Saturday, February 27, 2016

End of Month View February - Front Yard Side Bed

Hard to believe for me that it is already the end of February and it is time again to participate in Helen's (The Patient Gardener) End of Month View meme. Where did this month go? I was very busy in the garden this February and yet it doesn't show much in the comparison between this month photo of the Front Yard Side Bed, the area of my garden that I have chosen for this meme, and last month photo. The reason for that is that in February my main effort is to fertilize and mulch all the roses in the garden and when that is done to fertilize and mulch all other plants in the yard. There aren't any resources for the time consuming digging to plant something new. That's being said, let's have a look at the progress, that is made in this bed in the last month.  

February 2016

The most visible changes are, that the two roses in this bed have leaved out, that the rest of the lawn to the very left was removed completely and that the bed is mulched, which gives it this nice dark look that you expect from fresh good soil. What you can't see though, is that the whole bed is fertilized, which helped the roses and the alstroemeria in the middle of the bed to gain momentum and grow vigorously and the palms to green up.

 January 2016

Here is the photo from January for a comparison.

But there was more work done that is not so obvious. The whole irrigation system in this bed was checked and sprinklers that didn't work anymore replaced and others adjusted so that the water is distributed over the bed in an optimal way. In the right front corner there is a new sprinkler installed. I started to mulch over the utility lid a little from the sides, but I think I can cover it up more to the first "real" lid. The problem is though, how to keep the mulch in place. I am thinking of trying to place bender board into the slid between the outer rim and the first inner lid and see if that could work.

One thing that makes me really happy is the sight of this rose, 'Charles Darwin'. Last month I wasn't even sure if it would survive, but now it has leaved out nicely and there is no question that it will make it. It is a truly beautiful soft yellow rose with very full and luxurious flowers. I can't wait to see it blooming in my front yard for the first time. 

The Front Yard Side Bed shown from another perspective. 

Even though not so obvious in the overview photos the alstroemeria 'Little Miss Sophie' has bulked up nicely. Unfortunately it hasn't started to bloom yet, like my other variety in the back yard. It would bring some much needed color to this bed!

Rosa 'Our Lady of Guadalupe' is a mature rose that has made the most progress in comparison to the other two plants within the last month. Since it is so established it is growing like gangbusters. It is also a very early bloomer...

...and, zooming in with the camera, you can see that it is already setting buds!

This is the area where there was still lawn last month. We are completely lawn free in our front yard now. I actually like lawn, but grass is simply not climate appropriate in our area anymore, since the climate change is to dramatic and we are in a four year drought. The other thing is that in this bed the lawn always looked out of place since my neighbor took his lawn out and replaced it with a drought tolerant landscape. My remaining strip of grass was simply too small to have a pleasing impact, which made it easier for me to let it go.

Here you see the area, where the lawn was removed from a different angle. Now the question is what to plant there. I am not decided yet, but I have given up the idea of planting one more rose to the left side of the palms also because of our drought. I am now contemplating to plant some bluish agaves around the palms, which hopefully also can keep up better with the palm root competition than a rose ever could.

My plan continues to remove the alstroemeria completely and to plant altogether three roses in this bed. I would like to place the rose nearest to the street closer to the utility lid than 'Our Lady of Guadalupe is in the moment, so that ideally it would drape elegantly over the lid and cover it partly to make it less of an eyesore. For that reason 'Our Lady of Guadalupe' needs to be either lifted and moved forward or be replaced by another variety. I have not made up my mind, yet. Stay tuned, next month most likely the decision will be made. Another thing I need to ponder is which rose variety to plant in the middle of the bed and in case I remove 'Our Lady of Guadalupe' with which rose variety to replace it. I have plenty of roses in my pot ghetto, so I have definitively enough roses to choose from. Rosa 'Charles Darwin' will stay where it is (rose closest to the palms), since it was planted in December last year already in foresight of the make over of this bed.

Do check out Helen's post about her End of the Month View and also visit the other participants of this meme (you find the links to their blogs under the comments tab of Helen's post). Many of these garden transformations are very inspiring to watch.

Wishing everyone a lovely Sunday. I will certainly be out in the yard tomorrow and enjoy myself to the max!

See you in the garden!


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Sunday, February 21, 2016

Green Cymbidium Orchids And a Vintage Creamer

My green cymbidium orchids, variety unkown, are in full bloom and I enjoyed cutting two flower stalks for the house lately and would like to share them with you. We had a strong storm recently and even though the flower stalks with buds where already fully build out then, there is hardly any damage to the orchids, which seems like a miracle to me.

I just love the light green color of the orchid blooms, which says spring to me in a subtle way. I put the orchids in a vintage apothecary glass jar, which is a present from a dear friend in Germany many years ago and is my favorite vase to display cymbidium orchids in. But the glass jar alone looked a little bit too sleek and modern to me, so I decided to place a vintage creamer to its side, which gives it immediately a more romantic look that fitted my mood of the day.

The flower stalks of the cymbidium orchids are so densely packed with blooms. 

And each flower is a little piece of art in itself. 

I love the little creamer, which keeps the orchids company. I bought it in an antique store in Georgetown, Texas on our trip there in July last year. The delicate pale blue, green and brown floral decor is so charming. The china is very thin, it is almost see-through, if you hold it up against the sunlight.

