Tag 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.

Ladybug Summer

Today I was so excited to find ladybug larvae on my roses.  I was making the usual weekly rounds, dead-heading, checking things out, snipping out leaves with black spot and scouting for aphids.  Normally when I find a cluster of aphids I strip them off the leaves with my fingers (yes, I wear gloves).  Today as I was brushing them off I noticed a few ladybugs nearby.  And then I noticed there were still a few insects tenaciously hanging onto the stem, but they weren’t aphids.  Upon closer inspection I discovered they were the larvae of ladybugs, little aphid-munching machines. I was thrilled that beneficial insects were hard at work in my garden. I was also glad that I hadn’t sprayed any chemicals, not even Neem oil, onto the roses. The circle of life, happening in my yard! When people don’t have a lot of time it’s just easier to get a bottle of something and spray the roses when insects appear.  But if you really love your plants, you have to take a close look at them.  Spend time with them. Give them an afternoon.  That’s when you see what’s happening in the garden.


Woodland Park Rose Garden

A visit to the Woodland Park Rose Garden in June is like walking through a dream. Time stands still. Surrounded by fragrance, unforgettable. Glowing light and soft petals, heavy with raindrops, bowing down to the earth. Peaceful people, unhurried, smiling. One of my favorite dreams.


Woodland Park Rose Garden

A quick trip to Seattle’s Woodland Park Rose garden showed that the June gloom was not beneficial to organically grown roses in 2012. There were fungal diseases and sparse foliage on display. Valiantly the roses showed their colors, still a delight even in their struggle against time and weather. One exception to the insufficient shrubs was the new introduction Sunshine Daydream. Leaves glossy, green, full, lush and plentiful. Flowers bright yellow. I’ve also watched it over the season at the nursery, and it stands out there as well. It appears very strong and disease resistant. Gold medal to Sunshine Daydream for the top rose of July!

Who Is This David Austin?

A Shropshire Lad

They are named English Roses, but everyone calls them David Austin Roses.  Why are they so unique?  What makes them so popular with the rose buying crowd?  Who is this man named Mr. David Austin? He was born in England in 1926 and went into the nursery business in the 1960’s.  This was the time when hybrid tea roses were the trend, for their new colors and perfect forms.  David Austin wanted rose breeding to take a different path.  He was looking for roses that would meet the needs of the gardener, remarkably beautiful, yet easy to prune and tend.  He began to combine the best characteristics of the old roses (shrubby habit, cupped, rosette flower form and delicious scent) with those of the modern roses (repeat blooming and wider color range).  He wanted his roses to mingle well in a mixed border with herbaceous perennials, creating a traditional English cottage garden.

David Austin

From his beginnings as a humble farmer, David Austin has come a long way.  His roses are now sold worldwide and his rose garden at Albrighton in county Shropshire, is home to over 800 varieties of roses.  He has introduced many famous roses such as Graham Thomas, Mary Rose and Constance Spry.

David Austin has also collected a number of awards during his life.  He won the Victoria Medal of Honour from the Royal Horticultural Society in 2003 for his services to horticulture and the Dean Hole Medal from the Royal National Rose Society. He also received an Honorary MSc from the University of East London for his work on rose breeding. He received the lifetime achievement award from the Garden Centre Association in 2004 and was most recently appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire, which makes him David C.H. Austin OBE.

On this esteemed award he says: ‘I am honored and delighted to be awarded an OBE for services to horticulture in the Queen’s birthday honors list. Every day, I marvel at my good fortune to have been able to make a life out of breeding roses, but of all the many days in my professional life, this is surely the most special. It is always a source of great satisfaction to see the pleasure my roses give to gardeners and rose lovers worldwide’. David Austin 16th June 2007

Long live the beautiful, versatile, elegant, delicious, velvety, radiant rose!

Harlow Carr Rose

Remember the Roses?

It’s snowing outside right now in Sammamish, Washington.   It’s still winter.  It’s still February.  I’m tired of cold fingers and wet feet.   I need a little bit of summer.  Remember the sun?  Remember the smell of freshly cut grass?  Remember the warm breeze against your skin?  Remember t-shirts without three extra layers?  Remember bright sunlight?  Remember sweating?  Remember fresh tomatoes?  Remember the roses?  What do you miss about summer?