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Adding Old Garden Roses to My Garden

Although 2020 has seen many of our plans change and forced us to work in entirely new ways, our gardens remain a positive respite that despite whatever is going on in the world remain a constant source of stress relief and happiness.

I began 2020 with a couple of garden initiatives- firstly to visit more public rose gardens, and secondly to expand my collection of roses into old garden varieties - Both of which I have done. Now in regards to visiting more rose gardens, this hasn't been the easiest year to travel and many public spaces have been closed or open with limited access. Early in the year I took several trips to Elizabeth park in Hartford, CT and joked that I had seen the park full of dormant roses so many times that I probably wouldn't get back to see them in bloom. That was foreshadowing at its finest, but I was intent on getting back down. I was able to visit a couple of weekends ago and will be sure to write my thoughts in another blog.

Old garden roses are where m…

Gertrude Jekyll

As spring is nearing closer it’s hard not to get excited for the upcoming growing season. Especially with the abnormally warm start to the year, the roses are already beginning to show signs of life.

This will be my first year growing several varieties of old garden roses (roses from before 1867 when the first hybrid tea was introduced) but its fun to think about what led me to where I am which is essentially my obsession with David Austin roses.
At my very core I am a researcher. I cherish many memories sitting around the family encyclopedia (google for kids that were born before 1990) looking up information on everything that I could possibly want to know. I was the type of kid that wrote reports for fun. Fast forward back to my adulthood and I am still odd and everything that I find interesting becomes researched until I know as much as I possibly can. So after my first season of gardening, I had decided to add Mr Lincoln, and was giddy and looking forward to the following season o…

Rose Dose: Organic Rose Buds

Aside from enjoying roses in the garden for obvious reasons, I also love to harvest fresh blooms for culinary purposes including floral tisanes. During the growing season this is done easily by taking a stroll through one of my rose beds to see which plants might have a spare flower or two for the taking. During the off season however this is a little tougher, and this brings me to one of my favorite winter past times. Along with going over the David Austin catalogue in addition with various seed catalogues (and quite honestly whatever other garden inspiration I can get my hands on) I also enjoy perusing rose based or inspired products including soaps and lotions, artwork, and of course dried rose buds or petals. The trouble with the later has always been finding a reputable source to purchase from at an affordable price.

I am pretty sure that I have tried every rose based tea on the market, some of them I enjoy and others not so much. I usually end up adding rose water to get the pe…

Elizabeth Park

Winter can be a bleak time of year in the northeast and I must admit that for a lifelong New Englander I am not fond of the cold at all. This means that rather than skiing, snowshoeing, or participating in any of the other outdoors activities that require enduring the cold I am much more likely to be found inside by the fire place looking through seed catalogues or David Austin's latest "book of roses."

By February however I am feeling a bit of cabin fever and we are usually plotting our next adventure. Also being stuck indoors with so much cold outside usually inspires big dreams of what the garden will bring this current season, and so the two will usually marry into some type of garden experience, whether its the Boston Flower show in March or hunting for indoor plants or seed starting goodies early. This year i have planned to experience the many gems (some hidden and others not so much) throughout New England, and by gems I mean rose gardens. Our travels this past …

Hey Mr Lincoln

I think we all have certain expectations of roses when we begin a rose garden. More so than any other plant, everyone has an image of what a rose should be or what they would like it to be in their garden and there is probably some piece of nostalgia that dictates what that image is. For me it was a classic long stem red rose with a sumptuous fragrance. The nostalgia may have been linked to my love of Alice in wonderland as a kid. I was off to find the perfect red rose to begin my rose garden and I knew that meant reading reviews and learning a thing or two about roses. Along with learning about hybrid teas, I found the rose- “Mr. Lincoln,” that sounded like he would fit the bill nicely and upon checking into my local big box store, I found an entire display of Mr. Lincoln roses. It was kismit and I purchased 2 of these to add to my newly designed bed.

At this point I must admit I still didn’t know that I was planting a full rose garden and Mr. Lincoln ended up in a bed with a multitu…

The Beginning of A Rose Garden

Where do I start? Nearly five years ago I was fortunate to purchase my first house and along with it I gained my first garden. My original interest in gardening was limited to an interest in pretty Japanese trees and vague memories of planting marigolds with my parents growing up. In fact I don’t have fond memories of beautiful roses in my grandmother’s garden as most inspired gardeners seem to have. To my knowledge neither of my grandmothers gardened at all.

So five years ago I was ecstatic to be purchasing my first house with my husband. A feat I honestly didn’t think that I would ever experience. We were particular about the neighborhood we would buy into, and of course wanted something that suited our tastes and of course in our price range. One factor we never considered was the yard. In fact, when we were shopping there was several feet of snow on the ground, so even had we looked at yards we wouldn’t have been able to see very much.

After several months of settling in, making …