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.

Bloom Thyme Friday: Christmas Trees & Things

I love Christmas trees. I love most evergreens. I particularly love boxwoods. I know. I know. There are two kinds of people in the world — those who love boxwood and those who don’t. But, I do. Can’t remember without looking if I shared with you my boxwood horror this year. For about 6 years we have had a boxwood hedge around our patio. They did not make it through the winter. I thought it was “winter kill” but I now suspect from the look of things, it was blight. They had to be taken out — all 15 of them! Mr. G was my hero as he took them out one by one. He put up with my tears and was very sweet about it. What a guy! 

Back to the original subject, Christmas Trees, I love them. Fresh ones. Filled to the brim with ornaments and twinkle lights!

This year due to so much travel, we decided not to have a tree but we have twinkle lights everywhere!

CHRISTMAS TREE TRIVIA

The first recorded Christmas tree can be found on the keystone sculpture of a private home in Alsace in 1576. German Protestants are often credited with the first circulation of the Christmas Tree, using them to decorate their houses. Protestant Christian reformer Martin Luther is said to have added the first lighted candles to an evergreen tree. The inspired decoration came out of admiration of the snow glistening from the trees on his walk home Christmas Eve. From Meg Bucker’s The History and Meaning of the Christmas Tree  

Wooster, a small country town located in north-central Ohio, claims to have hosted the first Christmas Tree in America in 1847. German immigrant August Imgard might be the first to decorate the tree with candy canes; “Imgard cut a blue spruce tree from a woods outside town, had the Wooster village tinsmith construct a star, and placed the tree in his house, decorating it with paper ornaments, gilded nuts and kuchen.” From Meg Bucker’s The History and Meaning of the Christmas Tree  

Artificial Christmas trees have outsold real ones since 1991.

In Poland, spiders or spider webs are common Christmas tree decorations because according to legend, a spider wove a blanket for Baby Jesus. In fact, Polish people consider spiders to be symbols of goodness and prosperity at Christmas. (Almost makes me like them. 😳 Almost. )

 

MY 2018 CHRISTMAS TREE…

Lucky for me I still have many boxwoods around the garden. Plenty for making boxwood trees. Such a fun project. When I was a florist I made so many of them and never tired of the project!

 

PROCESS PICS…

BLOOM THYME

David Austin roses in my garden…

This week we lost one of the giants of the rose world – David Austin Snr. Mr. G says I have had a secret crush on him for 30 years. That might be true. When I was putting my first real rose garden together, I was feverishly researching all types of roses (without the benefit of the internet) and happened on the “something and someone new” in the rose world – Mr. Austin. He was a pioneer that followed his heart and used his gifts to bring us the beautiful Engish roses by blending historical roses (for form and fragrance) with modern roses (for repeat blooming and additional colors). I never had the privilege of meeting him, but he was very well represented by Michael Marriott who worked with him for more than 30 years and shares how special he was. 

Thank you Mr. Austin for all the beauty you shared with our world. Well done, Sir.

Whew, that was a long post. If you made it to the end  — Thank You!

Merry Christmas friends. Wishing you a holiday filled with joy, peace, love and plenty of twinkle lights!

Rose Buzz: Bathsheba

One rose that is creating a ROSE BUZZ in my garden this year is a new introduction from David Austin Roses … BATHSHEBA.

Bathsheba is said to be a well-behaved climber (to 9′ or so) with beauty, fragrance and disease resistance. All the things I want to hear.

Right from the start my new small plant began to take off and start growing strong — even  though I didn’t plant it in the most perfect of locations. (I feared it would not get enough sun.) I have been rewarded with adorable buds and breathtaking blooms. Only 4-5 blooms so far but enough to know that this one captures my attention and heart.

LISTEN FOR MORE INFORMATION…

To hear the charming Michael Marriott with the lovely voice and incredible rose knowledge talk about this rose and the other new introductions, listen to the Rose Chat Podcast here…

https://rosechat.podbean.com/e/david-austin-roses-new-intros-for-2018/

If you are growing this rose, let me know what you think and if you have questions, I’m happy to help! Leave me a note in the comment section below.

SPEAKING OF BUZZ….

Did you see the acrobatic bee in my herb garden that I posted on Instagram? He’s my inspiration. I want to have as much fun as he is having as I work in the garden. And I DO have some work to do–all the roses need dead heading! LOL

As I write this morning, my view from my potting shed is one that makes me happy all the time but especially today as we are getting a MOST and I mean MOST needed rain. No one fulfills the needs of the garden OR the gardener like the Creator…

 

LEMONS TO LEMONADE…

There’s been a lot going on in the garden the past two weeks–some good and some bad. 😳 I’ll have a report on Bloom Thyme Friday!

 Keep creating a buzz in the garden! 🐝