Previous month:
July 2009
Next month:
September 2009

August 2009

Companions Plants for Roses– let's do pink


“Can you name good companion plants for roses?” Someone in the audience invariably asks me that at the end of a rose talk. I always laugh and tell them there’s not enough time. I should tell them that everything from abelia to zauschneria goes well with roses. Or, I could be more specific– from artemisa to aruncula– bamboo to babtisia– catmint to cactus . . .

Pamela Temple has the pale pink rose, ‘Blairii No. 2’, threading through tall yellow cypresses in her garden; a chic San Franciscan, on Geary, has red roses tip-toeing amongst his exotic collection of succulents and cactus; in my garden, a huge brown phormium and melianthus major cuddle with ‘Chevy Chase’ roses.

A few days ago, while watering the garden, this post idea came to me, but when I started planning it I soon realized it should be more than one post, and in color stages. Roses rule the garden here, but color defines the spaces. I’m going to start with the pink bed. It’s 8-feet deep and surrounds the front and one side of our home. 

Sedum-autumn-joySedum 'Autumn Joy', near 'Souvenir de la Malmaison', puts on an entertaining show throughout its growth span. It's nothing in the winter, but come spring its the prettiest pale green, it gets taller and taller, and then even paler green flower heads emerge and stay that way quite a while, until color begins to show, as you see here. By fall the color is much darker.  

NemesiaPink nemesia is a must with pink roses. Plants often live two years or more. Sheering the blooms several times a season keeps them compact.

Constance-spry+daisiesPink argeranthemum (daisy), was fun for a season, but not a staple for me. The rose is 'Constance Spry'.

Dianthus'Poulsen's Pearl' rose resides over dianthus on the left, geranium 'Mavis Simpson', more dianthus, and armeria (thrift) blooming, far right. The lovely mounded grey leaves of dianthus send me.

Geranium-mavis-simpsonHere's 'Mavis' again. This geranium doesn't heat-wilt and has beautiful emerald mounds when not in bloom (it usually is). Another pretty dianthus and a 'Heritage' rose smile at you.

AquilegiaAquilegia (columbine), in many colors threads it's way through all the roses in my garden. This might look a little messy, but I love it. The columbine fleurs are almost over and will soon be cut back, leaves and all. A pretty mound will regenerate before you know it. The rose is 'Constance Spry'.

WygeliaWygelia is the fab spring blooming shrub chumming with 'Hawkeye Belle' rose.

ValerianValerian taking a stand in Pamela Temple's beautiful garden. Sorry, can't remember the rose name. Are you there Pamela?

Heritage-pink-rose'Heritage' rose with a cloud of white phlox (it has a pink eye). Phlox is summer blooming and just keeps on if you cut off spent fleurs.

Why is everything pink? 

Well, it's a color garden and pink plants go with the pink roses here. Funny thing– first-time visitors don’t even notice, because all the colors are visible when you’re in the garden. I’m just going on and on here, but I want to mention a little something about the arty photo up top. You’ll notice just a few perennial companions show in the lower corner. My first choice for rose companions is always another rose, whether it be similar or quite different. Roses come in so many different sizes and shapes—but that’s another companion post.


Rose of the Week– 'Jennifer'


Oh how cute, sweet, adorable . . . Yes, it’s a miniature rose named ‘Jennifer’. I don’t have many minis, but I treasure the ones I do have.


I tend to think my little mini rose collection is the best of them. That’s silly, because there are hundreds of mini roses, and thousands of mini rose lovers. 

I did a google search for mini roses and found that Gardenweb has a really zippy mini rose forum. If you have questions, that’s the place to go. Seventy-two people sent in lists when “PurpleRoses” posted the question, “How many miniatures do you grow?” ‘Bees Knees’, ‘Jean Kenneally’, and ‘Lavender Crystal’ were on many lists – nobody listed ‘Jennifer’!

I don’t remember where or when I bought ‘Jennifer’, it seems she’s always been with me. I’d grown her in a pot for many years, and then one day I thought she might like to be in the ground. She holds her own as a nice, airy small shrub with a fairly continuous bloom cycle.




I have a dear niece named Jennifer who might like this post. Hi Jen!


A Friend's Inspiration


Who’d have thought a serious rose gardener (me) would be pushing paper roses? My Florali paper rose sits on a counter in my office and gives me endless pleasure. It’s a little work of art – a sculpture.

Recently, the paper rose maker, Susan Donley, blogged images of her new map roses, with the most beautiful quotes. I asked her if I could pass them on to you.

John Muir


This grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere; the dew is never all dried at once; a shower is forever falling; vapor ever rising. Eternal sunrise, eternal sunset, eternal dawn and gloaming, on seas and continents and islands, each in its turn, as the round earth rolls.  John Muir

Carl Sagan


At a few hundred kilometers altitude, the Earth fills half your sky, and the band of blue that stretches from A Mindanao to Bombay, which your eye encompasses in a single glance, can break your heart with its beauty. Home you think. Home. This is my world. This is where I come from. Everyone I know,
everyone I ever heard of, grew up down there, under that relentless and exquisite blue.
 ~Carl Sagan

A Gift


Susan made the rose above from a USGS section map. The map pinpoints the location of a cabin she and her husband, Tim, stayed in recently in the Trinity Mountains, near Weaverville, CA. The rose was a parting gift to the cabin’s owners.