Saturday, August 6, 2016

And What About My Own Garden?

Because of the three rescue Doberman puppies (if you have missed the two posts about them and would like to take a look, please click here and here) that we took in on April 24th, my garden was greatly neglected from that day on. But even though I love my garden dogs come before plants in our house, so I have made my peace with that.

The one puppy from the litter that we adopted, still keeps me very busy, since at that young age they need a lot of time and attention, but slowly I am starting to work in the garden, again. It feels like I have to care for each plant individually and nurture it back to health and beauty. That we are in the middle of the summer, which is very hot here, is also not exactly helping.

But each time I am out in the garden doing a little something I feel happiness welling up in my heart. It is so wonderful to be able to get my hands dirty, again! Here are some photos from my garden taken in July.

The plant that is my absolute favorite this summer, besides the roses of course, is 'Verbena bonariensis'. I tried to shoot a close-up of the delicate flowers in the photo above.

Even though I see this plant all the time on blogs now, the first time I consciously noticed it, was at HORTVS, Peter Jankes' garden in Germany that I visited last year. I immediately fell in love and when I was back in California, I tried to source it here.

And I was lucky! I found three plants for a reasonable price at Home Depot. I planted them in front yard, but one died immediately, the second barely escaped death and the third one also struggled to survive. Almost a year later though, one has become a wonderful big plant and the second survivor has grown into a very decent specimen as well.

In the photo above you see 'Verbena bonariensis' right behind the Pygmy Date Palm in the middle of the picture. It is about six feet tall, a very light and airy plant. It blooms for a very long time, attracts plenty of bees and other pollinators.

It doesn't take up much space itself, but adds needed height to my very small front yard. It mixes nicely with other plants and weaves through them, without casting too much shade or taking up too much room. Once it is established it has proven itself to be a wonderful addition to my garden and I intend to get more plants of it. The difficulty for me has been to get it going. But the moment the plant had accomplished that, it has been a pure delight. I simply love, love, love this plant!

'Verbena Bonariensis' has been a real challenge to photograph for me and my images don't do it justice, but trust me it is a very beautiful plant!

Another plant that surprised me positively this summer is stachys monieri 'Hummelo'. The leaves have a wonderful, fresh, light green color, that is so well received by the soul in the heat and drought that we have here during the summer months. I have three plants and non of them has bloomed, yet though. I wonder if this will still come?

My roses are all in desperate need of fertilizer. Roses are heavy feeders and without regular food they are just not able to bloom well in my garden. I started my second serving of fertilizer with 'Bewitched', which obviously doesn't look that great right now, but has given me already the most beautiful cut flowers. I featured two blooms that I brought indoors recently in a post, if you are curious what they looked like, just click on the link.

I enthusiastically bought the dahlia 'Thomas Edison', I believe in early spring, but never got around to plant it. Recently when I searched the garage for it to throw it away, because I thought the tubers were dead, I was very surprised that they had sprouted at least three green tips, which looked pretty much alive.

Even though July is totally the wrong time to plant a dahlia, I thought that they deserve a chance to survive and decided to pot them up. When I unpacked the tubers they looked like this.

I potted them up in five gallon containers and just watered them lightly in. I had read that you should be very easy on the water until the dahlias have started to actively grow, because otherwise the tubers will rot.

'Thomas Edison' looks like a very beautiful dahlia. Is someone of you growing this particular dahlia? Is it as pretty as the photo indicates? And, do you think I have any chance to see some flowers this year even though I potted it up so late?

My reliable salvia 'Mystics Spires Blue' dazzles me like each year with its wonderful blue color. Bees appreciate it very much, too.

Even though a lot of other plants have shut down, because of the summer heat, most of my roses are continuing to bloom and add lots of color to the garden. One more reason why I love them so much! Here you see an unfolding bloom of 'The Prince', a David Austin rose with an incredible strong and pleasant fragrance.

This is what the bloom looked like when fully open.

'The Prince' had a nice flush in July. In the background of the rose you see the former mentioned second specimen of 'Verbena bonariensis'.

I love this shot of 'The Prince'!

But unfortunately I am not the only one who likes this rose. This huge grasshopper munches on its rose petals. Aaargh...

It was really a humongous insect and even though it has a right to live too, I am not a fan!

I hope that I will find the time to blog more regularly in the future. I really do miss it! Unfortunately I also don't get around as much to read all my favorite blogs and leave comments. Please bare with me, things will get better as the puppy grows...

See you in the garden!



  1. Oh, that Salvia photo with the bee is wonderful! Understandable that the dogs come first, and also understandable that you really need that soil "fix" after being away from it for a while! I don't have V. bonariensis in my garden, but I've noticed that wherever I see it, there are almost always butterflies, bees, and other pollinators visiting. :)

    1. Beth, credit to the salvia photo with the bee goes to my husband! He is really good at macro photography.
      In my garden it is the same, you won't see 'Verbena bonariensis' without a pollinator, which makes it so valuable besides its beauty! Why don't you give this plant a try in your lovely garden as well?

  2. I'm glad to see you're back in the garden, Christina! I like Verbena bonariensis too but it didn't do especially well for me the first time I tried it so I haven't picked up any more, although I came very close to doing so just a day ago. Perhaps I'll try again. I tend to clean up my garden a bit too quickly and don't give plants time to self-seed. Best wishes with the dahlia!

