Garden Photo of the Day

Roses in the Black of Night

By: Kim Charles

Rosa 'Mother of Pearl'

Lilian Ho from British Columbia gets creative with her roses, by photographing them in the unique light of darkness.

"In my small garden in Vancouver, British Columbia, roses are the dominant species. I took photos one evening, and like the way, they turned out. Beautiful!"

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Rosa 'Flower Carpet White'

Rosa 'About Face'

Rosa 'Candelabra'

Rosa 'Poseidon'

View Comments


  1. frankgreenhalgh 10/30/2017

    Hey Lilian - Well done! The dark background definitely helps to highlight the beauty of your roses. Nice work in the dark! Cheers from Oz

  2. sandyprowse 10/30/2017

    Just spectacular. What a great idea, to take
    photograps in the dark. Amazing! Well done.

    Sandy Prowse
    Toronto Canada

  3. user-7007498 10/30/2017

    Good morning, Lilian. Your photos give me a new appreciation for roses. I like the flowers much better the way you have displayed them. Beautiful.

  4. Maggieat11 10/30/2017

    Absolutely captivating! Thank you for sharing your photos with us!

  5. tennisluv 10/30/2017

    Lilian, your photos of roses against the dark really make them pop; really quite lovely. You can actually see the beauty of each rose variety so much better as the eye is not distracted by surrounding plants. What a great way to start the week.

    1. user-6536305 10/30/2017

      Thanks for your comments Sonya! I have always been fascinated by blooms on a black background and I once have tried put several blooms and fruit on a printer and made a color copy of it. It did not turn out as well as I expected. Here it is.

      1. tennisluv 10/31/2017

        But I like it as I can see what you are attempting to capture. Elvis on black velvet is, definitely, not it. All I have is a low level digital camera and a cell phone. May have to ask for a good camera for Christmas. What did you use for the pictures you took in the dark?

        1. user-6536305 10/31/2017

          Sony Cyber-shot 14.0 Mega Pixels camera.

  6. User avater
    meander_michaele 10/30/2017

    Goodness, Lilian, the colors are so vibrant and the details of the petals are so well defined...this really is a beautiful way to photograph these multi layer flowers. Thanks for heightening our awareness.

  7. User avater
    treasuresmom 10/30/2017

    Great photos, Lilian.

  8. user-4691082 10/30/2017

    Lillian, how do you care for your roses that they look so healthy? What is your most prolific month, or season? Was it then that you took the photos? Are any of them fragrant? I’m doing the best I can with my mostly David Austin roses, but they don’t look like yours. ?

    1. user-6536305 10/30/2017

      I think it is not the care that matters the most. It is the variety that counts. I try to grow disease resistant varieties in my region PNW regardless colors or fragrance. I generally avoid Hybrid Teas. I found David Austin roses are weak in my garden. I prune my roses low when forsythia is in bloom and give them a slow release fertilizer after prune and after first flush of bloom usually in middle July but this year I did not fertilizer at all (too busy) I pile lots of maple leaves from sidewalk and streets on all my beds (my neighbours love me for cleaning the streets.) My garden soil never been exposed. Need to plant rose at its permanent location where a plant in Rosaceae family never been grown before.
      I like rose breeder Tom Carruth’s roses. His roses that I have are ‘About Face’, ‘Hot Coca’, ‘Twilight Zone’, ‘Rock & Roll’, and ‘Colorific’. They are very vigorous and covered with lush green foliage through out the growing season. Julia Child rose had black spots first year but grows really well subsequence years. All of the above have some degree of fragrance.
      Other breeder that I like is Kordes. The following roses grow really well in my garden: Rosa ‘South Africa’, Rosa 'Garden Delight', Rosa ‘Poseidon’, 'Summer Sun', 'Archbishop Desmond Tutu'. 'Winter Sun’ was covered with black spots in the first year but grows really strong in the subsequence year.
      'Grande Amore' is a highly disease resistant hybrid tea. Lots of bloom sand covered with dense foliage.
      Disease resistant roses are very tough shrubs. After they established in the 2nd season, they are also very drought resistant. Plant sweet alyssums in between roses could take care of aphids. Only need to plant one year. They self sow like semi weeds and come back year after year. I dead head until September and leave the seed heads on so roses could have a complete dormancy in winter hopefully and generally leave Mother Nature alone. Hope this helps Rhonda.

    2. user-6536305 10/30/2017

      All of the above shown roses are some what fragrant except Rosa 'Flower Carpet White'. Roses look really good from March on - start with red foliage and lots of oily foliage later on. Middle June to middle July are the most prolific time of the year for roses when they have their first flush of blooms. Second flush of bloom is in August. They look good until now with some blooms here and there. Some varieties bloom like crazy all the time.

  9. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 10/30/2017

    What a nice way to get some dramatic shots of your roses, Lillian. They're beautiful!

  10. cheryl_c 10/30/2017

    Lilian, how very creative of you to think of doing this - and what outstanding results! Your roses are obviously very happy, full-bodied and some are loaded with the promise of more flowers to come. Thanks so much for experimenting, taking a risk and sharing the results. I can just imagine all of these tripods appearing in gardens scattered around the world, wiht flashes going off and the readers today try to capture the beauty of their own gardens by night!

    1. user-6536305 10/30/2017

      I did not use tripods at all Cheryl. Just went out one evening with Sony Cyber-shot 14.0 Mega pixels point & shot camera and set on auto. Needless to say, I was so delighted and surprise with the results and could not resist to share with you guys.

  11. sheila_schultz 10/30/2017

    Your 'shots in the dark' certainly paid off, Lillian. Roses never looked more lovely! As you said, 'beautiful!'

