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.
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.
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.
It's made an outlandish contrast with everblooming Limonium perezii. A jarring blast of color for grey winter days.
Soon there will be the narcissus. I carefully and thoroughly dug them all out last year. Obviously not thoroughly enough, because many are back.
Then there are the Aloes. A. greatheadii is just starting to bloom.
greatheadii makes a loose ground cover rather than a clump. The rosettes seem to space themselves out. The flower is--okay--nice enough.
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.
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.
A. vanbaleni is quite a showoff
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.
A. marlothii prepares, A. ferox in the background is already fading.
Compare this view of A. marlothii from 2/5...
...to this one of 1/26...
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.
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.