. Luckily she couldn't detect any signs that indicated aggression or other unwanted traits.

KORAL (Koalition of Rescuers & Animal Lovers,, a local rescue organisation, made it possible that the dog got pulled out of the shelter and that we could foster him for two weeks to see if we all would get along. For my husband and I it was love at first sight and felt like it was meant to be.

There is hardly anything known about the past of this dog. He was found roaming the streets and he is micro chipped, but according to the shelter the phone number to his owners was disconnected. Somehow the rescue organisation was able to make contact to his previous owners and they said that they don't want him anymore. His former name was Zeus, though, I don't know if this name was given to him at the shelter or by his previous owners. We didn't like this name and initially called him just Puppy. Now we are trying to find a nice fitting name for him. Almost there!

He has a little bit more energy than we had bargained for, but as he ages, he naturally will become calmer. Other than that he is just amazing. He has a very nice and sweet personality, being anything but the Doberman stereotype of a vicious, aggressive dog. As a matter of fact, he is a little bit more on the nervous, skittish side and tends to be easily scared by noises and unknown things and wants to flight!

We enrolled him in an obedience class already and he is incredible quick to learn things and loves to please. He is just a very smart boy!

Even though we just have him for such a short time, today it is exactly three weeks, we love him to pieces and can't imagine being without him. Of course, not all is rosy at the moment: He whines and at times screams his head off when he rides in the car, sometimes he pulls like crazy on the leash, he is easily scared and becomes flighty and he just started to jump up on us, which is not as much fun for us than for him etc., but I think we can work with him on all those issues and he shows great potential to become the perfect dog for us.

We are deeply grateful to Alexandra, who went out of her way to find us the right dog and is continuing to support us to get this lovely dog settled and comfortable with us and his new environment. If you live in the area and you are in need of dog training or want to find your perfect pooch, just like we did, we would highly recommend her.

Of course, we are also very thankful to KORAL (Koaltion of Rescuers & Animal Lovers), and here especially to Kornelia, who was our helpful and reliable contact person, for letting us foster and finally adopt this wonderful boy!

Even though it is already a little late, but hey, here in California it is still Christmas Day, I am wishing everyone, who celebrates it, a very Merry Christmas! Hope you had wonderful day with lots of love and laughter!


Sunday, November 30, 2014

October Roses

It has become almost ridiculous how late I am blogging about the roses that have been blooming in my garden in the previous month, but I have been simply so busy, I couldn't get up this post earlier. So please bear with me, I hope things get better in the future.

Coming to the actual topic of this post: The roses have seen their share of ups and downs this October. We still experienced very hot days, but also some cooler ones in between. I had nearly everything in the garden from almost perfect rose blooms to fried rose flowers clinging to the bush for dear live, that you simply couldn't feel other than sorry for them. For the latter our strong hot and very dry Santa Ana Winds, that originate inland and come from the Great Basin and the Mojave Desert to Southern California, are responsible. We regularly get them at this time of the year and they are also often causing wild fires, but thankfully not this year in our area so far.

I am starting with the a perfect bloom of 'Sweetness'. The lavender colored roses have become my favorites lately and 'Sweetness' is a rose jewel in this color category in my garden.

Another rose that was flourishing in the heat was 'Auckland Metro'. I love the warm glow in the center of the rose.

The photo above shows 'Stephen's Big Purple', which also didn't seem to mind the heat.

Here is a more open bloom of the same rose. Before I bought 'Stephen's Big Purple' I had read raving reviews about it, but now I am not sure if I really like it. I had expected that the color would be much more purple, but in my garden it takes on a very bold reddish purple coloration, which is a little bit too much for my taste. Maybe underplanting it with some gray leaved and white flowering plants can tone its color somewhat down, but that remains to be seen. 

'Mary Rose' that I featured more prominently in the last monthly rose post (if you want to see it, please click here) kept soldering on.

It is astonishing to me that even though her petals are very thin, this rose can withstand the heat pretty well. 

Another rose that I am not sure about if I really like it is 'Mister Lincoln'. It is a truly good red rose here in Southern California, if you are into red roses that is.

But I have the same reservations towards this rose that I have towards 'Stephen's Big Purple'. The color at times is very bold, almost loud. It starts out as a warm-red rose, but fades to a more cool bluish-red one as the flower ages (not shown here in my photos). I have to admit that it has a fantastic fragrance. This rose is one of my mom's favorites, so there is no question that it will stay in the garden, no matter if I am completely sold on it or not.

One of the pleasures of these very hot October days, that I mentioned in the introduction to this post, were that we have been able to have breakfast in the garden very early in the morning just wearing T-shirts on one weekend. But that is not why I published this photo. It is because our breakfast table was crowned by a small bouquet of 'Frederic Mistral'. 

Close-up of the bouquet, seen in the photo prior to this one. Isn't it lovely? It still gives me incredible joy to be able to go through the garden and almost casually cut a small plonk of roses in October. This is living the California Dream for me!

Here you can see a bloom of 'Frederic Mistral' still hanging on the bush. 

But it is not all rosy. This photo shows the damage that Santa Ana Winds actually can do to roses. The blooms that you see belong to 'The Prince', usually a star of incredible beauty in my garden. These blooms are not spent, they are fried by the heat and dry winds that those Santa Ana conditions bring with them. 

Since months 'Heritage' always has some blooms flowering on the bush, even though it is planted in a less than ideal condition in way too much shade.

The flowers are so very romantic and I really do like the light shell pink subtle coloration of this rose.

Another beauty that was showing off last month was 'Nimbus'. It is a bit of an older floribunda, that was bred 1989 by Le Grice and that you don't see that often.

This rose is exhibiting a most unusual color range, anything from mauve, purple with more or less prominent brown undertones to an almost clear lavender, depending on the temperatures, light intensity and probably soil conditions. I find it a very fascinating rose, that I have come to really appreciate.

I caught 'Nimbus' one morning with all these water droplets glistening in the sun.

A quite lovely sight!

A bud of 'Moonstone'. I simply like the photo, so it made it into this post.

'Rhodologue Jules Gravereaux' is a rose that you don't get to see that often either. It loves the heat and I find it extraordiany beautiful.

Here is a shot of the same flower cluster as in the previous photo just a little bit more open. I find it very hard to catch the delicate beauty of Tea roses with my photography and have to say that the two photos just don't do 'Rhodologue Jules Gravereaux' justice. It is so much more lovely in person. 

'Irresistible', a miniature rose, puts out perfect little blooms, even though it grows in a container that is way to small for it. 

'Belinda's Dream' also produced perfect blooms of great beauty. 

The last rose that I would like to feature in this post is 'Bewitched'.

This rose is a very classic Hybrid Tea rose, with the typical elongated bud form, with a very good repeat,...

...incredible fragrance,...


...that also makes a wonderful cut flower. I wouldn't be without it!

Hope everyone who celebrates it had a very happy 1st Advent! It is unbelievable to me that Christmas is not that far away anymore. One good thing about it here is, that temperatures finally have come down and even though the weather is still pleasant the really hot days seem to be over. There is rain predicted in the weather forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday this week. Please keep your fingers crossed that it is really reaching us. We need it so desperately!

See you in the garden!