From Instagram to Indiana … Roses are for Sharing

This summer I received a huge gift from my Instagram friend, Holly Hagy. I “mentioned” that I would love to have a start of a found rose–Barbara’s Pasture Rose–that I had heard about several times.

I’ll let Holly tell you her side of the story…

I got started on Instagram in December of 2014. I had been thinking of doing a blog, to find a way to connect with more folks, to talk roses, gardening, cooking decorating and just plain life! I found Instagram and boom, the blog became IG instead…which is still a blog, but in a snippet of a phrase and a photo.

It’s a great fun way to connect with people who have the same interests! I started following Teresa B. On IG and she started following me too…😀

One day, I posted a photo of an old, found rose I had bought at the SCC (Sacramento City Cemetery) sale, many years ago…Barbara’s Pasture Rose, this is a rose Barbara Oliva, one of the founding caretakers of the Sacramento Cemetery found. One day she and friends were driving in the country and there in the middle of a field in the middle of nowhere, no farmhouse anywhere around, was this big beautiful blooming pink rose. Barbara said “stop the car” and braved a barbed wire fence to take cuttings of that rose. And it’s a good thing she did because the rose is now long gone from that field!

Anyway, Teresa posted she wanted this rose. I knew she could not get it easily in Indiana, so I  offered to root one for her! I was so nervous if my cuttings would even take, but a few did … and Teresa’s baby rose was sent to her.

It made me so happy to share a rose with her! To me, this is what gardening and roses are all about…making new friends and sharing roses! I try to offer cuttings at both the rose societies I belong to…and whenever anyone likes one of my roses that is a found rose or a hard to find rose.

Holly Hagy

THE ARRIVAL…

Well the California baby rose came to Indiana the first week of June and it was in perfect shape. If you ever wondered how to ship a rose, take a look at what Holly did.

She shipped Priority Mail and the baby rose arrived just like this…

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Barbara this summer as she grew on my deck potting bench...

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Barbara Today…

She is inside out of the cold and will be ready for a big pot next spring! Believe it or not this little rose bloomed this summer. One pretty pink bloom but it was during a rain storm and it was beat down before I took a picture. But, there will be more to come.

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I cannot tell you what Holly’s gift means to me. Although we have never had the pleasure of meeting in person, I think of her every time I look of this rose. I am hoping to say “thank you” in person some day. I will never meet Barbara in person this side of heaven, but her legacy lives on and I will never forget her. To read more about Barbara and her legacy, read on here and here.

Yes, Holly said it best, “this is what gardening and roses are all about…making new friends and sharing roses!!” 

To anyone who thinks that Instagram friends aren’t real friends, you should “meet” Holly. She’s real and she is special.

You can follow Holly’s gardening adventures on Instagram @eatgrowlivelove and I recommend you do!

 

This week’s bloomers…

Yesterday I had  the pleasure of creating some bokays for a special friend’s art exhibit. Check out the artwork of Kelly Wilkerson at Blue Bossa Prints here. Despite all the rain this week, I had plenty of flowers to choose from. The big question was which ones should I  use. The Belinda’s Dream roses paired with the Stargazer lilies won my heart and filled the vases quite nicely.

Take a look at my options for vases this week…

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Stargazer Lilies
Belinda's Dream
Belinda’s Dream
Black Eyed Susans
Black Eyed Susans
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Gemini HT
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Falling in Love HT
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Zinnias
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Zinnias!
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Doris Day holding up in all the rain!
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Lovely Senorita Rosalita Cleome from Proven Winners… a real winner in my garden!
More Stargazer Lilies
More Stargazer Lilies

Here are a couple of bokays I made earlier this week…

 

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DA Boscobel and Anna’s Promise
David Austin's Wollerton Old Hall
David Austin’s Wollerton Old Hall
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Lovely creamer from P. Allen Smith’s garden shop with Drift Roses … a true fav.

And here are the flower bokays for Kelly’s very first art exhibit…

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Love giving gifts from the garden!


Hope things are blooming in your world this week… whether it is in the form of actual flowers or beautiful snow that they are having in my friend Elspeth’s world in Australia!

Do you have a favorite flower you like to see in arrangements?

Bloom Thyme Friday: Nell’s Story … A Lifetime of Love and Roses

My good friend Kathy Torgerson of Johnson City, Tennessee, is often posting pictures on Facebook of her 91-year-old mother. These pictures always get my attention as they represent a lovely, vibrant, active woman … one who is still working in her rose garden.

