Meet a self-proclaimed ROSE NUT, my rose friend, Baldo Villegas. . .
Baldo is a leading expert for the ARS on rose insects and diseases. Before his retirement in 2011, Baldo was the state entomologist for the California Department of Food and Agriculture.
This week the Rose Chat team caught up with Baldo to to get a report on what’s going on in his garden of more than 3000 (yes 3,000) roses. We also wanted the inside scoop on his pruning techniques and some advice about one of his most favorite subjects—BUGS—especially the bugs that bug our roses! Can you say Japanese Beetles and Rose Midge!?!
Our time with Baldo proved to be informing, entertaining and inspiring! He even told us about some roses that he thought every rose lover should grow for beauty AND fragrance! Great ones to add to your wish list.
If you grow roses, want to grow roses, love roses or even like roses, don’t miss this podcast. You can listen on demand here.
You can keep up with Baldo and what’s going on in his garden by following him on Facebook here.
Between you and me, I have to tell you that every time I mention that Baldo grows thousands of roses, Mr. G gets a funny look on his face. #heknowsme 🙂
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.
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…
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…
Beautiful 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.
During our time together we talked about so much more–like her complete step-by-step guide for taking rose cuttings.
I am currently reading Carolyn Parker’s book R is for Rose and am taking my time to savor every story and every picture. This book is not only eye candy for rose lovers, but it also showcases so many of Carolyn’s talents:
As a garden designer: She shares with us her amazing garden.
As a floral arranger: She uses a unique variety of containers to showcase her beautiful roses.
As a photographer: She has an amazing gift as a photographer.
And most of all, her skills as a storyteller: With each letter of the alphabet she draws us in with one heartwarming story after another!
GRAHAM THOMAS & CAROLYN
My favorite story in Carolyn’s book is in chapter “G” … for Graham Thomas English Rose. This rose is named for the legendary gardener and rose expert, Graham Thomas. She actually had the opportunity of a life time to meet him and to share the story she had written about him in person! You just have to read this story!
BLOG TALK RADIO
I had the privilege of interviewing Carolyn recently about her book on Blog Talk Radio. She was enchanting! You can listen to that interview here.