The creamer is marked and it says S&S Carlsbad, Austria. And there are also some numbers handwritten underneath the stamp in gold and the brown color the floral decor is painted with. I just did a quick internet search, but couldn't find any accurate information to determine the age of the creamer. My best guess is, that it is made around 1900. If you know something about it, I would be happy if you would share it in your comment with me.

I am not a serious collector, but I admit that I have a weakness for vintage and antique china. Maybe I show you some more of my pieces here on my blog in the future.

I really had fun photographic the orchids indoors, but was also very challenged, since I rarely do indoor photography. It is a totally different ball game in comparison to outdoor photography and requires much more precision and technical photography knowledge.

Just a few more pictures...

Hope you liked my photos! I feel inspired to go out into the garden more often and pick something for a vase to bring indoors. The rose season is not far away here anymore and there definitively will be a rose or two to fill a vase...

Wishing everyone a wonderful week.

See you in the garden!


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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Skylar, the Doberman: The Big Shake

All dogs love to shake their body from time to time, especially when they are wet to get the water out of their coat. Skylar, our red Doberman Pinscher, is no exception. My husband recorded one of his shakes after Skylar had played in the water at the beach. There is a lot going on! Please click on the video to see it in slow motion.

Hope you enjoyed watching the video as much as Skylar seems to enjoy his shake!

Wherever you are I hope that the winter is not too hard on you. Here in Southern California we are having a heat wave caused by Santa Ana winds and temperatures are supposed to rise up to 89 degrees Fahrenheit/32 degrees Celsius today! Really unbelievable even for San Diego!


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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

January Roses

May I present to you the first new rose bud of the year 2016? It belongs to rosa 'Bewitched' an older, tried-and-true Hybrid Tea rose, bred by Lammerts (United States 1967). The photo below was taken on January, the 31st in between rain showers. When I say new rose bud, I mean it comes from a rose that is planted into the ground and has been pruned this winter and is not part of a rose that is flowering through the winter season here, but that has not been pruned by January. Still I am cheating a little bit, since this rose was planted into the ground in October and has only been slightly shaped at that time.

I had hoped that the flower of 'Bewitched' would be fully open by the end of last month, but that obviously didn't happen. In any case it started the new rose season in my garden and is a promise of many lovely rosy things to come.

Just on a side note: Boy, did we have a storm on Sunday. I think it was the strongest storm that I have ever experienced, since I am living in California and with winds estimated to be 30 mph and gusts up to 50 mph, it was really not fun. From some roses the leaves seem to be ripped of, but other than that there was surprisingly little damage in my garden, for which I am extremely thankful. The storm also brought some rain with it, I guess in my garden an inch or so came down, which is such a blessing.

The photo above shows the bud of rosa 'Bewitched' again one day before the opening photo of this post was taken. 

But besides some exceptions like 'Bewitched', this January most of my roses looked like rosa 'Pierre de Ronsard' above. Deleaved and pruned they are just a shadow of themselves in comparison to spring.

Rosa 'Old Fashioned Girl' is a rose that would keep flowering through the winter, if I let it. It is growing in a very protected location and had a full nice flush in January. Too bad that I didn't take a full bush shot at that time.

'Old Fashioned Girl' again, showing proliferation. Even though considered a fault in a rose bloom I think there is some beauty to a bloom like this, too.

Most of the roses that weren't pruned in January, yet, had pretty unsightly foliage and just looked tired, like the two 'Our Lady of Guadalupe' roses on the photo above. They continued to flower, but were really not a joy for the eye, so it was definitively time for them to get a hair cut.

Rosa 'Iceberg'. Love the red tint on the petals that occurs when temperatures are relatively low. 

Here is an image of the full bush of 'Iceberg', growing happily since years in a big container. 

My other rosa 'Pierre de Ronsard'.

Rosa 'Moonstone' had many lovely, huge, globular flowers in January,...

...but my joy about the flowers is really spoiled by the rust that plagues this rose. Can you see the rust on the back of the leave situated directly above the rose bloom? I am seriously thinking about replacing this rose with a healthier white one, maybe another 'Pope John Paul II' or I can also imagine to try out 'Sugar Moon'.

That is how my Hybrid Perpetual rose bed appeared in January, after the roses were deleaved, but not pruned yet. I have taken them down more by at least a foot or so, after the photo was taken.

Rosa 'Souvenir de la Malmaison' was the second rose carrying a new bud already in January. I love how the water drop is trapped in the tips of the sepals of the rose bud and almost acts like a magnifying glass.

Here is the rose bush to which the bud from the previous photo belongs too. Rosa 'Souvenir de la Malmaison' is one of my new acquisitions that I got delivered in the beginning of January from Chamblee's Rose Nursery. Of course, it is a fairly small plant still, but it is making plenty of new leaves already. I am very excited about this rose, since I ordered a band of this variety many years ago, but it died within weeks. Many consider 'Souvenir de la Malmaison' to be an exquisite rose and I hope to enjoy her first open flower soon. Of course, I will try to fetch a photo for you to see, too!

Today I picked up the organic fertilizer that I ordered over the San Diego Rose Society and I am looking forward to feeding the good stuff to my roses as soon as possible. Honestly I can't wait for the spring flush. In about eight weeks from now on it should start.

Wishing everyone a good rest of the week!

See you in the garden!


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