Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The 'Darwin' Garden

My mom describes her late fall garden as a Darwin Garden - survival of the fittest. We both love to work in the flower beds, but about this time, we are a bit tired and figure it's time for them to take care of themselves a bit. I love fall - watching the leaves turn red, gold, and orange, but each year these are what take me by surprise:

These beauties know how to survive! I have to tell you that roses are one of my favorite flowers any time of the year, (my birth flower, after all) but fall roses seem to be such a lovely close to one season and greeting to the next. After the high temperatures have passed and the garden gets to rest a bit, it seems like these blooms are giving a little 'thank you, for a great summer'. 

Most of the roses I enjoy are not really even mine. They were planted years ago by Grandma Hazel, the kind woman next door. (Also famous for her kid friendly 'toy drawer' and oatmeal cookies.) She passed away several years ago but her roses live on. The many bushes that line my driveway, bordering our yards, were chosen by her and her sweet husband, Edwin. Hazel sat on the step of my house teaching me how to prune and care for the bushes. We had a deal...She would teach, I would do the work, and cut whatever I wanted. I definitely came out the with the better end of that bargain, wouldn't you say? Her grandson and family live there now and kindly allow the terms of that agreement to continue, phew!

These rose hips below are spent blooms from climbing yellow roses that weren't picked. They are great for a fall arrangement and need to be cut now anyway or they will thwart new blooms in the spring.  To pick them now, use clean pruners and cut at an angle. (During the growing season, cut about 1/4" above a 5 leaf grouping to encourage more blooms -this goes for all rose bushes.)

If you live in a cold winter place like me, don't prune heavily until frosts are gone and temps begin to warm up. I'll give a review of what Grandma Hazel taught me on late winter pruning in a few months. Until then, just trim any long branches to keep them from snapping from the heavy snows and wait to do more.

For now, enjoy these Fall Presents from the Garden!


  1. I have many rose bushes in my yard but none that set hips like these. I need some!! I love the hips as much as the roses.

    1. I know, don't you just love them! I've seen really pretty ones at the Foothill library and been sorely tempted to snip some...these orange ones from the yellow climber are super cutters.