Friday, January 17, 2014

Tweaking a Garden Bed

By the end of November last year I truly felt that this garden bed needed some attention. I wanted to work on it for a long time and finally decided to get started.



In the space between the Pygmy Date Palm, phoenix roebelenii, and the rose in the container to the left I had originally planted 'Zephirine Drouhin', a Bourbon climbing rose (I dedicated a full post to this rose, if you would like to read it, please click here), which I absolutely loved in spring. It was just spectacular and the fragrance to die for. But despite my best efforts to water and fertilize it, the rose only wanted to be a once bloomer. Since my garden is small and I can get up to four flushes out of repeat blooming roses in one year, I was wondering for a long time if I should remove the rose and replace it with a repeat blooming one, but never had the heart to rip it out. I wanted to grow 'Zephirine Drouhin' as a free standing shrub rose, but unfortunately I had planted it way to close to the Pygmy Date Palm (What was I thinking?). Over the years the rose grew pretty big and also the palm grew more and more to the left side. I ended up with a rose climbing into the palm in a very messy way and didn't liked the look. Realizing that I never would be completely happy with 'Zephirine Drouhin' in this location, this insight finally helped me to take action and remove her.

But I would like to say, if I had a bigger garden I would plant her immediately again, and I can only encourage everyone, who can accept the fact that she is primarily a once bloomer to try out this wonderful rose.

I had placed two containers with roses to the left side of the Pygmy Date Palm to see how they would fare in this space, since it is a place with dappled shade part of the day.



One was 'Belinda's Dream', a pink shrub rose, which I had read very good things about. She flowered well in this spot and was able to fully develop her big sumptuous blooms.



The other rose was 'Frederic Mistral', a pink, very strongly scented Hybrid Tea rose. I didn't like the flower shape of 'Frederic Mistral' much. The unfavorable bloom form might have to do with the fact that the rose was not able to open the flowers properly because of too low light conditions. 'Frederic Mistral' also seemed to have a vase shape growing habbit, whereas 'Belinda's Dream' grows more informally like a shrub, which I also liked better for that location. So the decision was made to plant 'Belinda's Dream' there.



The Pygmy Date Palm was due for pruning and fertilizing. It doesn't show that well on the photo, but it had many yellow fronds and old seed stalks that needed to be removed. I was surprised when I started gardening here in San Diego that in general palms need to be fertilized as well, since when you don't feed them the fronds easily take on a very sickly looking light green or even yellow color.



Same Pygmy Date Palm after pruning and fertilizing. Even though it isn't that obvious on the image, the overall impression is the one of a much "greener" palm and you can see the different "heads" more distinctly. So much better in my eyes!



In the spot where 'Zephrine Drouhin' once grew (the area to the right of the container where there is a little depression in the ground and where the weeds and new rose shoots come up), thorough weeding and also the attempt to dig out all the old rose roots was necessary.



Last year I planted two white flowering campanula (sorry, I don't know the exact name of the variety) to the left and right side of the Pygmy Date Palm. They have grown in nicely and started to spread a little. They needed fertilizer as well.



The rose to the right side of the Pygmy Date Palm is 'Pierre de Ronsard', one of my favorite shrub roses. This one also needed to be deleafed, pruned, fertilized, and mulched to bloom well in spring.




'Pierre de Ronsard' after deleafing and pruning. The rose looks quite bare on this photo, but that has changed very fast. While pruning, to my surprise, I noticed that 'Pierre de Ronsard' had produced basal canes on the other side of the fence as well. My husband was so nice to jump the fence and deleaf and prune him from that side, too.



I decided to plant 'Belinda's Dream' more over to the left than 'Zephirine Drouhine' had been situated, so that I wouldn't run into the same problem again, that this rose was growing too much into the Pygmy Date Palm, too. Now it is planted much closer to the big Queen Palm. Even though it will be tough for any rose to compete with the giant palm, I believe, that 'Belinda's Dream' is vigorous enough to grow there and do well, but only time will tell. The gardener was commissioned to dig a three feet wide and two feet deep hole. As usual, where I wanted to plant the rose there was an irrigation pipe buried in the ground, but at least it was placed a little bit to the side of the hole so that I still could plant the rose where I initially wanted it to be.



I deleafed and very gently shaped 'Belinda's Dream' and then she was ready to be planted in the big rose hole. She got fertilized with organic rose fertilizer and alfalfa meal. I still love when I am able to plant a new rose! I am curious to see how long it will take until she is flowering, again.




After I did all the things described so far I mulched the bed well with compost and even though it looked better, it was bare.




