While the height of the rose season has passed us I am happy to say mine are still blooming, I would be remiss as a gardener if I didn’t honor them in some way! So forgive my tardiness in showcasing my most beloved roses. I was reflecting on the fact that the last three rose seasons have been rather successful ones. This latest was fraught with challenges (excessive dryness) and unpredictable weather patterns but our blooms still emerged gorgeous and abundant. Beauty and strength prevailing in the face of adversity is a rather appropriate allegory for our current times, I’d say!
Roses have taken their place in history as well as current culture as one of the most cherished and romantic of flowers. Men and women all over the world bestow their beloveds with roses as the highest form of admiration and affection. Joe DiMaggio sent Marilyn Monroe’s place of rest six roses, three times a week for 20 years after she passed away. It’s grand, sweeping gestures like this that have made this bloom synonymous with love. 121 years ago, Kate Greenaway’s Language of Flowers was first published. At the time, she identified deep red roses to mean “bashful shame,” white roses to say “I am worthy of you,” red rosebuds as “pure and lovely,” and yellow roses signified a “decrease of love” or “jealousy”. Today, yellow roses indicate friendship and the red is a universal symbol of passionate love. And roses now come in just about every color imaginable!
As a gardener, I think some of the most revered roses have been brought to us by the prolific and talented David Austin (currently, there are over 200 varieties). At a very young age, David had a deep passion and love for nature and plants – an obsession we shared. At age 21, his sister gifted him a copy of E. Bunyard’s Old Garden Roses and a love affair began. By the age of 31, he released his first rose named ‘Constance Spry’ (an absolute favorite of mine, which blooms in abundance outside my studio at Weatherstone). His obsession with old roses and his modern sensibilities inspired him to cross two roses, capturing the best qualities of both in scent, shape and range of color. His roses are now bred not only for perfection of aesthetics, but resistance to disease as well. From pollination to market, this process can take up to 9 years! But they truly are just that special and resplendent!
So much of my design sensibilities and current tastes are rooted in my past experiences and nostalgia for my younger years when I was just starting out in New York City. While beginning my career many years ago as a young design assistant for Oscar de la Renta, I was thrilled to finally set up my very own apartment (as I previously had three roommates!). Mind you, this task was executed on a bit of a shoestring budget, as I was bringing home $126 a week at the time! During this time of my life, there was a wonderful floral designer from Brazil named Renaldo Maia who used to assemble almost chemistry-like glass beakers and vials on a table with just a single flower or two in each vase. The simplicity of this look appealed to my prudent, young eye (and my wallet!). I purchased some vases from his shop and stationed them around my apartment – one on my bedside table, one in the bathroom, one on my small dining table where I ate every day – as a way to bring affordable beauty into my life with just a few well-placed blooms. This was my modern, dignified but simple way to begin and end each day with a touch of elegance. This is a trend that is always on point – affordable beauty and a hint of sophistication can transform a room or a mood just as much as an armful of decadent posies. There is thoughtful, intentional grace in even the smallest of vignettes.
I have always wanted to offer a version of those containers on my website. Recently I discovered a source for small vases in opaque white and transparent cobalt blue that are a nod to those simple looks of my first apartment. The lines of these vases are a more sophisticated, grown-up rendition. The neck of the vase gives you the option to do a single bloom or a few if you choose. Their price point makes it possible for you to use them in groups, either in a line down a long table or in clusters in the middle. I mixed the blue and white vases with a variety of colorful roses in each for a pop of color on a clean, crisp summer table. They are currently offered in the gift section of my website.
As we head into the fall, I am reminded to stay hopeful and enjoy the beauty each season has to offer. The memories of summer are not exactly what they have been in years past, but good health, acts os love and kindness to our fellow man and a beautiful table to gather those we love around are enough for me in any season.
Wishing you peace and calm in your final days of summer and a renewed sense of purpose as we move through these times together!
No wonder you are so beautiful – you are surrounded by beauty!
I’m glad to read your post, yet again.
I was looking for two of my favourites posts by you (a bit far back, i know) – Oct 4, 2018 (A Constant Thread); and Aug 16, 2016 (Green Upon Green).
I could not find them.
Has a gremlin got into the system? I am not the most computer-literate of people, i know.
Thank you for expressing your love of rescue dogs. Our last five dogs have been rescue dogs and they bring so much love and joy to our world. They bring happiness and constant companionship to our lives. They are our fur babies.
I hope you continue to get better and better every day!
