Thursday, January 30, 2014

Mottisfont Abbey - a Rose Lover's Paradise - II

As I don't have many roses blooming in my own garden right now and miss them very much, I feel I could need some winter cheer and decided to continue my series of posts about Mottisfont Abbey. Maybe many of you have the same desire and I hope you enjoy my second installment about this phenomenal rose garden. If you would like to see part I about Mottisfont Abbey Rose Gardens, please click here. The photos in this post are still all from the first walled garden that you enter when you visit the Rose Gardens (Mottisfont Abbey Rose Gardens consists of three separate walled gardens). In this part of the gardens many older David Austin roses, they also go by the name English Roses, are displayed.

When I saw this beauty my heart skipped a beat. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a name tag. I have no clue what variety this could be, but if you, my dear readers, have an idea and want to give it a try to identify it, please leave me a comment. I really would appreciate it!

Here is a close-up of the same rose. I feel the flower form and coloration is irresistible.

By the way, isn't it amazing how one wilted bloom can mess up a photo? Altogether I have to say though, that I was very impressed how well the gardens were taken care of and how meticulously the roses were deadheaded. I always wonder how many gardeners are working at Mottisfont Abbey Rose Gardens.

One last shot of the same rose together with rose friends and perennials taken from a different angle. For me the combinations of roses with each other and perennials at Mottisfont Abbey have never gotten old. Whoever designed the borders has been a true master.

Another rose that just took my breath away. This is an amazing specimen of 'Chianti', a shrub rose, bred by David Austin (United Kingdom, 1965). The color is a rare dark purple, which stands out even more because of the contrast with the yellow stamens. In addition to the intriguing color the rose has a great fragrance. Unfortunately, it is only a once-bloomer.

In Mottisfont Abbey Rose Gardens this rose was combined with a saturated yellow one (see the one yellow flower peeping out in the foreground), which just started to bloom. I am fairly certain that the yellow rose is 'Graham Thomas' also bred by David Austin. I have read that David Austin and Graham Stuart Thomas, the great rosarian, have been friends and that David Austin let Graham Stuart Thomas pick a rose, that he liked best from the ones that David Austin had bred, to be named after him. It always puzzled me that Graham Stuart Thomas, who was a great admirer and devoted advocate of the Old Garden Roses, choose such a bright, clear yellow and therefore almost modern looking rose, since most of the Old Garden Roses have a much more subtle and muted coloration.

In this border you can see the perfect layering of the roses in size from the big climbers in the background, to the moderate sized ones growing on standards in the middle ground, to the smaller ones in the foreground and all are inter-planted with interesting perennials. Even though this bed is not very wide, the effect is one of a full and lush border. In the following photos I will show you the individual roses from this border in close-ups.

The yellow-apricot rose to the outer left is 'Buff Beauty', a Hybrid Musk rose, bred by Bentall (United Kingdom, 1937).

Moving from the left to the right, the next rose grown as a standard is 'Geoff Hamilton', another shrub rose bred by David Austin (United Kingdom, 1997). It comes with a strong fragrance and I love its medium pink globular flowers very much and tried to grow it in my own garden in Southern California with disappointing results. The rose just didn't want to bloom and it is long gone. It is interesting how different the same rose behaves in different climates. 'Geoff Hamilton' seems to like the climate in England very much. I think, it is one of the most beautiful pink roses that David Austin has bred so far.

Close-up of an individual bloom of 'Geoff Hamilton'. How can one not love this rose?

The smaller roses in the front of the border are the 'Cottage Rose', another one of David Austin's creations. It was bred in the United Kingdom before 1991. The delicate, unpretentious, cupped, old-fashioned, pink blooms fit right into any informal cottage garden. At Mottisfont Abbey Rose Gardens it seemed to be a very floriferous rose.

The photo above shows the wall opposite to the one that I just described. I would have loved to take a shot of both walls together, so that you could get a better impression of the design, but they are very closely located to where you enter the Rose Gardens and there were so many people coming and going, that I wasn't able to take a shot without them on the photo.

Anyway, I assume, that the rose to the very right is 'Buff Beauty', again. It would make sense to plant it in this position to achieve symmetry. The dark crimson colored rose further more to the left was another absolutely stunning one. Its name is 'Crimson Glory, Climbing'. In the foreground the yellow rose is most likely 'Graham Thomas' and the dark purple one to the very left is 'Chianti', which I already wrote about.

