Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Being in Love With Stock And More...

Last year almost accidentally I stumbled over a few little containers of old fashioned matthiola, better known under the common name stock, at a big box store and brought them home with me. Somehow these plants weren't on my radar before, but that really changed once they were planted in the garden. I fell in love not only with all the available colors and bloom forms (there are single ones and filled varieties available) but in addition to that with their fragrance which is absolutely divine.

This year I couldn't wait for the stock to come back into the nurseries and as soon as they were available I secured my share. Contrary to last year this time I potted all my stock up in containers to be able to move them around in the garden and just plop a container down wherever I needed a little bit of spring color.

I placed one container close to our front door and sometimes when the conditions are right (means there is enough humidity in the air) and I pass by I get a wonderful whiff of the delicious perfume of these plants.

In general, I love pastel muted colors and this very pale apricot hue is one of my favorites colors that stock is available in.

But this post is not just about stock. I also would like to catch you up on the happenings in my garden over the last few weeks and show you some photos.

One cool morning in February I found the peppermint geranium leaves covered with natural dewdrops. Don't they look like they have gotten a dusting of powder sugar? These leaves also release a wonderful and fairly strong peppermint scent when rubbed between fingers.

I use them often as a filler green for single roses in bud vases. The velvetiness of these leaves goes very well with the beauty of a single rose.

Talking about roses, mine certainly enjoyed all the winter rains that we were having and sometimes their leaves looked like clothed in diamonds after the rains had ceased and the sun came out.

Do you remember my excitement when I found the first self-seedling of one of my hardy geraniums (see the post here)? Well, my enthusiasm has gotten quite a damper. The plant grew like crazy, but only produced insignificant tiny flowers that you had to almost search for with a magnifying glass. Well, by now it is ripped out and found its way into the compost bin. I guess this is why we need professional plant breeders...

One storm tore so much at my Queen Palms that it ripped off a whole palm frond, which landed on the backyard lawn. These fronds are huge! I put a regular size garden chair at the end of the frond so that you get a better idea of its size.

Back to the front yard and the stock. This container is beautifying a column of our decorative wall, which is the very first thing that you see when you walk up to our front door. I really like the dark blue of the container together with the different colors of the stock.

This year I didn't buy any pansies or violas because our last winters were so mild and then we had heat waves very early in the year, they did seem to last only for the blink of an eye. So this year as a substitute stock is bringing the first spring color into my garden.

Here is a photo of the walkway to our front door. In the very front is rosa 'Our Lady of Guadalupe' which became less and less vigorous over the years. I pruned the rose hard to see if it would rejuvenate, but unfortunately, it didn't and was not able to produce any basal shoots again.

I also pruned my Verbena Bonariensis back quite severely and with this plant, it worked. It came back nice and strong and I am so much looking forward to seeing it in bloom again. It is only its second year in my garden (I bought it in late summer last year) and therefore I don't know when it will start to bloom.

Two commentators on my blog said that Verbena Bonariensis will reseed freely. Well, that is not the case in my garden (hardly anything reseeds here and I blame the strong root competition between the seedling roots and the always present palm roots, but, oh wonder, two little seedlings of Verbena Bonariensis made it.

At least that is what I think these little guys are. I will dig them up and see if I can grow them on to more vigorous plants in containers first and then transplant them back to other areas of the garden. I loved the two Verbena Bonariensis plants last year in my garden and would like to have more of them.

Another plant that is doing well this year is the daylily 'Gentle Shepherd'. The fans have nicely multiplied in this plant but I have to say I have a second one which has only made it to grow from two fans up to three.

Walking towards our front door you can see that all roses are pruned and I am done with the spring clean-up waiting for the garden to explode into new growth.

I would love for this part around the cycad to be underplanted a bit more and hope that I will get to it this spring. I will move the small pelargonium located on the right side of the cycad, right in front of the blue container to another part of the front yard and I am contemplating to plant a blue flowering ajuga there instead, which has done very well in my backyard.

Some more shots of the stock. This pale lilac variety is also one of my favorite colors.

