The Ultimate Gardener’s Destination

As most of you know, recently I had the grand pleasure of meeting with so many of my garden blogger friends in beautiful, historic Little Rock, Arkansas for Garden 2 Blog 2015.  Our time in Little Rock started at the gorgeous Capital Hotel—considered the front porch of Little Rock. I can assure you they roll out the red carpet for their guests!

Our ultimate destination was P. Allen Smith’s Moss Mountain Farm, or as I often refer to it as “Gardener’s Mecca.” The Arkansas red carpet just keeps rolling. Moss Mountain Farm offers you beauty filled with focus — their focus is on farming/gardening/decorating inspiration, information and conservation. Whether you are into heritage poultry, flowers and bedding plants, herbs, vegetables, home decor, test gardens, sheep, or … or… or.. (you get the picture!), you will find it — all on a mountain top that overlooks the Arkansas River. For this garden girl raised in the mountains, it is a balm for the soul.

While I love all of the above, it is the rose garden that beckons me. Look for a ton of pictures from the beautiful rose garden in an upcoming ROSE BUZZ post! 🐝🐝🐝

In addition to our beautiful surroundings, there is the wonderful food, decor and oh the friends! As you know I am a bit “crazy” over gardening, imagine how much fun it is to be face-to-face, arm-in-arm with a bus load of “like minds.” Over the top!

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SERIOUS PAMPERING
We are completely “spoiled and pampered” by P. Allen, his crew and our wonderful sponsors who share with us information not only on their products but what’s coming up and trends they are seeing in the gardening world.

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Our Host…

 

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OUR WONDERFUL SPONSORS…

2015-05-13 11.40.23BONNIE PLANTS
Bonnie Plants, now leaders in the industry, began in 1918 as a family business of Bonnie and Livigston Paulk in a small Alabama town.

Lois, Su, Byron and Amanda led us through the fascinating world of the tomato! What gardener wouldn’t “relish” the chance to get all nerdy just diving into the subject of tomatoes!?!

And if you haven’t already, download their iPhone app… we did!

Me and Diane LaSauce checking out the app! We were impressed!
Me and Diane LaSauce checking out the app! We were impressed!

AMERICAN GROWN
Something new in the world of cut flowers…
The American Grown brand is a diverse coalition of U.S. flower farms representing small and large entities across the country to provide beautiful cut flowers and foliage.

Kathleen Williford and company knocked our socks off with their amazing designs at the “FARM TO VASE DINNER”. Read more about their tour schedule for Farm to Vase dinners here.  http://www.americangrownflowers.org/fieldtovase/ There just might be one coming to a farm near you!

As a former florist I can tell you this was truly some of the most beautiful displays I have ever seen. See what I mean…

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Paula of Cresent Garden did a fabulous job telling the story of her family’s moving from Columbia and coming to America–her land of opportunity!

CRESENT GARDEN
Crescent Garden has containers for every need … Their beautiful line of containers is very deceiving. They look so “real” that you expect them to be very heavy. But, these products are lightweight, durable and will fit into any landscape.

Paula Douer, Mark Rosas and Cesar Castillo shared their company story and led us through fun design exercises showcasing their amazing products.

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Go team Diane, Teresa and Michael! Elegant design don’t you think?

 

 

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Who can fill the First Nature bird feeder the fastest??
Look at these serious faces! The competition was fierce! LOL
The competition was fierce! LOL

FIRST NATURE
Highly functional, affordable, easy to use and easy to clean products that will be very attractive to the birds in your life! Joe Murfin and his team shared their commitment to quality for all of their American made products.

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FLEXZILLA
A no-kink, highly flexible hose—need I say more! In a color that will allow you to make your own garden fashion statement!

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Corbin Mollman, Rachel Perez and Andy Perez were with us to demonstrate this amazing garden hose … one that is safe for drinking and can be left out in the cold!

 

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JOBE’S ORGANICS
I always love to hear from Jobe’s Organics. They are doing so much to bring us the very best in organic fertilizers. Clemente Conde, Jen Neve, Martin Rainey and Rebecca Cantu reminded us of how important it is to take good care of our soil. Jen, project director for Oppenheimer Biotechnology, shared with us what they have learned from their work in oil spill cleanup and leaving the soil better than it was before!

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SAKATA HOME GROWN
Tracy Lee and Alecia Troy shared with us what is going on with this 100-year-old seed producer headquartered in Morgan Hill, CA. We had the opportunity to choose seeds to take home and try! You can find these seeds on retail seed racks and via mail order seed catalogs! More here.

