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: 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! 🐝

 

Fireworks and Fragrance

In life and in gardens the right companions can make the difference. They can make us stronger, cover up our short comings and enhance our beauty.

My garden style is cottage gardening …. I grow everything from trees and shrubs to herbs and roses. These garden companions work beautifully together to give me just what I want—continuous beauty. In fact, once we get through one of the midwest’s hard, cold winters, I am looking for fireworks and fragrance. Nothing adds the fireworks and fragrance like roses.

In April, lilacs give me beauty and fragrance that garden dreams are made of however, in a few weeks they are finished — for a year. Forsythia make a huge showing too— bringing all that yellow sunshine into our world—for a few weeks. Just as I am saying goodbye to those lovely shrubs, along comes the Rugosa Roses and Old Garden Roses with an explosion of blooms that fill the garden and many vases to the brim with beauty, fragrance and over the top charm. While most of the old garden roses only have one bloom per season (about 4 weeks), many of the rugosas don’t stop with just one bloom cycle and will give you at least a few fragrant blooms throughout the growing season.

Just as the rugosas are taking a break and the one-time blooming old garden roses are finished for the season, here come the easy care roses I call garden roses (sometimes referred to as shrub roses).  These power bloomers go to work and believe me their bloom season will continue all the way to fall. There is no shrub or perennial that gives me season-long bloom like the garden roses and paired together, they work their cottage charm.

Rugosas putting on a show in my garden!

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Roseraie de la Hay putting on her show this week!

Whether you are like me and have have lots of space, or you have a few nooks and crannies you would like to brighten or have containers on a balcony that need some punch, there is a garden rose for you. Garden roses come in all sizes and colors and will take no more care than any other plant or shrub in your garden. Give them sunshine, water, a bit of fertilizer, a quick trim of the spent blooms, then just stand back and enjoy. (And have your vases ready to fill and share.)

When deciding on companions for your roses, the first thing to consider is compatible growing conditions and here are two companions that have their relationship all worked out and have become a match made in heaven… roses and clematis!

Etoile de Violette and New Dawn Climber

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Here are some easy care, power blooming shrub roses that fill my garden with beauty and work well with all of the other plants that catch my fancy.

Petit Pink… This small shrub from the Proven Winners OSO Happy series is constantly happy in my garden covered in these dainty pink flowers. We can thank David Zlesak for this amazing shrub!

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Music Box and her companions… This is a lovely blooming machine from the Ping Lim’s Easy Elegance Collection. Starts out creamy yellow and adds more pink as it matures.

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Sunrise Sunset… also from the Easy Elegance Collection paired with Double Red Knockout

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The Generous Gardener… One of the best and most disease resistant David Austin roses I have ever had!

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Peach, Apricot and Red Drift Roses… These beauties from Star Roses and Plants grow low and spreading fitting nicely in the front of a border but they also do equally as well in a container. These are super blooming garden roses.

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Quietness… This lovely Buck Rose is a part of the Earth Kind series and is one of the most beautiful bloomers in my garden. If it can make it through the rigors of the Earth Kind testing program and is considered hardy for your zone… take a chance! Did I mention it is very fragrant!!

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Quietness with her lily companions…

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Beverly HT from Kordes... Beautiful, sustainable and fragrant. Big winner at the Biltmore International Rose Trails. Love it!

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Belinda’s Dream and her companions… This is another rose from the Earth-Kind series. This rose grows big and strong in a container on my deck and is rarely without beautiful and fragrant blooms.

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Cherry Pie… The amazing bloomer below is from the Proven Winner’s OSO Easy collection. This picture is of a three-year-old rose in my herb garden. What started out as a tiny test rose, is now a show stopper.  She has more than proven herself to me!

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The rose is our national floral emblem and
the most popular
and beloved flower!

So, if you have shied away from roses in the past, thinking they are divas that take more time and energy than you have … Think again!

It’s not just hair styles that have changed since the 80s… The new Millennium brought us new classes of easy care, sustainable garden roses and we are getting more and more every year.

Maybe it’s time to dress up your shrub borders and add more blooms to your flower beds with the new rose kids on the block–they will bring the fireworks!

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?