Monday, September 22, 2014

August Roses

Again, I am coming in late with my post about the roses that bloomed in the previous month, but I am glad that I am at least able to publish it today.

On average August is the hottest month of the year in San Diego and this year has been no exception. As in July the roses struggled with the heat in my garden and most bushes didn't look that pretty, but some still managed to produce roses of great quality here and there.

Here are some of the beauties, that I captured with my camera last month.

The picture perfect blooms of 'Our Lady of Guadalupe'. After all these years I am still fascinated by the beauty of the flowers of this Floribunda.

'Madame Alfred Carriere' has become a huge bush in the one year that she is planted in the ground, but the rose did rarely bloom. Maybe she is just getting established and is working on building a deep root system. I hope to see more of her lovely flowers in the future.

'Pink Pet' is a very undemanding, tough as nails rose. I have mine planted in brutally hot conditions in the front yard, in a very narrow flower bed between the white wall of our house and a light colored concrete path that radiates the heat even more to the rose.

'Pink Pet' doesn't seem to mind and blooms in nice clusters.

I find the pom pom like flowers quite charming. A great rose for the cottage garden!

'Irresistible' being pretty!

Here is a shot, when the bloom is a little bit more open. This rose keeps a good form until the blooms are spend.

'Auckland Metro' with water droplets from the sprinklers...

...and another bloom in full morning sun.

'The Prince' is a rose that I am never getting tired off.

The color and form is just exceptional and... has the most pleasing and strong fragrance. You just stick your nose in it and for a moment you forget all the sorrows and worries of the world.

A particular pretty cluster of 'Georgetown Tea'. I love the unique and a little unruly blooms of this relatively rare Tea Rose.

No matter what the weather is or the temperatures are, 'Pope John Paul II' is a rose that I can always count on.

The big blooms never fail to impress and also make good cut flowers. 

I don't believe that I have ever shown a photo of the 'Crocus Rose' on my blog. The reason might be, that I almost lost this rose last summer. It has recovered now and even though the blooms are still tiny, I think it shows the potential to be a truly lovely rose.

'Sweet Chariot' is a trooper that blooms right through the heat of summer. The rose is completely healthy.

I really need to find a spot in the ground for this little chap, since he is outgrowing its container.

The Hybrid Tea rose 'Moonstone' is blooming and blooming and blooming.

The beauty of each flower is remarkable and that is the only reason...

...why I put up with this rose that almost constantly suffers from powdery mildew.

'Belinda's Dream' in the warm evening light...

...and in the cool morning light before the sun has completely risen. Isn't it remarkable how much the color of this rose varies from warm to cool pink at different times of the day?

'Sweetness', another Hybrid Tea rose, that grows in my front yard was surprisingly generous with blooms, considering how hot is has been. Unfortunately some fried in the heat, but here I caught a cluster at the peak of its bloom. 

'Pretty Jessica' is one of the older David Austin roses. I like the cool light pink color quite a bit.

Here is the same rose in a fully open stage. Unfortunately I don't get a good rebloom, but that might be my fault, because the rose is planted in quite a bit of shade and dealing with a lot of root competition from a huge Queen Palm.

The grayish brownish tones in the color of 'Moonlight Scentsation' are very fascinating to me. Also a rose that you don't see too often.

The pink center of 'Pierre de Ronsard' becomes quite saturated in the heat in my garden.

I complained about the muddy, almost dirty color of 'Heritage' in my July Roses post from last month (if you want to see photos of 'Heritage' from then, please click here). The rose may have heard that, because since then its color has changed and has become a more clear apricot pink. I have to say that this "new" color has grown on me and the current blooms are an even lighter pink and prettier in my book.

I am closing this post with a lovely bloom of 'Lavender Crystal'. This rose is truly a gem in the lavender color range. I also really fancy the more informal bloom form.

See you in the garden!


Monday, September 1, 2014

Gardening in the Heat of Summer

I will say it right away, summer is not my favorite time of the year in San Diego. It is way too hot to garden comfortably outside except very early in the mornings and late in the evenings. On the other hand there is so much to do in the garden. At this time of the year I am mainly busy with hand-watering, weeding, deadheading roses, fertilizing and mulching. Unfortunately I hardly find the time to plant anything new.

Most people assume San Diego has a very mild and temperate climate and that is true when you live directly on the coast, but many people, like us, can't afford to buy a house there and are forced to move more inland. With every mile away from the coast temperatures seem to rise and in the summer time you are reminded every day that you are living in a desert. But enough complained, I am happy that I do have a garden and just try to make the best out of it at any given time of the year.

