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!

ROSE BUZZ: 2016 Gift Ideas for Gardeners!

 

_rose-buzz_2016-christmas-list

We as gardeners love what we do! But, the right tools can make all the difference and Christmas is the perfect time to share ideas with Santa to get just what we want and need for the coming growing season! Plus, getting garden goodies in the middle of winter is just FUN!

Below are some garden gifts that I highly recommend you buy for yourself, your garden friends OR whisper in Santa’s ear so they show up around your Christmas tree or in your stocking! NOTE: Make sure you have a BIG STOCKING!

A YEAR IN MY ROSE GARDEN

4e9c15effd5ff1c56972f13793ac45bf

Teresa Mosher has written a book that all rose gardeners will want on their Christmas list.

Teresa is President of the New England Rose Society, and one of the leading Garden and Rose Consultants in New England.  This book is a wonderfully practical book that rose growers at every level will benefit from having! With this book comes the best gardening journal I have seen. Teresa has been so thorough with information that even a novice gardener could pick up this book and be good to go! From basic rose care information, a list of tools and supplies, rose terminology and ideas for garden design — it’s all there!

ORDER BOOK HERE.

To hear Teresa talk about her book and her gardening experiences, listen to a recent Rose Chat Podcast here

 


COW POTS

  • All Natural Made with 100% Renewable Composted Cow Manure
  • CowPots stay intact for up to 12 weeks before planting in the ground
  • Roots easily penetrate the walls of CowPots.
  • Perfectly odor free

Available on Amazon here.

91a5wwznacl-_sl1500_

img_0706


AMERICAN ROSE SOCIETY TRIAL MEMBERSHIP

the-perfect-gift-1-1.jpg

 

WHAT A VALUE!! All rose lovers will enjoy this gift! With a trial membership comes discounts at public gardens, copies of the ARS award winning magazine, American Rose, plus a ton of other benefits … all for only $10Details at Rose.org.

 


 HANDCRAFTED TOOLS

img_3039

My good friend, Chris VanCleave, the Redneck Rosarian, has partnered with DeWit Tools to bring us a beautiful, handcrafted line of tools. These lovely tools come with a life-time guarantee and are destined to be heirloom pieces you will want to hand down to the next generation. Take a look at these beauties on Amazon.


 THE GARDENER’S HOLLOW LEG

The Hollow Leg was given as door prizes at the Indianapolis Rose Society this year and everyone wanted to be a winner! So, even though the Hollow Leg appeared on last year’s list, I wanted to feature it again.

Bob Blomberg’s  Gardener’s Hollow Leg® makes yard and garden clean up tasks easier! This handy “hands-free” debris holder is a must have for all pruning, weeding and harvesting tasks.

A 15% discount!

FROM BOB: Tell  your readers to use GHLUSER at check out for the discount!

To learn more or to buy online, read on.

552556_357381530979068_1264026353_n.jpg

Even Mr. H has the Hollow Leg Jr!!

Heading to the green compost bin.
Heading to the green compost bin.

IMG_4042 (1)

Find the ripe tomatoes.
Find the ripe tomatoes.

🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄

The wonderful items on last year’s list are still available and you can read about them HERE.

🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄

Christmas is really the most wonderful time of the year!

ENJOY EVERY MINUTE!

Bloom Thyme Friday: Roses on Trial

This weekend I am heading to the Biltmore Estate as a juror for the 2nd Annual Biltmore International Rose Trials. YAY!!!

WHY HAVE A ROSE TRIAL

”The trials are a valuable way for the home gardener to learn what roses do well and what may be potential candidates for their own gardens,” said Paul Zimmerman, coordinator of the trials. “Trials of this type are usually open to all rose breeders around the world – from professional to beginner.”

I so appreciate all the hard work that is done to bring backyard gardeners the very best in beauty, health and fragrance!

A_yOtW-CcAMbH55.jpg-large
Roses ARE plants too!

PAUL ZIMMERMAN: Whether it is writing his amazing book, Everyday Roses, his articles for the Fine Gardening blog or leading the way in rose trials, Paul keeps us informed and entertained!

