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To Shovel Prune or Not

1 Jun

Made a few possible realizations about various roses in my garden/climate today.

I think Hybrid Perpetuals are just a bit lack-luster here. I planted two big bands 10/20/10. So they’ve had a good 3 years. They’re big pretty healthy plants now with big canes and I get a big spring flush, but not much periodically throughout the year. And even with the spring flush, I get a lot of balling. (Ie roses that don’t open and just brown in the bud) even in our hot dry climate, even when it’s not raining.

I’m also disappointed at how slow my old tea Mme. Lombard is growing. Planted 9/10/10. It’s supposed to be this giant rose, but it’s hardly grown or bloomed at all since I got it.

On the other side, I’m really pleased with Bermuda’s Kathleen, James Galway, Madam Alfred Carriere, The Faun, Lyda Rose, Valencia and Sombrieul. All are nice big healthy bushes now and bloom enough. I think next spring I might do another evaluation and I’d be tempted to replace a few poor performers with ones that I love or try some more bloommasters like chinas or floribundas or… The two big Hybrid Perpetuals are in really good showy spots in the front yard, so they really need to perform more than once in the spring with lots of balling.


August Garden Update

31 Aug

I’m currently almost 34 weeks pregnant (I only have about 4 weeks left till the twin girls come!) and I’m currently on modified bedrest,… so I haven’t been able to keep up with my garden that much.

A few weeks ago, during a heat wave of 105 or so… one of the zones of my sprinkler system broke and I wasn’t aware for a while because I wasn’t really able to go outside in the yard that much! When the crape myrtle stopped blooming and completely turned brown, I noticed, though! Yikes! Our landscapers immediately came out and fixed the problem and I babied some of the effected plants some.

The results of not having ANY water during such a hot period were interesting though.

Most of the established large roses (aprox 3 years old at this point) were not effected AT ALL. This included James Galway, Alchemist, Sombreuil, La France cl., Larry Daniels, Jude the Obscure, William Shakespeare 2000, Mortimer Sackler, Comte de Chambord and Sweet Chariot. James Galway and Sombreuil I would say, actually, are THRIVING, even in the heat wave and no water. Sombreuil putting out canes full of flowers (below).

Amusingly, in the spot where Eden cl originally was, with no care… there are three baby canes coming up. I’m assuming this is a baby Eden cl…! I guess we’ll see what it is when it blooms! (could be a offshoot of the nearby James Galway cl, too I suppose…) Either way I’m happy.

Also after the water came back on and I watched it a bit the crape myrtle completely came back with a full head of green leaves.

However, this past late spring, I had Eden cl and Mme. Berard moved to the arbor (hopefully their final positions). Both were large 3-year old happy plants, but they went into a bit of expected shock at being moved. Then when the sprinkler broke in their area, they really started to suffer and lost their leaves again. They don’t seem to be dying back in the canes though much, so I’m hopeful they will survive. It makes sense, their root system wasn’t as established because they were moved this year.

Another partial loss was Belle Story. It lost all of it’s large canes all the way back to the ground… but after I got the water fixed and babied it a bit it sent up a new baby cane, so it looks like it will survive. I have to be honest though, compared to other roses in my yard, I haven’t been that happy with Belle Story’s performance. It’s kind of just 3 bare canes (or it was) and doesn’t bloom that often. I might end up replacing it with something more vigorous. I’ve given it 3 years.

I completely lost the small 3 year old ownroot Tiffany rose, though. I’m not too upset about that because it hadn’t grown more than a few inches in 3 years. I think I’ll try a grafted Tiffany to replace it next spring.

Most upsetting though was Grandmother’s Hat. Grandmother’s Hat is supposed to do really well in my area and I had a particular spot for her… and she’s quite hard to get. I had her in a large pot and had babied her for 3 years from a very small own root. She was finally starting to get some size. was finally going to plant her when it cooled off this fall, but now that idea is out. When the heatwave hit, I guess she wasn’t getting enough water and I didn’t notice due to bedrest, she’s completely died back to the ground. II’m hoping maybe she’ll come back, but it’s unlikely… I don’t see any signs of life.