Deb – I am uncertain if you can access posts from that long ago (I too am not an expert;)!). I will check on that for you! I am so happy you are living the good life with your sweet rescue pups. They have brought such immense joy and purpose to my days as well and I cannot imagine life without their companionship. In many ways, we all have rescued each other! I hope you continue to find love and solace in their care. It’s such important work and a process we should continue to promote as so many animals need homes! Stay safe and be well!
Thank you, Carolyn. I would appreciate that very much. I’ve not come across it before. I wasn’t sure it that was a normal process of websites. Oh well, we all learn. Haha. It’s not a priority if you are busy with other things but thank you for considering it. Have a good day!
Did you look on Facebook or YouTube (probably better) I also am not computer savvy but if you hunt around maybe you can find some older stuff
Thanks, Kim. That’s a great idea and it didn’t even occur to me. I don’t do Facebook or YouTube. I’m a neanderthal! I just follow special posts on my email links. I might ask one of my friends to look for me. Thanks, Kim!
I love how fellow readers are helping each other! Good luck!
You ARE a true wordsmith…a flower of a person …quite possibly a rose. Thank you. franki
Franki – I will accept that lovely compliment! I am so happy you enjoyed the post. Continue to enjoy your flowers and stay safe. Be well and have a good weekend!
Wonderful article and beautiful pictures of your roses! I am also in the second season of bloom! The leaf miner devastated my leaves the first bloom
Nancy – I hope this round produces everything you hoped for – it is certainly all a labor of love (and some sweat and tears, on occasion, I fear!). I hope you continue to cherish your time in the garden. Enjoy the roses!
Carolyne – It is ALWAYS a huge treat to wake up and find a post from you….. today’s roses certainly were one of the best. Who am I kidding – every post from you is ‘the best’. Sitting down with my first cup of coffee and a silent house and finding that you’ve sent this glorious array of beautiful photos is both inspiring and calming. And I want to say too that your writing is always so interesting and well done – it”s for me a truly important part of your posts – the photos are one wonderful thing but I for one would miss your accompanying ‘conversation’ about the subject. So thanks for all of it. P.S. I gave your Lily of the Valley plastic bags as part of birthday gift bags to my two birthday club friends in July and August and they absolutely LOVED them – I explained that Carolyne is “my best friend I’ve never met” and they totally ‘got it’ Thanks again for starting my day off so pleasantly and stay well !
Kim – Ha! I love the “best friend I’ve never met” part! Too funny and I “get it” too! I’m so happy your friends enjoyed the bags. I use them on every trip I take so I’m thrilled when others love them as much as I do! Thank you so much for your kind words – I am happiest when I’m writing about the things I’m passionate about and roses certainly fall in that category. I’m so glad that you were able to read, relax and have that first cup of coffee. With the schedules we keep, we all need and deserve that quiet moment to ourselves each day. Hope you are staying safe and that you and your family are well. Have a wonderful weekend!
What a beautiful post. I have always loved David Austin roses and have many growing in my garden.
I LOVE how your garden grows. Stay well and stay safe!
Eve – thank you so much! I too share your enthusiasm for his roses. Such perfection. As I mentioned, they surround my studio in Connecticut and I can’t decide if they are motivators or a total distraction while I’m at busy work;)! Regardless, their beauty puts me in a trance! Enjoy the last moments of summer and stay safe!
Lovely as always. There is a poignant quality to your writing that never fails to move me. Take good care… I look forward to Dalia season. Heather in Ottawa
Thank you, Heather! I love how we gardeners toil away for the best results in the season we are in but always have an eye on the next season! Its one of my favorite parts about being a gardener – the glorious anticipation of what’s to come! Enjoy those dahlias and thank you for your lovely words!
You always raise the bar! Thank you
Thank you so much, Heidi! I’m so pleased you enjoyed the post. Hoping you and yours are safe, happy and well! Wishing you the best.
Thank you for sharing your beautiful photos of roses along with your beautiful story. I spent a half day at David Austin’s rose garden a couple of years ago to my delight. His displays at Chelsea and Hampton Court shows we’re incredibly beautiful. Now I understand it is closed for renovation.
Nancy – that must have been such a delight! No one does it better – so much beauty to be admired. We hold these kind of experiences so dear now that life has slowed down. The renovation will certainly be something to look forward to when life picks up a bit! For now, stay safe and you and your loved ones be well!