    1. Kris, how interesting to read that the Verbena bonariensis didn't do so well for you either. Maybe it is simply hard to get started in our hot and dry climate. Sounds like you saw Verbena bonariensis in the nurseries, recently. I tried to find them in spring to avoid to plant them in the heat of summer again, but no luck. Hopefully they carry them in our nurseries here too now, so that I can source one in the next couple of days to replace the one that died on me.

  3. When I see your first photo's full of sunshine I get a little bit jealouse (lol). It brings me a holiday feeling. I know what it is to raise a puppy and I have only one. I hope your puppy's are doing very, very well! It's great to see your can spent a little time in your garden now.
    Rosehugs and warm wishes from Holland

  4. Aunque tus tres cachorros te tienen ocupado debo decirte que sigues teniendo unas flores maravillosas y debo felicitarte por ello. Feliz domingo. Un saludo desde Plantukis

  5. Your summer season is so long, you might be lucky with the dahlia. I left a tuber I'd dug up in the shed over winter and then promptly forgot about it. I didn't find it again until late Spring and like yours it did have shoots. It grew amazingly quickly once potted up and rewarded me with flower buds. With much excitement I put it back out in the border where.. the slugs demolished the lot.

  6. So good to read your post! Puppies do take a lot of attention and training in the beginning.

    I love your verbena and your roses are lovely as usual.

    I hope you will get some much needed rain soon. We finally did here, last evening when a thunderstorm moved overhead and gave us a good soaking. I'm hoping I've not lost one of my favorite roses. I saw her yesterday morning and her leaves were all dry and brown. I guess I've not watered her deeply enough. I cut off the top section of stems and gave her a good soaking and then she got the rain. I've had this rose maybe 20 years a I love her. I had taken a cutting of her recently and am still watching to see if it roots. I hope my main bush revives and hope the cutting roots for me too. The rose is 'Kathleen' a real little sweetie with a delicate scent and a single rose that blooms in clusters.

    Have a lovely Sunday ~ FlowerLady

  7. Beautiful photos of rose 'The Prince'. I had this one in my garden too, but it was not a healthy plant and did not survive. Verbena bonariensis is just great, you can have lots of them they are weaving among other plants and show beautiful. Be careful with the plants you have, they selfseed profusely, so that you can have next year more of them.
    Hugs to your Dobs!

  8. Liebe Christina,
    auf deinen schönen Fotos kann ich die Hitze direkt spüren, die bei euch herrscht. Ich bin ganz begeistert von deiner David Austin Rose. Die Farbe hat es mir angetan...prächtig und wie es aussieht, duftet sie nicht nur verführerisch,nein sie muss auch köstlich schmecken.
    Ich hoffe, den welpen geht es gut und sie entwickeln sich weiterhin unter deiner Pflege hervorragend.
    Noch einen schönen Sonntagabend und alles Liebe,

  9. I love Verbena bonariensis too, but had difficulty establishing it at first. However, once it has a foothold it is well away and happily spreads its seeds around the garden. I once saw a little cottage with nothing at all in the front garden apart Verbena bonariensis and a little path cutting through the middle of the flowers. It looked stunning, as if the cottage was sitting in a purple hazy mist.

  10. Me alegra verte. Tu jardín se ve precioso, sobre todo tus rosas. Saludos.

  11. I confess I abhor big grasshoppers. Little green ones don't bother me, but the big ones give me the creeps! I would have a fit if I saw one eating my rose! I am impressed that your roses are doing so well in the heat, as well as the stachys monieri 'Hummelo', which looks like it has just put out a flush of fresh spring growth. I suspect it will bloom once the heat lets up. I also love the 'Verbena bonariensis' with its graceful, airy flowers.

  12. Guten Morgen, ich dachte gerade, wenn bei dir dies und das nicht wachsen will, dann verbrennen auch die dunkelroten Rosen - und schon zeigst du eine. Dieser Stachys wächst also bei dir, das ist monierii. Dann will der macarantha sicher nicht wachsen, weil er mehr Wasser braucht. Stipa gigantea oder tenuissima müßte doch gehen? Schöne Gräser?
    Jetzt sind wir beide wieder daheim und haben England genossen, können uns auf die eigene Scholle konzentrieren. Deine Hunde muss ich noch nachlesen.


  13. I don't know how many time I've tried to grow dahlias in our tiny garden, but unsuccesful

  14. Hi Christina!
    I love the colour of Thomas Edison, and the beautiful rose. Hope you get to see the dahlia in bloom.
    Have a nice day / Marika

  15. I'm so glad you adopted another dog! I have Hummelo, too, but mine is in my rain garden. What a versatile plant that it can thrive in your drought, too.

  16. Puppies do take lots of time - like all babies do! It doesn't take long for the garden to feel neglected, I know! Love the new verbena - such a pretty plant. always nice to see your beautiful roses, too. I planted a dahlia and also forgot about it and it is almost all eaten away by slugs. I didn't know slugs liked them so much! I even slug-baited. Hope yours blooms for you. xo Karen

  17. I had 'Thomas Edison'--it's a beauty. I think you might get some flowers since our summer extends into October. They like warm soil.

    Your garden looks great despite the time required by Miss Puppy. I hope you are enjoying both!

  18. Very nice garden. Not surprising the flowers are attracting bees. It is good for nature, you only don't want the bees creating a nest right outside your house.