Tools of the Trade

My good friend, Wendy Tilley,, and her husband, Ryan, have a garden of 350 roses and a business of caring for 85 rose gardens in the Atlanta area. So, they made it their goal to find gardening tools to make their job easier, more fun and give them the ability to be gardeners for a long, long time. This goal led them to some wonderful products for gardeners. Some of these products I already have and highly endorse, and others are high on my Christmas list. (Hey Santa!)

First up is a product that I’ve used for more than 20 years–

Harlane rose markers...
Harlane rose markers…

Harlane Plant Labelsread all about them here.

pruners-trgBarnel Pruners

  • Blade features include high carbon sword steel produced with a hard chrome finish and cold forged blade process.
  • Anodized finish repels sap.
  • Pressure injection die cast handles/body.
  • Drop forged heavy duty steel handles/body.
  • Self oiling center bolt for ease of maintenance.
  • Patented two-position lock for reduced effort.
  • “Auto-Unlock” – squeeze handles to automatically unlock shear.
  • Ergonomic TPR (thermoplastic rubber) non-slip grips.
  • Rotating handle reduces fatigue.


Bionic Gloves...

Bionic technology was first developed for hockey gloves, and evolved to batting gloves, catcher’s mitts and first-base mitts.

This technology is available in garden classic, garden extended-wear, driving/dress, golf and heavy duty gloves.

And, they are machine washable!  Read more.

Easy-Arranger324-571Easy Arrangers … Grids that fit over the top of vases. I have these and they really work! For more details, read on.

Wendy has many other great products for gardeners like the Muletto garden cart and even cute little rose purses!

Check them out here.


I had the pleasure of talking with Wendy on the Rose Chat Podcast. To hear all about Wendy, how she and Ryan got started growing roses, their products and garden advice, listen here.


Wendy travels around the South East to garden shows and holiday markets.  Click here for Wendy’s schedule. You can also find Wendy on Facebook (here) and Twitter @thegarose.

Bloom Thyme Friday: 2011 Garden Year in Review

From the delivery of 8,000 + lbs of flagstone to being named Costa Farms “Garden of the Month” in July, 2011 was an amazing gardening year…


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So excited to see what 2012 brings. First up is filling the new rose bed. So far I have 10 new roses ordered … Lady Ashe Climber, Flamenco, Julia Child, The Grande Dame, and Eden and another Roseraie de l’Hay.

How about you, what are your plans for 2012?

Bloom Thyme: Rose Companions

This week I served as guest host for #RoseChat. Our topic for the evening was companion plants for roses. Thanks to @redneckrosarian for the great questions.

Program Q and A… (Note all text is formatted for Twitter with 140 characters or less.)

Q1 Why plant companions with roses? Thought the Queen of flowers wanted to be left alone…
A1 To enhance their natural beauty & fill in their gaps w/o being too aggressive … like any good partner. 🙂

Q2 I spray my roses with fungicide. Are there plants that are spray tolerant?
A2 Companions I find more tolerant of sprays: Yarrow, catmint, coreopsis. Take care NOT to spray clematis. Read labels. 

Q3 Which are best with roses, Annuals or Perennials?
A3 I use a combination of annuals & perennials for continuous bloom. Look for those w/ similar growing conditions. 

Q4 What is naked knees syndrome?
A4 NKS: pesky mid-summer condition of loosing lower leaves… leaving “Naked Knees”.

Q5 What is the best cure for naked knees syndrome?
A5 Low growing companions with a long blooming season that can take the heat –fill the gap–saying no to NKS!

Q6 Can I plant herbs alongside my roses?
A6 Herbs look great with roses & some deter pests: Favs: calendula, feverfew, thyme, chives, lavender.

Q7 What are some of your favorite companion plants for roses?
A7 Fav rose companions: feverfew, moonbeam coreopsis, yarrow, catmint, thyme, lavender, larkspur, ageratum.

Q8 I heard that garlic is good to plant with roses. Why?
A8 Anything in the allium family helps keep aphids off roses & deters blackspot–garlic, chives, leeks & shallots. Pretty & yummy.

Q9 Any other companion plants that help deter pests?
A9 Ladybugs & hummers luv aphids/ attract them w/ lantana, Major Wheeler Honeysuckle (from Wayside Gardens), alyssum, calendula & beebalm

Q10 Any climbing vines make good rose companions?
A10 My favorite vines to use with roses are honeysuckle, morning glories & clematis.

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The best thing about Twitter #RoseChat is the sharing of information.
For an hour you are linked to an amazing group of like-minded people with an incredible amount of information. It is FUN. It is FAST. It is inFORMative!  (Need more convincing… click here for an excellent article from my friend, Paige, of Love Sown.

Below is a list of random comments from other participates of #RoseChat.

Favorite Clematis: Etoile Violette (from White Flower Farm), Henryi & Jackmani

Favorite Morning Glories: Heavenly Blue and Scarlet O’Hara (@bloominchick purchases these from Livingston Seed Co).

Favorite Climber: American wisteria, Wisteria frutescens

Favorite Rose Labels: Harlane Garden Labels

Favorite Annuals: Alyssum, Ageratum, Zinnias, Larkspur, Lantana

Love companions that work well in rose arrangements too… Feverfew, Limonium (Statice), yarrow, baby’s breath

A combo of Mdm Cecile Brunner and clematis Anita.

Like foxgloves, in the south they bloom with the first good flush of rose…

Give your roses a good start with alfalfa and manure teas from Authenic Haven Brand.

I love sage with roses!

Love lamb’s ear.

We grow Iris, lilies, salvia with our roses.

The last few years Lavender Provence has worked best for me.

Yellow roses look great with purple echinacea, & get lots of pollinators & predator bugs like assassin bug & praying mantis.

Naked Knees can be minimized with a good mulching and even moisture.

Lemon balm is beautiful and smells great but best in a pot. You won’t like it if it takes over and it will.

Love purple and red; also, Diamond Frost euphorbia is a fave and covers up those knobby knees

Peonies make good rosey companions. Often they are a color echo of the roses themselves.

Creme Brulee coreopsis and Coronation Gold yarrow

Love the look of garlic chives in front and giant alliums mixed in.

An elderly gardener told me that pungent herbs kept the bugs off his roses. He had no bugs. I took his advice. Works well.

#RoseChat is a great place to learn, grow and have fun with other “rose” people! Join us!

What are your favorite rose companions?