I intend to plant more perennials there, but for a quick solution I decided to plant white pansies. The variety is called 'Crown White'. They came only in six packs and therefore are very small, but I hope they will grow in nicely and give the bed a little bit of cheer.



You may have noticed in the photo above between the Pygmy Date Palm and 'Belinda's Dream' that there is something green, which is not a plant. We are clearing out our garage and I found this base for a gazing ball, which I have bought a long time ago. I believe I also bought a fitting gazing ball, which hasn't shown up yet, but I am still hopeful that I will find it soon.



'Belinda's Dream' is only in the ground since about a month, but has actively started to grow. If you scroll up and compare this picture with the one when the rose was just planted, you certainly can notice a difference. Our unusual warm winter weather is surely contributing to this pretty fast growth process.



So far the pansies are happy but I really have to watch out for them and make sure that they are not over- or underwatered. They need to be watered at least every other day right now with our crazy temperatures being in the upper 70 to low 80 F (28 - 30 C).



'Pierre de Ronsard' has leafed out already, too. Each day you can see a difference! Looks like we will get a very early spring this year.



I like the plain, pure white pansies quite a bit. Last year I had bought some white ones with a dark center, but I prefer these ones very much over those.




Pansies are usually a short lived pleasure here, because it becomes hot very early in spring and they don't like that, but since I love them so much, to plant at least a few each year is still worth it for me!

I had my third blog anniversary in the beginning of this year and wanted to thank each and everyone for visiting! It feels so good to know that my blog is read by you. Also many thanks to the ones, who in addition to visiting were leaving kind and helpful comments. You bring a lot of joy into my life! I hope you will stick around and continue to follow the happenings in my own garden, enjoy the roses, and visit other beautiful public and private gardens with me.

See you in the garden!

Christina



48 comments:

  1. Happy third year blog anniversary Christina! Your blog is always a delight to visit and looking forward to more of your future posts!

    Good job on the border and everything looks so tidy now, ready for spring to arrive. We like the classical tone of the rose combined with palms :)

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    1. Mark and Gaz, thank you very much for your kind words about my blog! Yeah, yew hedges are not really an option to combine roses with here ;-)!

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  2. I understand your regrets for Zephirine Drouhin ... she is a gorgeous rose. Sometimes gardeners must take hard decisions ... But you solved the problem so nice, and the border is perfect, just waiting for the spring. Bravo !

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    1. Dani, thanks for your kind words! I really do miss 'Zephirine Drouhin', but I still believe it was the right decision for my garden. I think once 'Belinda's Dream' get going it is not so hard anymore...

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  3. Happy blog anniversary! It must have been a difficult decision removing Zephirine Drouhin as it is such a lovely rose. I'm moving roses around at the moment but I don't know whether they will re-establish in their new position. But that is the chance I've taken because they were no longer in the right place.

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    1. Wendy, thanks! Yes, I was agonizing forever over if to remove 'Zephirine Drouhin' or not, but now it is done and I am looking forward to 'Belinda's Dream's' beautiful blooms. I have seen amazing photos of this rose!
      I myself haven't moved around too many roses so far, but I have heard from other people that most roses do re-establish themselves in a new location quite well especially when you get as much of the rootball out as possible. Good luck with the move of yours!

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  4. Congratulations on your third bloggiversary!

    It is always a treat to see what you are doing there in your lovely gardens. Your roses always encourage me to keep growing them in my own gardens too. Your views through your fencing are amazing. You live in a beautiful area.

    I'm looking forward to seeing your roses as they grow and bloom and your gazing ball stand is really lovely. Hope you find the ball soon.

    Love and hugs to you ~ FlowerLady

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    1. Lorraine, thank you so much for your nice words! You are right, our property is blessed with a very nice view, which I still haven't gotten used to myself and enjoy every day. I can't wait to see 'Belinda's Dream' blooming for the first time since she is planted in the ground. Sometimes when a rose was pot-bound, and this one was, they can be doing so much better, when they can stretch their legs.

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  5. J'ai suivi avec intérêt le programme de tes travaux. Je n'ai pas planté le rosier Zéphirine Drouin dans mon jardin parce que dans le jardin de mes parents, j'ai le souvenir d'un rosier chétif qui se chlorosé facilement et qui ne donnait qu'une floraison chétive. Je souhaite un bel anniversaire à ton blog. C'est avec plaisir que je suivrai l'aventure de ton jardin et tes visites dans les beaux jardins que tu partages avec nous.
    Belle journée jocelyne

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    1. Jocelyne, good that you knew from your parent's garden that 'Zephirine Drouhin' most likely wouldn't work for you and you didn't plant her for that reason. It is really nerve-wrecking to wait for a climbing rose for three to five years to come into her own and then pull her out, because it is not a satisfying rose in the garden. Since there are so many roses out there, I truly opt to find the ones that do best in my garden and not settle for a mediocre plant.
      You have such an incredible garden yourself that I feel very honored that you like to follow the development of my humble attempts to create a decent garden myself.

