The Glorious Roses this Summer

The Glorious Roses this Summer.

“It’s too big to describe” is my answer when asked why the rose and the peony are  my favorite flowers.


What possibly can I contribute to the lore of the rose? Only the personal, I suppose. In all the years of gardening at Weatherstone the first flush of the roses this year has been extraordinary.  In fact so many flowers this season have  been spectacular  because of our very unusual “British spring and summer”.  I know I have said this several times in the last 3 months but why not celabrate a moment that is exceptional!

But back to roses…the quintessential expression of beauty. The rose is inspiration for so many things that are beautiful in the world: poetry, painting, literature, and of course as the ultimate symbol, along with the heart, of the magic of love. 

When I summon my first memories of roses, what comes to mind is Red Blaze, the sprawling, climbing variety my grandmother had growing along her white fence in the 1950s. My mother has a house not far from mine, and I planted Red Blaze along her  garden fence as a reminder of my childhood and my first love with roses. A flower, and most especially the rose, mark certain times in our lives  and thus creates a continuity between the generations.

From the middle of June, to the middle of July, I have had masses of roses and peonies blooming in various gardens, enabling me to blissfully create the big, luscious bouquets I so adore.  Above I am hiding the large peonies to disguise the fact that I had no makeup on and was looking rather …… well you know, not my best!  My mom who also had no makeup that day, as we had just come from the garden, at 87 is much more confident than I !!!!  (Yes, I know this is a post about roses, but there was a long and wonderful over lap between the two providing a double bliss moment.)

The table above is for my friends Susan Walker and Ali MacGraw who were in CT showing their collaboration on a collection for  IBU – a concept created  by Susan.  I have written about them a couple of posts ago. Great  things created for a wonderful cause.
I did a small video on Instagram of the Ali dinner table if you would like to see more of it.

Above my dream come true, roses in their splendor and abundance in the cutting garden.

If roses are my great love, however, they’re also the bane of my existence – prickly, actually and figuratively. Roses are the very definition of “labor-intensive”, they have complicated watering needs, they need to be properly fed, you have to mulch or wrap them when putting the bushes to sleep for the winter. Roses are also susceptible to disease – blackspot, mildew, you name it. And the pests! And if they get too squeezed or too shaded, they die – one winter we lost 350 bushes. Although you work  hard and have many failures along the way – they pay the sweetest dividends.

The roses at my studio and another aspect of the cutting garden this year.

All of the  pictures  above are of my garden, but for those of you who don’t have a garden, let me show you some photos of bouquets of roses that I’ve done (images below) with flowers from places like Trader Joe’s, Costco and now even the grocery store . These flowers are not expensive and look great and save me in places like Charleston and Colorado where I do not have a garden.

A close up of my  mix of Trader Joe’s  and Whole Food roses…I love them.

Once again glorious pink roses with a wonderful fragrance from this year’s exceptional garden.  carolyne


63 thoughts on “The Glorious Roses this Summer

  1. Dear Carolyne,

    How glorious, especially the dark red roses in the gold vase. Just a few queries……
    Is your white fencing to keep out the deer or just decorative?
    How do you and your lovely Mum keep so slim?

    I was hoping to see your table set for your lunch for Ali and Susan. I love the style of their clothing for IBU.

    Hope you are all well and happy.

    Marie 🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹

    • Hi Marie, very happy to answer your questions. The white fencing is to keep the deer out, but of course I love the lattice as a visual backdrop as well….as for Mom and me keeping slim, thankfully a lot is genetics, but I do stick to a healthy diet as much as possible – but always room for wine! Hope all well down there, cr

    • Hey there –you are so right I do not know which is worse my spelling, typing or proof reading—thanks for the correction cr

      • I feel you, cr. It seems that spelling errors jump out at me when I see them…it’s the teacher in me… and I pride myself on my proofing skills, but I excitedly sent you a post last year with a spelling error I caught after the fact…horrors! I felt lousy, but I realized that’s life these days in our fast – paced media communication with auto-correct. So let’s just celebrate (not celabrate–ha!) and travel to Fantasyland immersed in the beauty before us. Sadly, I’m considering removing my remaining bushes because they keep putting up a fight that is proving to not be worth the challenge anymore since it’s just I, and no gardeners, leading the defense. I’ll have to use your inspiration and join you in grocery store blooms. It’s not what you have, but what you do with it, that counts. (So true in so many ways, is it not?)