'Crimson Glory, Climbing' is characterized by an incredible rich, velvety, dark, crimson-red color, very large blooms, and a strong damask fragrance. I regret, that I couldn't capture the color of this rose properly. It is way more deep and saturated in reality than on my photos.

I also like the bloom form very much.

What was interesting is that the label read 'Crimson Glory', 'Beales Form'. It didn't say 'Crimson Glory, Climbing', but judging by the size of the rose, I assume, that it is the climbing version of it. 'Beales Form' indicates probably that this is a clone coming from Peter Beales, another great rosarian and nursery man.

'Crimson Glory', the Hybrid Tea rose, bred by William J. H. Kordes (Germany, 1935) had sported into a climbing form, which is not unusual for roses, and was called 'Crimson Glory, Climbing'. Climbing sports of 'Crimson Glory' were found by Miller Bros (South Africa, 1941), Richardson (country of origin unknown, 1944) and Antonio Naungayan (United States, 1946) and maybe more were discovered, that were not publicly listed. Is the rose growing in Mottisfont Abbey one of the climbing sports that were found and registered and that I named above? Did Peter Beales found another one? It would be nice to know more about the climbing sport of 'Crimson Glory' that is growing in Mottisfont Abbey, especially because it is such an outstanding rose.

I feel that 'Crimson Glory, Climbing' is such a wonderful rose that it is a "must have", if you have the space to grow a climber. I myself think, that I will at least try out the 'Crimson Glory', the Hybrid Tea rose.

This row of light yellow roses grown on simple wooden pillars struck me as the only thing "being off" in Mottisfont Abbey Rose Gardens. The variety is 'The Pilgrim', a beautiful modern shrub rose, bred by David Austin (United Kingdom, 1991). I found the minimalistic, almost modern presentation of this rose very awkward and boring and in a stark contrast to all the other beautiful beds and borders at Mottisfont Abbey Rose Gardens. What makes it even worse is that this is the first impression that you get of the Rose Gardens as you have to walk through this part to reach the main entry. Wired! I wonder what the story is behind this design...

Here is a shot of an individual pillar.

But what I just wrote should by now means diminish the beauty of the rose itself. I feel, that 'The Pilgrim', with its darker yellow center and the light yellow outer petals, is one of the most lovely yellow rose that David Austin has ever bred.

Here is a close-up of a bloom of 'The Pilgrim'. Aren't they just lovely?

I don't know the name of this rose grown as a standard, but it is certainly pretty. I love the combination of it together with the white and blue perennials. I believe, the white one is a penstemon and the blue one is a catmint. It is also a very nice planting idea that would fit in any small garden!

Here is a close-up of the white flowering plant. I just adore it!

This is 'Marguerite Hilling', also called 'Pink Nevada', a Hybrid Moyesii shrub rose, discovered by Thomas Hilling (United Kingdom, before 1959) another striking specimen of a rose. 'Marguerite Hilling' is a sport of 'Nevada', which is presented in the next photo. The white flowering trees make an ideal background that let the rose stand out even more. Usually I am not so much into single roses, but this one makes me wish I would have a bigger garden so that I could plant it. 'Marguerite Hilling' is supposed to bloom in flushes throughout the season.

The lovely white 'Nevada', a repeat flowering Hybrid Moyesii shrub rose, bred by Pedro Dot (Spain, 1927).

The golden-yellow stamens and the yellow center of the blooms of 'Nevada' make a very charming contrast to the otherwise pure white flowers.

Again, I couldn't find a name tag for this rose. I believe it is a Polyantha. It would be good in front of a border and is a rose that also fits into a small garden.

Here is the picture taken of the same bush, but from the other side. I think it is a rather sweet little rose.

The last rose that I would like to feature from the Mottisfont Abbey Rose Gardens in this post is 'A Shropshire Lad', a modern shrub rose, bred by David Austin (United Kingdoem, 1996). The flowers come in a soft peachy pink color. This photo shows a bloom in the early stage...

... and this image another flower of 'A Shropshire Lad' opened to a very full, cupped shaped bloom form. This is one of my all time favorite David Austin roses. I don't grow it yet in my own garden, but I hope that will change in the future.

It was a great pleasure for me to put this post about the Mottisfont Abbey Rose Gardens together and I hope you liked reading it. In the next one in this series we will visit the second walled garden, which contains many Old Garden Roses. Besides lovely roses I will show some very beautiful peonies and other stunning plants that graced the borders.