Unrelated to the sprinklers breaking, I’m really still quite happy with The Faun (Bossa Nova) rose. Next time I have the ability to plant/buy some roses, I’d like to get at least one more.

Valencia rose is becoming a big lush bush and is almost constantly in bloom no matter how hot it is outside.


My bloodlily bloomed for the 3rd year in a pot!

I need more Breakers and Total Recall irises. They are the only ones of my reblooming bearded irises that consistently rebloom.


I’m also really happy with the guara in the front and the back. I want to plant more when I’m able to get more of a drift of them. They’re getting big and fabulous.

The sedum in the back is also starting to bloom and I need more of that! I love that it starts to thrive in the heat of summer into the fall when other stuff maybe is upset due to the heat.

Nepeta and Lantana

The nepeta, lemon verbena, creeping lantana and lambsear overall are doing really well too, so I want to get more of it to fill in. There are some areas in the front where the nepeta and lantana and lemon verbena are really fluffing up and growing together and it looks fabulous. So happy with it. Need more! I’d like a little more grosso lavender in the front, too. It does really effortlessly in the front (where the drainage is excellent.)

Lastly, I added a potted jasmine sambac and a everblooming gardenia to my porch. πŸ™‚


29 Aug

Well… yet again a zone (two zones actually) in my irrigation system were broken and I didn’t realize for a few weeks because I was too busy. So perhaps part of the reason my Crape Myrtle and my Tiffany Rose were doing so poorly was simply because they were getting NO WATER (during the hottest part of summer!) AGH! I’m having the landscaper (a new one) replace it with copper, so hopefully it won’t be so faulty.

On more positive notes, some things blooming around my yard (some despite the lack of water.)

Tipsy Imperial Concubine

Lavender Lassie

La France Cl.

Baronne Prevost

Reine Des Violettes


Santa Barbara Daisies and Dianthus

Potted Bloodlily

Immortality Iris

The only Crocosmia bloom I may ever see? haha...

State of the Garden

23 Aug

It’s been a very busy few months and I haven’t had much time to take stock of my garden. We’re still in the hottest part of the summer, but in a while things will start cooling off and I can do some work in the garden to make it better for next year.

But I’m not sure what to do to make it better. It definitely needs some work because I’ve had a fair amount of plant failure this year.


I’m fighting against clay alkaline soil which is hard for me to dig in and has poor drainage. I’m zone 9-10, SW zone 18. Inland southern california. This garden was started from scratch in Dec 2009, to give you some idea. I’ve learned a lot since then, but I’m still floundering.

I’m thinking that I need to try to further amend the beds in areas where there are not plants… but with WHAT? And then after I do that, I probably need to remulch everything.

And I probably need to re-evaluate how much water my plants are getting. Right now the beds get about 20 min once a week. Is that too little?



  • General Penstemons – they do fine in the summer and then get upset/rot? in winter.
  • crocosmia – came up, haven’t bloomed and are turning brown. Don’t know why.
  • Hydrangeas – probably getting too much sun
  • Crape Myrtle – hasn’t bloomed, hasn’t grown (is it just sending down roots…? cause my neighbors’ same age tree blooms a lot… 😦 😦

General photos of the BACK YARD:
Showing the rose pot ghetto with a happy La France cl rose behind it and various irises. To the right of La France Cl is Larry Daniels rose, to the right of that is Sombrieul rose, and to the right of that is Alchemist rose. All seem to be doing fine. There some Agapanthus and dianthus in front.

CU on that area, self-seeded yarrow with some dianthus and santa barbara daisy. They’re covering up some daffodil bulbs. In the back are irises and La France Cl and Larry Daniels and Tipsy Imperial Concubine roses.

