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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Everything's coming up roses - for me. ~ Ethel Merman

Welcome to my blog, and garden.  Also, welcome to my friends from Sisterhood Stories.  If you have time today, please follow the blog links through "Sisterhood Stories." These are my talented and creative friends, and we link our blogs together.  After you have visited here, please visit Sue at

In the flower bed in front of my house,  I was originally inspired to create a "mini version" of Claude Monet's, Giverny Rose Garden.  I planted a variety of roses in different sizes, colors, and species, with hopes that my flowers would give an impressionist impression.

This is Claude Monet's Garden at Giverny (photo credit shogunangel at flickr)

Here's another view of Monet's Rose Garden, I would so love to visit. (photo credit Valeria)

This is a video link to Monet's Garden; notice he lived to 86, one of the benefits gardening:

This year, I'm in the mood to streamline my flowers, and create a more "tidy" garden styling.  My goal this January is to take out the multi-colored roses I've have had for years, and replace them with one type of rose, on the picket fence.  I'm leaning toward getting roses from the David Austin catalogue.

David Austin Roses are show stoppers.  They're great subjects for photographers, and gardeners.  I just wonder if they will thrive in my California garden?  If you want to swoon, I've pinned some stunning David Austin Roses.  They are divine in the garden, and equally amazing when cut.

At other times, when I'm feeling more sensible, I want to choose tried and true, disease resistant roses.  Being a creative type, things might change after I visit the nursery.  At the moment, I'm leaning towards pink roses on the picket fence.

In Southern California, January is the time to prune your roses. Then, it's time to look around your garden, and see if you want to make some changes, especially if those changes involve roses.  January is a great month to purchase bare root roses. They tend to be easier to plant, and thrive well, after they take hold in the garden. I'm going to look for bare root roses in pink.

Possibly in this bright pink shade:

Or in this pale pink shade:

Or in a darker pink shade:

A garden designer told me his favorite roses on a picket fence in Southern California are blushing pink iceberg roses.  These floribunda roses are bushy, healthy and bloom repeatedly, nearly all year round.

They're not ideal for cutting...

…but they are certainly stylish on a picket fence. (photo credit whowhatwhen??? at flickr)

Meanwhile, my current roses are trimmed completely back, and look like bare root roses.  It's time to make a choice, get the shovel, and plant away.

What are your favorite roses?  Remember to visit Sue at and follow the links from blog to blog for a journey of Sisterhood Stories.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Garden as though you will live forever. ~ William Kent

Today I want to welcome an international group of my talented photographer friends who I've had the pleasure of knowing for several years.  We link our blogs together, creating Sisterhood Stories.  Please follow the links and enjoy a magical journey around blog land and the world.  You will be pleased you did. After you've visited her, please pop over to see my friend Sue

January in Southern California, is a month when you can expect to see beautiful camellia's blooming in the gardens.   I'm very fortunate to live in a 60 year old home, where someone had the forethought to plant these gorgeous flowering shrubs known as camellia japonica's.  In gardening history, they were refered to as the "Japan Rose."

Camellia shrubs grow very slowly, and thanks to the age of the camellia shrubs in my garden, they are very large and abundant.  

Southern California is home to Descanso Garden's, which has the largest collection of camellia plants outside of Japan, and likely the oldest camellia plants in the United States.  If you want to experience gorgeous blooms, and a large variety, please do visit this month. 

Descanso's Annual Camellia Festival is coming up soon. 
February 8 and 9, 2014 at Descanso Gardens

By the way, did you make New Year's Resolutions this year?  I plan on joining a new gardening club. The health benefits of gardening are undeniable.  My friends from my original gardening club, called "The Gardeneer's" lived extremely long and productive lives. Many of them have gone on to garden in the great beyond, but most of them were in their late 90's and even 100+.  

Thank you for stopping by, and please remember to visit the links for Sisterhood Stories, first stopping by to Sue

Happy New Year!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Write on your heart that every day is the best day in the year. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Happy 2014!

May each day of this year, be your best.

A Calendar for Growing Flowers in Coastal Southern California


This is the month we sharpen our pruning tools, and get out a good pruning book and study it.  Roses and fuchsias especially need pruning.  The South Coast Botanic Garden usually schedules pruning demonstrations on Sundays in January and February.

January is the month you find certain bare root plants in your nursery that will not be there any other month.  Bare root plants are easier and cheaper to ship and sell.  Wise gardeners shop early to get a good selection and get them planted before they dry out. Among the bare root plants available (often this month only) are: roses, grapes, flower fruit trees, Bechtel crabapple, asparagus, artichokes, rhubarb, and deciduous trees. Apricots do very well here and tree ripened fruit is extra good. Strawberries, and we hear that other berries,  grow well here. Remember Knott's!!  If you are planning a garden with edibles, be sure to keep it separate from flowers if you use systemic sprays.  Be careful that any sprays you use are safe for edibles.

Speaking of edibles, sometime in the Spring plant some beet seeds and don't harvest the beets - pick and use the leaves like spinach.  Used this way, you will have a continuing harvest for several years.  For two people, 20 ft. will give you a meal a week, very easily.

Roses are still blooming, but before the month is out, you must plan to prune them, clean away all of the old mulch, and take all the old leaves off.  Start them afresh by giving them a good spray with a lime sulphur solution.  Buy new bushes now, too.  There will be rose pruning demonstrations at many places this month.

Roses give many repeat blooms here.  They can be fed and the insects repelled by applying systemic     granules every six weeks. Then the only other care would be to spray weekly in the month of May for mildew.  Roses are heavy feeders and need deep watering.  They repay with a mass of roses every six weeks.  Chose mildew free varieties.  Consult neighbors and nurserymen for the most mildew resistant plants in your area.

Fuchsias should be fed blood meal when pruned, but just on top of the ground.  1T per basket, and 1 heaping T per foot of height if in the ground.

Ivy should be cut back now.

Try some delphiniums late this month.  Protect from birds and snails.

Feed the slugs and snails something lethal.

Dahlias can be dug and stored, especially if drainage is poor.  Some gardeners, including myself, leave them in for years, with excellent results.

Prune Spring flower shrubs after they bloom.

You will start your tuberous begonias next month so you might order now if you send away for them.  Local nurseries will be getting them soon.  Get some oak leaf mold to have on hand to start them.  Shade is recommended, but I found I was able to grow them in full sun right up until the second hot spell in September.  Snails love them so much that growing in baskets or pots is much better than in the ground.  Try them, you'll love them.

Cut mums to the ground.  Plant Glads till March.

Fertilize spring annuals, potted plants, clivia, ferns and primroses.

Continue to feed Cymbidiums hi-nitrogen til July.

Hydrangeas should be pruned if you want it low and bushy.

Late February is the best time to prune fuchsias.  It is a good idea to have them free of mites by then.  They will start the new year squeaky clean.

The Fuchsia Fan recommends an improved method:

Day 1.   Vlock oil, 1 tsp. per gallon
Day 2.   Cooks garden insect spray with Thiodan, 2 tbsp. per gallon.
Day 3.   Rest

Repeat three times.  Thereafter use one or the other one time each month and that should control them.

©Florence Sullivan 1986