Saturday, February 18, 2017

Busy With Winter Rose Care And More...

Since my last post about my garden from the beginning of January, I have been mainly busy deleaving and pruning all my roses.

Even though my garden is small some of my roses aren't and it is quite an undertaking to accomplish this job each year. The photo above shows rosa 'Pierre de Ronsard' in all her deleaved and pruned architectural glory.

The Pierre is still a little lonely in this bed, but I finally made the decision to plant rosa 'Charles Darwin' to his side. Do you see the big hole to his right lined by white irrigation pipes? That is where Charles will go and I hope these two will flower well and harmonize together

I have rosa 'Charles Darwin' already grown to a decent size. He is the rose in the big container in the middle of the picture. I hope his huge root ball will stand up to the root competition with the Queen Palms and the Strelitzia Nicolais in this bed.

But before he could be transplanted I needed to deleave and prune him, too. What you can't see on the photo is that there was plenty of oxalis, an obnoxious weed here in my neck of the woods, growing in the container as well. Boy, did I stung my fingers bloody to get this nasty stuff out of the container.

I have decided to reduce the number of roses that I grow in containers on our terrace first of all because the roses don't do so well at this location in the increased summer heat in the last couple of years. But secondly they need to be deadheaded absolutely diligently otherwise all the petals are ending up in our pool, which is close by. Because of time reasons I haven't been able to deadhead the roses daily last summer and the pool often became a mess.

On the other side of our kitchen door, which leads to the terrace, is an identical arrangement of containers and plants. My idea is to replace both roses in the biggest containers with either citrus trees or small tropical palms and switch out the miniature roses and boxwoods with herbs. I think it will be nice to have herbs handy for cooking so close to the kitchen.

So with this mind, I decided to repot rosa 'Jilly Jewel', the miniature rose in the foreground to the left, into a black plastic container and put her in the pot ghetto for now until I can decide where to place her in the garden.

Here you see rosa 'Jilly Jewel' pruned and in her new larger container.

When I was at one of the big box stores to buy more compost for the garden they had organic herbs for sale and this Spearmint jumped right into my shopping card. I assume that this will be very easy to grow and I love to pick a few leaves of mint to brew a tea or decorate a desert. 

I could literally see the Spearmint perking up under my eyes the moment it was repotted and watered. 

This is how the combo looked at the end. The fresh green of the mint is so nice but makes the suffering boxwood look even more miserable. I have to find another place for it soon. 

When I was at the big box store I also stumbled over these stock and couldn't leave them behind. Last year I have fallen in love with stock for its beautiful blooms, I especially like the double ones, and wonderful very strong fragrance. These found spots in the front yard which I will show you in my next garden post.

I am also busy like a bee going through all my potted own-root roses, deleaving, pruning, it is often actually more a very gentle shaping, and some get re-potted like these three. I forgot the names of the two to the left but I know the one to the right is rosa 'Charles Rennie Mackintosh'.

Here they got their hair cut and also have been potted up from two-gallon containers into five-gallon containers. 'Charles Rennie Mackintosh' is the one in the middle now.

The view of my White Garden Bed. All rose are deleaved and pruned and some of them have started to leave out again already, even though this is hard to see in the photo.

Each year I have the tradition to order a few more own-root roses in the winter. This time I have ordered for the very first time from David Austin Roses directly. The ones of you who follow my blog know that I am a big lover of roses bred by David Austin but so far I only got his creations from other nurseries.

The box they come in looks pretty nice, don't you think?

After opening the box I was surprised to find a rose only wrapped in a big plastic bag, Nothing to keep the roots moist.

Freeing the rose from the plastic it turns out that it has survived the travel rather well. I ordered 'Princess Alexandra of Kent', a wonderful saturated pink rose with big blooms and a great strong fragrance. I have seen this rose in English Gardens and it simply blew me away. I can only hope that it will do as well in my garden here in Southern California.

