Saturday, February 25, 2017

A Spring Bouquet in Soft Colors

Lately, I found myself longing so much for some spring blooms to bring indoors. My garden doesn't have to offer much right now that would be suitable as a cut flower, so I decided to go for the luxury and buy a little spring bouquet.



I didn't have to search long until I fell in love with this one. It consists only of five flowers and one sprig of filler green but I find it so beautiful and very springy. Exactly what I was looking for! 



I love hydrangeas, especially the white or light green varieties, which are so popular with florists right now. And this big greenish-white beauty fits the bill perfectly. There were some issues with it, though, but I come to that later.



The bright-green small chrysanthemums add a little bit of a pop to the arrangement. Without them, I think all the soft muted colors of the other blooms could be a little bit boring.



Of course, I love this ivory white rose. So elegant!



I had never seen soft yellow stock before and I was so pleased to find out that this color exists in these lovely very fragrant blooms. They are among my favorites in the garden and as cut flowers.



Close-up of the tip of the flower stalk of the stock. Love the tiny, tiny blooms! So sweet!



As I mentioned earlier, there was a little hick-up with the hydrangea bloom. To my great disappointment in the evening of the day I bought the bouquet it had completely wilted. I really thought all was lost and feverishly tried to come up with something that I could do to help it perk up again. 



I decided to remove some of the big green leaves of the hydrangea flower stem (all photos in this post were taken after I had removed the leaves) and put the bouquet outside overnight because of the cooler temperatures than in the house and the humidity.

The next day when I took a look the bloom had rehydrated itself and was completely fine again. So obviously there was too much water evaporating over the leaves so that the flower couldn't take up enough water to sustain itself. In case you are dealing with wilting flowers you might want to try these two little tips as well. I hope it will help you, too.



Here I shot the bouquet more from above. It is astonishing to me how full and lush a small bouquet that consists just five blooms and one sprig of filler green can look. The stems of the blooms were much longer when I bought it, so I think the trick is to cut them really short and put them in a small vase to create this effect. 



The little silver birds that I put close to the vase to complement the arrangement represent the spring for me, too. I think the silver goes very well with the pale and bright green, ivory and soft yellow of the bouquet and emphasize its elegant ambiance. 

By the way, I would like to share with you that I bought this bouquet at Trader Joe's for only $ 5.99. It just shows that you don't have to break the bank to bring some spring atmosphere into your house and enjoy some fresh blooms. The bouquet lasted five days and the filler green is still living on and is now joining a rose that I brought in from my own garden. 

Maybe you would like to consider getting a little spring bouquet for yourself, too, I think it is so well worth it. Nothing can beat fresh and fragrant flowers in the house!  

Thanks for stopping by! Wishing everyone a lovely Sunday!

Christina






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,

Christina




Saturday, February 11, 2017

January Roses

Rose pickings were unusually slim this January and as most gardeners would do I was trying to understand what the causes were for that. One reason was pretty clear: Normally I push the roses still growing in containers to continue to produce blooms throughout the winter by fertilizing very late in the year. I also don't prune them in January, which is the proper winter pruning time for roses here in Southern California. Last year I didn't get around to give the potted roses a late fertilizer application and I paid the price for it since they mostly stopped blooming because of that.

I was very disappointed, baffled and surprised though that 'Georgetown Tea', a Tea Rose and 'Madame Alfred Carriere', a Tea Noisette Rose were not flowering this January. Genetically these roses have the potential to bloom through the winter in our climate and neither of them did this year. That is quite puzzling to me and the only reason I can think of is that they didn't have enough fertilizer either even though these roses I did fertilize in December the last time. I believe that the root competition with the palm trees which are growing nearby is simply too strong and that I didn't put down enough organic fertilizer for them to be able to bloom.

Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed each rose flower that I got from my garden last month and I hope you do vicariously through the photos, too.



My best bloomer was rosa 'Pope John Paul II'. In the winter time because of the cooler temperatures the rose produces light green buds, that later turn into pure white flowers.



I am completely crazy for these light green shades in the bud stage of this rose. I think they look so elegant.



I only have seen this coveted green tint in florist roses, but not in roses that you can grow in your own garden. There is only one exception and that is rosa 'John F. Kennedy', which I had in my previous garden in Menlo Park, California. Unfortunately, it was such a weak and sickly rose that I hardly got any blooms from it and for that reason, I didn't acquire this rose for my new garden in San Diego again. 

If you know of any garden roses that have this green tint in the bud stage or even in an open flower, please share the name of the variety with me. I am more than happy to try it out in my garden.



This bloom is a little further open and you see that it has almost lost the green shimmer on its petals and it is turning into a white rose.