Nell getting ready for spring!
Nell getting ready for spring!

This is the most recent picture posted! Once I saw this picture, I knew I had to know more! 

I sent an email to Kathy asking if her mother would consider telling me her story and answering a few questions about growing roses. Kathy answered immediately, telling me Nell was delighted. Nell was not the only one delighted! When I first asked, I had no idea just how interesting things were in the world of Nell.

Learning more about this beautiful woman has been a great pleasure to me. I find that the more I know about Nell, the more I want to know. How many people do you know who spent time working in a “secret city” of war and bombs?

So, grab a cup of coffee and sit down to meet my rosey friend, Nell. You are sure to be entertained and inspired!


NELL’S STORY: A SECRET CITY, AN ELOPEMENT, A FAMILY AND ROSES…

Nell Phillips (91) was born in Kentucky but grew up in Middle Tennessee. She went to business school in Nashville after graduating high school. She and her best friend worked in Memphis at the McDonald Aircraft factory where bombers were being built for World War II, then they took jobs in Oak Ridge, TN – The Secret City, where thousands of people converged to make a town where one had not been before and where only a very small number of people knew that they were actually working towards the completion of the bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, to end World War II. She met the love of her life there, fellow worker Joe Phillips, and they eloped to Georgia to be married on August 11, 1945. While on their honeymoon they learned that the war was over and that the Secret City workers had played a huge part in its ending. They had a son, Gary, while still living in Oak RIdge, then they moved near Milligan College, TN in 1948 for Joe to join his brother in ownership of a gas station/grocery store. In 1957 they moved to what had been farmland in the relatively new northern part of Johnson City, TN and built the brick ranch where they added a daughter, Kathy, to the family.

While Joe raised apple trees and had a big vegetable garden in their extra lot, Nell started her rose bed and beautiful phlox beds, tulips, daffodils, geraniums, pansies and all varieties of shrubs. People tell her if she drops a toothpick, a tree will grow. She worked in the medical records department of Johnson City Memorial Hospital while Joe became an appliance salesman. She took care of Joe at home as his health deteriorated due to diabetes and even after he lost both legs, she managed on her own to keep him well loved and cared for till he died in their bed in 2002.

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A recent picture of Nell with her grandson…

Nell still maintains the house and yard, with the help of her grandson, does her daily crossword puzzle, maintains friends from 16 years old to 86, and despite surgeries, illnesses and falls, lives independently and vibrantly. She credits her yard work, especially her roses, for keeping her going.


ON GROWING ROSES…

How long have you been growing roses?
About 50 years. We built the house in 1957 and I started the rose bed a few years later.

Who was your inspiration for growing roses?
No one. Roses have always been my favorite flowers, so I just wanted to try. 

Why have you continued to grow roses?
It’s my hobby. It’s a challenge but I like challenges.

What were some of the first roses you planted?
My first was an American Beauty. Then Double Delight, Mr. Lincoln, and Carole Lombarde. I had a Peace until a few years ago when it froze out. 

What would be your top 3 favorite roses of all time?
Double Delight, American Beauty, Mr. Lincoln

What is your favorite rose story?
My favorite is about my only granddaughter, Kathy’s daughter Joanna. She has Down syndrome and she is my “buddybuddy”. After 4 grandsons that I love dearly, I was so excited to have a granddaughter. On her first birthday, I took a beautiful pink bud from my Queen Elizabeth for her party. That started our tradition. Every year for her birthday, even if we’ve had a drought or beetles have eaten them, I have at least one Queen Elizabeth to take to her. And that’s been 31 birthdays so far.

Joanna's first pink rose...
Joanna’s first pink rose…
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Nell with Joanna and Kathy…

How many roses do you grow today?
I think I currently have ten.

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Look at these roses!!!

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Your biggest success in growing roses?
My Queen Elizabeth and my Mr. Lincoln. They look like florists’ blooms. And Mr. Lincoln was my husband’s favorite, so they remind me of him.

Biggest challenge in growing roses?
Bugs! The Japanese beetles and I have a running battle in the rose garden. I get so mad at them, I pull them off and stomp on them! Except for my Peace, I haven’t lost any. I got a Pink Peace a few years ago, and it’s doing beautifully. The blooms are as big around as plates. Also the weather. In East Tennessee, if you don’t like the weather one day, just wait till the next and it will change. So it’s hard to depend on the weather.