But what is that? Do you see the one cane being completely bent and almost looking like a snake? How did this happen?

I decided to cut it off at the bending part and hope that new growth will sprout from it. Wish me luck that the rose will leave out soon. Only then you know if it really survived the transport and transplant.

I am looking forward to receiving three more roses from David Austin this year. Find out which varieties I ordered soon here on the blog. They are also own-root roses, but they come planted in two-quart containers. They will be much smaller than 'Princess Alexandra of Kent' the bare root own-root rose that you see here in the photos.

After all these bare rose canes I would like to leave you with a photo of the refreshing green leaves and lovely white flowers of campanula poscharskyana 'Alba', also called the White Serbian Bellflower. I was very surprised to see it bloom so early in my garden. I wonder if there is a correlation with all the rain that we were getting this winter. 

Hope you are all enjoying a nice weekend!

See you in the garden!

Warm regards,



  1. I can't wait to see your roses in bloom again. It's great to reed you had some rain. A week ago my little garden was covered with snow. I ordered a couple of roses also. I love it that temperatures are 8C now so I can start pruning my roses and feed them.
    Have a wonderful sunday Christina
    Warm regards and rosehugs Marijke.

    1. Marijke, believe me I can't wait for the roses to bloom again either! We really did have a lot of rain for our climate this winter, as a matter of fact it has been raining this weekend again. That has prevented me to be out in the garden and fertilize the roses. It is really high time to get that done.
      Of course, I am really curious to see which roses you ordered, since you always choose fabulous ones. Wishing you that you can get out in the garden and start the rose pruning and fertilizing soon.

  2. Christina, te deseo suerte con las rosas y esperando para verla florecer. Besos.

  3. Bei uns bedecken noch Schneereste den Garten und bei dir spürt man schon förmlich den Frühling.
    Hoffentlich wachsen deine Neuankömmlinge gut an. Ich freue mich jetzt schon auf die künftigen Blütenträume.
    Hab einen schönen Tag.
    Alles Liebe,

    1. Manuela, yes, spring comes early in Southern California, one a the many advantages of living here :-)!
      I check on 'Princess Alexandra of Kent' yesterday and she is leaving out, yay! I am also longing very much for my roses to bloom again, but for a great spring flush I really need to fertilize them well. I am so late this year with that it is not even funny anymore, but you can only do what you can do in the amount of time that you have to devote to gardening.

  4. Dear Christina ~ I have never heard of de-leafing roses. I am bad about pruning, so much so that my roses ended up pretty scraggly looking. Shame on me.

    I look forward to seeing your roses in bloom once again as you have some real beauties growing in your gardens.

    I have several David Austin roses I'd like to get. I have read online good and bad reviews about buying roses directly from them. I do hope yours will thrive for you.

    Have a lovely Sunday and a GREAT week ~ FlowerLady

    1. Lorraine, because of our mild winter temperatures the roses don't go dormant, which means the old and often diseased leaves hang on and on and on to the rose bush. By deleaving you create a fake winter break for the roses and let them have a fresh start, meaning making new leaves, in spring. It just looks so much better and it is a common rose care practice here in Southern California.
      Regarding pruning: Most rose really benefit from pruning, except Tea Roses, which usually only need a light shaping and the removing of the dead wood. Otherwise the bush form is just not as nice as possible and as you said yourself they easily get scraggly. If you are inclined I have two pruning tutorials on my blog, just go to the search function and type in pruning roses and it should come up. Or any good rose care book will give you basic instructions how to do it. Pruning rose isn't really that difficult, but it gives you very rewarding results.

  5. Princess Alexandra of Kent is at the top of my wish list. I have seen it growing here and it looks great. I am thinking about growing roses in containers although with the exception of miniatures, I have never done that.

