Just Another Day in Paradise

It’s been a rather rainy and windy month, this May. Often I woke up with a dull, grey sky and it’s still chilly at night. I love this weather so much!
The Rose Garden: rosa Ispahan on the left and rosa gallica Violacea on the right

The Rose Garden: rosa Ispahan on the left and rosa gallica Violacea on the right

Roses are very happy in this weather too: blooms last longer and colour and scents are more intense. The pruning job I did at the end of winter is really paying off, although I now realise that I could have pruned even harder: plants looked perfect with their bare branches but now, loaded with leaves and blooms and rain, they look a little smashed by the gales we’ve had… almost continuously.
I have a load of pictures to show you, so please try to be patient and maybe just scroll down quickly if you are not interested in old roses…
The rose garden on the left and the squared bed on the right, looking through the courtyard

The rose garden on the left and the squared bed on the right, looking through the courtyard

When approaching the house from the gravel driveway, the first rose to be met is Ghislaine de Féligonde: a light yellow hybrid Multiflora (probably with r. Moschata) bred at the beginning of the last century.
rosa Ghislaine de Féligonde

rosa Ghislaine de Féligonde

It is a great rose! Mine -as you can see- is left free to form a fountain shape and makes a very elegant specimen. Leaves are dark green and deeply veined, blooms are abundant, mildly scented and of a very candescent colour, from custard yellow to barely white. Absolutely a “must have” rose in every garden. I know it could be also trained as a medium sized rambler because I gave some cuttings to my neighbours and they are training it, quite happily, on a fence.

rosa Ghislaine de Féligonde

rosa Ghislaine de Féligonde

At the moment the second show stopper, when reaching the house, is New Dawn. This rose is not old (ca. 1930) but often listed amongst species and first crosses in catalogues. It is a hybrid Wichurana and shows off all its characteristic glossy leaves that look as if someone had just polished them -one by one. I have it trained on the pillar by the portico.

rosa New Dawn

rosa New Dawn

It is a large flowered climber, with pearl rose semi-double blooms and its flower buds open like a swirl. Scent is delicate but unique; a large specimen could be sniffed at a distance. Like Ghislaine de Féligonde, these roses have a main, glorious blooming period in May/June, then produce scattered flowers during all the warm season. New Dawn also sets several bunches of blood-red, fat hips. Definitely, it’s another “must have” rose, in my opinion.

rosa New Dawn

rosa New Dawn

In front of the house, under the small pergola, the courtyard is now invaded with gaura lindheimeri, stipa tenuissima, centranthus ruber… and lazy dogs sunbathing. Plus there is a huge hollyhock grown from seeds scattered by the original one (which I had obtained from seeds collected -not stolen!- from the Kew Gardens in London some years ago). I am pretty confident it will bear simple, pale pink blooms with a pearl-white throat that makes the flower glisten. The size of the plant is magnificent! I just hope it won’t collapse too soon…

lazy dogs sunbathing in the courtyard

lazy dogs sunbathing in the courtyard

Stipa tenuissima, alcea rosea (hollyhock), gaura lindheimeri and rincospermum climbing on the pillar

Stipa tenuissima, alcea rosea (hollyhock), gaura lindheimeri and rincospermum climbing on the pillar

This self sown ‘bed’ in the middle of the courtyard also makes a link with the gravel garden and the squared bed. Here, only verbena bonariensis and centranthus ruber had started to bloom, together with convolvolus sabaticus and sisyrinchium. All the grasses are forming a luscious background and the echinaceas will soon go “primetime” with veronicastrum, eryngium yuccifolium and other summer things.

the Squared Garden: Convolvulus Sabaticus and sisirynchium striatum

the Squared Garden: Convolvulus Sabaticus and sisirynchium striatum

The only grass in bloom now, other than stipa tenuissima, is hordeum jubatum (I love the common English name “foxtail barley”).