Carolyne, You’ve reminded me that in my 20’s I had access to lots of scientific glass beakers. At the time I couldn’t afford the Georg Jensen wine carafe I really wanted so I used a flat-bottomed Erlenmeyer flask (it has since become trendy for wine) along with the smaller glass flasks for flowers. I’m happy you’re feeling better and are staying healthy during Covid. Best, Brenda
Ha! What a great idea! The things we did to add some adult sophistication to our young lives! I look back at those years so fondly. Hope you are safe and well too! Take care – wishing you the best!
Your photos are glorious! To add to the perfection was your beautifully written note. It is such a joy to read and reflect on.
Our gardens bring so much into our lives and our beloved dogs – a grateful heart thanks you for sharing your passions.
Pups and gardens – as far I’m concerned there is nothing better in this life! I look to mine now more than ever for comfort and refuge during these uncertain times. I’m so pleased you enjoyed the post. Keep doing what you love with those you love. Stay safe and be well!
In these dark heavy times we are living through it was such a joy to get this
post about your beautiful roses. You are such an inspiration in all you do there
should be a rose named after you. I will happily plant it in my garden …
Joanie you are a dear —-I have dreamt of having a rose named after me —but have not got around to arranging that….hopw you are well and staying safe. xox cr
I love the vases, and tried to order three in cobalt. It says I cannot add to my order of one vase….why?
They are stunning!
Hi Justine I have no idea why you cannot order more —that is really strange or dumb or both I will have man tech guru check into this
The issue with ordering has been resolved if you’d like to try again! Thanks so much for your patience! CR
Is it possible to obtain the names of the varieties of the roses shown with the white lattice tower or windmill type structure? I would love to hear which varieties were used. Thanks
Hi Pam! I will do a little digging and if I find something, I will let you know! I used to keep all of that very organized but unfortunately the garden outgrew the filing system!
Your roses are glorious! I’ve always been hesitant to try growing roses but I might try again after reading your story. It’s always delightful to see a posting from you and I read this one with anticipation and you didn’t disappoint. I’ve been a fan of yours for years, whether your designing a ball gown, table scape or flowerbed. Your are the quintessence of style. Thank you for the beauty you give us all.
I am so humbled by your lovely words. Thank you! Give it a try! There is so much information and support out there for growing just about anything and the end result is certainly worth the effort. Enjoy the process. The planning is such fun.
I tried to order the cobalt vases and none are available. Will you be getting more in? Also I have been trying to find a post in Aspen, that showed a small table with a green tablecloth and pewter with wildflowers. I would love to have it! Is it possible to find it?
I am sorry for the difficulty you had ordering the vases! I am going to look into both of your questions and get back to you as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience! CR
Feel free to try again as the issue has been resolved! Many thanks!
I am enthralled with your pictures of your beautiful roses. Delightful! You have quite an eye for beauty and I thank you for sharing it with all of us. Be well..
Susie – thank you so much! I am so delighted that you enjoyed the post. It’s my attempt to grasp the fleeting moment of summertime. With all that has changed, some things remain constant and the joy of gardening and flowers is that for me. I hope you are well and staying safe! All my best to you.
Love your post. I have looked and read it a dozen times. The flowers are heaven-like. Thank you so much!
Barbara – how kind of you – I am truly touched. We all need a little escape these days so I’m happy if I provided that for you. Keep making time to enjoy the small pleasures and stop to smell the roses! Stay safe and be well!
Thank you! <3
A Good Day to you. It is always with Great Pleasure to receive updates of your Gardens.It is magnificent and Beautiful to see the amazing Photographs ….especially in these troubled times. What wonderful Blooms, Zürich has being unusually hot this Summer, and my Blooms have had a bit of trouble..but they are still Beautiful and it seems will bloom through the Autumn.
It is really an absolute Pleasure and full of Hope to have an inspiration like You. ..Thank You for being You and for sharing with us
Have a wonderful Day
With Kind Regards
Thank you for your kind remarks. We are all suffering from this crazy virus. I wish I had answers but alas I am not that smart. But I do know comforting words from total strangers helps ease some of the pain.Loving our gardens and blooms is another way to bring beauty to our battered souls Take care,
Looking forward to your next blog post!
Your words and works of pure photographic bliss have helped me through this year so far. I often find myself just scrolling to look at scenes of your flowers and table settings just to smile.
It warms by heart to hear that my posts have been helping you get through this difficult time – we must all rely on each other during these challenging times for comfort and inspiration. Do what you love most and find solace in the beauty of life – it’s always there, we just need to take the time to notice it. Stay safe and be well!