        • I like that approach Jan, but there is also a part of me that’s a stickler for detail, so I shall try to keep both in mind. Sorry to hear of your recent rose challenges, but as I so frequently mention, there is so much you can do with purchased blooms, so not such a bad (and believe me, a much easier) alternative, cr

  2. as always, a treat for the eyes! Including you and your Mother! Merci

    • Thanks Alison, and yes, having Mom move up here to Weatherstone was one of the best decisions we made, grateful to have her so close, cr

  3. What a beautiful post. I can almost smell the roses!
    Your Mom, at age 87, is stunning! the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!

  4. Love the pictures! I am a fan of mini-roses. I transplanted 3 this spring, including The Fairy (Middle TN) and they are doing great! So are my 7 pink Knockout bushes near the pool. I have pruned these twice this year and still they return . . . . When I got these, I did not realize that they were two different pinks, a light and a bit darker one. This makes them a lot more “lively” to look at. They are bug resistant, but not much fragrance. I still recommend them where you want non-stop color.

    • The light and dark pinks sound ideal, especially if you are picking them for arrangements. For me, fragrance always trumps bug resistance though, so I shall just have to keep enduring those irksome pests! cr

  5. Your gardens are breathtaking – Virginia Billeaud Anderson

  6. Thank you so much for posting; the pictures are absolutely beautiful and inspirational! Especially the one with you and your mom. You all look like you are having such a good time. I love pictures like that. My mom died four years ago and I treasure pictures of her.

    • My condolences to you Lorena, and I imagine four years on it’s not any easier…..I’m glad you take comfort in your photos, and thank you for reminding me to appreciate these moments while I can, cr

  7. Truly a gift from Mother Nature and you Carolyne. The colours are spectacular and I can only imagine what they must smell like. Enjoy Enjoy Enjoy Nice to be able to share with your Mother.

    • Yes, Heather, I only wish there were a way to convey the perfume, as they were just exquisite, cr

    • Thank you Phyllis, I have a team of 3 gardeners / caretakers who I couldn’t possibly manage without, though I do try to spend any free time I have in the garden too, cr

  8. Carolyne, Such a cute Mom! My mom is a spunky 87 also. We are blessed to still have them, as most of my friend’s parents have passed.
    And the roses are stunning too. Thanks for sharing your bounty.

    • Thank you Jenny, indeed we are lucky to have them still with us. Love the sound of your spunky one! cr

  9. Just love the roses. Unfortunately I react to a prick so I do not grow them anymore. But I do love them!! ONe year I lost 52 rose plants and changed the garden design after that. Love your post!

    • Thanks Beth, they are indeed a labor of love. 52 plants sounds like a sizable garden though, and I’m sure you have done something wonderful with the new design, cr

  10. I just wish that peonies would grow all summer, but maybe we wouldn’t appreciate them as much if they were always around. LOVE the arrangement with the fruit. It’s so…Dutch still life.

    • Thanks Cynthia, I’m with you on the peonies, but you’re right, perhaps we would take them for granted year round. As you well know, the Dutch Masters are some of my biggest inspiration, so very well spotted! cr

  11. STUNNING!!! Mine, this summer, have taken a hit by “Japanese Beetles”…I’ve never seen anything like it…annihilated franki!

    • Oh Franki, I understand your pain! Luckily this year the Japanese beetles arrived later than usual at Weatherstone, so we were able to enjoy this first, full flush. Fingers crossed for next year, cr

  12. Absolutely breathtaking. You are having an extraordinary season. Here in Missouri the Japanese beetles are having a field day with my roses and dahlias, I think I finally got it under control, l saw a clip of your catwalk for IBU you looked fabulous!!

    • Sorry to hear this Peter…..we were incredibly lucky that the Japanese beetles arrived later than usual, so were able to enjoy this amazing first flush, insect free. Glad you have yours under control though, and enjoyed the IBU piece, they really are doing such wonderful things down there, cr

  13. Roses are my religion! I use this line all the time and it is stolen right from your notebook!! Just beautiful!

  14. Beautiful post !!I You have so many magnificent roses. It is winter here in Australia so all my roses have been pruned and I am waiting eagerly for the magic of spring for them to bloom again.🌹🌹🌹

    • Thanks Victoria – I know only too well that waiting and waiting! Each year though, it is very well worth it, cr

  15. I live in Litchfield County about 30 minutes south of Weatherstone, in Zone 6a, and I can fully appreciate the extra effort you must make further north. I’m so glad it’s paying off this year!