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  6. Congratulations, Christina, on your 3rd blogaversary! I always have enjoyed reading your blog and seeing the other lovely gardens you have visited. I also enjoy seeing the progress of your beautiful roses. My hubby has all of our roses pruned, but with this warm weather, they think it is spring. Now water rationing may be required, and I fear for the fate of my dear flowers!

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    1. Dorothy, I am so happy that you enjoyed reading my blog and like to follow the development of my own garden! I envy you that your husband is done with pruning all your roses. I think today I am only halfway through, but I have finished the big shrub roses, so from now on it should go faster. I am also very concerned about the possible water restrictions that we are facing. It is so dry in my garden, that I am watering like in spring and if that is not possible anymore, there won't be any decent rose flushes this year. But I still keep my hopes up that the rain may come...

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  7. Dear Christina - your weather and the view are looking so lovely. I do like white flowers in the garden and hope that the lovely pansies last for many months for you.
    Congratulations on your three years of blogging - it is surprising how the time goes, and thank you for all of the kind comments you make on my blog.
    It may seem a silly question to ask, but I was wondering whether the Date Palm has dates on it that you can eat?

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    1. Rosemary, as far as I know the Pygmy Date Palm, (phoenix robellenii) is mostly grown for ornamental purposes. The dates of this palm are edible, but they are very small and only have a thin layer of pulp and are supposed to be not very tasty (I haven't tried them yet, maybe I should give it a shot). I have read that they are used to feed livestock and poultry in some areas. Pygmy Dates Palm are closely related to the Phoenix dactylifera, which is grown for its edible dates, though.

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  8. Liebe Christina,

    ich beneide Dich um das schöne Wetter und die angenehmen Temperaturen. Ich hätte auch so gerne Palmen im Garten - aber auch die etwas unempfindlicheren sind in unserer Klimazone nur mit sehr viel Aufwand am Leben zu erhalten. So bleibt es leider bei ein paar Topfpalmen - die mögen aber das Überwintern im Haus auch nicht besonders.
    Aber der eigentlich frühlingshafte Winter geht wieder vorbei und in wenigen Wochen geht es auch in unseren Breitengraden temperaturmäßig wieder aufwärts :)

    Liebe Grüße und einen schönen Sonntag wünsche ich Dir
    Ingrid

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    1. Ingrid, the weather is certainly nice here and the temperatures are usually very comfortable, but there is a catch and this is the drought that we are facing.
      I can relate to your longing to grow palms in your garden. They are just so pretty and exotic. At least you can grow them in containers, even though I can imagine moving them back and forth from the garden to the house for winter protection is not really fun.

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  9. Happy blogging anniversary, Christina, and I am glad that your bed now pleases you better. I hope Belinda's Dream grows well in her new home and delights you with many lovely blooms. Please post pictures.

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    1. Masha, thanks, I also hope that 'Belinda's Dream' will do well. Of course, I will post pictures when she blooms :-). Today I checked on the bush and saw that she has set two buds already. I guess that is a good sign!

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  10. Your tweaking is going beautifully Christina! Your bed is looking outstanding and I do so like those pops of crisp white! I can't wait to see what else you add! Seeing your lovely shots makes me wonder how my garden will appear this spring after all the snow melts! And I am wishing you a very happy blogging anniversary!!! Cheers friend! Nicole xoxo

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    1. Nicole, thanks for your nice words about tweaking my garden bed! Instead of planting perennials I am thinking by now of growing some plants from seeds in that area at least for this year. There are so many urgent and pressing things to do in the garden right now, that I don't have the time to plant perennials :-(. I also can't wait to see your garden again this spring!

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  11. Liebe Christina,
    herzlichen Glückwunsch zum 3. Bloggeburtstag :-)
    Ich bin sehr gern bei dir zu Gast und schaue durch dein Blogfenster
    in eine ferne fremde Welt :-) Es ist immer so interessant!
    Ganz viele gemütliche Sonntagsgrüße
    sendet dir Urte

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    1. Urte, many thanks for your kind words regarding my blog anniversary! It makes me glad that you like to visit my blog and peep into my garden :-)!