Here is one fully open bloom. 'Pope John Paul II' is a very healthy and floriferous Hybrid Tea rose in my climate. And if this weren't enough he smells heavenly of citrus.



Rosa 'Belinda's Dream' seen from the side.



A bud of rosa 'Bewitched'. I love that the tips of the sepals are red picking up the color of the bud and that they curl down in this noble way. 



The last bloom of rosa 'Auckland Metro' from the winter flush.



A little pale in the face: Rosa 'Mary Rose', a rose bred by the famous English rose breeder David Austin. She is also growing in a container and ran out of food, which I believe contributed to the uncommon very light pink color. 



This is rosa 'Neptune' a mauve, lavender colored Hybrid Tea rose. I have a soft spot for lavender colored roses. To me, they are the real rose divas, not because they are especially difficult to grow, but because this color simply wants to stand out and doesn't blend well with other rose colors except white in my opinion.

I grow many soft pink roses in my garden and think the lavender looks awful together with them. So I guess in the future I have to devote an extra rose bed to the lavender roses only filled with companions that they are willing to tolerate at their side.



'Neptune' had trouble to open properly in the low light intensity conditions in January, a problem which I also have observed in others of my roses. 



Same bloom a little bit more open, but still lopsided.



But finally, he got his act together and opened up more regularly. I recall cutting two of the blooms of this rose before heavy rainfall set in and they looked so lovely on our dining room table and smelled divine.

We truly had plenty of rain in January, which is absolutely wonderful after so many years of drought. It continued into February so far and more is in the forecast, which all calls for a fabulous rose spring flush. As for the February roses, however, I guess there might be even less than there have been in January, but you never know, the roses might surprise me. Find out when I blog about the roses that have bloomed in February in the beginning of next month.

See you in the garden!

Warm regards,

Christina





Sunday, February 5, 2017

And Then There Were Only Two

Do you remember the three little four weeks old rescue Doberman puppies that we took on in April last year? Today I would like to go back in time and continue their story.



Elsa, the red one, had just left us. The picture above is one of the last photos that we took of her while she was playing with our red Doberman boy Skylar. She found a home with a police officer and has another Doberman boy to play with.

Now suddenly we were down to two almost identical looking black Doberman puppy girls, Lilly and Princess, and our own red adult Doberman boy. I vividly recall how much less work it was to have only two puppies to care for but also how much we missed sweet little Elsa.

I still feel a sting in my heart when I look at her photos. She was incredibly cute, adorable and beautiful, but we couldn't keep more than one puppy. So we had to make a decision and let Elsa go first. We had two more weeks before we needed to finally decide which puppy to keep out of the two remaining black ones and the photos in this post are from these last two weeks, where both of them were with us. The puppies were about nine to ten weeks old.



Lilly snuggling on my lap. Who can resist such an innocent little face?



Do you also love puppy paws? Princess exhausted after a bath sleeping on my lap wrapped up in a warm towel.



Princess, following the big ones lead.



The energy level and enthusiasm, here Princess running full speed, with which the puppies conquered their world never failed to amaze me.



Always curious and...



...alert.



"Can I whisper something in your ear"?



Skylar and Princess sharing an intimate moment.



"What are you sniffing? I want to sniff that, too."



"Oh, you are playing with a stick, let me play with you!"




Even as young puppies they could do very quick turns on a dime.



The puppies were always all over Skylar wanting to play with him, but also testing the boundaries and sometimes simply being obnoxious. Most of the time Skylar was very patient and tolerant with them, but sometimes when he really couldn't take it anymore, even he got cranky. We had to constantly watch, supervise, and make sure that he got a timeout from all the puppy silliness and also that none of the puppies got hurt.



Each evening before we all would go to bed we had a ritual. My husband and I were going into the X-pen in which we kept the puppies overnight and cuddle with them. Skylar would sometimes join as well.



It really felt like a family is together.



The puppies were tired from the day and usually climbed on my husband's and or on my lap and Skylar would be in the middle between us making sure that he wasn't excluded.



Princess leaning on my husband's leg, Lilly on my lap looking up to me.



Princess banging her little paw on Skylar's head. Somehow that was one of the puppies favorite things to do and understandably Skylar didn't always like it.



Lilly has been fallen asleep after a long exciting day in my lap and Skylar is checking her out. 

As I said earlier, at this point, we had two more weeks to come up with our final decision which puppy to keep. It was a very tough and difficult decision to make. Come back for my next post and find out, which puppy would stay with us. 

I hope you enjoyed looking at some more Doberman puppy photos and also seeing our big boy Skylar again!

If you want to see the previous posts about the Doberman puppies please click on the links:

Three Little Rescue Doberman puppies!
More From The Rescue Doberman Puppies
The Rescue Doberman Puppies Are Growing Fast


Warm regards, 

Christina 



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