Things to do this week:
* Decide on roses. In the fall, you must decide between more flowers and letting a rosebush rest. Many like to let roses take a breather by not cutting them back, but letting rose hips form. Rose hips can be nearly as decorative as flowers, but some consider orange hips, or fruits, to be more appropriate to the season.
The alternative is to cut fall's flowers back to a five-part leaf, and the rose will make flowers one more time before going briefly dormant in January. You might even have flowers for the holidays.
* Plant sasanqua camellias. Fortunately for the gardener, the best time to plant camellias is when they are in bloom, since growth closely follows flowering. This is fortunate because a gardener can go to the nursery and see what they are getting. At this time of the year, it is the sasanqua camellias that are blooming.
Sasanquas generally have smaller flowers but many more of them. They bloom in the fall and winter, rather than early spring. Sasanquas like 'Little Pearl' can be nearly smothered in blooms during a good year. They are often stiffer, more formal plants with very glossy leaves. Some are upright--almost columnar--while others are low and sprawly. Most are less likely to sunburn if they get a little too much, being more sun tolerant. In many ways, they are more useful landscape plants than the regular, large-flowered japonia camellias that bloom in spring. Look for them at nurseries or visit the camellia specialist, Nuccio's Nursery in Altadena.