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  12. Hallo Christina,
    meinen herzlichsten Glückwunsch zu Deinem dritten Bloggeburtstag. Das nenne ich Ausdauer.
    Der Blick aus Deinem Garten über die Landschaft ist mir jetzt zum ersten Mal so richtig aufgefallen. Das ist ja ein Traum, wenn man so weit übers und ins Land schauen kann. Die Grenze ist der Horizont und nicht Nachbars Hecke, einfach wundervoll.
    Liebe Grüße
    und eine schöne Woche
    Elke

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    1. Elke, thanks for your good wishes to my blog anniversary! Sometimes I am amazed myself that I am still blogging, but I have to admit that I really like it. Our open view over the landscape is indeed wonderful, there is not one day where I am not grateful for that!

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  13. Your roses are so far ahead of mine! We have 7 inches of snow coming and mine are still dormant. Congrats on your blog anniversary. I've loved watching your garden and blog grow. :)

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    1. Tammy, here the roses are so crazily early this year. I can't keep up with the pruning. The moment the bushes are deleafed they make new growth, they don't care if I got around to prune them or not. Thanks for your kind words about my blog anniversary! I don't know if my garden has grown so much (I would have loved to make more progress by now), but the blog certainly has ;-)!

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  14. Hi Christina,
    Well it is fabulous to get out in the garden even if it is not my own, thanks for the tour! I have a Zephrine Droulin... it does reeat bloom, but it is never robust or very showy.. I keep trying / hoping. The Eden rose will be fabulous, framing that stunning view!
    Have a great week and enjoy your garden!
    Hugs,
    Bella

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    1. Bella, thanks for you nice comment! How interesting that 'Zephirine Drouhin' repeats for you. When I was digging in the part where mine had grown, I was surprised how dense the palm root where there. I wonder, if I maybe haven't been watering and fertilizing it enough... But now these thoughts are obsolete since 'Zephirine Drouhin' is gone. I just hope that 'Belinda's Dream will do better.

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  15. Hi Christina, lovely to see your tweaking and the results, sometimes we need to make tough choices in the garden. I am going to start pruning my roses this week-end I think, 2 weeks earlier than I normally would, but they are all putting on so much new foliage that I just think it’s time, never mind what the calendar says! I am also going to dig up a rose that doesn’t do well in its current position, a David Austin rose, only 2 years old so I don’t think it will be much of a job getting it out. I think it will be happier in a container on the patio in the sun for a few years.

    By the way, I didn’t know what a gazing ball was, had to look it up, I have obviously seen them many times before in garden shops online but never heard that name for them, learned something new today :-)

    As for your pansies, have you got a shady spot? Under a tree for example? It would be a perfect place for a container or two crammed full with pansies, they don’t really need much sun at all, and will last much longer out of the sun.

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    1. Helene, thanks, I believe in making conscious decisions and following through to come closer to my dream garden, even though sometimes it takes me forever because it is so hard. I would say when your roses are leaving out it is definitively time to prune them. Good luck with transplanting your David Austin rose back into a container. I wonder which variety it is.
      Maybe there is a different name for gazing balls in the United Kingdom?
      It never occurred to me to plant pansies in a shady location, since the label says full sun, but you might have a point. The white pansies that I showed in this post are planted in an area where they are in partial shade part of the day, so I will observe if they fare better than the ones that I had planted in full sun.

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    2. Well, as the curious person I am, I just had to find out what gazing ball is called over here! But it turns out those things have lots of different names, here are a few from a search on online companies today: Stainless Steel Mirror Sphere, Glazed Sphere Garden Ornament Ball, Floating globe garden ornament weatherproof pond ball. I also got a few hits on gazing ball: Gazing sphere floating globe garden ornament, so it seems it can be called whatever – I think gazing ball is a great name!

      The rose I am taking out is 'Susan Williams-Ellis', she is only 2 years old and is still tiny, not doing well at all where she is, probably too dark in the shade of the other tall roses around her so a container on the patio will hopefully be better – just have to order a suitable container first.
      As long as your pansies get morning sun I think they will be fine, it is the blazing afternoon sun that usually makes them last so short in the summer. I don’t have pansies in the summer at all, only in the winter where each flower can last for up to 10 days! But I suppose with your climate, you are already having summer temperatures by now :-)

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    3. Helene, well I guess the Brits found some more elaborate names for the ordinary gazing ball ;-)!
      Oooh, you got Susan Williams-Ellis? How lovely! I wanted to try this rose myself, but there are a still too many in my pot ghetto that need to get planted first before I order any new roses.
      No blazing afternoon sun for my pansies in their current location, so they should do better than usual. The temperatures have come down a bit, highest temperatures today are supposed to be 67 F (19 C) highest and lowest 41 F (5 C). What a relief!