See you in the garden!


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!


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

December Roses

First of all I would like to wish all of my dear readers a happy, healthy, prosperous, and rosy New Year 2014! Hopefully it will be a good one for the gardens as well!

For me it is a nice thing to start the New Year with talking about roses and I hope you feel the same.

The unusual warm weather that we were having in November continued throughout most of the December as well. As much as I enjoyed the warm and sunny days I am worried about the absence of the winter rains and wonder if they will come at all. The roses, of course, don't know any worries of that kind and many were still blooming beautifully last month, even though others have completely shut down. I guess, it all depends on the genetic disposition of the variety,  how much sun the rose is getting, and if I have watered and fertilized it well.

I was amazed and at the same time very pleased, that I was able to pick the bouquet above for Christmas. It contains 'Pope John Paul II', the white roses, one bloom of 'Yolande d'Aragon', the very filled pink one to the left, and 'Grandmother's Hat', the remaining lighter pink flowers.

All roses used in this bouquet are very fragrant and they are able to perfume a room. It was so enjoyable to have rose fragrance in the house for Christmas.

'Yolande d'Aragon' is one of my favorite Old Garden Roses. I only wish she would flower more often. Basically last year she was a once bloomer in my garden.

I fertilized 'Pope John Paul II' in late October with the intention to coax him into giving me a sumptuous bouquet of white roses on time for Christmas. That didn't work out, though. He didn't have enough blooms on Christmas Eve morning to cut for a full bouquet, but right now he is really pumping out flowers. I can't say enough good things about this rose, except that he isn't compliant to the bloom schedule that I had set up for him.

'Grandmother's Hat' really surprised me by starting to bloom last month, again, and also put me to shame at the same time. I have planted her in a bed without irrigation, so I need to hand water it. It seemed to be the case that with my busy life I neglected this chore the previous months quite a bit, but in late autumn my life slowed down somewhat and I started to water more. Low and behold, this rose pumped out some very lovely winter roses. Note to the gardener: Never plant roses in an area where there is no irrigation, never ever!

Here is the same bouquet photographed from the back. Even though this is a small vase, I think I cut eleven roses for it. I am always astonished how many roses are needed for a bouquet to look full and lush. If I want that effect seven fully open big roses seem to be the absolute minimum. 

Decorating for Christmas didn't stop in the house, but the garden got some embellishment as well. 'Georgetown Tea' is flirting with the giant Christmas ornaments. 

The blooms of 'Georgetown Tea' aren't tiny, but they appear like that when they are close to the ornaments. I found them many years ago at one of the big box stores and they were gathering dust in the garage. I am so glad I got them out for this Christmas, again.

Here is a close-up shot of 'Georgetown Tea' from early December, when it was slightly cooler. The lower temperatures brought out her darker colors. I just love that Tea roses are so changeable. You never get bored with them!

This is 'Madame Alfred Carriere', which I had planted out from a container into the ground last summer. She grew and grew and grew, but no blooms. That was a little disappointing since I remember in December 2012 she was one of my most prolific flowering roses. Just a few days ago she started to produce, again. I can't wait to see what will happen in spring!

'Pierre de Ronsard' was just opening a bloom here and there, but boy, were they gorgeous and big.

This is 'Moonlight Scentsation', a rose with a very lovely subtle coloration. Unfortunately, it blackspots in my garden, which is rare for roses here and I was thinking of getting rid off it for that reason. It is still growing in a container, though, and might be a little stressed by its living conditions. Because of the beautiful color I will probably plant it out into the ground and give it one more chance and see if its health improves.  

Here is another shot of 'Moonlight Scentsation' fully open. I do like the bright yellow stamens a lot.

My 'Climbing Iceberg' rose in the front yard by the garage had decided to produce a full flush of blooms. It mildews a little bit in that location, but who can resist these cheerful blooms?

'Our Lady of Guadalupe', also residing in the front yard, churned out a full flush as well. Unfortunately she has problems with powdery mildew, too. With this rose I have the impression that the susceptibility for powdery mildew has become stronger over the years.

On the other hand 'Old Fashioned Girl', also growing in the front yard in a very trying location, is healthy as one can wish a rose would be. In summer and even in autumn it becomes very hot where I have the rose planted and she stopped blooming for that reason. But now she has started again and seems to enjoy the cooler temperatures.

See you in the garden!