Thursday, March 29, 2012

Général Schablikine

Here are some photos of this lovely tea rose to brighten up your weekend a little.

It is beautiful in bud....

....and fully open.

The name Schablikine sounds Russian to me, and I have always been curious about who it was named after. Unfortunately, the only reference I saw mentioned only that the general was a hero of the Crimean war.

Always one of the first roses to bloom, it is almost at its peak at the San Jose Heritage Rose Garden.

I am glad I found time to go and take these pictures today.

The light is still gentle and it is such a relief not to have to fight the glare of a bright summer sun.

And here, for information, is a full bush shot for those who do not attribute much value to artistic photography :). It is not a small rose and generous with bloom.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Lilacs and Lavenders

I have been very busy smelling flowers in the garden.

There are many things in bloom now, spirea and loropetalum, camellias and cyclamen, veronica, bacopa and even a few roses, but lilacs take center stage. Mine total two :). One, which I was told is a persian lilac, does not resemble the common lilacs (syringa vulgaris) that I am used to, with smaller leaves and flowers all along its graceful branches.

The pinkish flower clusters are small but very fragrant.

The other is Lavender Lady, one of the first hybrids of common lilac introduced specially for low chill climates. Its bluish flowers are beautiful and showy, but not quite so fragrant as those of persian lilac. I would love to have more lilacs, and if I find room, I might add at least one more, Blue Skies, the most fragrant of the low chill varieties.

Besides a collection of lilacs, I would like, one day, to have my very own field of lavender. I imagine strolling through it, listening to the bees buzzing in the flowers which shimmer in the sun, inhaling the wonderful fragrance, and looking at every shade of blue and purple there is. Well, a whole field of it is likely to remain a dream for some time to come, but I am growing a few plants for their wonderful fragrance and color.

Spanish lavender is stocky and not so graceful as other lavenders, but it offers the greatest choice of varieties. What I have so far is an unnamed bluish cultivar which I like for its unusually big bracts....

... as well as Kew Red which is a lovely purple pink, and Otto Quast, a darker purple and, unfortunately, not yet in full bloom. I have seen a cultivar with blue flowers and greyish white bracts (Madrid Blue) which seemed dull, but I am very excited about Lemon Leigh, a light yellow spanish lavender which is supposedly the most fragrant of them all. I am waiting to receive my specially ordered plant in May.

Lastly, just for fun, some blooms on a nectaplum: a cross between a nectarine and a plum. My tree is little, and I have no idea what the fruit will taste like, but I have been fascinated by red branches, huge pink flowers and purple leaves. A very ornamental tree.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

First Roses of the Year

In my yard, the roses are still getting ready for spring, but at the San Jose Heritage Rose Garden, quite a few are blooming already. I have been very busy lately, but managed to spend half an hour there today, and here are the blooms I saw. I hope you enjoy them and have a great weekend. Spring is coming!

Général Schablikine

Miss Lowe's Variety

Susan Louise

Dragon's Blood

Mme Alfred Carrière



Bon Silène

Climbing Old Blush

La Nymphe

Indica Purpurea

 Climbing Margo Koster