Rosarian at a crossroad

This gardening season I have been thinking about my rose growing hobby a lot. I like rose horticulture exhibiting, making arrangements and growing the miniature and miniflora roses and I am moderately successful, especially since the move from the short growing season in Minnesota to western Washington. To do really well, a person needs some type of florist frig or other not frost-free frig that will stay at 36* F to hold roses for a week or so before a show. It will keep a perfect bloom in that state for days until needed. All the really good rose exhibitors have a special frig. I do not have such a frig. The frig really only needs to be using electricity for a month or so in June then a month in Sept. to cover all the rose shows in the Pacific Northwest. So I have been wondering, do I want to get such a frig? Do I want to continue showing roses at this level? How many more years would I really want to be showing roses? Would it be worth the effort? What do I really get out of all this? Heaven knows I don’t need more trophies and stuff. I like the recognition and thrill of getting on the head table. I only need one up there for it to be a success. I like being with rose people and judging. Judging is where the real action is, IMHO. So I am conflicted. I like my humble shrub roses with their full fluffy variety of colors. They are not show roses for the most part. Dr. Buck and David Austin are well represented in my rose collection. I am also trying a few of the Kordes varieties this year because of their reputation for disease resistance. So where does this bring me? I will probably continue life without a frig, but I would take one if it magically appeared.

Top row L to R:Honey Perfume, April Moon, Joy a miniature show rose on its second flush, Lena, a cute shrub born in Minnesota.

Bottom: Serendipity and Aunt Honey by Griffin Buck.

Warm sunny weather needed

My first flush of roses is nearly over, but with the temps in the 50’s and 60′ for highs, the rebloom is moving slowly this year. Our Pacific Northwest District rose show will be Saturday June 4th down in Vancouver, WA and I need some sunny warm weather to compete! 

Here are today’s blooms from the first flush of some of my Austin shrub roses. 

‘Abraham Darby’

‘Graham Thomas’

‘Munstead Wood’

‘Darcey Bussell’

‘Strawberry Hill’

Buck roses at Heirloom

I love the display gardens at Heirloom Roses in St. Paul, OR. The gardens feature many types of roses including extensive collections of miniatures, Austin’s and Buck roses. I think Heirloom has the nicest collection of Buck roses I have ever seen in one place. St. Paul, OR is farm country and the display gardens are down a winding road but getting there is well worth the effort.

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“My love is like a red, red rose.”

Robert Burns said it best.

A Red, Red Rose
by Robert Burns

My love is like a red, red rose
That’s newly sprung in June :
My love is like the melody
That’s sweetly played in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in love am I :
And I will love thee still, my dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry.

Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi’ the sun :
And I will love thee still, my dear,
While the sands o’ life shall run.

And fare thee weel, my only love,
And fare thee weel a while !
And I will come again, my love,
Thou’ it were ten thousand mile.

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A few roses begin to bloom

What a difference a few warm days can make in the garden.

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This is the first bloom of ‘La France’ in my 2014 garden.

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‘Prairie Lass’ is a Griffith Buck rose I enjoy because of the stippling of the color on the petal.

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Yellow roses are my favorite and this three year old ‘Cl. Golden Showers’ is spectacular, but the foliage is showing blackspot by mid May, so I plan to remove this plant and look for a cleaner rose. Too bad because I like the flower.

Support your local rose vendor!

Gig Harbor, Washington

Gig Harbor, Washington

“Gentlemen, start your engines”… We are off on another season of high hopes with dreams of minimal disease and insect problems. This usually begins with the first of several visits to the local rose nursery. Local is actually about 45 minutes away, but many travel much farther to select from the over three thousand roses available in Gig Harbor, Washington. Rain or shine Michael and his dad a Frank Gatto have the best selection in this area of Weeks roses and others from Palantine in Canada, potted up ready for sale.

Ole, Sven and Lena

Ole, Sven and Lena jokes

It’s time to rerun some of my favorite blooms from the 2013 season, since none are blooming in my cool winter garden that is light starved. When I lived in Minnesota people would tell really clever joke stories about Ole, Sven and Lena. During the early 2000’s the University of Minnesota had a rose hybridizing program and named three small shrub/polyantha roses Ole, Sven and Lena. The roses are nostalgic for me and always bring back memories of my life far away.

'Ole'

‘Ole’

'Sven' is very fragrant

‘Sven’ is very fragrant

'Lena'

‘Lena’