The mulch came this week. A mountain of mulch! It’s almost like Christmas! #happydance 💃💃
We use fine hardwood mulch … it retains moisture, helps to keep down weeds and gives the garden that fresh, finished look! Icing on the cake!
I have to tell you my favorite “mulch” story. When my daughter was in college, one day she and her girlfriends walked past an area that had been freshly mulched and they began to cry … WHAT IS THAT SMELL!!!! My daughter smiled and said, Oh I love that smell, it reminds me of my momma. From the shrieks and the looks on their faces, we don’t think they came from gardening families! 😳😱😂
Other Things Making Me Happy
Rosa Mundi is making her 2017 debut.
Powdery mildew is coming with her but we won’t talk about that right now. Seems to be a mild case. #rainyspring
Francis E. Lester is huge. More pics of him to come and his neighbor Peggy Martin who is showing a tiny bit of color today! Did you read the article in Southern Living about the Peggy Martin Rose? You can read it online here. Great article!
Celsiana is making the herb garden sing.
Morning doves made a nest on one of the beams of our pergola over the swings. We love them.
Sweet William (Dianthus) is so sweet!
Iris and Peonies…
A new coffee from my friends, Ed and Sue, in Louisiana — Mello Joy.
Last week I had the pleasure to speak to the New Orleans Old Garden Rose Society and to spend several days with them. I knew I would have a good time, but I didn’t know what a deep connection we would form. Was it the charm of New Orleans or the old garden roses or our mutual love of gardening or perhaps the combination of all of that plus all the stories we shared in such a short time. I doubt there is a more caring group of people anywhere. They take hospitality to an entirely new level.
A heartfelt thank you….
To the amazing Peggy Martin (read her story here) for the invitation, her extra effort as a tour guide — making sure I saw as much as possible in our 4 days together. And, I did! For the lovely guest room filled to the brim with roses. Ahhhh I was in heaven. And, for the opportunity to learn we are twins on so many levels! To MJ for the stories and the amazing shrimp. I’ll be back for more.
To Diane Wilensky, president of the NO Old Garden Rose Society, for all the laughs and conversations and for hosting me even though you are going through home renovations! I can’t wait for my return visit to see the finished product! Oh, let’s not forget your getting up at 4 am to take me to the airport! #RedLipstickRules 💄
To Eddie and Sue Sanchez for a lovely dinner and beinget experience! (Plus Diane’s sugary episode ! 😂) For showing me what David Austin roses can really do, and for sending me off with New Orleans finest coffee. Mr. G thanks you too! #CoffeeMakesEverythingBetter ☕️
To Peter Patout for hosting all of us in his charming home in the French Quarter on the historic Bourbon Street and serving us the most delicious crawfish etoufette.
To Leo Watermeier for the tour of the beautiful rose garden in Louis Armstrong Park and for his tireless work in caring for these historical roses! I’ll be back to see them bloom! And, for choosing the perfect lunch spot — Li’l Dizzy’s Cafe.
To Jon Kemp (and her husband John Reed) for inviting us to their lovely 1810 Creole Cottage in the French Quarter. I doubt I will ever forget you, your lovely home and enchanting garden, the walls banked with roses… or that amazing praline covered King Cake! 😉
To Margaret Ganier for all the “fail proof” tips on rooting rose cuttings! I can’t wait to get started! I am determined to make you proud!
To Kim Ngan Nguyen for the enthusiatic welcome, finding me on Instagram and getting the books ordered so quickly. Best wishes in finding your much deserved Pearl.
And to all the rest of this amazing group, thank you for the warm welcome!
As many of you know I have loved roses since I was a teenager but I didn’t start my dive into old and historical roses until the 80s when I read the journal of a young woman who left the comfort of her home to join her husband in a journey west. One of the experiences she described was painstakingly taking cuttings of the roses and plants she just couldn’t live without. As I read her story, I felt as though I was going on the journey with her. Roses were not just for beauty to the women of this era. They were also a source of flavoring and vitamin C (from their hips). Even the most thorny roses were of value as they were used as living fences to protect vegetable gardens and such.