    • Thanks Doug, of course I know 6a very well! It has definitely paid off, but we were also lucky in having the Japanese beetles arrive later than usual, cr

  16. What variety are your pink climbing roses? Your garden is glorious! Thank you for sharing with us.

  17. So beautiful!! How often do you feed your roses and what are you finding to be the best rose food? My blooms are so inconsistent 😜

    • Hi Susan, we feed them twice a year, first in early spring, then then again during growing season, with a granular mixture of Milorganite and Epsom rose fertilizer. I can’t promise anything but might help with yours being inconsistent! cr

  18. It is a great summer for roses and your garden and interior look especially gorgeous! I really enjoyed the photograph of you (despite the coverage) and your Mom. How lovely the two of you can enjoy them together.

    • Thanks Robin, it has definitely been the best season I can remember, and I am very lucky to have Mom here to enjoy them with, cr

  19. Holy Crow! How fabulous! Looking at your pics I am actually inhaling their fragrance and it is intoxicating! No one deserves this more than you Carolyne 🙂 Enjoy your eden! One might be so inclined to pour a tall glass of champagne and just twirl around in the garden at dusk and let ones pores absorb the loveliness, beauty ……..and fragrance of it all.

    • Thank you Cameo….twirling with champagne is something I seldom do, but you are right, we should take more time to slow down and properly enjoy these simple pleasures – if you are a active reader of the blog, you will know by now that I have a terrible habit of over scheduling though! cr

  20. Just beautiful! Only intelligent design can create such beautiful color. So far this year, the luminosity of the sky and the rain and just enough cold temperature have generated a garden that is a beauty to behold. I don’t have your space, my back garden is just luscious and green and I am loving it. I wish I could grow peonies in my region, but I buy them in our specialty market. I love all flowers, but peonies, parrot tulips and agapanthus are at the top of my list……and, of course, roses of all kinds.

    • Thanks Laura….sounds like we have very similar tastes – peonies, parrot tulips, roses – what more could a girl want? cr

  21. You are very gracious when someone corrects you. It must be of great importance to show that they caught a mistake you missed. Even as if they are joking, someone cannot wait to point out a second mistake. I think it must be a very insecure person indeed who feels the need to do this to a woman who shares such beauty, grace, and interesting ideas with the world. My mom really put me in my place once when I corrected her, She said, “Your grammar may be better than mine, but my manners are better than yours.” That was a good lesson from a wise woman.

    • Thank you Laura, and your mom’s quote put a big smile on my face – similar to something I might have heard! For me, it’s a fine line though between my need for attention for detail, while admitting life’s too short sometimes to get worked up over such things. I appreciate all my readers’ feedback though, and love that the blog becomes a forum for all these sorts of discussions. Thanks again, cr

  22. Such glorious roses! The photos in this post are divine.

    I think the fact that you’re able to grow both Peonies and Roses demonstrates why you find the roses difficult and a little finicky. They really suit a mediterranean climate perfectly – they grow amazingly well and are a very low maintenance plant here in South Australia (they are commonly used on median strips in roads, on the centre of round-abouts and are chainsawed for pruning by the local council maintenance in Winter), but we cannot grow Peonies as it’s just not cold enough in Winter. So, I suppose the trade off is that living in an area that you get Peonies is that you’ll suffer the frosts, and the black spot and mildew in the roses to have them grow side by side.

    • You’re right Heidi, there’s always a trade off and I am lucky to be able to enjoy both. Low maintenance roses? South Australia sounds like a dream! Thanks for getting in touch, cr

  23. So beautiful…most incredible display of pink magenta crimson etc….thanks for sharing yours and God’s labors.

  24. Your mother is indeed lovely and I remember that incredible video of you and your mom dancing! It was beyond!
    Thank you for sharing your beautiful and outstanding garden, again! To say nothing of the table settings, of course.
    Just tried two wonderful recipes from your book “Carolyne at Home” – super delicious – the corn soup and from your Spring Series, the salmon – thank you!

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