Centranthus ruber, gaura lindheimeri and hordeum jubatum

Centranthus ruber, gaura lindheimeri and hordeum jubatum

It is an annual grass that grows quickly from March/April and blooms now, with a pink tinge on its longer fur. Then it goes to seed and almost disappears as quickly as it arrives. As you may know I am not a seeder so I let this plant self seed wherever it likes. I just try to push her a little bit here, a little bit there… but it always sprouts in the middle of something, like unwanted friends or my mother’s calls… This year it has taken the whole passageway from the kitchen to the gravel garden, taking only a square meter or so of free gravel space but on a busy spot. No worries; I know this plant has a short life, just like my mother’s calls, so I get the most of its beauty and bear to lift my legs when passing through. It is particularly nice with centranthus ruber and gauras since all of them have exactly the same warm pink tinge on them.

Centranthus ruber, gaura lindheimeri and hordeum jubatum

Centranthus ruber, gaura lindheimeri and hordeum jubatum

Centranthus ruber, gaura lindheimeri and hordeum jubatum

Centranthus ruber, gaura lindheimeri and hordeum jubatum

There is also rosa Rival de Paestum blooming not far from there. It echoes the light of the gauras  – and with a dark purple background provided by persicaria microcephala ‘Red Dragon’ and phormium, it really stands out! This rose is a newcomer in my garden but it flowers freely from late spring on.

Rosa Rival de Paestum with centranthus ruber

Rosa Rival de Paestum with centranthus ruber

Rosa Rival de Paestum, centranthus ruber, dark green phormium and persicaria microcephala 'Red Dragon' on the background

Rosa Rival de Paestum, centranthus ruber, dark green phormium and persicaria microcephala ‘Red Dragon’ on the background

The funny thing is that this layer of persicaria and phormium also shelters the fine pinks and  whites from primary colours showing off on the other side: the yellow phlomis russelliana mixed with cyan nigella seedlings and magenta centranthus.

Phlomis russelliana, nigella damascena and centranthus ruber

Phlomis russelliana, nigella damascena and centranthus ruber

Speaking of magenta and purple… I am not a big fan of tomato red in the garden but I love all the other shades of red, from magenta to purple and orange too. In the rose garden there are quite a few of them mixing up: like rosa gallica Ombrèe Parfaite with vibrant blue salvia nemorosa, or rosa gallica Violacea contrasting with the chamois yellow of rosa Golden Moss, or rosa Jude the Obscure behind purple berberis x ottawensis or even the striped rosa gallica Belle des Jardins with burgundy penstemon ‘Blackbird’

Amongst all this beuaty I feel so relaxed and pleased: all the bad things go away… and when the night comes, I know I’ve just lived another day in Paradise. The gloom then lights up with hundreds of fireflies floating in the dark and glistening like Hell.

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32 thoughts on “Just Another Day in Paradise

  1. Your garden is looking so beautiful Alberto, especially all your lovely roses. I have Rosa New Dawn on my pergola but she is nowhere near as beautiful as yours. The leaves always get black spot and drop early, and it doesn’t have anywhere near as many flowers, you must tell me your secret!

    • Hi Pauline! My New Dawn is facing north but twisted around the gutter’s downspout, that ends at the plant’s base. The well watered rose in the garden! It could suffer of blackspot, you are right but maybe in my warmer climate that starts to be a bother only late in the season.

  2. WOW – so many lovely things and all so nicely planted. We are still dreaming of roses – it is cold and windy here too. So it is lovely to see some already in bloom. Love the nigella and phlomis too 🙂

    • Quite a vibrant match, but I love yellow and blue together. You haven’t seen a single rose bloom this year, yet? Oh I am so sorry your waiting has to be so long, I would go mad! I hope this post (although only virtually) brought some relief to your expectance. Summer had officially started to bully me here…

      • Well I spoke too soon – one rose has started to flower – ‘Kew Gardens’. But most of the rest are still tight in bud waiting for some sun! So it was nice to see yours looking to colourful – just a shame we could not smell
        them.

  3. The roses are lovely….perfect, in fact! Mine are all bare for the winter. I love the rose and salvia/berberis combinations. They are very striking

    • Hey! You can enjoy rose hips now and maybe start thinking of pruning. I just fear that berberis will soon phagocytize the entire rose… x ottawensis in not really the little plant I’d expected when I got it…

  4. I realize it’s been some time since I visited your place and I have to say, “Wow!” The changes and growth are astounding! Paradise it is! Hope all is well.

