Garden in Santiago, Chile

Garden in Santiago, Chile

I was going through my photos the other day looking for roses 🙂 and came across my garden in Chile. We lived there from 2005 to 2009, about 4 1/2 years. The garden was already in place with shrubs but I added a collection of wonderful roses. As luck would have it, there was a rose nursery just down the street from where we lived and he carried a wide variety of Meilland roses including their new (at the time) romantica roses. I was enamoured with David Austen’s english roses and kept trying them in my chilly Canadian garden with varying degrees of success followed by failures in the occasional brutal winter that would wipe them all out…sigh. When we moved to Chile I was disappointed to find no english roses as the wonderful mediterranean climate of Santiago is perfect for rose growing.

Meilland rose Summertime

Then I found the Meilland roses, just as beautiful in their own right, and began my journey with them and other chilean flowers. An added perk was I had a gardener to do all the hard work for me although we clashed occasionally on how to grow things. He won 🙂 . I remember the time he chopped down all my roses to about 6″. I was in tears, waving my arms about as my Spanish was limited then, thinking they would take months to regrow but he assured me they would be big and beautiful in three months. Hah!…he was right. So here are some pictures of my wonderful garden in Chile.

The stunner of Meilland’s roses I think is the gorgeous climber Pierre de Ronsard or otherwise known as “Eden” rose. It never got taller than 2′ in my Canadian garden and died most every winter. Here however it soared into a 20ft climber festooned with the most sumptuous pink blossoms, delicately scented.

Tightly packed petals of Eden rose

I grew him together with another climber, a small flowered Cecil Brunner. Eden bloomed most of the year and Cecile on and off.

Cecile Brunner arching over the other roses

Cecile produces sprays of small blush pink flowers that fade to white and are perfect for cutting your own mini bouquets. She is actually hardier that she looks. I had one in Canada growing with the climber Alchymist. When I returned, Alchymist had long died but Cecile was struggling on. I take her down and wrap her every winter now.

Leonardo da Vinci,

Sadly I don’t remember all the names anymore, ( a testament to keeping a record of your gardens!) and many are probably replaced by newer varieties but the lovely deep pink Leonardo da Vinci is still sold. So it should for it blooms continuously and the beautifully formed flowers are wonderfully fragrant.

Here is the saucy yellow Madame du Barry and her consort Guy de Maupassant in the foreground with the white Iceberg in the background and a multicoloured rose standard backed by palm trees. Who knew I could grow roses and palms LOL!

hydrangeas and fan palm

Another odd combination in the garden was giant mop head hydrangeas growing cheek to jowl with a fan palm. I remember the garden designer coming to take pictures of her design for a magazine being up in arms about the palm ruining the english garden effect she had created. I liked it though, it was quirky like Chile back then. She liked my roses though 🙂

Chilean Cantua

Chile has some spectacular native plants and this one, the Cantua, is covered with red bell shaped flowers that attracted hummingbirds. It made a stunning wall shrub.

Erythrina or coral tree

The coral tree is the national flower of Argentina and quite the sight in full bloom. Red seemed to be a common colour among native plants…

Bignonia or trumpet vine
Fuschia shrub

As seen here by a large flowered trumpet vine and fuschia shrub. I think because hummingbirds are a major pollinator of plants in South America. They are notoriously difficult to capture on camera by poor amateurs like me but I finally managed to get a few pic of this little guy:

Fire crown hummingbird
Jacaranda tree in bloom

Another tree stunner was the Jacaranda, a member of the family Bignoniaceae, which includes the trumpet vines and mint interestingly enough. Speaking of climbers, there was no shortage of those either:

White jasmine
Jasmine mesnyi

It was fascinating to grow plants from both warm and cold climates together. I saw fig trees with cherry trees, magnolias and ceanothus, citrus, avocado and walnut trees all together. Since Santiago is considered semi arid, my garden had a watering system, otherwise it would have been difficult. The mediterranean climate is by far my favourite, short wet winters and long dry hot but not too hot summers made for the ideal growing conditions for almost any plant. I consider myself very lucky to have lived there 🙂

Yellow Meilland climber

May you all have the luck to live in such a climate at some point in your garden lives.

Happy Gardening 🙂

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