STARGAZER BARN
Home for farm fresh flowers, based in Humboldt County, CA, where the foggy conditions are perfect for tulips, irises and stunning Oriental and hybrid lilies—one being my personal favorite—the Stargazer Lily! Take a look at some of the beautiful flowers provided for us by Bill Prescott and the good folks at Stargazer Barn.

 

These Stargazer Barn lilies were spectacular!
These Stargazer Barn lilies were spectacular!

AROMATIQUE

Aromatique is the creator of decorative fragrance. Steve Lawrence, Carolyn Gay, Will Humphreys and Netta Thomas gave us the opportunity to make our own signature potpourri using a variety of oils and native botanicals. Here is my creation…

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My creation… Woodland Breeze.

 


MORE FUN

Click on any of the pictures below to activate the full gallery feature…


Thanks for stopping by. P. Allen Smith’s rose garden pictures coming soon! And, oh what a rose garden it is!

Bloom Thyme Friday: Garden 2 Table

I love the concept of garden 2 table … cooking with the fresh food you grow yourself. My mother was a great gardener and she grew just about everything we ate. Because she canned and froze the extras we had food from our garden year round. (You can read more about her here.) But, if I am honest, my veggies keep getting inched out by roses and a couple of honey locust trees that are devouring our garden. However, we still have room for herbs and tomatoes — Mr. G makes sure of that. So, around here we are extremely grateful to area farmer’s markets to provide us with the other produce we love.

So many of my friends tell me they rarely cook anymore since their time is so limited! But, good news, there is someone who is inspiring us to get in the garden and in the kitchen by teaching us just how easy, fun and nutritious  Garden to Table  can be. My friend P. Allen Smith. Allen grows an acre of the most beautiful organic veggies you have ever seen and he is always testing new plants and gardening ideas. PLUS, he is a creative master in the kitchen.

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What’s even better is that he shares his garden experiences and his mastery in the kitchen with all of us. Whether it is via his television shows (check out this listing for dates and times in your area.)

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His latest book…

Or through his wonderful books, digital publications and you tube videos. Take advantage of all of these easy-to-use resources to be a master in your kitchen, especially if you are like me and spend most of your extra time in the garden and need all the tips and tricks in the kitchen you can get.

Follow Allen’s Garden Home Facebook page here  for regular updates on what he’s cooking up in the kitchen and what’s going on in the garden.

SOMETHING NEW AND DEEEELISH

Don’t miss Allen’s most recent video for a Squash & Zucchini Casserole with Quinoa … can you say, “healthy comfort food you can feel good about.” I can’t wait to make this one! Take a look here.

 

And, yes, I did find enough room in the herb garden for zucchini! 🙂

THIS WEEK IN MY GARDEN

Around here we are having rain every day and boy are things lush even though the blooms are surely taking a hit. I did manage to get some pretty pictures after one of the rain storms earlier in the week…

Coral Drift ... I first saw growing in P Allen's herb garden and just had to have!
Coral Drift … I first saw this rose growing in P Allen’s herb garden and just had to have!
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Poseidon Floribunda from the Simply Brilliant collection from Certified Roses. Check out their roses here.
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David Austin’s lovely Claire Austin.
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The healthy blooming machine … Amber Carpet Rose.
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Another shot of Poseidon. I can’t get enough of this rose!
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Etoile des Violette clematis … perfect paring with New Dawn Rose.

Have a fun week in the garden! And…

Bloom Thyme Friday

HAPPY BLOOM THYME FRIDAY!

Bloom Thyme Friday: Garden Blogger Mecca

P. Allen Smith has created Mecca for garden bloggers … GARDEN 2 BLOG.

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A place for information, inspiration, refreshment, education and community! All in one of the most beautiful places on earth — his Moss Mountain home. Take a look here!

There are so many highlights of this beautiful retreat, but I can honestly tell you that I can’t wait for my return visit to Allen’s beautiful rose garden. Allen is a true lover of roses and is committed to a beautiful AND sustainable rose garden.  See the pictures here.

Allen is a gracious host and garden friend. Here is what he says of his Moss Mountain Retreat…

For several years now I have been touting the idea of the Garden Home, a place that blurs the lines between indoors and out. It is my belief that a Garden Home is not just about beautifying our surroundings or extending our living space; it also helps us stay close to the earth and reminds us to be good stewards of our environment.