Also during this time we were given Harison’s Yellow (Hybrid Foetida) rose from a friend in Tennessee who had received it from a family member in Ohio. We learned that this rose had been passed through their family for some time. I started doing some investigation and found out just where the rose originated. You can read the history of Harison’s Yellow here.
I continue to love old garden and historical roses and have several in my garden. What a joy it is to visit gardens that have these lovely old beauties. One such garden is definitely on my garden bucket list … The award-winning Sacramento City Cemetery Rose Garden. This garden is home to old or antique roses collected from cemeteries, old home sites and along roadsides in northern California. The establishment of the garden was done by Fred Boutin, an internationally recognized rosarian and authority on “found roses,” and Jean Travis, a member of the Heritage Rose Group. Members of this group work to collect, plant and maintain these roses which were popular from the California Gold Rush era through the Victorian/Edwardian era (1850-1915). The collection now includes more than 400 plants–over 200 varieties.
For those of you who love fragrant roses, these roses are some of the most fragrant roses that exist.
You can imagine how thrilled I was to have Anita Clevenger, Curator of this garden, with us on Rose Chat. Did you know that cemeteries used to be a place to gather for picnics regularly? Hear about that and more by clicking on the Rose Chat logo below.
If you live in the the Sacramento area, their annual Open Day in the Garden event is in April. They have many activities planned including the ever popular Rose Sale! Hundreds of roses are available and they always sell out. So, it pays to get there early! 🙂
For the list of other events in the garden this year, read on.
This is Bloom Thyme Friday on Sunday. I have had so many friends and family in the garden this week, I didn’t have time to post on Friday. YAYAYAYAYAY What a blessing!! Don’t you just love having friends in your garden. I know my garden is a “wee bit” larger than most backyard gardens so I get many requests for people to come and I just love that!
Early June is the best time in my garden. That’s when the old garden roses and rugosas have their heydey and fill the garden with the most amazing blooms AND fragrance.
Just in case you didn’t make it to my garden the last week or so, here are a few pics to let you know just what’s going on! (Click on any of the pictures below to start the gallery feature.)
Here is my favorite visitor to the garden this week to help me wish you a HAPPY BLOOM THYME FRIDAY!
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 and what a delight she was. NOTE: This interview was recorded in 2013 and some of the information is dated but the story of the Hurricane Katrina tragedy and Peggy’s experience is the same! Listen here.
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.
Portland roses make up a small, repeat blooming class of old garden roses. There is some question about their parentage but they are most commonly thought to be a chance crossing of Damasks and China Roses.
I have two Portlands in my garden…
Rose de Rescht
Rose de Rescht is a lovely deep pink Portland Rose with a rich damask fragrance that dates back to before 1900. She is hardy in zones 4b through 9b.
This is the second year for Rose de Rescht in my garden, so we are just getting to know each other. To date she hasn’t grown very large, but we did have a nice flush of bloom. And, if she is like my other Portland, Comte de Chambord, I can expect a few more blooms through out the season.
Comte de Chambord
Comte de Chambord is a Portland that dates back to 1860. I’ve had this rose in my garden several years and it is one of my favorites! Maybe it is the amazing Damask fragrance that is not to be missed. Maybe it’s the beautiful pink color with just a tinge of violet. Or, maybe it is the large, full-petalled old rose flowers that win me over … but win me it does — even though I have to keep my eye on this one for Black Spot.
These pictures give you a good glimpse of what I’m talking about…
Yes, I’m willing to forgive a little Black Spot for this one. 🙂
Especially when they look so yummy in a mixed rose bokay!
The story of Roses of Yesterday and Today intrigues me… It begins with a well-known authority on old roses, Francis E. Lester.
He was attributed with collecting and keeping available many old roses and writing about the subject in his book My Friend, The Rose published by J. Horace McFarland Co. in 1942. I have this book and it drips with information and charm.
According to Thomas Christopher’s book In Search of Lost Roses…
Lester was born in England’s Lake District in 1868 and grew up during the heyday of England’s romance with the rose.
