ROSE GARDENING Feed

Cecile Brunner, the Sweetheart Rose

 

Cecile Brunner must be the most popular climbing rose in California. She's readily available at nurseries, and in the Bay Area where I live, glorious mounds fill freeway beds, and long canes grace pergolas in city parks. In neighborhoods you may find her neat and tidy on an arch in the garden, or wantonly devouring garages and sheds.

 

Cecile Brunner Pergola_5

Cecile Brunner is fragrant, flexible, powerful, and ever-changing. The effulgence of a generous heart seems an apt description. Year after year, in my garden, she was a showstopper reflecting the nuances of that year's pruning and the always evolving shade pattern from a huge silver maple overhead. This image is from 2005.

 

Cecile brunner rose harvest

Cecile became a favorite photographic muse and treasured garden focal point.

 

Carolyn Parker holding a Cecile Brunner rose

The story begins in 1990 and this gardener's dreams of a gorgeous arch blooming with tiny pink charmers, or as they are fondly known–sweethearts. Two plants purchased in 3-inch band pots took only one year to meet at the top. 

 

Cecile Brunner Rose

Two years later, the rose appeared mature and resplendent in my first book, The Poetry of Roses. In 1995, the metal arch buckled and had to be propped up by two-by-fours! Four years later, a sturdy pergola, worthy of our Cecile, finally offered years of wonder and joy.

My photo archives are brimming with each year's progress–here are three: the first is from 2014, then comes 2017, and finally 2018. 

 

Cecile Brunner Arch 14

Cecile Brunner Arbor 17

Cecile Brunner on an Arbor

 

Below, as always, I love to show you glam shots of the blooming beauties. In the first image, a harvest of panicles (a group or cluster of flowers on a stem) in tied posies. The bouquets in the next two shots were created at Cecile's peak moments that particular spring. An Indian silk chiffon shawl inspired a lie-in for the last shot. Roses love to pose.

 

Cecile Brunner Bouquets

 

Cecile Brunner in small brass vase

 

Cecile Brunner in porcelain vase

 

Cecile Brunner on silk chiffon shawl

 

Growth Habit and Care

Cecile has sharp thorns and is extremely vigorous. Unless you have unlimited space where the twenty foot climber can grow wild, or you have an old building you want to camouflage, this rose requires no-nonsense pruning by a strong person wearing sturdy leather gloves, who can work on a ladder and make cut after cut with arms raised.

How to prune Cecile Brunner roses

Our sturdy pergola was built in 2001. Shown here a few years later, Cecile is  looking tidy after a big pruning. However, as you can see from the shots above she eventually got away from our control as the top growth got higher and higher.

I love to change pruning styles from year to year. Some years, I let the canes droop down in big swags, and other years they would be cut as short as possible for a more compact look.

 

Cecile Brunner Shrub

The original shrub grew no taller than five feet and was named Mlle Cécile Brunner.  It was hybridized in 1881 at the Ducher nursery in France, and named after the daughter of a Swiss nurseryman. When the shrub found its way to California, one of the canes grew out eight feet, was cloned and became the climbing variety, which is formally named Climbing Cecile Brunner. If you go to helpmefind.com, you'll find many more varieties.

Above, the shrub form is shown in my former garden. In 1976 she was lifted from her garden bed of many years and moved to two more homes, moved again in this garden three more times, and now crowded by salvia and receiving little water, is still blooming and giving love through her depth of beauty 48 years later. Says something about longevity doesn't it.

Both the climber and the shrub are disease-resistant, and  shade tolerant from zone 5 to zone 10. I've never seen blackspot or mildew on them and as-a-matter-of-fact, nasty insects stay away as well–a charmed life!

 

Cecile Brunner in big vase

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I hope you enjoyed this post. Please don't be shy–introduce yourselves, I'd love to hear from you. If you grow Cecile Brunner let us know your experience and where you live.

 


Spring '16 Just Before the Big Bloom

 

Rouletii-&-M-Tillier-Roses

The garden continues to be in fat bud stage, except for a few Tea roses that are now in full bloom – Monsieur Tillier looked like this yesterday. That's Rouletii overhead. I shot this and all the rest of the images in this post with my iPhone 6s. There is something so appealing about the phone's mobility. This shot would have been hard to come by with my big Canon.

