This is the trouble with transplanting yourself from one continent of the world to another vastly different one. You have to relearn all your acquired gardening skills and either change your ways or accommodate new ideas. I have tried to do a bit of both so far, resulting in some success and more failure. You don't see many people growing alot of roses up in our area but I refused to give up on the quintessential english plant.
My first spring in 2006 I planted 3 climbing roses around the porch and they all took and have done really well. So in 2007 I tried 3 bush roses also at the front, but in a different bed and they have all failed! Luckily they had a 1-year warranty, so I will order my replacements soon and try again I guess. Another success has been my clematis planted amongst the climbing roses and this really pleased me, as a few locals said it was impossible with the heat here. I successfully grew a wonderful Passion Fruit in the UK, which even produced fruit very much against the odds. Last year I searched high and low to find one to plant here as I now have great climate conditions for success, but could I find a plant...NO! In 2006 I planted a traditional Dutch Magnolia tree in the backyard, but it never survived the ensuing drought. So the replacement in 2007 has stayed in a barrel, been nursed gently and is currently only rolled out of the garage on sunny days. I hope by establishing it well for a couple of years in the barrel, it will then transplant successfully into the garden. (Front climbing roses & Canna beds - above)
I have learned to love the native Crepe Myrtle (left) that flowers all summer long and thrives in the heat, this year I plan on planting another four. I have also rapidly established a wonderful display of various Canna Lillies, with people even stopping to ask me for extra bulbs when I divide them. My big experiment in 2007 was Alstroemaria in a bed, this is my all time favourite flower and I am waiting to see if it has survived winter nervously.
Last year we made a good sized area of the garden into another seating area and planted roses, a blueberry bush, canna's and a few shrubs including Photinia. The previous year this area was a vegetable garden, but my fear of snakes got the better of me! This year we plan on developing the far corner of the garden (beneath the birdhouse visible in this picture), it won't be as large an area but will have more impact, being visible from our bay window.