This lovely clay statue was made by a friend and given to us as a house warming present after we bought our first house in Menlo Park, California. I couldn't find a good place to put it for a long time until in the beginning of summer I decided to give it a try in my Hybrid Perpetual rose bed. The roses are casting quite a bit of shade there on the ground, so that the lilac scabiosas, that I had originally planted in this location, didn't grow and gradually declined. I surrounded the statue with impatiens 'Super Elfin White', which seem to be surprisingly happy there and I like how they and the white statue lighten up this area. 

This is hardy geranium, commonly called cranesbill, 'Rozanne'. The plant is non-stop in bloom from spring until up to now and will probably go on until late autumn. It is such a grateful variety.

When I saw this Martha Washington geranium, pelargonium domesticum, 'Regal Elegance Purple Majesty' in spring, I had completely fallen in love with its color and had to have it. At $ 16.99 for a three gallon container it came with a quite steep price tag, but I gave in, because I knew it would complement the David Austin rose 'The Prince', which is growing nearby, perfectly. I thought that Martha Washington geraniums would only flower in spring, but this one keeps going although less profusely and the flowers are smaller than in spring.

This white flowering cyclamen (unknown variety) is gracing our front door. Nothing special about it on the first glance, except that it starts to bloom in the heat of summer. Can you see the little flower bud peeping up? My understanding is the cyclamen are only flowering when the weather has really cooled down in autumn in my area.

I think that the foliage of this cyclamen looks so pretty.

Fungi growing in the mulch. In the summer they can appear from one day to the other. I have read that fungi only grow in healthy soil, so I embrace them as a good sign.

I am gardening in a dry, arid and hot climate, where one would think slugs and snails wouldn't be such a big deal, but let me tell you that is wrong. Even in the heat of summer these little critters are quite a problem in some parts of my garden.

I am so in love with this chartreuse colored coleus 'Wasabi'. I think, the color is just fantastic! It is another of my spring acquisitions that I haven't shown on my blog, yet. I wouldn't expect a coleus to grow well in my climate, but this one does. Besides its obvious beauty, this plant is special to me for an entirely different reason. When my eighty two year old mom, visited me in spring I dragged her to a nursery and she found this plant and pointed it out to me. So whenever I look at the coleus it reminds me of her and our nursery visit, which is really nice. Thanks mom!

Something is wrong in this picture. Do you see the big variegated leaves at the base of rosa 'Chandos Beauty'?

Close-up of the leaves from the photo above. I am not a vegetable gardener, but to me it looks like a vegetable.

Even though the foliage is fairly pretty, it had to go since it is stealing nutrients from the rose. Turning to the vegetable growers of you out there: Do you know what it really is? I am sure the seeds came from our worm bin, which contains kitchen scrapes, when I spreaded the worm castings underneath the rose bush.

Rosa 'Pierre de Ronsard' in severe need of deadheading after its second flush.

Aaaah, so much better already! After a good feeding with Biostart organic rose fertilizer, alfalfa meal topped off with compost...

... it is gearing up for its third flush.

'Pierre de Ronsard' is certainly one of my favorite roses in the garden. The flowers have a beauty that is hard to beat!

In August, seemingly out of nowhere, this plant is arising its snake like head from the ground.

Fairly quickly it begins to open its buds...

...into these lovely blooms.

More and more buds are opening...

...unfolding themselves...

... until finally this beauty emerges. The plant still has made no leaves, yet. It is an amaryllis belladonna and was supposed to be the white flowering variety 'Fred Meyer Whites', but obviously it it not. Anyway, this pink variety is very pretty, too.

Summer is also the time when the agapanthus blooms. This dark blue variety is called 'Storm Cloud'. I have the impression that it is not flowering as profusely as the light blue more common varieties.

These six little plants of geranium x cantabrigiense 'Biokovo' I also bought in spring already and believe me, they have looked better then. 'Biokovo' has light pink almost white flowers and I thought it might be a nice perennial addition for my White Garden Bed. If you squint, you might see two tiny blooms in this picture.

Planted freshly in the ground the geranium is stretching itself already a little bit and seemed to like it better there than in the container.

You almost need a magnifying glass right now to find the geranium 'Biokovo' in this photo. They are planted to the right and left side of the cycads. They are supposed to grow 12 - 18 inch high and 18 - 24 inch wide, so I think that soon they will have more impact. The rose in the middle is 'Moonstone', a white flowering Hybrid Tea rose with a pink center. I hope that the geraniums will complement this rose nicely. 

Even though the roses do struggle in the heat of summer and don't bloom that profusely, occasionally they still can be magnificent like 'The Prince' accompanied by salvia 'Mystic Spires Blue'.

See you in the garden!