Saturday, May 25, 2013

Memories of Spring

The roses have bloomed and crisped, and the spring flush is already a memory. But its beauty endures, in my mind's eye as well as in these pictures, imperfect though they are.

Zéphirine Drouhin has been one of my most impressive roses this spring.

A couple of years ago, I had to cut it down to the ground because a tree fell on top of it, breaking all the canes. It was an experiment in extreme pruning that fortunately turned out really well.

The rose came back very vigorously....

It took only a year to climb through a tall juniper a few feet away

.... but didn't bloom much last year, preferring to grow its long canes. This past winter, I tied all the canes in rows parallel to the fence and hoped for the best.  I wasn't disappointed.

My only alba, Félicité Parmentier, has been growing very slowly but blooming handsomely. Each year there are more and more blooms on its few canes. They smell wonderful and last for quite a few weeks in half day shade.

William Shakespeare 2000 is another big favorite of mine. My two grafted plants come from David Austin Roses.

They are planted on both sides of my driveway and get regularly whacked by passers-by, neighbors, delivery men and kids on bikes. For all that, they look impressive, bloom generously and stay healthy.

Shön Ingeborg, having finally been put in the ground after two years in a pot, has rewarded me with a very generous flush. Quite a few buds crisp and fall off  (my William Shakespeare 2000 roses do that too), but what does open looks wonderful. The bush is very healthy too.

I have tried a few of John Clements' roses over the years, and find them as variable and unpredictable in growth habit, disease resistance and bloom quality as David Austins. Magnificent Perfume is so far one of only two (Imagine being the other) that I feel are here to stay. Magnificent Perfume mildews a little most of the time, but it is vigorous, and the blooms are gorgeous.

'Benny Lopez' has been very lovely this spring. On its own roots, it suckers readily though never straying far. It is healthy for me and the blooms are always well formed and fragrant. Benny's only drawback, which it shares with a few cluster-flowering hybrid perpetuals and such, is that often the first bud, surrounded by a cluster of secondary buds, has no room to open properly. But as you see, there are still plenty that do open well.

After four years of being a restrained 4'x4' shrub, my Jude the Obscure (grafted from David Austin) started throwing longer and longer canes.  It seems to be on a determined mission to reach the moon.

I cut these canes back quite severely and my bush started branching and spreading sideways enthusiastically. The blooms have a heavenly fragrance for which I will always keep the rose, but they last a few hours, and the rebloom so far is not generous at all. It does stay healthy for me.

I aways find it so hard to set the exposure to capture the tender embrace between the fair Sharifa Asma and the dark Ebb Tide. Both of them are healthy, fragrant, and generous with bloom, besides being some of my most mannerly roses in terms of growth habit. True soulmates.

I acquired 'Lundy's Lane Yellow' because it is a found rose (I love the mystery) and because of a glowing description in Vintage Gardens catalog (always a big inducement to buy). In its second year, the color of the blooms has become richer and more nuanced, but the foliage has started to mildew :(. I am still trying to decide whether to keep it or not.

I confess that I grow Hermann Lindecke chiefly because it is a rare rose. There are good reasons why this particular rose is rare. It is easily the sickliest in my garden (mostly rust), not very vigorous, and the blooms are not really distinctive in any way (for me at least). They are pretty, fragrant and open well, and that's about it. Thankfully its diseased foliage is not very prominent because  the beautiful chartreuse leaves of a large feverfew clump are all around it.

Pat Austin is exuberant, as ever. It is true that its blooms fade in seconds and afterwards linger rather longer than they should,  but it is a keeper in my garden for its bright good cheer, fragrance and clean foliage.

The spring flush is now over, and most roses are resting. The task of deadheading has been daunting, and a few of my large climbers (Mme. Berard in particular) set hips long before I found time to bring in the ladder and pruning shears. Perhaps I will do better next spring :)

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Roses and Butterflies

I have made two trips recently, one to Roses of Yesterday (a rose nursery and display gardens),....