    • Hi Kevin! What a pleasure to meet you again! The garden starts to be more mature now and settled. I must admit I am clearing it up a little bit because it was too crowdy!

  5. You have created quite a haven. Roses don’t work for me (deer and black spot won out) so it is wonderful to see how they’re done properly.

    • Thank you Susie! I have friends struggling with deers too and I know they could be very annoying indeed. I only have to fight an olympic team of moles here… As for blackspot and such maybe my climate is different but I only treat my roses twice a year with Bordeax mixture: when they start leafing and when they start dropping leaves (in this case I also spray the dry leaves on the ground).

  6. We had a hot spell just as my roses began so they were over quickly. Today it is suddenly really hot! The later roses, Vielchenblau fpr instance has been flowering well for longer than usual. But really roses don’t like my soil and I had thought of removing them, they flower for less time than the Irises and take up more space and don’t even look great when they’re not in flower.

    • Yesterday Summer had arrived here too! Maybe you shall try china/tea roses that looks good even in hot dry climates or indian roses (bred by Viru Viraraghavan) that are selected from native indian roses (mostly r. gigantea and r. clinophylla crosses) particularly suitable for hot summers and dry soils. It is something I want to try too, you have the italian reseller not far from your place…

  7. You are well into summer glories there Alberto– Lovely! I like seeing the plants we share– gaura, the rose Jude, hollyhocks… I’m thinking you need to become an artist and paint your gardens, dogs and all. And please give my best regards to your mother next time she calls.

    • I couldn’t paint anything close to the beauty Nature can ‘paint’ on its own. I can only stare in awe and snap a picture when the camera has some battery on… Jude the Obscure is soooo scented this year, I’d say the most scented rose in my garden and it frets me since I am not a big fan of David Austin’s “cabbage” roses!
      Mum said hello, too. She called me the second I sat down with my dish of pasta and wanted to know all about you, your time-travels, your real travels, your Westie and all your imaginary friends… 🙂

  8. I was wondering how Ca’ Rossa was doing… absolutely fine, as we can see! Compliments!

  9. It’s all looking fabulous. What a treat it must be to come home and take a rest on that seat in the courtyard. Christina introduced me to gaura and, miraculously, it seems to have survived the winter here and is about to bloom. Your does better though!

    • Thank you, Mrs. Duck! 🙂
      I love that seat too, it’s a perfect vantage point to see my garden, under a light shadow provided by the nearby birch.
      As for gauras, mine are self seeding in the gravel like mad! I move the seedlings from time to time or just weed kill them to keep the courtyard… a courtyard! I guess gaura enjoys dry soils and warm climate, maybe try to find the hottest spot in your beautiful garden for her: it’s a great plant!

    • Scotty, you haven’t planted a rose, yet? Fool! Well I guess you haven’t a spare inch of free soil in your garden now, but you should try a rose sooner or later… (God! I am the one that normally say this about grasses to people!!!)

  10. A very fine read and a splendid walk through your Paradise garden, I’ll say. Thanks for encouraging the pruning in your earlier post, it helped a lot…..but the results in your own hands have been superb. Bravo! (I hope your mother is listening in.) I liked the effect the fireflies had most of all.

    • I guess you are more on the Hell ‘side’ then, often the funniest for naughty lads! LOL
      Thanks for your comment and for you support! Most of times I wish my mum wasn’t listening at all, indeed! 😉

  11. So beautiful!! I cut down another rose yesterday because I can’t control the blackspot in our humid climate without using harmful chemicals, which I refuse to do. I would love to have the roses you do.

  12. Wonderful images of a delightful garden! I love the effect of mature shrub roses allowed to reach billowy maturity. Rosa New Dawn is very popular here, too. I had to laugh at the way your Paradise gave way to the fireflies of Hell!

  13. It’s great to see the garden looking so good – all your hard work certainly paid off ! (I realise this post was written in June but I’ve been away from blogging and am catching up with everyone’s news

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