Fairy Chimneys and Cave Dwellers

Seeing is believing!

On our recent trip to Turkey, we saw something that I had to see to believe… Fairy Chimneys and a region filled with caves. This fairyland is called Cappadocia. 

These unusual rock formations are the product of millions of years of wind and water reshaping lava rock from ancient volcano eruptions. It is a feast for your eyes.
 
 
The story behind the story….
 
The caves in the rocks in the town of Göreme became home to early Christians during the Roman period as they fled persecution.
 
While there we visited the Göreme Open Air Museum and our wonderful guide brought this amazing place alive for us. Inside these caves, we found homes, kitchens, a winery and places of worship. Their churches were complete with wall frescoes as you would see of typical, free-standing churches. Amazing paintings that made scripture come alive for them are still beautiful today. I felt so honored to be there. 
 
Hiking around in the caves and through the region gave us a glimpse of their everyday life and an unbelievable appreciation for all they endured and accomplished. We looked in wonder at all that surrounded us. 
 

Until 1965 some of these caves still served as homes. However, the conditions in the caves were deemed a health risk and everyone was relocated.

We did experience cave dwelling while there thanks to HERA CAVES SUITES. So special…

 
 
What a wonderful feeling to be in a region of the world that actually appears in the Bible and to feel a strong kinship with those who worshipped there.
 
Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontusand Asia. Acts 2:9
 
And, yes … roses.
Even as we hiked through the hills and valleys of this rocky terrain, there were roses. I saw rose bushes (not yet in bloom) in places I NEVER expected to see them and I saw signs in very obscure locations that let me know … I was on the right track.🌹😍
 
 
Each day our refreshment came in the form of wonderful Turkish Tea in my new favorite drinking vessel, Turkish Tea Cups. A new tradition begins…
Thanks for joining me today to share a bit of our adventure.

BLOOM THYME GARDEN UPDATE

The garden is thawing and soon it will be time to prune roses and clean up all the leaves and debris scattered about. I simply can’t wait. I will be following the steps I have lined out in my spring rose care guide here. 

If you have specific questions about spring care in your garden, I’ll be happy to help.

To the Heart of Ancient Civilization

We are just back from an incredible week of touring Turkey. When I say incredible, I mean INCREDIBLE.

While it would take a book to share all that we have experienced, today I will give you a glimpse with more glimpses to come.

Of course, the first glimpse will be about roses.

Roses or “Guls” have weaved their way throughout history and you cannot go far in many of the history lessons without bumping into rose stories. This is especially true in the Turkish culture where roses are valued for their beauty, fragrance (essential oils and rose water), medicine, flavor and for the sense of well being they create. It is even said that rose essence was used to enhance memory and to improve skin elasticity and so much more.

FIRST STORY…

My first story for you comes from TOPKAPI PALACE MUSEUM in Istanbul (formerly Constantinople named for Constantine). This 15th century palace was the residence and headquarters of the Otttoman Empire Sultans.

On the grounds are beds and beds and beds of roses. Roses line almost every walkway. There are thousands. This area is also home to Gülhane Park (Which means Rose House). Yes, I knew there would be roses, but it was almost overwhelming to see SOOO many roses! I wanted so badly to see them in bloom and know which rose varieties were there, but we were a bit early — most were still small and not yet in bloom. However, we did find a few early bloomers. While our schedule did not allow for us to be there for very long, this place will linger long in my memory.

Roses filled all of these beds and others! Even though you can hardly see them, they were strong and healthy.

I took a great deal of pleasure thinking that while in Turkey, I couldn’t have been too far from the original Garden of Eden. Good thoughts!

PRESERVES…

I also learned that one of the palace kitchens was dedicated to preserves. The evening meal ended with an “almost celebration” with preserves. While most fruits were preserved, I read that the favorite flavor of Sultan was — you guessed it — Rose Petal.

Rosa damascena, the Damask rose is the primary source for rose oil and flavorings. These roses are most widely grown in Syria, Turkey, and Bulgaria. I recently purchased two Damask roses from High Country Rose in Colorado. You can see their selection here. 

It will take some time to process all that we have experienced, but I know that Turkey and her lovely people will be forever in my heart.

ONE MORE ROSY STORY…

While visiting the mosques, we respectfully wore our scarves. My beautiful rose scarf was a gift from my friend, the amazing painter of roses, Michelle Endersby. It was a great pleasure to wear it. Thank you, Michelle.

