Category Archives: Roses

Garlic from Father to Son

img_1384I just planted my garlic and I’m so happy to be part of its story.  I got it from a friend who had it from his father who kept it from the grandfather who came to our country from Czechoslovakia traveling through Ellis Island around the turn of the century.  This garlic has been around.  It started in central Europe, was carried to Michigan and now ended up in Duvall, Washington.  From all reports it’s an easy and fun crop to grow.  Resistant to pests and disease and useful medicinally and in the kitchen, I’m already a garlic fan. Just as I was planting it this November I still had a rose that was blooming, Zephirine Drouhin, a fragrant, thornless climber.  I don’t know why, but they seem to go well together, roses and garlic. One sweet, one savory. One colorful, one plain. Both full of layers. Garlic, the world’s healthiest food, roses the world’s best loved flower.  Good companions for the garden.

Portland Rose Garden

I captured this short 8 second video at the Portland, Oregon Rose garden this month.  It’s so fleeting, but it captures the sweetness of summer and the beauty of this floriferous climbing rose, Super Dorothy Perkins.  I don’t know who the running girl is, but who wouldn’t want to skip carefree through this place?  I love the way this rose hangs down, like wisteria or a golden chain tree. Another new favorite of mine from this trip is All American Magic, pictured below.  The color change is incredible…pink, yellow and red…it does seem like magic.  If you are ever in the area, I wholeheartedly recommend visiting this beautiful rose garden.  It’s the good life.


Elaine’s Rose Tour 2015

It’s July and I’m surrounded by roses!  What could be better than to wake up in the morning with sunny yellow Julia Child or see the soft glow of Gourmet Popcorn in the evening?   Buds are opening, foliage is still fresh and it’s turning out to be a summer for roses!  I sprayed in early spring with a copper soap fungicide to keep black spot at bay, and it seems to be helping, along with our lack of rain and sunny days.  Usually by now black spot is creeping up the plants, starting with the lower and interior leaves.  This year I’m having just as much fun looking at the beautiful glossy green leaves as at the radiant blooms, they’re so healthy!  Here’s a look at some of my roses…

Julia Child Floribunda is the best!  I love her butter yellow blooms and all of the flowers that cover this shrub.  One year she was blooming into November and I have pictures of her dusted with snow. This rose seems to resist disease well and has a beautiful flower, starting deep rich yellow and fading to a lighter creamy yellow. Although only lightly scented, it’s delicious!

Julia Child RoseJulia Child Rose

Chicago Peace is another one of my favorites.  This hybrid tea rose is multi-colored in yellows and pinks, with a light rose scent.  It also changes, fading to lighter colors as the blossoms age.  I planted this rose in the spring and it started growing and by May there was lots of foliage, but no buds!  I kept waiting and none appeared, so I gave it a heavy pruning. cutting all the stems down by a third.  I also re-fertilized with an organic fertilizer.  And now, about six weeks later it’s covered in buds, happy day!  One of them is just opening today and I think I’ll set up some chairs next to it, invite some friends and celebrate this gorgeous rose.  Seriously, I just want to hang out with this rose, I like it so much.  I need to get my computer outside, because that’s really where I should be blogging….with the roses!

Chicago Peace Rose

Gourmet Popcorn Shrub rose has small leaves and flowers, but they open up in big clusters, covering the ends of the stems in a soft white.  The yellow centers give it the appearance of buttered popcorn, this is a fun rose, although it has little to no scent.  I like the difference in size from the other roses, small little ruffled flowers, upright and bright, make a nice contrast to some of the big heavy blooms of some nearby.

Gourmet Popcorn Rose

Sheer Magic Hybrid Tea rose is enchanting as it opens, revealing a delicate pink and white flower. My shrub has never had many blooms at once, usually just a handful at a time, then I deadhead and wait for new growth.  I”m hoping that now it’s in a new spot it will respond better and produce more flowers.  It doesn’t even have much of a scent, but as the bloom opens you’ll forget all about fragrance, because just looking at this flower is enough to fill up all your senses. Like a night in the forest, like the mountains in springtime, like a walk in the rain, like a storm in the desert, like a sleepy blue ocean!  Have you ever had something that you just want to stare at for a long time?  This rose is delicate and pure, the colors creamy and smooth, it’s enticing.


Twilight Zone grandiflora rose is a fairly new introduction.  I love the big ruffled flowers, borne in clusters.  The color is a dark purple, described by Weeks Roses as ‘a deep velvet purple overlaid with a wisp of smoke’. I’m not sure that I’ve seen the smoke, but the velvety purple definitely!  Like the memorable television show, this rose gives you an unexpected twist with its ruffled deep purple flowers.

