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