We really had torrential rains at times here in the last couple of weeks, but altogether the stock flowers held up to it surprisingly well. Only the white ones showed some browning of the flower petals. I find that white flowers, in general, react always the most sensitive to rain.

Here we are looking at my relatively newly planted bed to the right side of the house. The rose in the front is 'Cymbaline' an older rose bred by David Austin. It was planted in August of last year, meaning in the heat of summer and I am so happy that it survived. Especially since I lost the 'Crocus Rose' here that I planted prior to 'Cymbaline'.

Rosa 'Cymbaline' is happily leaving out and the best is that it is even producing basal shoots from the base of the bush.

This is one of my two 'Climbing Iceberg' roses in the front yard by the garage. It is a joy for me to see how vigorous it is leaving out this year. 

I will end this post with three more photos of the stock. The magenta tone is also very nice.

Close-up of a newly developing flower spike of a soft apricot colored stock. 

I have read somewhere that stock doesn't like the heat so much so we will see how mine will last since we are just having our first heat wave right now with temperatures of 82 degrees Fahrenheit/28 degrees Celsius today. But from tomorrow on it shall slowly cool down again, reaching 71 degrees Fahrenheit/22 degrees Celsius by Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday we are even promised a little bit of rain again. 

Even though my stock was reasonably priced buying annuals gets expensive. I wonder if stock could be sown successfully directly onto the ground, which I would be very tempted to do if there is a chance that it could work. I know I don't have the patience or space to grow it on in containers, but if it would be possible to sow it directly on the ground I might give it a try next year. 

How about you, are you also a fan of stock? Or is it not your favorite. Does anyone of you my dear readers have experience with growing stock from seeds? Especially with sowing it directly onto the ground? I would appreciate if you would share your experience.

Wishing everyone a nice rest of the week I hope wherever you live spring has reached you by now or is only an arm's length away. 

See you in the garden!

Warm regards, 


I am linking up to
French Country Cottage - Feathered Nest Friday
Rattlebridge Farm - Foodie Friday and Everything Else
How Sweet The Sound - "Anything Goes" Pink Saturday
One More Time - Share It One More Time
My Soulful Home - Sundays at Home
Angie The Freckled Rose - Dishing It & Digging It
botanic bleu - Monday Social
Dwellings - The Heart of Your Home - Amaze Me Monday
Between Naps On The Porch - Metamorphosis Monday 
Cedar Hill Farmhouse - The Scoop
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A Southern Daydreamer - Outdoor Wednesday
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Coastal Charm - Show And Share
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  1. I grew Stock from seed one year--it was very successful, so give it a try. I sowed the seeds in fall I think and had flowers most of the winter. The fragrance is wonderful, isn't it? Makes up for a lack of roses just as the roses are all cut back. We must have our fragrance fix, right?

    I grew 'Cymbaline' for a while--a very pretty rose. Where ever did you find it?

    1. Hoover Boo, thanks for answering to my question about sowing stock. Your experience sounds very encouraging, so I will check out were I can get the seeds. And yes, I am a fragrance junkie as well :-)!
      I bought my 'Cymbaline' at Vintage Gardens right before they closed their gates forever :-(. The blooms it produced last autumn since it was planted in the ground were quite stunning. The flower shape is exquisite and the color was absolutely unique.

  2. Están preciosos. Los alhelí, a mí se me dan muy bien, los tengo de flor sencilla y doble tengo cientos de plantas que nacieron solas por el jardín. Creo que también crecerían bien en tu jardín. Besitos ya nos contaras.

  3. I'd never thought about stocks either but must admit the colours make a lovely combination in a container.

  4. I've never tried growing stock from seed but I usually buy the plants as plugs in 6-packs, which reduces the coast. I may have previously complained to you about the difficulty finding the taller stock in garden centers - surprisingly, I recently found 6-packs of that species and planted one out in my cutting garden. However, with temperatures soaring here too, I'm concerned they may not have time to fulfill their promise - we'll see!