The Garden Home is about living life at its natural best. I believe we can create a stylish lifestyle in keeping with the tradition of the past, while taking full advantage of modern innovations and still be good stewards of the earth.

I am honored to be invited for a return visit to Garden 2 Blog. I am looking forward to seeing all the changes to Moss Mountain, visiting with so many special friends and meeting new friends! A wonderful group to learn and grow with!

SPONSORS…

Many sponsors of garden/home related products are a part of making this special event happen and will join us to share the latest and greatest from their world. I’ll keep you updated!

 The best of the best from the world of gardening..
    • Proven Winners
    • Berry Family of Nurseries
    • Bonnie Plants
    • Laguna Ponds
    • Jobe’s Organics
    • Troy Bilt
    • Flexilla
    • Heritage Seeds
    • Wild Bird Feeds
    • Le Creuset

GARDEN PROJECTS…

A part of Garden 2 Blog is fun garden projects. Our first project started last week with a video “throw down” for Jobe’s Organics. Jobe’s sent us all the “ingredients” for a container garden of our choice.

Here’s my video…

 

This picture gallery will give you a glimpse of Garden 2 Blog 2013…

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I  hope things are going well in your world this week. Leave a comment and let me know what’s going on in your garden!

Bloom Thyme Friday

HAPPY BLOOM THYME FRIDAY!

Some things are more important than breakfast…

Recently we had the pleasure of visiting the Biltmore rose garden. We arrived in Asheville on Friday evening too late to go to the garden, but that was okay with me because I wanted to see the rose garden in the early morning!

I was up really E A R L Y and chose to forgo breakfast so I could be the first visitor to the garden. This meant Mr. G was going to forgo or at least delay breakfast too so he could deliver me to my destination.

When we got to the edge of the garden I practically jumped out of the car. Shaking his head, Mr. G headed off to park the car. This is not his first time to be a part of something like this. 🙂

It worked! I was first on that a misty late summer morning! And, I was greeted with much fanfare by the bees, hummingbirds and gold finches–just the way I like it!

A beautiful start to a wonderful day…

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The Biltmore rose garden is completely surrounded by a tall stone fence and the setting will just take your breath away.

Enchanting...
Enchanting…

This garden is one of America’s finest rose gardens but gives you a truly international experience…  of the 1400 roses, there are roses that were grown at the end of the 19th century plus many of the modern varieties. There are lovely English borders complete with David Austin English roses like Molineux and Princess Anne; Pink Pet China Roses; roses with French names like Monsieur Tiller to compliment the 250 room chateau–and then there are the American hybrids Blush and Champney’s Pink Noisettes—even though they don’t sound American. For the scoop on Noisette Roses, read an interview with P. Allen Smith here.

Noisettes...
Noisettes…

IMG_4932LUCAS JACK:
BILTMORE  ROSARIAN AND HORICULTURALIST

This beautiful garden design and all of these rose varieties work together beautifully under the watchful care of Lucas Jack and his team of staff and volunteers. Lucas’ expertise and enthusiasm is a winning combination.

We had the pleasure of a personal tour by Lucas. He shared stories of their commitment to historical research in choices of plants for the garden and garden structures, how he keeps the plants healthy as well as his plans for the future. We are in the process of scheduling his next visit to ROSE CHAT, so you can hear all the details from him too.

If you missed Lucas on Rose Chat Radio in July …. LISTEN HERE. You don’t want to miss Lucas’ chatting about his advice for the next generation of gardeners as well as discussing good growing practices and companion planting for roses.

Pomponella....
Pomponella….
Flamenco... from Peter Beale's Roses
Flamenco… from Peter Beale’s Roses
David Austin's Moulenix
David Austin’s Moulenix
Monsieur Tillier...
Monsieur Tillier…
Stokes Hybrid Teas...
Stokes Hybrid Teas…
Mike Athy's pink rose ... very fragrant!
Mike Athy’s pink rose … very fragrant!

INTERNATIONAL ROSE TRIALS

Another highlight of the visit was to see the rose trial roses. Since 2011 this garden has been home to the Biltmore International Rose Trials. During this time, more than 75 varieties from growers and breeders worldwide have been planted and cared for by Biltmore’s horticulture team. Each trial lasts two years and a permanent jury judges the roses four times per year. One of the big winners in May was Mike Athy’s rose, Athy Fa La. Truly a stunning and disease resistant rose…

Mike Athy's Athy Fa La
Mike Athy’s Athy Fa La

For more information about the rose trial winners, read on.

HAVE YOU BEEN TO THE BILTMORE?