If you could say one thing to the world of rose lovers what would it be?
You have to be committed to grow roses. They take work and worry. But I love them. They are my great joy. Sadly, I am allergic to them. I can’t have them in my house and it’s even hard for me to have them in my car to take to friends. Kathy usually has to deliver them, because I can’t be enclosed with them that long before I get sick. But that’s my favorite thing to do, to cut bouquets of them for sick friends, for friends’ birthdays, or just to share them. Kathy promises that I will have beautiful roses on my casket when I die, to make up for the ones I couldn’t enjoy for myself while alive! I think they are one of God’s most beautiful gifts to us.

I agree with Nell … roses are one of God’s most beautiful gifts to us; right under the wonderful people He places in our lives, wonderful people like Nell.

Thank you Nell for sharing your story! And, Kathy, keep posting those pictures! Now that we know about Nell’s world of roses, we just may need to know more about what was going on in that “Secret City.”

From Devastation to Inspiration: Peggy Martin

Today I find myself in the middle of the most perfect weather any August in Indiana has ever had to offer. I am gardening and thinking about my morning. This morning I had the pleasure of interviewing Peggy Martin on Rose Chat Radio and what a delight she was.

Peggy’s family went through the devastation of Hurricane Katrina where she lost her parents, her home, her husband’s commercial fishing boat and her 35-year-old garden filled with many hard-to-find plants and a rose collection that included 450 roses. Many of the roses were rare and unique varieties. Peggy had been very involved in the New Orleans Old Garden Rose Society and worked tirelessly as a volunteer in many garden restoration projects.

Peggy Martin
Peggy Martin

As we talked I could tell that the pain of losing her parents is something she is still going through. I lost my Dad this year … losing a parent is a special kind of loss.

Most of my time with Peggy was spent talking about her garden experiences before and after Katrina.

Can you imagine what it was like for her to go back to the site of her home to see everything devastated. Gone. The entire area had been under salt water for more than 2 weeks. Salt water and plants just do not mix and at first look every living plant seemed to be dead. At closer inspection, two roses were found that had not only survived, one was to beginning to thrive—The Peggy Martin Rose…

This is a picture of the Peggy Martin Rose that now grows in Peggy Martin's new rose garden....
This is a picture of the Peggy Martin Rose that now grows in her new rose garden….

Hardy in Zones 4 – 9, this rose is a vigorous, almost thornless climber that often reaches 15’ high and 6 ‘ wide.

Rose experts from around the world have been brought in to help identify this rose, but no one has any clue as to the actual name or origin. I think that is probably as it should be. Perhaps this rose is now fulfilling it’s purpose in reminding us to never give up even when all seems to be lost.

“This rose has become a symbol among gardeners and rose lovers of a tenacious plant associated with a spirit of renewal and regrowth in the aftermath of a devastating blow of Nature against those living and gardening in the Gulf Coast area.” –William Welch (Prof Texas A & M)

Friends Made the Difference

“I would rather walk with a friend in the dark, than alone in the light.” -Helen Keller

During the very dark days and months after Katrina the last thing on Peggy’s mind was creating a new garden and that’s where her friends came in. One of the ways they helped her heal was through rebuilding her garden. One by one they began to bring roses back into Peggy’s life. Peggy’s lovely new garden is now filled with 240 roses and rose companions of every kind. She is currently involved in many rose organizations, like the Heritage Rose Foundation and she is the Chairman for the Old Garden Rose and Shrub Committee of the American Rose Society.

Below are pictures of Peggy’s current garden…

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Peggy Martin Story (Dallas) 029-1Peggy Martin Story (Dallas) 002Peggy Martin Story (Dallas) 007-1Beautiful and charming just like Peggy herself.


It’s All About the Soil

In talking with Peggy I learned that she has been a completely organic gardener for 40 years. She is all about healthy soil and integrated plant and pest management — a system she calls “the easiest way to garden.” During the interview, she gave many tips for creating a healthy garden whether you are new to gardening or someone who wants to take your garden to the next level. She also gave us her advice on rose selection.

The Podcast

During our time together we talked about so much more–like her complete step-by-step guide for taking rose cuttings.

Don’t miss hearing this incredible story from Peggy herself … simply click here for the Rosechat podcast.