IMG_4881
Summer 2013

LUCAS JACK:  As rosarian for the magnificent Biltmore Estate, Lucas brings a wealth of information and inspiration to the world of roses and to the next generation of gardeners.

ROSE CHAT PODCASTS…

Both Lucas and Paul have joined us on Rose Chat several times to chat about the Biltmore garden, rose trials and gardening in general. Below are links to those podcasts. Listen and learn whenever it is convenient for you! 🙂

Lucas…
2014 Episode…
2013 Episode…

Paul…
2014 Episode…
2013 Episode…

ADDITIONAL INFO…

For additional information on this year’s trial … read on.

Want to see more pictures of the beautiful garden, read on.

Follow along on Twitter and Facebook for updates this weekend!

GARDEN REPORT

Last night at our rose society meeting we each gave a report on what’s  going on in our gardens. There were reports of outstanding iris, peonies and roses — that seem to be stronger because of the Polar Vortex. (Who knew????) Right now the big winners in my garden are the Rugosas and clematis. Love em! Every garden is so individual … what’s making a statement in your garden this week?

Bloom Thyme Friday
HAPPY BLOOM THYME FRIDAY

Potting Shed Review: R is for Rose

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.

FINDING THE BOOK

You can find her book on Amazon … click here.

Garden friends, this is a book you just might want to mention to Santa … to be sure he gets it on your Christmas list.

I think you will also enjoy Carolyn’s blog … rosenotes.com.

Potting Shed Review: How to Eat a Rose by Jim Long

I had the pleasure of speaking with Jim Long during last week’s Rose Chat interview    about his book, How To Eat a Rose, the rose as herb of the year and so much more.

JIM LONG

Jim has appeared on numerous HGTV and Discovery Channel gardening programs as well as P. Allen Smith’s garden series. His gardens have been featured in Southern Living, Gourmet and Better Homes & Gardens magazines. He also writes the syndicated newspaper column, The Ozarks Gardener that runs in newspapers in Missouri and Arkansas. Check out the Ozark’s Gardener blog here.

He is the proprietor of Long Creek Herbs where you can find many wonderful products derived from herbs.

INTERNATIONAL INFLUENCE

Twelve years ago while in India, Jim was surprised to see ice cream flavors listed as chocolate, vanilla, pistachio and rose. So his interest was sparked as to how roses are used in other countries and his research began!

HERB OF THE YEAR

Each year the International Herb Association chooses the herb of the year (click for details). This decision is based on 3 things…

  • Does it have medicinal properties?
  • Is it an culinary herb?
  • Can it be used for crafts or manufacturing?

At first I thought it was odd that the rose would be herb of the year, but with the rose, the answer to all 3 questions is, “YES.” So, Jim’s says it fit perfectly as herb of the year.

WHICH ROSES TO USE

Jim says, “If it smells good, it will taste good–just be sure there have been no sprays or systemic fertilizers used on the roses!”

FOR MORE INFORMATION

This book is a great value for only $5.95. If you love roses, you need this book in your collection. You can purchase a copy here @ longcreekherbs.com, Jim’s website.

Potting Shed Review: The Founding Gardeners

The Founding Gardeners by Andrea Wulf takes you into the lives of  the framers of our country from the unique and intimate perspective of their lives as gardeners and farmers.

Click to head over to Amazon!
Click to head over to Amazon!

I received The Founding Gardeners as a gift from someone who is keenly aware of my love of gardening and history.

When Mr. G and I go on long car rides we choose a book and I read it to him as we drive. Last week we traveled to Tennessee so we had lots of reading thyme. We are now halfway through the book but I couldn’t wait to tell you about it!

This book is filled with stories of the founders separately as gardeners and weaves their amazing love for all things gardening through their friendships as well as the work they did in establishing our country. Can you say “heated debate!”

These men truly found pleasure, renewal and inspiration from their gardens just like we do!

While it was so fun to read the details of their garden pursuits, I also found a renewed interest in this particular part of history and all the details involved in getting our country off to a good start! I developed a deeper appreciation for the sacrifices these men made. Their work in most cases took them far away from the families, gardens and farms they loved–and for long periods of time!