    1. Kris, unfortunately I don't have the best experience with buying plugs in 6-packs. The plants are tiny and their root balls are even tinier and when I plant them I often loose them because they can be so easily over- or under-watered. With our hot springs that is really an issue for me and I wonder how you manage to keep those little babies alive.
      I am so glad you found the taller species of stock and can't wait to see on your blog what they look like! Hope they will make it despite our warmer temperatures into fully bloom strong plants.

  5. Liebe Christina, vielen Dank für die tollen Garteneinblicke :) Schade, dass Du heuer auf Hornveilchen verzichten musst. Ich habe gerade welche gepflanzt, dass hier jetzt zu schnell warm wird, bezweifle ich eher. Am Wochenende kommt schon wieder eine Kaltfront.

    lg kathrin

  6. Dear Christina,
    I really like your stock. The pastel colours look lovely! I saw stock in garden centres before, but have never had this plant in my own garden. I wonder for how long it will bloom. Will it produce new flowers during summer? I also think that annuals can be quite expensive, considering that you will only have them for one season.
    Everything looks very nice and tidy in your garden. That must have been a lot of work. I am especially looking forward to seeing your roses bloom in spring. Do you actually know how many roses you have in your garden? Do you ever count them?
    Best wishes,

    1. Lisa, I believe that the stock will only bloom as long as temperatures are reasonably low, once the heat really sets in here in San Diego I expect the blooms to cease.
      It is funny but at this point I honestly don't know how many roses I do have growing in my garden. Maybe I should count them make an inventory list...
      It is actually very heartwarming for me that you take such an interest in my garden! Hopefully the spring rose flush won't disappoint this year. I have to confess that I still haven't fertilized them all, which is unheard of, but I simply couldn't make the time so far :-(.

    2. Dear Christina,
      well, at least you can enjoy your stock for now. I wondered if stock would reproduce blooms during summer in my garden and looked for information online. Unfortunately, also in my climate it is said to bloom for a maximum of two months. I guess it would be really great to have a rose inventory list. I counted my roses in the past, but last year I lost track on how many I have.
      It is lovely to share gardening experiences, seeing what beautiful plants other gardeners got! In a british gardening series I once heard the sentence "Gardens are for sharing", which I think is totally true. I also love it when my neighbors ask me about my garden or tell me that they love to smell the roses from my garden when they are sitting on their balcony. I am sure the spring rose flush in your garden won´t disappoint! Especially since you finally had rain after all these years of drought, I am positive they will thrive! Regarding fertilising, I don´t think it will make such a difference whether you fertilise them right now or some weeks later. I started fertilising my roses, but I am not yet through with all the roses. I planted many bare root roses in October last year and they haven´t yet spread as many shoots as the rest of the roses. So I thought I might wait a bit with fertilising them. I am in general excited how the bare rooted roses will do (whether it will take longer for them to establish) as I have never planted bare root roses before, only container roses.
      Best wishes,

  7. I grow matthiola incana from seeds. I sow them just direct in the ground. Just sprinckle and do not think about them. They like sunny and dry. But I don't know as sunny and dry as in your garden christina! I have the white one, they are fantastic together with my tulips. Groetjes Hetty

    1. Hetty, sounds like stock is an easy plant to grow from seeds for you. Since white is my favorite color, I would love to grow the white variety as well. I can imagine that they look great with tulips. I can picture them together with soft yellow tulips...
      I am curious with what tulip varieties you pair them up and hope you will post photos this spring!

  8. I love you stocks. They are wonderful scented. And about the DA roses everybody is so happy with. I tried many of them in my garden and not with succes. I thought it had to do with our cold climat. But the few flowers this roses are bringing are beautiful. I am also not succesfull with the teahybrids. Canes die and many of the roses ending up on one cane. I think the historical roses are the best to grow with the climat we have in Holland. The only thing is they don't repeat flowering. But I hope my other plants give flowers in summertime.
    Have a wonderful day Christina.
    Rosehugs Marijke.