Another view of same area

In the corner, a very happy James Galway cl rose and Eden cl rose. The support stick in the middle is supporting my non-growing/non-flowering Crape Myrtle. Is something wrong with it? 😦 The support stick on the right is my Lady Banks yellow rose.

CU on same area

CU on same area

Lady Banks rose yellow

Weeping “snowfountain” cherry in the middle of the lawn seems to be doing fine. In the back corner there, though, my normal flowering cherry (no idea what it is due to stupid landscapers…) has died completely. No idea why it died. 😦 😦 😦
Wall on the right is two large wisteria and two smaller blue moon (less vigorous reblooming) wisteria. I’ll probably pull out one or both of the larger wisteria eventually after the blue moons get bigger. None of the wisteria have bloomed but I think that might be normal (ie they are establishing themselves)
on the fence to the left there are several roses and clematis that are setting themselves up.

CU of some of the dianthus, sages, salvias and lambsears

CU on failing crocosmia (back) and “fine for now” penstemons which will probably again rot this winter. Santa barbara daisies in the front.

Better view of the A/C area. Mme Berard, which probably will be moved to the arbor which isn’t up yet (on the left) and Lavender Lassie rose on the right. Both are really happy. The two dwarf hydrangea Pia, however, are not. I think maybe they just can’t take that much full sun.


18 Aug

Tipsy Imperial Concubine

Tipsy Imperial Concubine

Growth on Lavender Lassie

Lavender Lassie

Madame Joseph Bonnaire seems to have forgiven me!

La France

Larry Daniels

The Camellia I almost killed last year is slowly coming back.

Gardening: Getting By

6 Aug

It’s been a really rough summer due to me being very busy with work and conventions.

The weather has been very hot a few days, but otherwise it’s been unusually temperate for our area, very few over 100 degree days. This is good because I have so little time,… I don’t really have time even to make sure everything is watered often!

A couple of my pot ghetto roses have been suffering, namely my mystery pink rose, Compassionate Friend (which I wasn’t a huge fan of anyway,…) but most distressingly my beloved Madame Joseph BonnaireΒ is suffering. I hope she recovers. I’d had to pull her up a bit, she’d sent a huge root down through the bottom of the pot and into the ground by like a foot, so I pulled her up and repotted her and she seemed fine for a while, but now she’s really looking upset. (her leaves are pale and some have dried up.) I’ll just have to watch her and make sure she’s getting enough water I guess.

I think part of the trouble is that I was hoping to have the new front rose bed done this spring and that didn’t happen. I need to move forward and get that done this fall, so perhaps if I start planning now, that will happen. I think some of my pot ghetto roses are simply upset about being in pots. Like Cl. Maman Cochet. Hasn’t bloomed once. Big canes, seems healthy enough… but no blooming and it’s been a while! I think she just wants to be in the ground. Another example was my Alchemist. I have two, both were in 3 gallon pots. Once I put one of them in the ground, the following spring it was covered in blooms, the other one, in it’s pot still, no blooms at all. Same size plant, same time acquired.

My 3 Sweet Chariots (in the back bed) are something of a disappointment. They haven’t grown at all since I planted them last year. They seem like they’re doing “ok”… but they just aren’t growing. I hope they do better next year because descriptions of her were a fast growing, fast blooming rose!

Aimee Vibert (a pot ghetto baby) is still plugging along though and Sombreuil (moved against the wall in the ground) is starting to grow some (finally!) The Prince in the front yard is growing a bit and wanting to bloom a lot and my darling Madame Alfred Carriere (the left one) is still growing up a storm.

Most pleasant surprise? The Faun (Bossa Nova) is a BLOOM MACHINE. It has beautiful blooms like old garden roses and it is NEVER out of bloom. I seriously need to get more of them.

I’ve mostly been pinching buds lately because I’m too busy … and it’s really hot out (I figure they might be tired) and I figure they can grow more while I can’t look at their flowers anyway, so no rose photos, sorry!

Here’s some hydrangeas and lilies my girlfriends sent me to cheer me up. πŸ™‚

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