Thursday, December 25, 2014

christmas "roses"

 'Jacob' has reached his full glory just in time for Christmas. Perfect timing for Helleborus niger, the "Christmas rose."

 I used to wonder why all the fuss about Helleborus niger when I was growing up in California, as there were all sorts of things blooming at that time. Here in zone 7, where there is little blooming at this time of year, this plant is a joy. It's a bit of challenge in this climate, though, since it suffers if it gets much direct sun at all, and doesn't like the heat of summer.

 'Jacob' is my best plant of the Christmas rose. 'Joseph Lemper' is also starting to bloom, but since I bought it as such a small plant, there are only a couple of flowers on it, not much in comparison to 'Jacob', and 'Nell Lewis' has hardly grown at all, with no flowers.

 'Glamis Castle' has held on to its last flowers long enough to appreciate today, thanks to being in a pot and being brought into the garage every night.

 Although starting to get blown.

The rosemaries are blooming in a scattering of sky blue. Well, not really sky blue. New Mexico skies are much more intense than this.

Not "roses," but other plants to comment upon today.

 Campanula rotundifolia still holds onto its last flowers despite 22F temperatures. Primarily because the flowers are pressed up against the glass sliding doors.

 The last bits of flowers on salvia 'May Night'

 Kale 'Red Winter' colored up a bit, with the first frost. I'm bummed that this year wasn't a good year for kale. Such a struggle getting them started in August for some reason.

The Christmas cactus was relegated to the wash room since this is the only room that is bright enough to support plant life, and doesn't get much artificial lighting at night. I didn't make the mistake of leaving the light on by accident like I did last year, which made all the flowers drop off.

Monday, December 22, 2014

landscape architect/model

Who would have guessed that a fashion company would use a landscape architect as part of their image creation?


Along with "Philanthropist Topaz Green, Ballerina Jessica Saund, Blogger and Baker Iskra, Meatball Shop Maestro Michael Chernow, Artistic Director Janet Eilber, Independent Filmaker Lucas McGowen, Yoga Guru Taura Stiles." I guess that explains it. Weird that they have people speaking in the third person. Comes off as kind of stilted and arrogant.

Which makes me a bit surprised to see that his design work is not bad.
And extra surprised to see that he's a model for J. Crew. The life that some people lead. If I'm looking a bit green, it's the all the gardening I've been doing. Really. 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

glamis castle

'Glamis Castle' is a rose that I bought on reputation alone. I'd never actually seen the flowers in person, nor smelled it. Some people love the fragrance, some hate it. Passionately. When the first flower bloomed, I took a sniff and got a strong hit of mothball. The new stems that formed also were incredibly thorny. I almost tossed the plant. But because this rose is supposed to tolerate heat, I kept it, in a pot.

I've been moving the pot into the garage at night, so the last few buds have opened up. The fragrance is still odd, but it has lost the mothball fragrance, and is now enjoyable. I like the cupped flower form and soft color. I may just change my mind about 'Glamis Castle'.

Thursday, December 11, 2014


 Just as the very last of the Crocus speciosus is fading, Helleborus niger 'Jacob' is opening. Perfect!

Crocus speciosus
 'Joseph' is just about ready to open.

'Champion' is still in the bud stage. It should last until spring.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

glamis castle

Since it is in a pot, I've been taking 'Glamis Castle' in at night, which has been in the 20's.  Still the flower has browned edges. Not much of the mothball fragrance, though, which is a good thing.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

after the freeze

Dahlias are done.

Fig is finished.

Vitex is vanquished.

But 'Old Blush still has a few blooms. 

As does Campanula rotundifolia.   

 'Gorizia' rosemary started blooming when the weather cooled and is still going.

 The "Home Depot" rosemary still has a few. 

 'Monch' is still cranking out a few flowers.


One last flower on the geranium (is it 'Rozanne'?). Then again, it was probably the only flower on it all year. 

Crocus speciosus is still going strong, but looks like this will soon be the end. 

'Iceberg' roses still with a few looking okay, but the most looking droopy and sad.

Some fall foliage. Too bad I missed photographing the peak of the sumacs. But Ceratostigma plumbaginoides is in its glowing stage. 

Heuchera 'Green Spice' always looking good. 

Oklahoma redbud has some color to it this year. Maybe my observations last year were not entirely correct.

But it is still not a particularly showy coloration.

The Texas redbuds are not as showy this year, at least not so far.

The biggest excitement was noticing that 'Jacob' hellebore is starting its show. Perfect. Just when the Crocus speciosus is finishing. I love it when a plan comes together. Now all I need is something that will bloom in February/March. Hmm, Iris unguicularis?

'Joseph Lemper' is also putting out a flower or two, next to the cyclamen foliage. Note to self: hellebores grow slowly. I got 'Jacob' in a 2 gallon, and 'Jacob' in a 4" pot. It's worth getting the larger plants.

I bought this as Helleborus x ericsmithii 'Champion' but it was from Lowes, and some were labelled 'Jacob' although they were clearly not Helleborus niger. I'll see what it looks like when it blooms, but the leaves are consistent with x ericsmithii.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

freeze tonight

With the weather forecast predicting 22F temperatures tonight, the rose blossoms are going to turn to mush. So I cut them all (headlamps out in the garden) and placed them in a bowl where they are scenting the kitchen. I pretty much shredded the flowers as I tried to arrange them in a bowl anyway, the flowers being very heavy with not much stems.

Earlier today:
I hope the do well next year.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

crocus speciosus

 I love Crocus speciosus. The first time I saw it was in a garden in Santa Fe, and the flowers were just glowing in the late afternoon sunlight. They were like magic, an unexpected color for fall, with delicacy and luminosity.

I find that luminosity and charm very hard to capture in a photograph, what is so apparent in real life.

When I took out the grass in the courtyard, I debated about whether or not to plant the cracks between the flagstone, and decided not to. You see how well that plan worked out. I saw the Crocus speciosus for sale, and I knew immediately where they had to go.

Here they are, catching the light coming through the gate.  
Popping up like magic.

Delicacy and boldness in one. 

 I find them beautiful up close as well as from a distance.

I planted 60 of them. I hope they are happy and multiply.

Monday, November 3, 2014

origanum dictamnus

One of the last plants that I rushed to transplant from the old garden is Origanum dictamnus, Dittany of Crete. Yes, that dittany, of which Hermione used essence of dittany to heal Ron's injuries in The Deathly Hallows.

It's still a tiny plant, but at least it survived and produced quite a long season of blooms in the usual oregano style of layered bracts. I may change my nickname of this plant to "Rattlesnake Plant".