  12. mariebulgin 10/30/2017

    I love the first and the last pictures in particular and think they should be blown up and framed. How beautiful to hang over the buffet in the dinning room! Beautiful!

    1. user-6536305 10/30/2017

      Great idea Marie. I will blow up a few as you suggested and frame.....

      1. cheryl_c 10/31/2017

        After I wrote my first response, Marie's idea occurred to me as well - we just decided to have a picture from our son of raindrops on nasturtium leaves blown up and put on a metal ( verses canvas) backing, because we'd seen another photo done that way --- the metal provides a depth and luminescence that would be fabulous with these photos! Good luck choosing which one to enlarge - I'd vote for the first, but I am a sucker for yellow roses

  13. NCYarden 10/30/2017

    Really beautiful, Lilian. I like the dark treatment.

  14. user-7008735 10/30/2017

    What a great idea, Lilian! The darkness hides everything else that's going on in the garden and really allows your roses to shine. They are beautiful.

  15. Chris_N 10/30/2017

    Amazing photos of beautiful roses. The dark really helps isolate the flowers from what would probably be a busy background.

  16. user-7008421 10/30/2017

    Fabulous! The dark background and extra shading around the roses adds another dimension to the photos. Beautiful work!

  17. Sunshine111 10/30/2017

    How lovely Lilian! So nice to see something new. I will have to give this idea I shot myself next year. Thanks for the inspiration

  18. user-3565112 10/30/2017

    Thank you for the terrific nighttime garden. photos. "The garden is a miraculous place and anything can happen on a beautiful moonlit night" Anon. I believe your photos this morning are true evidence of this. Good luck, Joe

  19. Meelianthus 10/30/2017

    So beautiful Lilian and what perfect (pest free!) roses, buds, and leaves - and the colors are scrumptious! Wonderful and very imaginative photos. Thanks for sharing your beauty.

    1. user-6536305 10/30/2017

      Thanks a lot for your comments. I did not realize that they are pest free until you pointed out. Guess my IPM works. I did not spray and this year I did not even fertilize (so involved in the other part of the garden.)

  20. alohaland 10/30/2017

    Roses, my favorites! Who could not simply adore both visual beauty and delicious aroma wrapped up in one package?! Why do they have thorns, does anyone know?

    1. mariebulgin 10/30/2017

      I'm sure it is to keep grazing animals from eating them, although thorns don't stop goats.

  21. JoannaAtGinghamGardens 10/30/2017

    Lilian, your nighttime rose photos are stunning! I always love your garden pictures, but these have to be my favorites.

  22. user-6536305 10/30/2017

    Thank you all for your comments. I did nothing special on taking these photos with my point and shoot Sony Cyber-shot 14.0 Mega Pixels camera. I went out one evening just before it turned complete dark and shoot the photos. Everything on the camera was on auto. I don't remember if I zoomed in or not but flush was automatically on for every photo. I was shocked with the outcome and very happy with them and thought I share with you.

    1. User avater
      meander_michaele 10/30/2017

      It's always particularly gratifying when someone like yourself says the alluring words "point and shoot" to explain how she got such beautiful photos...but it sound like you have a really nice camera with 14 mega pixels. Ha, remember when a camera with 3 to 4 mega pixels capabilities was pretty impressive?

  23. User avater
    meander_michaele 10/30/2017

    Hi, again, Lilian, thought I'd share with you the only time I ever took a night time picture from a garden area. The moon was hitting the sculpture just right . I have the dog to thank for needing her evening pee break. I'm not sure if Disqus will accept the picture size so if nothing shows up be it.

    1. user-6536305 10/30/2017

      This is a great night photo Michaele. So ghostly and great for Halloween! I never expect that night time photo could be this great. Thanks for sharing!

      1. User avater
        meander_michaele 10/30/2017

        Thanks for the thumbs up, Lilian. Sorry the picture ended up being so big. I never know what Disqus is going to do when I try to put a picture in the comments section.

        1. user-7007498 10/31/2017

          Awesome photo, Michaele. I think thinks look great photographed at night.

          If I have large photo files, I will copy them into a temporary folder in my desktop. When I do this, it always me to alter the file size. Then I can upload the smaller files to Disqus.

          1. User avater
            meander_michaele 10/31/2017

            Thanks, Kevin, for the bonus explanation of how to manipulate picture file size. But, it's the darndest thing, my level of tech knowledge made it like I was reading a foreign language (that I don't speak). However, I'm going to show it to my daughter and, hopefully, she can talk me through it. I'd love to not be at the mercy of my ignorance.

  24. grannieannie1 10/30/2017

    So beautiful! The petals on the yellow/orange rose look thick and perfectly "carved." Thank you for a new perspective on photography, Lilian.

  25. Cenepk10 10/31/2017

    Gorgeous. Magnificent. I'm in Awe. Of course- I'd be in awe in blinding, bleaching sunlight... love me some roses. Fabulous concept to photograph at night or blackdrop. Loveit :).

  26. janeeliz 10/31/2017

    Drop dead gorgeous...both photos and roses! Love the way they look at night!

  27. greengenes 10/31/2017

    These are beautiful photos at night! The darkness frames and focuses on them quite nice! I can almost smell them! Thank you for sharing!

  28. User avater
    LindaonWhidbey 11/02/2017

    Hi Lilian, I missed your beautiful photos on Mon. since we were traveling. Shooting them in the dark was a nice touch. Are they still blooming after the recent slightly cooler temps?

    1. user-6536305 11/08/2017

      Some roses are still sparkly in bloom. Thanks for you comments Linda!

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