He moved to the United States around the turn of the century and spent nearly 25 years in Mesilla Park, New Mexico where he grew a 2 acre rose garden.
In his mid fifties he and his wife moved to California. He searched the foothills and missions of California where he recognized the old roses from his childhood and collected cuttings for propagation.
Pat Wiley said it was an honor for him when the British Government allowed him to quarantine roses at Sunnydale Nursery in England for export to the U.S.
I have read everything I could find on Francis and feel like we have a special rose connection. This year my hubby and son built me a very large and very beautiful new arbor and I knew I finally had the place for a big ole rambling FRANCIS E. LESTER rose. I found one at David Austin Roses.
Quote from Roses of Yesterday and Today….
The business was called “Lester Rose Gardens” and some of the roses can still be found at that address just up the road from the current “Roses of Yesterday and Today Garden.” Lester put out the Lester Rose Gardens catalog that served as a model for the rose catalogs for years to come.
He wrote in 1941, “This catalogue differs from many catalogues you will receive; it has no expensive colored illustrations, and, I hope, no extravagant claims. But it does offer you the benefit of long experience with roses; it tries to tell the truth; and it offers you nothing that has not been tried out and found to be of real merit, not for the expert horticulturist but for the amateur gardener, whom we try to serve faithfully, and whose interests we hold to be paramount. My occasional personal comments about the Old Roses, I trust, be excused, for they come from the heart.”
All I had to do was read this and he stole my heart and I consider his book to be one of my prized possessions. Reading it is pure pleasure!
My Friend the Rose…
Francis E. Lester Rose in his glory in the David Austin gardens…
David Austin Roses says of the Francis E. Lester rose, “A strong, completely reliable rose which is smothered with huge bunches of small, single blooms. These are white, delicately tinted with soft pink at the edges, later becoming almost pure white, creating the impression of apple blossom.”
This rose was also one of the roses that “passed the test” in Longwood Garden’s Ten-Year Rose Trials.
Aren’t you excited to see what he does next year?
2016 Update on Francis E. Lester Rose…
Francis blooming strong with his good neighbor, Peggy Martin! Read the fascinating story of the Peggy Martin Rose here.
SPECIAL NOTE: In 2016 I received a lovely email from a lady who found my article and was in tears. She told me a lovely story of growing up in Francis Lester’s rose garden. He and her father (a local doctor) were great friends. She said she was thrilled to know that his rose and his story is still being told. For me, this was a major highlight of growing this rose. Many of the roses in my garden have wonderful stories attached to them, it is one of the many reasons I am honored to “tend” this garden.
He’s May 19, 2017 and he’s just getting better and better!
Reine des Violette is a lovely Hybrid Perpetual that dates back to 1860. Hybrid Perpetuals were developed as hardy garden plants between 1840 and 1900, by crossing the Portland, Bourbon and Gallica roses and were mostly used as cut flowers in the days before hybrid teas.
The “Queen of Violettes” has double, quartered blooms that are amazingly fragrant. This year in my garden she started out deep pink and faded to purple. The color is so intense that it is hard to capture … especially when all you use is your iPhone! 🙂
I have 3 of these roses and find them oh so charming! The have that wild, old rose growth habit and multi-petaled, quartered blooms that I just love!
This year she is giving me a run for my money with Black Spot and Powdery Mildew. Just a little to damp out for her! Hey it’s been a little to damp out for me too! We’ll get through it.
Now you are getting to see one of the roses that truly gets to me. I absolutely love this rose. Madame Hardy is a Damask rose dating back to 1832. She has beautiful white classic formed flowers with a tiny green button eye.
All Damask roses are known for their rich perfume and she is no exception … lovely old rose fragrance with a hint of lemon. This rose grows to about 5′ in my garden.
History Lesson: Madame Hardy is named for the wife of the head gardener in Empress Josephine’s (first wife of Napoleon) Malmaison garden. Empress Josephine was a zealous rose collector. (She had to keep busy while the hubs was out fighting the wars.) Her collection of roses was the world’s largest at that time.