Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Since the garden is pretty much between flushes, almost on the verge of the next flush, there isn’t a lot of blooming, but there are signs, and besides, a garden is more than flowers. A flowerless time in the garden is an opportunity for seeing structure and texture and for eyeballing plant size and willingness to play nice with neighbors. I had walked the garden on Saturday, taking 174 shots, a ton even for me, but yesterday #1 Dear Son arrived with his Canon EOS DSLR camera to let me take it for a “test drive”. With actual glee I walked around again and took 195 more. What a fun camera! What great photographs it produces! (I’ve been on Ebay a lot since then looking for a bargain.) Yesterday also produced a fix for the problem of super bright sunlight blowing out my whites and reds. DS suggested using a polarization filter on the lens, so I got one from DH (seems like he has one of everything), and it worked!! Finally, an answer to glare and distorted colors.

The photos in this post were taken with DS’s camera before I knew about the polarization filter, so I had to adjust the exposure manually – not completely successfully - after the fact with Windows Live Photo. I was so impressed with the detail I could see in them. Not only are leaves sharply defined from twenty and even thirty feet away, but even the veins in the leaves are clearly visible as well. So amazing!

Third-year clematis 'Venosa Violacea' is going great guns, climbing to the top of the 8-ft. arbor in a month and blooming like never before.
Here are the new babies. Left to right: 'Gruss an Teplitz', 'Rosette Delizy' and 'Bermuda's Anna Olivier'. I moved RD & BAO up to 3-gallon pots last Friday. I hope they liked the rain this evening. I did. How convenient that I still had the old markers with their names on them.
'Frilly Bliss'
This is the marker for the daylily just below, but I couldn't resist including this sharp photo. A good name for a garden, too, don't you think?
'Passion District' was definitely a bit redder in her second bloom. This is one I really, really wanted since I started growing daylilies. I don't think I'm going to be disappointed.
What an incredibly deep wine color 'Marietta Dreamer' is. Interestingly, she starts out fairly light and gets very dark, apparently from the sun.
Also in her third year clematis 'Princess Diana' is marvelous. My neighbor just loves her.
'Bowbells', a David Austin rose, sits in the shade all day, awaiting the tree trimmers, but she still manages to put out some very delectable blooms. How's this for pretty?
As the sign says, this is 'Softee'. Last week she was merely green with hardly any flower buds that I noticed, and here she is blooming away. I don't know what she's like in the ground, but she's great in a pot.
Here is 'White Pet'. The camera does a great job showing detail in these white flowers which can sometimes lose definition in the bright sun. It sort of pops, doesn't it?
'Le Vesuve' is just starting to put on buds for the next flush, but I found this lone flower low down on the bush. I just added the Salvia farinacea (by the way, they're 77 cents at Lowe's - get some!!) to this bed a few weeks ago. I had six or seven 4" pots that had survived since February (looking a little rough) that I plopped in wherever there was a space. And today I bought three more. Can't have too much of this 'Victoria Blue' salvia.
Today 'Clotilde Soupert' has even more open flowers. It occurred to me today that 'Iceberg' may hate my garden, but Clotilde loves it! Grow what loves your garden!!!
I don't know what to say about 'Duquesa' except that she's scaring me. It feels like she's grown a foot in every direction in a week, probably more. She used to be quite lopsided, this being only her second spring. This side of her was decidedly empty a few short weeks ago, but not now. She has been adding canes everywhere, and now she's starting to bloom. In a few days she may be quite a sight. She's got to be 7' across and starting to bully her neighbors.
This is the absolute best photo I have ever been able to get of 'Bowbells'. That's why you haven't seen her. She's in the shade, and big green blobs don't photograph well. She's more than six feet tall. Gotta get that tree trimmer!! She needs just a bit more sun. 'Etoile de Mai' sits diminutively to the left.
Gorgeous 'Clotilde Soupert' has also put on some bulk in the last week with the new growth that comes with her flush. She's 6' across, and the 'Joan Senior' daylily (left of the Salvia) is about buried, as I feared she would be. It's incredible how the barren March garden is suddenly filled to overflowing in May. Over-planting in spring can be a trap to the Florida gardener, at least to the ones who grow OGRs. Clotilde went from a 3x3 pruned skeleton to this in two months. I just love her!!
'Pearl Harbor'
Here's the backside of 'Pinkie, Climbing'. She really has put on a show for more than a month.
This is the view along the driveway. You can get your bearings with the rain gauge. In the foreground in 'Clotilde Soupert', then 'Victoria Blue', a bit of 'Peach Drift' down low, 'Madame Abel Chatenay' almost bereft of blooms, and the tall dahlia 'Lucca Johanna' who by the way is not minding the heat and all day sun (yes, it's hot here). I've never grown dahlias before. One plant can be a whole garden's worth of flowers.
That's scary 'Duquesa' on the left, starting to encroach on the sidewalk. She's a whopper! My other 'Clotilde Soupert' is to her right with a 'Red Ruffle' azalea in between and behind the azalea is a whole crop of Purple Coneflowers that I seeded and transplanted into a big empty space. Ha! Those green hulks are about to be out-hulked. 'Duquesa' and 'Clotilde Soupert' are determined to join hands, I think. The front door is to the right up the sidewalk..
Imagine my utter surprise yesterday when I wheeled around to see this duo alongside the garage wall. That's 'Paint The Town Red' daylily and clematis 'Henryi', heading for the roof, I hope. Onward and upward...and outward!
The reaching 'Princess Diana' is casting her vines upon SDLM and Madame Lombard, but she is a gentle thing, easily tamed and guided. I don't think the roses mind.
Nigella damascena - I can never tell if those bulbous things are the pre-bloom buds or the post-bloom seed pods. I'm guessing seed pods. Coreopsis confused me this way, too, but I've figured that one out. I don't know nigella's habit yet.
Front and center is 'Madame Lombard', a young Tea rose but getting bigger and buried in the lacy foliage of the nigellas. I'm kind of thinking she's not being harmed by them, and the heat will soon enough take its toll on the annual flower. I just deadheaded 'Madame Lombard' the other evening, but she does have one flower to the right of all the nigella in a bloom cluster on a new cane in there somewhere.
The lovely 'Madame Lombard'.
I "filled" the vacancy created by the leaving of 'Bermuda's Anna Olivier' with 'Maggie' - a wee, tiny baby 'Maggie'. Until she's quite a bit bigger I'll have to live with a hole in the garden.
One day 'Maggie' will be a big buxom lady but she ain't yet, even though she's way bigger than she was.
Here's another view of the hole. I guess I really do have to haircut that big Liriope 'Evergreen Giant'. Itt's still freeze-ugly. Oh, the back pain!
Not blooming: 'Enchantress' on the fence at left, 'Clotilde Soupert, Climbing' on the front porch, and 'Le Vesuve' in the center. Definitely blooming: 'Pinkie, Climbing' by the garage!
My garden sentries are, of course, Salvia farinacea. The left one was one of the straggling survivors planted a few weeks ago. The right one is a transplant that was moved out of the way of 'Mme Abel Chatenay' and sat ON the ground for a couple of months awaiting my decision. Great plants.
'Red Cascade' is blooming again by the mailbox.
FYI, nothing has ever survived let alone thrived where those salvias are.
Believe it or not, I've never taken a shot of this view before. 'White Pet' is in the pot. Baby daylily bed in the foreground. 'Byzantine Enperor' daylily and the dahlia I mentioned, long lasting flowers and still more buds coming. I deadheaded her and 'Madame Abel Chatenay' on the right yesterday.  And gee, there should be a grand reward for anyone who sat through this entire post which. Whew! Glad you stayed.


