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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 the house our own, and working on small projects, the weather was warming up, the snow beginning to melt and the disaster of a yard beginning to make an appearance. Between dying trees, Ill placed trees, weeds, poison ivy and more weeds I was overwhelmed but eager to shape the yard I hadn’t even realized I had. Being a new homeowner I was cautious to make my own decisions and welcomed much input from the neighbors. Growing up with a love for all things Japanese, I knew that I wanted several Japanese trees. These were easy decisions, however beyond that I couldn’t tell you the difference between an annual and a perennial. One thing I was certain of was that I didn’t want hazardous plants in my yard. Between the poison ivy and the invasive, original to the house, Japanese barberry bushes creeping up in ever corner, I had my work cut out for me. And then there were the rose bushes. The neighborhood we bought into was an older neighborhood, and the previous owner of our house an elderly woman who at some point fancied roses. The rose bushes were overgrown, thorny and oddly placed throughout the yard. Now I had always enjoyed the fragrance of roses, and I enjoyed the typical florist, long stem roses, but in the same vein as anything else that was hazardous, I didn’t care to have roses growing in my yard. So out they went.

Over the course of that first summer I had lots of help changing the landscape, adding hedges, adding trees, removing trees, trying out annuals, etc, etc, etc. I was beginning to really enjoy gardening. Towards the end of the summer we extended our driveway and began to clean up a small strip of property next to the driveway that was overgrown and filled with roots left over from several “weed” trees that we had removed. I got a crazy idea that this area needed to have a raised bed, complete with a retaining wall and so with the help of a friend I began constructing just that. After the wall was erected and I started to think about planting this area I joked that a couple of red roses would look good in this area. Despite not wanting hazardous plants in my yard, this was an out of the way area and I couldn’t help but envision the roses from Alice in Wonderland being painted red in a formal style garden. That fall I purchased two Mister Lincoln hybrid Tea roses and planted them along with a  “mish-mosh” of other plants and actually got really excited at the idea of such a luxurious flower blooming in my garden. Although my Mister Lincoln’s produced several buds that year, I wouldn’t actually see any blooms until the following spring.

Over the course of winter I began to think about this area and how I wanted it to look. I started to think about how it would look if I had planted roses exclusively and my love for roses was officially born. Over the next couple of months I researched roses and by the following spring had reserved quite a selection at my local garden center.

Looking back I found it fascinating how I evolved from removing many rose bushes to installing a brand new rose garden. According to my neighbors many of the previous owners, including the original owner of the house had a fascination with roses and all added roses to this garden. Over the past five years I have added over thirty rose bushes and counting. As I write this a couple of days before Christmas, I am contemplating my spring Rose order and dreaming up new areas to plant up. I look forward to continue detailing my garden here as it continues to evolve.