    1. Phillip, aah, another fan of the Princess :-)! I am glad you saw growing her in Portland and that she looked good, because I only have seen this rose in England. It was incredible beautiful there, but, of course, I am gardening in a totally different climate and I have observed that roses that do well there do not necessarily do well here and vice versa. Portland has a different climate in comparison to ours, but somehow it seems closer to California than England. At least many of the roses that I have seen at the Portland Rose Garden do well in my garden, too.
      As to growing roses in containers, my experience is not that great. Many don't reach their full potential in a container and in the heat of summer watering is a heck of a job here. So I am planting more and more of my roses that are growing in large terracotta container into the ground. But maybe you have more luck in Portland. I definitively would look for varieties, which final size is small and that are better suited for a life in a container.

    2. Here is a photo of the princess that I took at the Portland Rose Garden last year -

    3. Phillip, thanks so much for posting the link to the photo. The Princess looks fantastic! If mine would ever be half as good I would be one lucky rose grower!

  6. You've been busy also, I see. You do a great job on your roses, and a new one--fun! I got one DA, they had some at OSH. Not much of a root system, but...we'll see what happens.

    My experience is that Boxwood do great in pots, but not in Southern California. I think they dislike dry heat.

    1. Hoover Boo, yep, I have been working as much as I could in the garden lately. Getting a few new roses each winter is really one of the garden high lights for me. You are really a teaser, saying that you got a new David Austin rose as well, but not telling which one ;-)! Hope I will find it out on your blog.
      Regarding the boxwoods, yes, they do great in containers in England for sure, but it might be our heat that they can't stand. I wonder if mine will do better in the ground or if they are simply unsuitable for our climate.

  7. Congratulations on your new acquisitions! I look forward to seeing every one of these roses in all their floral glory.

  8. You makes me really want to purchase rose plant soon. Seems so lovely

    1. Go ahead Endah and buy yourself some new roses! I think it is one of the greatest pleasures that we gardeners can give to ourselves.

  9. Dear Christina, I am always surprised you plant the new roses first in a pot. Why not right away in the soil? The roots of the new roses are long, do they fit in the container? Of course you have different weather conditions, I am curious how they will thrive. Groetjes Hetty . The annuals look fantastic!

  10. I never knew that there was a rose named after Charles Darwin. I look forward to seeing it in bloom!

  11. Hi Christina!
    I´m looking forward to see your roses in bloom. Here the rose and garden season seems far away. We got a lot of snow this last night. I woke up to a white garden.
    Best wishes /Marika

  12. How lovely! I love roses, but find they can be a challenge to care for. Thank you for sharing these great tips at Dishing it and Digging it link party.

  13. I miss my roses. Natives and Knock outs used to be so easy to grow in Texas, even with the heat. Recently a disease has killed most of the ones in my area. I'm told there is no point in replacing them, since they will just get it too. Enjoy yours!!

  14. Thanks for visiting and commenting on my blog. Mint goes really well with mushy peas!

  15. Hi Christina. I'm visiting from Pink Saturday. We moved to NC almost 2 years ago and left behind some beautiful roses. We hope to plant some this year. Have you been getting enough rain for your plants?

  16. Rose pruning will have to wait a while for me. Usually the end of March or first part of April. I have a little corner rose garden. A few of them died last year, but I'm hoping they do better this year. They are fairly young. I love Stocks for their beauty and their scent. I like planting a few in pots if I can find them, but they don't last long here. Thanks for sharing with SYC.

  17. It looks like you have been very busy in the garden, Christina. It will be wonderful to see all your hard work pay off when the roses start blooming. I grow lots of mints of different kinds in my mostly shady gardens. I love to pick a leaf every time I walk by. I even found some chocolate mint and it really smells like chocolate! I have been sneaking out to do some garden clean-up whenever we have a sunny day, but the last few days have brought us snow flurries. I am so looking forward to spring! All of your garden plans sound wonderful. Sending hugs xo Karen

  18. Dear Christina,
    I saw rose Princess Alexandra of Kent in a garden centre last year and its indeed very beautiful. I hope it will do well for you!
    Best wishes,