Jerusalem Sage

Every few weeks, I go to my neighborhood home improvement store, mostly to look for the latest plants. Today was a lucky day for me: I found beautiful plants from the clearance rack, among them 2 Jerusalem sage plants. They are healthy and I already had a backyard vacancy in mind when I saw them. Earlier this year, my beloved white iceberg rose succumbed to one too many gophers who became quite fond of its roots.

These two natives of the Mediterranean and elsewhere will invigorate that corner of the garden and have already stirred up quite a bit of interest among butterflies shortly after I planted them. This is drought-resistant once established as well, practical and lovely! If they thrive in my garden, I will likely propagate them by taking some softwood cuttings in the summer. So very pleased that these fuzzy-leafed beauties are now part of my garden!

Orchid Rock Rose

I went to my local gardening center for gardening shears and found that their clearance rack had two orchid rock rose plants (Cistus x purpureus). It’s been over 12 years since I’ve had orchid rock rose plants, so it’s like a new beginning. They even have some flower buds, so I’m quite excited that they have found a new home with me. Sometimes, garden centers want to get rid of plants that are not actively in flower, but in otherwise good condition. That’s where I come in!IMG_3347IMG_3349

Eventually, these shrubs will produce exquisitely beautiful purple-pink flowers with red-purple spots in the center (see photos of a flowering specimen here: https://www.snwa.com/apps/plant/detail.cfml?current_page=7&type=84&id=14794).  For now, these shrubs will stay in their containers. Once they get acclimated to their new environment, I will find a suitable place for them in the back yard where they can bathe in sun to their hearts’ content. They also require less water, so I get beauty and water conservation – fantastic!

Simple Arrangement of Short-Stemmed Roses

Some of my roses are blooming, but none of them are long-stemmed. But that does not preclude the creation of simple flower arrangements! These short-stemmed beauties required that I use a long and shallow container, which I happened to have: the almighty cover of a butter dish that I turned upside down, filled with a little granulated sugar, white vinegar, and water. The yellow ones are the Sunblest rose; the pink ones on the ends are Mary Rose; the peachy one in the center is the Grace rose; and the dIMG_3346ark red-pink one toward the right is the (hard-to-keep-down) Dr. Huey rose. This very simple flower arrangement has already made quite a difference in my bathroom (house!) and I am looking forward to days and nights of admiring their loveliness!

English Rose: Mary Rose as a Cut Flower

Not all cut flowers require a long stem for them to be appreciated in a jar or vase! I grow several English rose plants outdoors, in their containers. One of my pink Mary Rose plants has been flowering a bit and I noticed that one flower is now near the point when the flower petals are close to falling. It’s at that point that I cut such flowers and preserve as much of their short stem that I can and set them in very small jars, filled with a 1/2 teaspoon of granulated sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of distilled white vinegar, and warm water, to be enjoyed indoors for as long as they can still last. Usually, I enjoy my roses growing and staying on the plant through their life cycle, but this fragrant rose – in my  mind, it’s a shame to have it literally fall apart without as much as a word of a proper good-bye. I have several such rose plants whose flowers grow on short stems and I often give them this elegant treatment.

So, in tribute to all of the beautiful energy that this flower brings to my garden, I bring it indoors, so that it may still receive great appreciation until the end. This will grace my bathroom for at least a week and will class up the overall feeling of my home for at least that long. Having just one cut flower can make such a tremendous difference!IMG_3333IMG_3336

English Rose: Munstead Wood

The fragrance of this luscious English rose just knocks me off my feet, so very strong and what, in my mind, is a classic smell of rose flowers. I also love the dark crimson color of its velvety petals – such a stunning beauty. I am currently the proud caretaker of just one of these plants, since my local nursery only had just this one remaining in this stock at the end of the year when I bought it. I will have to visit the store in a couple of weeks to see if they might have more of this gorgeous rose in stock. Long live Munstead Wood!IMG_3189

More information on the Munstead Wood rose can be found here: http://www.davidaustinroses.com/american/showrose.asp?showr=4922

English Rose: Graham Thomas

A few weeks ago, this fragrant and beautiful English rose lost a few flowers because of dry winds in our area. The dry winds dried up some of the young buds. The winds gone, this fighter (!) was able to hang on in defiance and has produced this lovely gem. This is a perfect shade of yellow! This rose is available as a climber or non-climber. The one that I have is a non-climber.IMG_3188

More information on the Graham Thomas rose can be found here: http://www.davidaustinroses.com/american/showrose.asp?showr=426

English Rose: L. D. Braithwaite

A great way to start the day! My L. D. Braithwaite is now in flower and has a few more flower buds waiting in the wings. The color is so intense and, of course, so very lovely. Most of my other English roses are lighter in color, so this adds a very welcome vibrancy to my entire English rose container garden!

More information about this beauty can be found here: http://www.davidaustinroses.com/american/showrose.asp?showr=967IMG_3179

English Rose: Grace

I am the fortunate caretaker of 3 of these lovely English rose plants and this is the first of them to bloom. The picture does not do this rose justice! I really love how the color is such a deep apricot in the center and paler in the outer petals. The fragrance, of course, is wonderful and leaves the perfumes found at department stores in the dust. I happily monitor the growth of flower buds on these, and all of my English roses!IMG_3177

More information on this lovely gem can be found here: http://www.davidaustinroses.com/american/showrose.asp?showr=3942

English Rose: Winchester Cathedral

Minutes ago, I found that my Winchester Cathedral English rose has produced its first flower since entering my garden. What a grand way to start my day! Not only is the fragrance strong and sweet, but the petals are heavier than some of my other English roses, whose petals are more delicate – a nice contrast. There is one more flower bud on this plant that is still weeks away from blooming –  can’t wait! My other Winchester Cathedral rose plant is not yet in bud but I am hopeful.

IMG_3172

This and my other English rose plants are well-situated, bathing in hours of direct sunlight, even during these winter days. For this reason, I expect that my English roses, all grown (and will remain) in containers because of a significant gopher problems in my community, will have many healthy, happy years here. More information on this luscious rose can be found here: http://www.davidaustinroses.com/american/showrose.asp?showr=1011

Later in the day, I will be deadheading the roses, removing dead vegetation, and checking their leaves for overall health. I am on the lookout for fungal diseases common in roses (http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7463.html) and will treat them as needed.

In a few weeks, my local nursery advised me to visit when they get their new stock of English roses for the year. I am counting the days! The English roses that I have were the last of their 2013 stock (at half price!) and have thrived here. I’m not sure which roses will be available, which is part of the fun in visiting a nursery!

English Rose: Mary Rose

This is the first flower (of hopefully many) to bloom from one of my Mary Rose plants. The color isIMG_3156 lovely and the strong, sweet fragrance is heavenly.  I will be looking forward to bursts of flowers to take the edge off the cool winter days!

More information on the lovely Mary Rose can be found here:

http://www.davidaustinroses.com/american/showrose.asp?showr=605

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