 

"Gule Gule" for now.

			

Mentors and Memories

Today I want to tell you about two mentors who had so much to do with teaching me and inspiring me in the world of roses although I never met them.

This week as the temps plummeted into the minus category and Spring seemed so far off, I found myself in my Potting Shed/Garden Office going through old things — mostly articles I saved.

I don’t keep everything, in fact, sometimes I am accused of casting out too many things, but I am absolutely thrilled that the things I am going tell you about today, I still have. I know so much is being said and done as people are inspired by Marie Kondo to “tidy up.” I want to encourage you to save some things. In full disclosure — when it comes to the garden, let’s just say things get a bit “crowded” and I might have toooo many things. Is there such a thing as too many plants?

Back to my story….

In the late 80s and early 90s, I was a creative garden-loving, rose-loving young mother of the sweetest two kids on the planet and I loved them dearly. But, occasionally I had to get out and do my thing. And, since I had the most supportive husband on the planet, Mr. G took care of things and kiddies so I could spend an entire day learning more about gardening and in particular, roses. I spent many of those days in a book store drinking coffee and doing research. (Remember when there were Barnes and Nobles everywhere!?!?) Some of those times away I went to a pretty hotel and spent all day and night researching, making lists and drawing up plans.

All of this of course without the benefit of the internet. How did I do it!

I was armed with books, magazines, garden catalogs and a newsletter that I subscribed to … Bev Dobson’s Rose Letter. Bev taught me much about the different types of roses and rose care, she reviewed books about roses, rose hybridization and from Bev I first learned of rose viruses and an indexing program that Jackson & Perkins had started. OF HUGE NOTE, now that I am looking back, I see that she told me in 1992 that the prestigious Jane Righter Rose Medal was awarded to Stephen C. Scanniello and his team of volunteers for their work at the Cranford Memorial Rose Garden. I never ever thought then that I would one day call Stephen a friend. I can tell you with certainty that Stephen deserved that award and deserves an award every year for all of his contributions to the world of roses.

Those newsletters were a treasure trove of information and included names that now pop into my world on a regular basis.

Thank you Bev for making me a better and more informed rose gardener.

 

Mentoring from Far, Far Away….

One of my “research projects” was David Austin Roses. Believe it or not, information was so hard to come by. I first saw these roses in a Wayside Garden Catalog and it was love at first sight. At that time I was growing both modern roses and old garden roses and thought that perfection would lie in putting them together… and thought that will never happen. I knew nothing of hybridization. Then I read interviews in a couple of magazines that showcased Mr. Austin’s work of doing just that and I was smitten from that day forward. Of course, he was a quiet Englishman, who loved roses, was weaving together the old and the new roses and wore a tweed jacket. Who wouldn’t be!?!  😉 … A not so secret crush as Mr. G would point out from time to time.

One of those magazines was VICTORIA who published an article that I kept in my “special box’ … A Shropshire Nurseryman Refashions THE ROSES OF YESTERYEAR by Thomas Christopher  (who wrote In Search of Lost Roses). The article deals with the fact that at that time growing roses in the US was still an adventure with our diverse growing climates. Mr. Christopher ended his article with a quote from Mr.Austin in regard to his roses defying the conventions of roses at that time on whether or not English roses were too diverse to be classed as a single group. Roses shouldn’t conform — roses should be an adventure.” And to that Mr. Christopher said, His roses certainly are.

I’m grateful his roses were accepted as one big beautiful class – The English Rose.

I loved reading about Mr. Austin, the process of bringing these roses to light and having his roses in my garden. I still enjoy his story. A quiet man with an incredible vision. His story and his work entertained me and encouraged me while bringing so much pleasure to my garden experience. I had always dreamed I would meet him one day. I have met Michael Marriott, (technical manager and senior rosarian of David Austin Roses), and have the pleasure of calling him friend, that is rose dream worthy too.

This year I will be even more excited to welcome back after the winter thaw the amazing climbing rose ‘The Generous Gardener’  along with my other Austins. If I could recommend only one David Austin to you, it would be ‘The Generous Gardener.’ She is amazing … so amazing I ordered another one to come in April!

Thank you David Austin for mentoring me from a land far away. I would not be the gardener I am today without you.