But, it wasn’t all constitution and tea parties. There were lively conversations on subjects like manure … whether or not to use, when to use and how to use! I can just imagine what they would have thought of Annie’s MooPooTea.

Check it out. I think you will love it too.

Potting Shed Review: Two New Books

As much as I love and look forward to spring, I do enjoy the slower pace of winter that comes after Christmas and allows more time for reading. Something warm to drink, a fire in the fireplace and a good book. Yes, I can do that while I wait for spring … just not too long!

I recently purchased two Christmas presents from me to me that are sure to make a big difference in my gardening experience this winter.

Book #1

Sleep, Creep and Leap by Benjamin Vogt
http://deepmiddle.blogspot.com/
https://twitter.com/#!/BRVogt

First of all, don’t you just love the cover!

Benjamin Vogt is a poet, essayist, gardener and blogger.

This book is a memoir of three years in his garden. … beautifully and thoughtfully written.

On getting started he writes this,

“It’s late morning already, and we’ve finally made it to the new house. In two weeks we will move in, married on 7/7/7, but until then–and before the sod gets laid–my financee and I are here to spread mulch. 20 yards.”

I so get that! And, if you are a gardener, I suspect you do to. I look forward to having the time to dive into this book!

Book #2

Yes, You Can! by Daniel Gasteiger
http://www.smallkitchengarden.net
https://twitter.com/#!/cityslipper)

My mother canned most everything we ate from the super huge garden we grew. She had an amazingly green thumb and hated to see anything go to waste.

I have her green thumb but don’t grow very many vegetables. I spend most of my gardening time  growing roses and their companions…. So, to date, I do not “can.”  Armed with Daniel’s encouragement and easy to use tips plus a few trips to my friendly farmer’s market, I plan to add canning to my 2012 list of things to do. I bet my mom will be smiling!

The pages of this book are amazing. Pictures and step by step instructions. When I asked Daniel about the book (we are Twitter friends), he said he wrote the book as though he was in the kitchen giving a demonstration. Looks easy…. wish me luck!

Do you have any encouraging words regarding canning?

Potting Shed Review: Down the Garden Path

A book I can read over and over is Down the Garden Path by Beverley Nichols.

The very British Beverly will pull you into his world (1930‘s England) of gardening and eccentric neighbors and make you fall as in love with his garden as he is. If you are a gardener and haven’t read one of Beverley Nichols’ books, well let’s just say you should go to Amazon this minute and find one. Most are out of print but you’ll find them. It’s worth the effort. Don’t just take my word for it…Other reviews…

This semiautobiographical story of Nichols’ first bumbling efforts at transforming a neglected property into a garden, was an immediate success and still rings true with amateur gardeners today. -Lori D. Kranz, Bloomsbury Review

Nichols has a wicked sense of humor. I highly recommend this book as a means of relaxing after a hard day and having a good laugh. -Bobbie Schwartz

Lucky for us he was a prolific writer and there is much to read! Enjoy!

Thank You @Margaret Roach

I just finished reading and I shall have some peace there by Margaret Roach. In 2008 Margaret left her job as editorial director of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia to live and garden in upstate New York.

This book is about Margaret’s journey into her new life. This journey introduces you to her adventure of self discovery, birds, plants, frogs, cats, misc wildlife, local friends, tractors, apples, and, most significantly for me—snakes.

All through this very entertaining book, Margaret confronts, deals with and sort of conquers her fear of snakes. As she did … so did I.

Each year I encounter at least one snake in my garden and, unlike Margaret, my encounters are with the small and non-poisonous varieties.

Margaret said, “But again and again, I retreat to the safety of the reference books to find something that will help me feel at ease, playing to the comfort of intellect rather than the feelings all of this provokes. Facts have always been my magical thinking; if I put enough of them in my pockets, like Hansel with his crumbs, I can walk a few steps farther into the woods.”

So, here’s to you Margaret … now I too “can walk a few steps farther.” But, I don’t mind telling you that I feel more confident with my Wellies on!

Wellies ready for duty!

 

For more about Margaret check out her blog, awaytogarden.com.