Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Neighbors' Roses

We have been having a spell of dry warm weather, and I try to walk or ride my bike around the neighborhood whenever I can. It is hard to resist views like this:

Chinese pistache trees (pistacia chinensis) changing color are a lovely sight, but I, as always, am on the lookout for roses.

Dainty Bess?

Here in suburban Bay Area roses are a very common sight. They grow easily in our dry warm climate, and many varieties, from out-of-patent hybrid teas to Lady Banks can be bought cheaply at big home improvement stores.

Mr. Lincoln?

It seems that most roses receive minimal care, and the only treatment doled out with boring regularity is a chopping back of the canes.

A row of multi-colored hybrid teas along the driveway is a ubiquitous sight (I have one too). Here it seems that the neighbor's trees are too close to allow planting in the ground. Even though these half whisky barrels look fine they are rotted on the inside and the potting mix is almost gone. The roses are not too happy and the barrels will probably fall apart soon.

I do sometimes see beautiful displays of rose hips...

...and even an occasional antique, such as this short Mutabilis hedge.

While many roses now are slowing down in preparation for winter, one variety in particular stands out. It is California's landscaping shrub par excellence, the Iceberg.

A neighbor's three year old and 6 foot tall hedge of several Iceberg shrubs. They are cut back hard every year and never fertilized.

No other rose here withstands so much abuse and yet thrives so cheerfully.

 It is planted in sun or shade, by itself or under huge redwoods, it is cut back to knee high or allowed to climb, and it still blooms no matter what.

Properly deadheaded, these Icebergs look as fresh now as they do in the spring. I don't have any in my garden (no more room) but I am very grateful to my neighbors for allowing me to enjoy theirs.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Sunday Roses

Mrs. Dudley Cross, tea

Perle d'Or, polyantha

Mateo's Silk Butterflies, china

White Maman Cochet, climbing tea

Bishop Darlington, hybrid musk

Susan Louise, hybrid gigantea


Marchioness of Londonderry, hybrid perpetual

Eva, hybrid musk

Reve d'Or, tea-noisette

Little Mermaid, climbing miniature

Mutabilis, china

The pictures were taken at the San Jose Heritage Rose Garden.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Autumn Thoughts

I have spent many hours in the garden these past few days, enjoying the cooler weather and the gentle autumn sun.

Lyda's Rose

Roses are still blooming, and so are many perennials, yet I am not happy with the way the garden looks.


I think that is because for me summer's end is the season that most vividly brings home the excesses of impulse purchases made in the far away days of spring.

Hips on rosa californica

After everything is cut back in winter and I finally catch a glimpse of bare ground, it is easy to think that another little thing or two can surely fit in somewhere.

 And so they do, and then begin to grow and grow, gradually becoming a disorderly tangle in which I have long despaired of seeing where one plant ends and another begins.

Some of my roses, so cute when they were newly bought babies, have grown rather too exuberantly, spilling into the lawn and grabbing at me as I pass.

Pruning appears more and more daunting, and for a few years now I have had doubts that I can finish it all in the few short weeks of our winter.

William Shakespeare 2000

But I am ever hopeful, and something tells me that soon another little thing or two will find their way into my garden again.

At least I have company for all the work I have to do.

Cooper's hawk (?) on my fence