Clematis Update, and Rosa 'Laguna' Preview

Clematis 'Wisley':
Clematis 'Wisley'

Clematis update:  most of them are displaying their big spring show:  Jackmanii, 'Perle d'Azur, Viola, Etoile Violette, Rhapsody, Wisley, Huldine, even C. languinosa 'Candida' and 'The President', which seems to loathe Southern California. I've struggled to grow several different copies of 'The President'.  All but one struggle to attain a height of oh...three inches, and produce, perhaps, a single flower every other year.  My best copy of 'The President' now has a huge flush of 3 flowers and is a staggering 3 feet tall.   Progress!  Oh well, that's gardening. 

A few other Clematis are still growing or just developing buds:  'Venosa Violacaea', 'Bagatelle', 'Hagley Hybrid', 'Polish Spirit'.  I'll post pictures of those when they bloom.  'Hagley Hybrid' is sometimes called 'Pink Chiffon'.  What's wrong with the name 'Hagley Hybrid'?  It's honest and straightforward.  As I recall the story, a British estate gardener found an unknown Clematis growing at the Hagley estate, liked the plant, and spread the wealth around, as gardeners do, by passing around cuttings or rootlings.  It was simply known as the Hagley hybrid.  I like that. It's so British.  It reminds me of the road called 'The London Road', because it is the road that goes to yes, London.  The British have this habit of calling something what it is, but then pronouncing it funny.  Like "Southwark" in London is pronounced something like "Suh-thuck".  I remember telling people about getting lost and ending up in South Wark.  The puzzled looks were priceless.  But I digress. 

Clematis 'Jackmanii' with rose 'Fourth Of July'
Clematis 'Jackmanii'

Clematis 'Viola'
Clematis 'Viola'

Clematis 'Etoile Violette'
Clematis 'Etoile Violette'

Clematis 'Perle d'Azur':
Clematis 'Perle d'Azur'

Clematis 'Perle d'Azur':

Clematis 'Perle d'Azur'

'Perle d'Azur' is my favorite, because of it's gorgeous lavender-blue color.  Note:  it's lavender-blue, not blue.  There are not blue clematis in the way that delphiniums are blue, and the sky is blue. The bluest of the Clematis are lavender-blue.  I've been wanting to compare the color of 'Perle d'Azur' with Geranium 'Jolly Bee' and Geranium 'Rozanne' to see if they are the same color.  Close, but not quite.  The Geraniums are a touch lighter, and a touch bluer--though they too are lavender-blue, not blue, because Geraniums are not any more blue than Clematis are.  They skirt the edge. 

'Perle d'Azur', though it is my favorite, must make way a little for her new companion, a 'Laguna' climbing rose that I planted in 2008.  'Laguna' (Kordes, 2004, introduced in the US in 2008) produced only a couple of flowers that first year.   It spent most of its time growing several big new basal stems, strong, spiked, and about 12 feet (3.6 meters) long.  Because of all the strong growth that first year, I expected a modest but impressive show of bloom in '09.  

I decided to get this variety neither because of photographs, (which is foolish), or gardener recommendations, (which is wise).  I got it because of a snippet of an interview with the Kordes CEO I read somewhere on the Internet.  He said something to the effect of:  "Laguna is going to make us a pile of money!"  He didn't use those words, but that was the effect, and I got the strong feeling that this was going to be a must-have rose.  I instantly wanted it. 

2009 arrived, and 'Laguna' produced a whopping two flowers.  Uh oh.  Did it dislike my garden's lack of winter chill?  'Laguna' spent 2009 growing several additional 12 foot long basal canes.  The '08 canes produced several longish lateral branches, each about 6-8 feet long.  Lots of growth.  Strong growth with nasty hooked prickles that dig into your arms and don't let go.  Glossy foliage, also armed with nasty hooks.   And two flowers.  Uh oh. 

2010 arrived.  'Laguna' leafed out slowly.  No sign of buds.  It began to grow laterals from every single leaf break on those big 12' canes and from the 6-8' laterals shooting from them.  Two more big new basals began shooting skyward from the base of the plant.  More new basals and no flowers, More huge laterals and no flowers?!?  Yikes!  'Laguna' was getting big and I was getting worried.  March and not a single flower bud!  A rose that doesn't bloom is outta this garden--and digging out this rose was going to be a nasty job.

Those worries vanished.  The dozens of laterals stayed short, and became tipped with several flower buds each.  All of a sudden 'Laguna' was loaded, loaded, loaded with buds.  It is just now starting to bloom, a couple of months later than most of my other roses.  But apparently she'll be worth the wait.  She's going to give 'Perle d'Azur' some competition in the beauty department.

Rosa 'Laguna', just begining to bloom:
Rosa 'Laguna'

Several people have reported that roses grafted on multiflora rootstock don't do well in Southern California.  Multiflora rootstock requires acidic soil and steadier moisture.  'Laguna' is on multiflora rootstock.  Does it look like its struggling? 

I'll post some (okay, maybe many) pictures of it when its in full flush.   Should be awwwwwesome! 

Rosa 'Laguna

One of the first 'Laguna' flowers, just starting to open:
Rosa 'Laguna'

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