 

I just love this picture in Victoria Magazine from around the year 2000 of David Austin with his son.

Shhhhh. Just between us good friends, (Don’t tell Marie K) but I have Victoria magazines that date back to 1988. Stacks of them. Maybe you shouldn’t tell my children either.

NOTE TO SELF and an encouragement to you… anytime we get the opportunity to mentor … to teach … to share with someone else our passion, TAKE IT!

The front left rose is THE GENEROUS GARDENER… her neighbors are Quietness and Music Box.

Thank you so much for joining me on this trip down memory lane. I’d love to hear your stories too if you’d like to share them!

Bloom Thyme Friday: It’s Painfully True

Yes, it is painfully true that I have an over the top case of the garden gimmies – I want way too many plants for spring. Mamma Berenstain Bear would be taking me to task about it too. And, I would plead my case while I submit these pictures for review….

Are you with me? All of these catalogs are just yummy but the David Austin catalog this year is a work of art! It just came yesterday so I haven’t had a chance to go page by page, but I will. #gimmies Wish me luck. Or not. 😍

BLOOM THYME:

Roses on Order…

ROSES UNLIMITED

MOTHER OF PEARL
I ordered two more to add to the two I have in the garden now. Remember those from last summer…

Beautiful.
Easy Care.
Light Fragrance.

PALATINE ROSES

I hear from Paul Zimmerman (Paul Zimmerman Roses) who grows a number of the Delbard roses that they, “some of the finest roses you will ever grow.” They are easy care, fragrant and show-stopping beautiful. They are not as easy to find in this country yet, so if you are looking for Delbards, try Palatine (while they last) and Roses Unlimited (864-682-7673) (while they last). All of the roses I have received from these companies have been high quality!

PAPI DELBARD (CLIMBER)

I happen to know that Palatine is now sold out of this rose but they have so many other beauties!!

SOEUR EMMANUEL DELBARD

 

GHISLAINE de FELIGONDE

Because I can’t get enough of roses that ramble! This rose is shade tolerant — a very good thing in my garden as I watch my tree get bigger and bigger each year. Roses, in general, need 6 – 8 hours of sun. And all do better if they get that much sun I believe. So I will try to put her in as much sun as possible. She is also fragrant and a repeat bloomer. I CAN’T WAIT!! And look at those colors. Yum!

LAGUNA CLIMBER

This climber is from the Kordes collection known for hardiness, beauty and fragrance. I plan to station Laguna at one of the entrances to our garden! Bill Kozemchek tempted me with the rose from his garden last summer….

If you want another great suggestion for a climber, try Jasmina. I have 2 baby ones and they have done very well. Another Kordes that is beautiful, easy to care for and fragrant.

Bill’s Jasmina is not so small anymore. Look at this gorgeous one. Hopefully, mine will grow leaps and bounds the year!

To see more of Bill’s garden you can follow him on Facebook HERE.

HIGH COUNTRY ROSES

Another source of outstanding roses from old garden roses to modern! I bought 2 Veilchenblau from them last summer — when it was so hot and they arrived in wonderful shape and did extemely well when added to the garden!

I have another Harison Yellow and a Madam Plantier coming from High Country.

And then there are SEEDS!

There are several seeds on my list too. So far I have only purchased Zinnias when I found what I believe will be the perfect color. Last year we had some Zinnia “color issues”. My California Giant mix was very prolific and beautiful but many of them were orange tones … not the best look with all the pinkness going on in my garden. I hope these pretty Enchantress Zinnias will be enchanting and fit right in.

Gimmies??? Yes, because I want most of the roses I see, and plants and seeds, but I’m working on it and Mr. G is helping with his “looks.” Not quite Momma Berenstain bear looks, but effective. 😉 I have more than one gift certificate and they make all the difference. My family and friends know what to “buy” me!

SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS

Last weekend, I was scheduled to go to St Louis to speak to a rose society, but instead, I was home with Mr. G watching the snow fall. The postponed invitation was extended again for today… We are home again waiting for even more snow.

If you are in the Crown Point, IN area on Feb 8, I will be speaking to the Lake County Master Gardeners about NEW ROSES FOR TODAY’S GARDENS. Come join us!

GOD’S ARTISTRY

While we wait for spring, God shows us that “to everything, there is a season.” — A BEAUTIFUL SEASON! And, we are grateful.