Twilight Zone Rose

Coretta Scott King grandiflora is another new rose, a cross between Moonstone and Hot Cocoa.  This is my first year with this beauty, so I haven’t spent as much time with her yet as the others.  I love the light colors that fade to dark as the flower opens.  Have you guessed that I’m addicted to multi-colored roses?  I can’t seem to get enough!

Coretta Scott King Rose

Coretta Scott King Rose

Tangerine Streams floribunda rose is another multi-colored beauty.  I’ve only had this one a year, but it seems to be blooming more abundantly this second year.  It has those delicious colors of apricot, salmon, pink and yellow that I love.

Tangerine Streams Rose

Oh My! floribunda is a classic deep red (although this picture looks pink…it’s not!).  It has clusters of flowers with very mild scent.  A rose with an exclamation point, wow! It must be something special! It must have static electricity! Oh My!

Oh My Rose

Easy Does It floribunda rose is exceptional.  I’ve had this one for years and it’s a non-stop bloomer as well as being covered in flowers.  It won the AARS award in 2010, well deserved!  I also like the disease resistance which is quite good.

Easy Does It Rose

Tess of the D’ Urbervilles English Rose is a David Austin climber.  This could be one of the best smelling roses in my garden, it’s heavenly.  The rich crimson flowers are lovely.  I bought it for the name alone, since I have a daughter named Tessa.  And since they are both so delightful I thought I would re-read the Thomas Hardy classic book this year, Tess of the D’ Urbervilles.  I’m telling you, stick with the rose, because I hate this book.  Except for the description of the dairy farm in the summer, it’s so dark and depressing and people die.  And Tess is such an idiot.  She needs to hang out with Oh My!

Tess of the D'Urbervilles Rose


And finally, Christopher Marlowe, my friend! This is another David Austin English rose with a dreamy tea rose fragrance.  This is a rescue rose from the nursery.  It was in the landscaping and was going to be dug out, so I decided to adopt it.  At the nursery it was largely ignored, never fertilized and rarely watered.  It put out one or two flowers a year and was quite unremarkable.  It’s new home is in a half barrel in potting soil and fertilizer and adequate water.  It’s going crazy!  I counted over 25 buds this month and I love it with the orange impatiens and pink begonias.  Christopher Marlowe, I’m glad we became acquainted!

Christopher Marlowe Rose



A few last minute additions! Dick Clark Grandiflora…No two flowers are alike.




























And Pope John Paul II, Clean, pure, white and fragrant.  Lovely.






















Winter Interest Plants

On a recent early morning outing to the Bellevue Botanical Gardens I enjoyed seeing the winter garden.  The plants that really stood out for me were the grasses.  Most were drying and golden brown, but the texture and shape was outstanding.  While many plants drop their leaves and disappear below the frosty substrate, the grasses are standing tall.  They are moving and sparkling in the sunlight.  It seems as if the earth is inhaling and exhaling, like the air rushing out of the a whale’s blowhole.  The earth is spouting grasses!  They haven’t melted into the earth, but rather are upright and true, greeting the distant winter sun.

Other plants were noticeable for their berries, fruit or flowers. Camellias are a sure bet for the winter, but I was surprised to see this Daphne still in bloom.  The rose hips were shiny and bright and are a great point of winter interest.  These were from a white rugosa rose.

Finally, winter would not be complete without the beautiful and graceful silhouette of a Japanese Maple.  Normally hidden from view, winter is the time to admire the searching stems and breathless branches of Acer palmatum, one of my favorite trees.

Japanese Maple

Japanese Maple

Remembering My Dad

At Kolob Canyon

Elaine and Dad at Kolob Canyon, 2013

On October 18, 2013 my dad passed away. It’s been difficult to think about ‘normal’ life when suddenly my life is completely different.  I still work and sleep and shop for groceries, but something is missing.  Someone who has been with me from the very beginning.  I feel like a perennial that’s been divided, part of me is gone.  But I can tell I’m still growing.  Going into a winter rest, needing some time for reflection and quiet.  I want to sleep longer, breathe deeper and read long works of fiction.  I’ve been in the habit of leaving flowers in unexpected places, it makes me happy. I like walking by a pine tree and seeing a ruffled rose peeking out.  Some people prefer plants in their natural state, and I don’t mind that, but I also like the unpredictable, the wonderful.  This quote by J.G. Ballard begins to explain it:

I believe in the power of the imagination to remake the world, to release the truth within us, to hold back the night, to transcend death, to charm motorways, to ingratiate ourselves with birds, to enlist the confidences of madmen.