  1. You still have so much blooming. Your Roses are lovely but that Pinkie is really something else. Very pretty!

    Cher Sunray Gardens

    1. Thanks so much, Cher. It's true. Because of the roses' individual timing, there's always something blooming, about to start or just finishing. Even in the spring's first flush and even on individual bushes, things bloom in progression and not usually in a big blast. I hope Pinkie repeats well.

  2. The princess is gorgeous !!! I would love to grow something like this in my garden ...

    1. The texensis and viticella hybrids are great for hot, humid climates and maybe for other climates, too. I really love what they add to the garden.

  3. BEAUTIFUL!!! You have such a delightful variety of blooms and they all look great. I 'really love' Pinkie. WOW!

    Enjoy all that beauty surrounding you and thanks a lot for the inspiration.


    1. Thank you, FlowerLady. Early on, I decided I would not be "rose dependent". The pressure to have perfect roses was just too great that way, so I've added as many companions that work as I can. Every plant has been an experiment. Thankfully, many have succeeded, and it certainly doesn't hurt to repeat plants. When I fall in love with a plant, I want to see it everywhere. :))

  4. Your roses look great! I love that Princess Diana clematis. Did you find that locally or did you mail order?

    1. Thanks so much, Phillip. I bought all of my clematis - about 12 of them - online from Brushwood Nursery in Athens, GA. They always send beautiful plants, their prices are great and Dan is wonderful to deal with. I'm afraid clematis isn't big locally - to say the least and definitely not the viticellas and texensis hybrid that do well here. As far as my experience goes, they are total winners. They say the doubles won't work here. Maybe someday I'll experiment with one.

  5. You have pretty interesting plants there. And I really like the circle in the front yard, I've never seen that kind of design here and I'm pretty sure that would be a surprise for my neighbor and a really interesting challenge for me.

    I'm not there yet, I still have to work on what I already have, but I take note of some ideas and plants you have. 8)

    1. VertGrenouille, companion plants in my garden have to deal with five months of humid heat in the 90's and nights above 70 degrees fahrenheit. Most plants simply melt in those conditions, so I've had to improvise with Florida plants that resemble traditional ones from temperate zones. (The dahlias really surprised me!) You on the other hand have zillions (well, almost) of plants to choose from. It'll just be a matter of deciding which ones please you. As to the circle, it was literally divine inspiration! My front yard is small and awkwardly shaped, and I wanted to grow big Tea roses. The dilemma was finding a configuration that would allow me to have 12 - 15 large bushes that would not be ugly and embarrassing in front of the whole neighborhood. I hope your creativity will come up with something equally exciting. I don't mind copycats either. Be my guest. We'll start a new trend. :))

  6. Very impressive Sherry. Maybe it doesn't wow the Californians or the Northerners, but I know how hard it is to pull off a garden like that in Florida. Don't forget to take a break and enjoy your beautiful garden.

    1. Thank you so much, Amber, for that observation. It's true that lush tropicals in Florida are pretty easy, but lush roses in Florida not so much. I think the bottom line is regular watering (I micro-sprinkle every day), lots and lots of organic amending - as much as 50%, and the right plants. These five years have had much angst and failure, but eventually, educated trial and error has worked out. So thanks again, Amber. I really respect your Florida gardening skills, so your compliment means a lot, and lately I'm doing much more enjoying than working. :))

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  8. Sherry, your garden is spectacular, thank you for the tour. I wish I could visit it in person.

    1. Thank you, Masha. I wish you could, too. That would be a fun visit for me!

  9. Just catching up on reading your past few posts. You have really achieved a nice mix of roses and companions. I love seeing the big view of your garden. Great design and color.

  10. Thank you, Kay. Sometimes getting caught up isn't easy. :))