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    4. I have not made up my mind yet whether I like 'Susan Williams-Ellis' or not, the flowers are tiny and not at all as scented as it says on their website. The flowers go from looking amazing to dropping its hundreds of petals in the space of hours so you can never get in and deadhead in time like I do with all my other roses to prevent petals on the ground. I will give it a couple of years in a container but at the moment it is my least favourite rose.

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    5. Helene, on the photos of 'Susan Williams-Ellis' that I looked at on HelpMeFind, this rose was amazingly beautiful and I am sorry to hear that it is a little bit disappointing for you! I remember now though that I had seen it in some public English gardens two years ago and the plants didn't seem to be very vigorous. Hope yours comes around this year!

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  16. Your garden looks beautiful and I feel I have so much to learn about gardening from you!!! I also couldn't help but notice that lovely view you have..wow!

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    1. Trishie, thank you very much for your kind words! Yes, we are lucky, we do have a very nice view!

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  17. What a wonderfully inforomative post with so much love involved! Happy third blog anniversary to you and three cheers for pansies too!

    Stephanie

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    1. Stephanie, thanks for your nice comment! My pansies do well so far and have grown quite bit. I am tempted to plant some more, but it is already late in the season for that in Southern California.

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  18. Does the date palm provides any date fruits? How do you dig out a rose plant? I need to do it this year and move it to a place where it will flourish better, but I guess I have to be very careful. I am getting two rose plants this from David Austin :-) -- can't wait to get them. As usual a lovely and informative post.

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    1. KL, first I would like to thank you for your kind words about this post! Now to your questions: No, the Pygmy Date Palm doesn't carry dates that are tasty for human beings :-(.
      If I want to dig up a rose, I go around the rose in a circle, digging as deep down as I can with a spade, then I try to get under the rose with the spade, again in a circular movement. Sometimes I have to cut of the tap root (main, thick root) of the rose to be able to lift it out of the ground. The general rule is to get as much root ball out with the rose as you can including the thin white feeder roots. The physically hardest part is to lift the rose and root ball out of the ground. Usually I ask my husband for help with that. I also trim the rose bush down quite a bit before I start the process, because it is easier for me to handle and the smaller root ball that the rose is most like going to end up with is less capable to support the full amount of top growth that the mature rose had. This just increases chances of survival. I was surprised how easy you can move a rose. They actually transplant quite well. Hope that helps and good luck with yours!

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  19. Och, Mensch! Da könnte man grad ein bisschen grün werden ums Näschen, wenn man diesen blauen Himmel sieht... die Temperaturen lassen sich nur erahnen *seufz*. Ich träum dann mal etwas von Eurem Klima, während ich mir da draussen den Schnee ansehe. Ich hoffe einfach, dass dieser blöde Winter mir nicht noch die bereits austreibenden Rosen gekillt hat *grmpf*.
    En liebe Gruess
    Alex

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    1. Alex, thanks for your comment! Our sky looks nice, blue, and clear most of the time in winter, but we had already very hot temperatures here, even up to a point where it was a little uncomfortable. Now it has cooled down a bit to 72 F (22 C) and the forecast predicts that it will get even cooler. There was rain in the forecast for this Friday and on the weekend as well and I had high hopes, but that is gone again :-(. We are facing a serious drought and when there are no more winter rains this year it gets even worse and it is very likely that we will have water restrictions. Wishing you that your winter didn't damage the new growth of your roses!

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  20. Hi Christina. What a fantastic view you have from your garden. I am deeply envious, living in the middle of a wood and just looking out at trees. From what I can see, your husband was very brave to jump the fence! I hope that your new border thrives, and that you get some rain. Happy blog anniversary too.

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    1. Rusty Duck, thanks for your nice comment. We enjoy our wide and open view, too, but being surrounded by trees like you are is very lovely as well, I think. Beyond the fence the land slopes down on a steep angle and even though I wouldn't say that my husband is a hero to hop the fence and prune the rose from that side, it is certainly not comfortable or easy to work there. So far the new border is doing well, but still no rain, yet :-(.

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  21. Congratulations on your third blogaversary! My how time flies, doesn't it? In reading this post, I was so impressed with all the work you have done in your garden. Not just planting, but also pruning, fertilizing, and even mulching! You have been busy! I hope BD does well for you. I have always wanted her, but have never found just the right spot. I'll have to watch her through your blog. I love your gazing ball base. I hope you find just the right ball for it soon. And I'm praying for rain for you, too.

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    1. Holley, thank you so much for your nice and encouraging comment! I am so thankful that I had a little bit more time lately to get out and work in the garden. It was really neglected and I am trying to whip it back in shape. To me it is always puzzling how much work you can put into a garden even if it is as small as mine. I hope it will be pretty again by this spring!

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