Tony 3 years old

Growing up in Brooklyn, NY

My imagination is my own worst enemy as well as my very best friend.  It haunts me with memories as well as teases me with dreams.  I believe that my imagination is a gift and an inspiration, beginning in my early years and learned from my parents.  It was my dad that inspired me with a love for the natural world and science as well as a passion for learning.

Anthony DelPrete Jr. comes from a great Italian heritage. He was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1935 to Antonio DelPrete and Josephine Lombardi and later graduated from High School in Amityville, NY.  Even though he was an only child, Tony was always surrounded by a large Italian family who enjoyed time together and knew what a good meatball was.  He carried these traits with him throughout his life with his love of good food and family.  He always made an effort to be with his family, even as his children grew up and moved across the United States and all the way to New Zealand.  He taught us the importance of family, not with his words, but with his deeds.  He didn’t talk a lot, but what he had to say was always worth listening to.  His sense of humor and intellect made him a great conversationalist.

Our Italian Dinner at Bucca de Beppo

Our Favorite, A Big Italian Dinner 2013

Tony loved to learn and this continued throughout his life.  He received his Bachelors and Masters degree in Geology from the Missouri School of Mines, studied Oceanography at the University of Washington in 1966 and eventually went on to earn a Ph.D in Geology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York.  He was hired to teach geology and oceanography at the State University of New York at Oswego and spent his entire career there, retiring in 1997.

One of Tony’s favorite hobbies was trains.  He almost always had a model railroad set up in his garage or basement.  He watched I Love Toy Trains on TV and he loved to travel by Train.  Together he and Gloria rode all over the west and beyond on Amtrack and they even have a small collection of Amtrack spoons to prove it.

Tony in Korea

Tony in Korea 1956

Tony had many life experiences.  He served in the United States Army for two years during the Korean War and served as a radio operator for a year in Korea.  When he and Gloria retired to St. George in 1997, they began Geocaching.  They found over 2000 geocaches all over the world, from Budapest to Ecuador and even created over 80 of their own.  Tony loved puzzles and codes and relished the challenge of figuring out these hidden geocaches.  He and Glory went by the handle TonyGlo and always enjoyed making new geocache friends.

Tony was a world traveler.  Whether it was by train, airplane, boat or car, he always had a trip in the plans.  He traveled from China to Europe, around Cape Horn and even to New Zealand, just last year.  He also enjoyed driving a nice car and watching formula one racing with his friends.  He always taught us ‘don’t drive in the left hand lane, it’s for passing!’

He treasured learning.  Besides teaching at a university for many years, he was a lifelong reader and usually enrolled in adult education classes.  He was the only person I ever knew who watched the national spelling bee on cable TV.  He always loved old movies, especially old sci fi movies.  He got a kick out of watching the classic Plan 9 from Outer Space, possibly one of the worst movies of all time.

Peace Rose

Peace Rose

Tony always said that the song he wanted played at his funeral was ‘I beg your pardon, I never promised you a rose garden’. We laughed when we heard this, but as we listened to the

words, we understood. It talks about life.  Along with the good times, there are the bad times.  We can’t stop that or change that, but we can change ourselves.  We can choose to be happy.  We can live and let live.  That was Tony’s motto.  No matter the trials in life, he was usually smiling.  Even though full of fun, he was humble, thinking about others more than himself.  He chose to be happy, which in turn spread joy to those around him.

Dad, Elaine, Mike and Chris

Dad and His Kids

Although not a man of traditional faith, Tony was full of faith.  Faith in the future, faith in his friends, faith in our country and faith in his family.  We know that faith is not a perfect knowledge, but a hope for things that are not seen but are true.  Tony had this faith.  He had a perfect brightness of hope and a love for those around him.  As he battled with health for the last several years, he was an example to all of us with his hope and optimism.  He didn’t surround himself with raindrops but rather with roses.  We love him and will miss him.

Geocacher and Geologist

Geocacher and Geologist

Lichfield Angel Rose


Lichfield Angel  is blooming today at the nursery and it is radiant!  It begins as a soft peach and transforms into a creamy white.  It forms a vigorous shrub 4′ by 3′ is an excellent repeat bloomer.  The subtle colors of this rose as it blossoms are captivating and appear to be lit from within.  Maybe this luminosity is how it was named after an angel.  The Lichfield Angel is an early medieval limestone sculpture recently discovered at the Lichfield Cathedral in Great Britain.  The David Austin Nursery is close to this Cathedral.  What is it about this rose?  Is it the blush?  Is it the glow?  Like a soft baby kiss, this rose is like an angel’s lullaby.  It will add harmony to the garden.