  9. I've not heard of stock flowers before. They are surely beautiful! I love how you added a few vibrant ones to the pale pastels. Very nice!

  10. I've never grown stock before, but see them in the seed catalogs. I have never seen them for sale here in WA state - perhaps it is too cool for them here. They really are lovely. Thank you for your kind condolences on the loss of our pup. Hope you have a lovely weekend out in the garden. xx Karen

  11. Liebe Christina,
    bei uns legt der Frühling gerade eine Pause ein. Aber ich freue mich jetzt schon, wenn es auch bei mir wieder so schön blüht wie bei dir.
    Ich kann es verstehen,dass du in allen Farben verliebt bist. Ich könnte mich auch nicht entscheiden. Sie erinnern mich an die Stoffkreationen von Rachel Aswhell. So schön.
    Hab noch einen gemütlichen Sonntag, meine Liebe.
    Ganz liebe Grüße,deine Manuela

  12. Das sind aber sehr schöne Farben, herrlich! Da hat es dir die Palme umgelegt, sehr ärgerlich. Hier regnet es seit gestern unentwegt, wir haben jetzt genug Wasser. Hoffentlich hört es bald auf, aber haben wir Regen, wollen wir Sonne, immer das Gleiche!


  13. Thanks for the garden tour / update. I'm busy in my garden getting it back in shape after three severe winter freezes.
    I've never grown stock, but I often buy it as fresh cut flowers. Love the fragrance, but I've found that a vase of stock can quickly give off unpleasant odors if the water and stems aren't kept clean.
    My grandmother always grew stock in her garden, and I can assure you it must have been from seeds. Good luck and happy gardening.

  14. Stock is so beautiful! I have ever tried growing Stock by seed, but I was fail. I should try more.

  15. Hi Christina!
    It took me a while to figure out what plant this is. But now I know.
    It is beautiful, I have not tried it, but I sure will.
    Matthiola Incana in latin, and Lövkoja in Swedish. My mother used to have it in her garden. We got a little wet snow today, but soon we will have spring, I hope.
    Have a nice day /Marika

  16. Good afternoon Christina, stocks are such a pretty plant with a beautiful perfume. My Uncle Ted always grew stocks from seed and planted them in the garden when the warmer weather arrived here in England. I am afraid I cannot give you advice because your climate is much warmer than mine, but I can see you have received lots of advice from your friends.
    I think stocks went out of fashion with the younger generation, but as with gladioli, I do hope they begin to appear in gardens once again.
    Best Wishes


    Was stopping by at Susan's Tablescapes Tuesday and saw your blog love for Stock. :-) It is possibly my favorite flower because of that spicy clove scent. Heavenly. Camellia's come in second------>

    I am starting stock from seed as well this spring ( Michigan ) so hope that we both have success.

  18. Christina, Your garden is gorgeous. I love the stock. They have everything -- beautiful looks and a great scent!

  19. Beautiful Spring time photos of your lovely garden ~ thanks, Still very cold in MA ~

    Wishing you a Happy Week ~ ^_^

  20. I found Stock about ten years or so ago and fell head over heels in love! The scent is fabulous and I love the blooms as well. They are hard to find here so I rarely plant them. They don't last long and don't come back. Still, if I run across them I have to buy some. Yes, they don't like the heat. They are usually used in planters as spring plants here. I have been spending lots of time in the garden lately. I've pruned half of our roses and hope to get to the other half soon. Thanks for sharing with SYC.

  21. I can only get stock when I buy mixed garden seeds but I do keep a look out for them. Your garden looks like a wonderful place to sit and take in the views :)

  22. Your garden looks fabulous. It reminds me to get out and start working in some of our beds. Our weather has been quite lovely, so it's a good time to get started. I have never grown stock. I will look into it more. Thanks for sharing at DI&DI.

  23. Schade, liebe Christine,
    mit der Palme. Aber sowas ist immer ärgerlich und traurig.
    aber die Blumen sind herrlich und so zauberhafte Farben :-)
    Liebe Grüße
    sendet dir Urte