There is so much to see and experience at the Biltmore. The house, the grounds, the mountains, the conservatory ……. the rose garden!!

Biltmore Conservatory...
Biltmore Conservatory…
Thanks Lucas for a lovely day in the garden!
Thanks Lucas for a lovely day in your enchanting garden!

Girlfriends and Girdles

I know it isn’t polite to talk about girdles in mixed company (I’m originally from the south and am aware that this could cause swooning) but, before you swoon, let’s take a look at the burlap girdles that my friends, Carol and Kerrie, designed.

The Friends

Chris (The Redneck Rosarian, Carol, Me, Kerrie and Mimi!
Chris (The Redneck Rosarian), Carol, Me, Kerrie and Mimi!

I have been cyber friends with Carol and Kerrie for about 3 years and have learned so much from them about seeds. You can learn from them too just follow them on Twitter and Facebook.

This  spring I had the great pleasure of spending some time with them at Garden 2 Blog at P Allen Smith Garden Retreat. We had a blast!

This fun loving duo have come up with all kind of things to make gardening a whole lot easier and more fun! Please don’t miss the seed keeper boots in the pic above. Gotta love those!

The Girdles

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Cute packaging!

Back to the girdles … I am so in love with these girdles (grow bags). They are light weight, come in 3 sizes, are easy to store, easy on the budget and look fabulous in my natural setting.

Most of you know how crazy I am about burlap and twine, so you are not surprised that I love these. Here’s how they look on one of my potting benches…

KeeperGirdleesFor more about the burlap girdles, read on.

The Seed Keeper Project

I am also very impressed with their Seed Keeper Project where they recognize school gardens across the country and award a Seed Keeper Home Farmer and a Certificate to a school in every state highlighting their dedication to gardening. Read more.

The Seed Keepers

Never hunt for your seeds again.” If you collect seeds and want to keep them organized, you need one of Carol and Kerrie’s Seed Keepers. They come in 3 sizes and they also come with all kinds of stuff that makes seeding keeping so much easier like dividers, plant markers, seed saving envelopes and more.

I actually have two of the deluxe models and fill them to the brim!  Take a look…

All my seeds can be alphabetical and organized. I just love it!

The Boots

Okay I have to share just one more picture of THE boots …

419610_10150717197213436_452163874_nAdorable!

You might also enjoy reading…

Rosesof Moss Mtn_POL

AllenSilkies

Confessions_Twine_Pol

P. Allen and Pesto

For weeks I have been in the mood for pesto! Maybe it’s because I saw a video by P. Allen Smith for Arugula Pesto and I love Arugula! Or, maybe it’s because my garden friend, Diane LaSauce, posted recently about Kale Pesto (recipe here) and about the pesto she makes and takes to her local farmer’s market.

I decided this weekend was the perfect time. But, when I looked at my trusty food processor, I knew I wanted to upgrade. So, I asked my garden/cooking friends on Facebook Garden 2 Blog page what food processor they would recommend and everyone said Cuisinart.

A quick trip to Costco and I had my shiny, new food processor and was ready to get started.

P. Allen has a super easy video on making the Arugula Pesto…

This was SOOOOO delish and so easy. Give it a try.

Pesto

 

What do you think I should make next in my shiny, new food processor!

Now We’re Cookin’!

The great folks at Le Cruset offered those of us attending Garden 2 Blog 2013 one of P Allen Smith’s favorite baking dishes … all we had to do was chose our favorite color.

Look at this beauty…. Have you ever seen a more beautiful dutch oven? LeCreuset_001One of my very favorite things to eat is rustic bread and as I thought of what my first recipe would be in the dutch oven, I kept thinking it would be a bread. But, just the right recipe.

You see, I spend so much of my free time in my garden that what I wanted was yummy bread that was easy to make and a winner every time! And, a recipe that could be formatted to include a myriad of flavors and recipe tweaks.

I FOUND IT!

Based on a recipe I found on the Simply So Good website, here is my rustic bread baking experience.

BTW: You will most definitely want to check out this website. It has quickly become one of my go to sites for yummy things! (Read on.)

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Gather your dry ingredients…

3 cups of white unbleached flour
1 3/4 teaspoons of salt
1/2 teaspoon rapid rise or instant yeast

And, by the way, doesn’t my beautiful Le Crueset look smashing with my Sur Le Table sunflower bowl! I am completely crazy about them both!

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Whisk the flour, salt and yeast together.