 

Monsieur-Tillier-b

Here's another shot of the darling Monsieur.

 

Rose-Garden-from-Outside-Fence

This view is from outside the deer fence. With all that land how could I not continue to plant roses and hope for the best? M. Tillier back there actually is guarded with wire fencing, which handily is not showing in the photo. That's the mighty wanderer James Mason in the foreground.

 

Gilbert-Nabonnand-Rose

This is Tea, Gilbert Nabonnand, who is a tallish sprawler in my garden. It's been blooming for a few weeks now and I've made many bouquets. Gilbert is planted outside wire fencing – deer rarely munch it.

 

Melianthus

And last but not least. I'm very proud of this gorgeous melianthus, not the typical rose garden companion, but so very wild and fun. I cut it to the ground yearly and it comes back full force every time. Happy spring to you all!

  


Pink Rose Memories

 

Imagine an adventurous and hot day in the glorious Sacramento Old City Cemetery Rose Garden shooting hundreds of pictures (this was in April 2015), and then a seventy mile drive home with two best flower friends. It must have been about 5:00 pm when Susan and I dropped Mary at her doorstep. Mary cheerily invited us to hop out of the car and take a tour of  her garden. 

Spring-Blossoms-&-Roses

Weary me was less than enthusiastic, though I did pause long enough to shoot Mary's pretty side yard on our way to the rosebeds in the back garden.

 

Small-pink-single-roses

But then I perked right up when I saw this powder pink rambler by the back gate.

 

Sparrieshoop-rose

And when the perfect blooms of Sparrieshoop, in the same color palette, presented herself I was at full attention with my camera. The opportunity to frame these blooms on a patch of lime feverfew was good too.

 

Christopher-Marlowe

Then the joy of zooming in on the button center of Christopher Marlowe . . .

 

Color-magic-rose

only to find Color Magic was waiting for me, a few yards away.

 

 

Blush-Peony

 

Mary has a number of (hard to grow where we live) peonies. Don't you love the blush on this one?

 

Spent-peony

And how about this graceful farewell? I relish catching shots like this.

Thanks so much for the tour Mary and the fabulous photo op!

 

BACK AT HOME 


Pink-Zinnia

The pretty pinks followed me . . .

 

Elephant-and-Pink-Rose

even into the house.

 

Pink-knitting-yarn

 

I just loved all these pictures when I first saw them and looked forward to making a post here. It was amazing to get so many good shots in such a short time (especially after a day of intensive shooting in Sacramento). It's almost been a year and hopefully its never too late. Let me know what you think. That is my daughter Anna's knitting with yarn she purchased at the amazing Webster's in Ashland, Oregon.

 

Pink-Rose-Blog-Post 


To Fertilize Your Roses or Not

Tired roses, just before winter pruning, always look like they'll need lots of care and feeding before they bounce back come spring.

Hot-to-fertilize-roses

However, the natural regernerative forces that take place during dormancy are truly a marvel–I'm always awestruck by the power of growth.  

Fertilizing-roses

This is how the roses looked this weekend. I've never seen so many buds; these belong to White Masterpiece.

Paquerette-rose

I thought what will a little fertilizer mean when there is such an abundance of energy swirling in all those buds (this is Paquerette)? For years, my garden has received homemade compost, mulch, and fertilizer before bloom time. This year, I'm going to let nature take care of the roses.

Rose-buds

Truth is, the powerful forces at work during spring will even give healthy, beautiful blooms to a poorly cared for rose. I've always known this, so I wonder why I never thought to forgo that first feeding when my soil was usually in good shape? I didn't realize needless "rose rules" still had a hold on me. The beauties above are Winchester Cathedral.

Rose-bud

So all I can say is, wow, I'm happy not to fertilize! 

Green-rose-bud

When I give rose talks, the first questions are inevitably about fertilizer. My answer is simply, "Feed your soil, not your roses." Composting and mulching are the keys to healthy soil. This is not to say I will stop fertilizing altogether. I think this year I will give them a boost after the first bloom, and that will be it, along with a little mulch from our silver maple.

For information on composting, click here, and here's something about mulching in the garden, click

Safrano-tea-rose

This is Safrano, a Tea rose enjoying much needed rain.