Roses vs. Aloes

'Evelyn':
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Finally, I seem to be making progress on the rose pruning.  The easy ones are the classic Hybrid Teas.  They have four or six main canes.  I cut them down to about four feet (122 cm) and I'm done.  The foliage is usually gone to that height and I'm done in 5 minutes and on to the next plant.  In contrast, the moderate sized (6' x 4', 1.8 m x 1.2 m) Austins seem to take forever.  Their growth is twiggy, close-packed, and the foliage is mostly all still on.  I spend as much time untangling myself from the prickles as I do stripping foliage or clipping off the tiniest and oldest growth, and am lucky to get two roses done in three hours. 
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I prefer to take all the old foliage off.  It seems to reduce the amount of Rust the following year.  The hedge of 'Ambridge Rose', for example, was drenched with rust by this time several years ago.  This year, just touches of it developing here and there.  Very few rose flowers left, but the winter Aloes are in full bloom.  What did I do for flowers in winter before the Aloes? 

This pink dwarf Lavender is one of the first plants I put in twelve years ago.  Not this particular plant--one of its descendents.  This one reseeds itself just enough to give me a new copy every couple of years.  I pull out the old one and enjoy the new one.  
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Metrosideros 'Springfire' is putting on a great show for a new shrub.  I planted it last spring.  Eventually a slightly weeping patio-sized tree, for now it's a dense rounded shrub.
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It's made an outlandish contrast with everblooming Limonium perezii.  A jarring blast of color for grey winter days.
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Soon there will be the narcissus.  I carefully and thoroughly dug them all out last year.  Obviously not thoroughly enough, because many are back.
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Then there are the Aloes.  A. greatheadii is just starting to bloom.
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greatheadii makes a loose ground cover rather than a clump.  The rosettes seem to space themselves out.  The flower is--okay--nice enough.
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Its proven handy for those spots on the slope that get absolutely zero summer water.  The Opuntia behind it looks stressed and toasty come August, but A. greatheadii still looks good.  
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A. capitata has seed pods this year.  I assume any plants would be hybrids because there are so many other Aloes in bloom nearby.  The bees were at this one in force.
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A. vanbaleni is quite a showoff
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A. cooperi is a new plant I got at 50% off right after Christmas.  It's one of the grass Aloes and is a late spring into summer bloomer.  New foliage is appearing.
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A. marlothii prepares, A. ferox in the background is already fading.
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Compare this view of A. marlothii from 2/5...
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...to this one of 1/26...
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Lastly, 'Blue Glow' has developed a bit more towards blooming.  The original center of the plant is now off to once side, and side buds are creating new rosette like shapes, from which will eventually sprout secondary bloom stems.   
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I hope to get back to more normal blogging soon.  Gardening is interfering with garden blogging, which is an entirely good thing.  Better out with the plants than lost in the Internet maze.  I need to finish the roses!  And the mulch!  And the moving of a few things.  And the drizzly December has produced a lot of weeds on the slope.  Winter is so hectic here.  The house is a mess.  Puppies are filthy.  Time to wrestle with income tax forms.  Gaaaaack!  Looking forward to summer, which consists of sitting in the shade tossing food pellets to the koi.  I hope. 


Comments

  1. How is it that after all these years of reading your blog I am still just blown away by the plants you're growing. They are amazing...you live in my version of botanical paradise and have excellent plant taste! (notice I'm not disparaging the roses...)

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  2. Hoover Boo, I was relieved when I read the time that it takes you to prune the Austin Roses. I was pruning my tall 'Piere de Ronsard' shrub roses and my Climbing Icebergs and it took me approximately 2 hours per rose, with de-leaving. Thought that this is crazy, but I couldn't do it any faster. Maybe it is just normal!
    Christina

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    1. Maybe it is normal. That's a relief. Glad I'm not the only one.

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  3. As one who doesn't grow many roses, and only climbers and "shrub" types when I do, what would happen if you didn't prune yours? Would they just get bigger than you'd like them to be, or would there be other consequences?

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    1. Consequences...they would get really big; some of them would fall over; over several seasons a dead thatch would build up hidden by a thin layer of new growth.

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  4. I hope to get the rest of my roses pruned this weekend..it seems like I've been working on it for months! The Austins, HT's , floribundas and assorted olds are done, it's the climbers that await. Your Aloes remind me that it's time to head up to UC Berkeley Botanic with the camera. Maybe if I'm a good girl and get all the roses finished this weekend ??

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    1. I think you are further ahead than I. The climbers await here as well--the worst for last. I'm sure you are always good, so get thee to UCBB! :)

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  5. Glad that you're having fun(?) gardening right now while we cold and soggy souls to the north of you are only dreaming aobut it! So many beautiful plants in your garden!

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    1. Yes it is fun, with the puppies napping or playing nearby, the hawks turning circles in the sky above, the scent of lavender and sage, and hummingbirds zipping precisely past.

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  6. I love the flower habit of that Aloe, beautiful. Also, may i know the ID of the branching succulent at the back of your 2nd to the last photo? It has orangy-reddish growths. Is it Euphorbia ferucalli?

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    1. Pretty much, yes. Euphorbia turucalli, "Sticks On Fire" is the common name.

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  7. My 3 David Austin roses are just one year old so pruning them this year took 20 second each. I guess it will take a few years till they get to the size you are describing! I must admit I am soooo jealous of where you live and the climate you have. I am freezing my bum off even with 4 layers of clothes every time I am out in the garden these days, this cold period has now lasted for 4 weeks and there is no end to it. We have minus 2-3 to plus 5 or so (Celsius) and with a biting wind you can only get in London near the Thames River, which makes it ten times colder. Any chance for a house swap for a month or two? I’ll prune some roses for you ;-)

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    1. Oh my gosh yes, let's house swap. Seriously! You'd have to walk the puppies every day, though. Willing to do that?

      Hope London warms up, and that we get rain.

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    2. Hmmm...I can prune roses, but I am not good at walking, I have been on two crutches for years. That's why I have a cat and not a dog anymore, my cat walks himself :-) But your climate would do me just fine. We are expecting snow next week...ugh.

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    3. Oh, I must apoligize. I am sorry--did not mean to be insensitive. I did not know. Yes, some rain today, but sunny for the whole week ahead. Hope the snow is not too bad for you. Spring soon!

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    4. Oh, that's perfectly all right! No need to apologize! It's funny you know, how we get to know certain parts of our blogging friend's lifes, but absolutely nothing about other parts :-) I tend to leave out the medical stuff most of the time, I'd much rather talk about my garden - so no wonder you didn't know.

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    5. Isn't that the truth. I have a friend I've known for years and could not tell you anything about him except exactly what roses he grows, has grown in the past, and which ones do best. Might not even recognize him on the street, either. There is so much to say about plants we never get around to any other subject.

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