A California Rose Garden

looking across one of the borders with Darcy Bussell in foreground

Today I have an entirely different garden to post.


During the last week, I made a quick visit to San Diego, California.  The event was a sad one: the sudden and very unexpected death of one of my uncles.  It was a time to be with family, all the more painful as my uncle and aunt were preparing to celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary less than two weeks later.  So most of my visit was spent in an attempt to help and be a comfort, but I did manage a little photo tour of my cousin's rose garden, which is something I have wanted to share here for a long time.


I had only my phone camera, and weather was a bit gray and misty, but here are my photos.


First is "Bow Bells", a cluster of blooms from a shrub that must be around nine feet tall.

rose Bow Bells

If I were to guess, I think my cousin's favorite rose of all is "Darcy Bussell" - a very rich rose in form, scent, and color, and much redder than my phone could catch, of course!

rose Darcy Bussell

But if I were to choose my own favorite from among her roses, it might be "The Ambridge Rose", which she grows as a standard.  As its form is nice and bushy, I think it is a very happy choice to grow tree-form.  Besides, I don't think I have ever been there when it was out of flower!

rose The Ambridge Rose

Overall, the roses were a bit between bloom seasons there; the enormous "James Galway" climbing over an arch was mostly full of bright hips (and a hummingbird, not visible here).  She says this variety does not repeat as well for her in any case, but I know from experience that its main bloom season is magnificent.  In fact, this bush is the reason there is a "James Galway" in my own rose border.

her large climbing James Galway rose

It may not be exactly rose season right now, but it is certainly the time for anemones, shown here against the bright hips of rose "Gertrude Jekyll".

anemones in the garden

More lovely anemones...

anemones for autumn

She has used catnip (Nepeta cataria) freely as a ground cover - very appropriately as she loves cats!

a bank with catnip

Her Pentas were in vibrant bloom and rather inspiring as I've read they will grow well here also.

bright Pentas

Back to the roses...


Here is the rambler "Snow Goose", which she has mingled with the soft pink "Wisley" (not shown).

rambling rose Snow Goose

She is growing the old tea rose Sombreuil (I think!) against brick and lattice. 

tea rose Sombreuil

Her Anne Boleyn is lovely, but I have not grown it due to her report that it is always among the first nibbled by rabbits - even more of a consideration in my garden than in hers.  Too bad!

rose Anne Boleyn

Teasing Georgia is such an elegant color...

rose Teasing Georgia

...as is this one, whose name I can't remember.

soft pink rose

English Garden is a beauty too...

rose English Garden

I wish I could do more justice by her plantings, but after a quick visit it was home to Arizona again...

airplane wing over the desert

Weather Diary (my garden): Very sunny; High: 95 F (35 C)/Low: 68 F (20 C); Humidity: 13%-41%

Write a comment

Comments: 10
  • #1

    Loree / danger garden (Wednesday, 20 September 2017 11:25)

    I'm so sorry , what a sad reason for a beautiful garden visit.

  • #2

    Kris P (Wednesday, 20 September 2017 13:41)

    I'm sorry to hear of your family's loss, Amy. As to your cousin's garden, it may not be the peak season for them but she has some spectacular roses. I had to wonder how she keeps the local cats from eating her Nepeta to the ground - I love the plant but it disappears quickly here.

  • #3

    Cathy (Wednesday, 20 September 2017 16:42)

    The untimely death of your uncle must have been so very sad for you all. I am glad you could spend a little time in a lovely garden though.. Since I am not really a rose person the gorgeous anemones caught my eye.

  • #4

    Amy@smallsunnygarden (Friday, 22 September 2017 01:41)

    Thank you so much, Loree - I was certainly not in the mood to enjoy it properly, but her garden is always a source of inspiration for me :)

  • #5

    Amy@smallsunnygarden (Friday, 22 September 2017 01:45)

    Thank you, Kris - I don't know about the Nepeta, except that she enjoys visits from the neighbors' cats and there is quite a bit of Nepeta! Perhaps enough to withstand the cats' visits? She always does manage to have some roses in bloom... :)

  • #6

    Amy@smallsunnygarden (Friday, 22 September 2017 01:52)

    Thank you, Cathy - it was quite a shock... I don't think I'm quite over it yet... I agree about the anemones; hers grow so effortlessly and lushly. They seem like such a perfect ornament for autumn! She has some wonderful pink ones as well, but those weren't in bloom yet... ;-)

  • #7

    Brian Skeys (Friday, 22 September 2017 14:07)

    A sad reason for visiting a beautiful, personal garden. Catmint is a good compliment to roses.

  • #8

    Amy@smallsunnygarden (Sunday, 24 September 2017 13:34)

    Brian - Yes, I wasn't really in the mood to enjoy it properly, but it's always refreshing to visit her garden! :-)

  • #9

    Diana Studer (Sunday, 01 October 2017 16:13)

    My sympathies on your loss, and to your aunt.

  • #10

    Amy@smallsunnygarden (Tuesday, 10 October 2017 23:22)

    Diana - Thank you - much appreciated! So sorry I missed your comment so long!