Sally Holmes

 ... and one to the Conservatory of Flowers in San Francisco to see their new butterfly exhibit.

 I thought I would combine them into one post: I don't have enough time to blog more frequently, and I am getting bogged down with all the pictures I am taking :)

Gypsy Boy spilling over the entrance gate at Roses of Yesterday

Visiting Roses of Yesterday was a real treat on Mothers' Day weekend.

A very impressive mound of Ruselliana

The nursery is located at a higher elevation and closer to the ocean than my garden, so their roses come into peak bloom just as mine are getting crisped in the heat.

Marguerite Hilling

 I have been there a few times and thought I have seen all there is to see, but surprises don't seem to end.

Rose de Meaux 

The display garden is very old with lots of roses tucked together, growing ever bigger, and suckering ever wider.

Phyllis Bide growing into Russeliana

 Most tags are illegible or missing altogether, which only adds to the charm, as far as I am concerned. On each visit I find a rose or two I missed on previous trips :).

'Pink Mermaid'. Unlike the real Mermaid, it is very restrained in growth and far less prickly.
For a suburban dweller like me, it is very soothing to visit a quiet rural garden in the woods where instead of manicured lawns, roses intermingle with abandon and drip from redwoods.

Belle de Crecy
Because of a cooler and moister climate, the size of blooms is considerably bigger than in my garden. The fragrance wafts. The colors hold in the gentle light. A pure delight in every sense.


Roses blooming at the display garden


Roses for sale

The butterfly exhibit at the Conservatory of Flowers was very different but equally entertaining.

A common buckeye

I walked through a cottage garden filled with flowers....

....where butterflies could be seen as close as one wants.

A white peacock

There was also a "hatchery" where butterflies emerge from chrysalises. It was the most fascinating part of the exhibit for me.

I have learned that butterflies determine the quality of nectar on a flower by tasting it with their feet.

A great southern white

They use ultraviolet vision to zero in on a flower.

A butterfly's long coiled tongue, called proboscis, is used to sip water and nectar whose sugar is the butterfly's chief food source.

I was one of the first visitors to the exhibit, and as it turned out it is not always a good thing. In this exhibit, butterflies are released into the garden as they hatch, so the longer you wait, the more different butterflies you will see.

 I thought I would try to visit the exhibit again at the end of summer, when the dahlias at the nearby dahlia garden are blooming.  Hopefully, many more butterflies will be drinking nectar from these flowers. It is nice to have something to look forward to.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Sunday Roses

I made a quick trip to the Heritage Rose Garden today.

 I have been very anxious to get there in time to catch their once-blooming roses, most of which I can't see anywhere else.

Mechtilde von Neuerburg (hybrid rubiginosa)

 I came today to find a lot of them crisped by our recent heat, but so many were in bloom that I still ended up with upwards of 300 pictures :)

Petite Lisette (alba)
 As expected with once-bloomers, most pictures show roses in all shades of pink, with a white and purple one here and there.

Charles de Mills (gallica)

 With a telephoto lens, there was no chance of bush shots (because of my lens's narrow angle of view, I would have to stand very far away, and other roses would be in the way), but I have tried to include foliage and buds whenever I could.

Aennchen von Tharau (alba)

I hope you can see some old friends and new faces too. Enjoy!

Agathe Fatime (gallica)

Crested Moss

'Old Yellow Scotch' (hybrid spnosissima)
Duc de Cazes (hybrid perpetual)

Mme Hardy (damask)

Rosa Glauca (species)

Princesse de Lamballe (alba)

Rose de la Maître-École (gallica)

Alba Semi-plena ?

Scharlachglut (gallica)

Rosa clinophylla (species)

Morning Blush (alba)

Orpheline de Juillet (gallica) ?

Rosa Mundi (gallica)

Petite de Hollande (centifolia)

Henri Martin (moss)
Paul Noel (hybird wichurana)
Sitka (hybrid rugosa)