Pour in 1 1/2 cups water

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Stir to make a sticky, shaggy mess! At this stage you can add some flavor. I added about 1 tablespoon of rosemary and 1 teaspoon of chives but it wasn’t enough to have the robust flavor I wanted, so I will experiment by adding more next time. At SimplySoGood.com you can read about many other flavor combinations that people have tried!

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Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let set for 12 – 18 hours. I let mine set the entire 18 hours as it fit best with my schedule.

IMG_2612This is what my bread looked like after 18 hours. Yes, it is as sticky as it looks, but that is the way it is supposed to be.

Now it is time to get things heated up!

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and put your pot with the lid in the oven and pre-heat the pot for 30 minutes.

As soon as you put your pot in the oven, dump the dough onto a heavily floured surface. I used my pastry sheet (I love this thing!).

With floured hands, form the bread into a rounded ball and cover the ball with flour and let it rest for the 30 minutes the pot is pre-heating.

Once the pot in pre-heated, it’s time to dump the bread into the pot and place the pot with lid back in the oven for 30 minuted.

After 30 minutes, remove the lid and bake another 15 minutes until golden brown.

IMG_2635I didn’t oil the pot or anything and it came out perfectly clean! What you see in the pot is a little flour that fell off the loaf as I removed it.

The Masterpiece

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Wish you were here to share a piece of this yummy stuff. Cooking with Le Creuset is not just cooking … it’s an experience and I couldn’t have been more pleased with this experience!

Do you have any suggestions on what my next Le Creuset cooking experience should be?

A Rose A Day: Red Drift

We are more than 1/2 way through June — summer is here and she came in with some intense heat in my neck of the woods. I was up early doing some trimming and general gardening but am glad to come into the air conditioning to continue my celebration of National Rose Month by sharing another rose with you.

Next up is Red Drift. I love the entire line of Drift Roses from Star Roses and Plants but today I am excited to talk about Red Drift — fits well into our National Rose celebration with it’s bright patriotic red color!

This picture tells the whole story of what you can expect from this rose all summer. It is always in bloom!

Here’s a shot of one of my rose borders… Red Drift is showing off even when the roses behind her are taking a break.

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Here’s what Star Roses & Plants has to say about Drift roses….

Drift® Roses are a cross between full-size groundcover roses and miniatures. From the groundcovers they kept their toughness, disease resistance and winter hardiness. From the miniatures, they inherited their well-managed size and repeat-blooming nature.

Garden 2 Blog 2012

One of the highlights of Garden 2 Blog (and there were legion) was getting to meet our good friends from Star Roses & Plants–Kajsa Haracz, Jacques Ferare & Kyle McKean.

JaquesPAS_002P Allen Smith has many Drift roses on Moss Mountain, so I was able to see varieties I had never seen before. One of those was Coral Drift. OOH LA LA. Lucky for me, our local IGC, Country Harmony, had Coral Drift, so I am now the proud owner of 2 of those. But, I’ll show you those beauties another day.

Isn’t his garden just amazing…

P Allen Smith's Rose Garden
P Allen Smith’s Rose Garden

In My Garden…

I have 5 Red Drifts in my garden and they are about 18″ high and about 2′ wide. They keep my rose border alive with bloom from early spring to fall. Another bonus for me is these roses compliment other flowers and roses whether in the ground or in a vase. I love to add them to arrangements! Even though I only have 5, there are plenty of blooms to share! The blooms are in sprays which add great interest to vased arrangements.

These blooming machines are extremely disease resistant and a true joy in my cottage garden. All I do is give them a little fertilizer and they are good to go!

If you don’t have any of these beauties in  your garden–I highly recommend you add them. Even if space is an issue for you, they will fit nicely into a container or any nook or cranny and give you season long beauty!

Tomorrow…

Tomorrow I think I’ll share a rose with you that helped get me in the winner’s circle.

A Rose A Day: Francis E. Lester

To continue with my June 2013: A Rose A Day Series…


NOTE: This article was written in 2013 … be sure you see the 2016  and 2017 updates at the end. 🙂


You know I love historical roses and some of my first roses came from Roses of Yesterday and Today 25 years ago.

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.

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Hubby and Son…. Craftsmen!
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Isn’t it beautiful!

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

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His book is in good company…
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A prized possession…

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Francis E. Lester Rose in his glory in the David Austin gardens…

Francis E Lester in David Austin's garden
Francis E Lester in David Austin’s garden

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.

 

Francis & Peggy 2016

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.


2017 Update:

He’s May 19, 2017 and he’s  just getting better and better!