Coming Up Roses

the-rose-garden.jpgIt was 9 degrees below zero when I drove to work this morning.  I could tell.  The crunch of the snow underfoot was deafening.  I had to keep blinking to keep my eyelashes from freezing to my face.  Though I had all manner of winter gear piled on, my face stung from the cold.  The corgis always dawdle in the driveway before they pony up to be loaded into the Suburban.  I am ordinarily very patient about this.  I like that they have a happy life-and their happy life means a minimum of interference from me.  I am ok with hanging out until they are ready to be loaded up for work.  Loaded up?  Corgis have really short legs.  I give the both of them a big leg up.  I tell myself that loading and unloading two fifty pound dogs twice every day helps keep me in good shape.  I treasure this illusion!  This morning, their dawdling annoyed me.  It was too cold to be outside.

Milo.jpgOver the course of the day I downloaded scads of pictures on my Iphone to my computer.  A day when it is really too cold to be outdoors is a really rare day.  A day confined to the inside is not my most favorite day, but confining circumstances can make for some unexpected pleasure. Pictures that I took in June of this past year-I was looking at them for the first time.  The roses-how beautiful they were.

griffith-Buck-roses.jpgThere are those gardeners who would choose to pass by a planting of roses.  Too much trouble to grow.  Too much a symbol of the history of gardens.  No doubt rose bushes are just about the most ungainly and unattractive shrubs ever to grace the earth.  But I would not want my garden to do without them.

griffith-buck-roses.jpgI only grow a few roses.  Carefree Beauty, and Earthsong, bred by Griffith Buck.  Jeannie Le Joie-a miniature climbing rose.  Eden-a large flowered climbing rose.  And the English bred shrub rose Sally Holmes.

miniature-climbing-roses.jpgThe most of the month of June is a delight to this gardener.  The roses play no small part in this.  I love the flowers and the fragrance.  On a freezing January day that keeps me inside, the memory of the roses comfort me.

miniature-climbing-roses.jpgthe roses in June

roses-in-June.jpgCarefree Beauty

june-roses.jpgThe roses in June fuel my love for the garden, year round.  On this astonishingly cold and discouraging day, I like the idea that my 2014 gardening season will be coming up roses.

rose-bud.jpgA rose is a rose

rose-season.jpgEverything will be coming up roses.


  1. Like you, Deborah, we have some serious cold weather here in Minnesota. The pictures warm my heart today. And just think, only 76 more days till Spring!
    Stay warm.

  2. Deborah,

    Here in Illinois we have the exact same weather. I look out my windows on the hour, hoping it will be Spring! I planted a Knockout rose hedge around my pavilion this year. I honestly hated to do it but the roses in that are thought they were annuals. 🙁 I did intersperse them with a few “real” roses (whose names I cannot recall) so I have a scent!
    Your Corgi by the roses warmed me.



    • Deborah Silver says

      There’s nothing wrong with knockout roses. They do a great certain something for a garden. You are a young person-you have plenty of time to grow into some other roses. Just like I recommended to Jeanne, read Peter Schneider’s book “Right Rose Right Place”. You have the whole winter to get ready! Thanks, Deborah

  3. How appropriate that you are talking about roses right after MSU won the rose bowl. I like it but I like your passion even more. Thanks.

  4. I enjoy all your Dirt Simple blogs. I love your dogs- are they Corgies? And what are their names? as always, a dog in one of your great photos of your work makes it even better!

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Cindy, Howard and Milo are Cardigan Welsh Corgis. They both know what “let’s go see the roses” means! Deborah

  5. What zone are you in Deborah. We are 4 maybe a little higher and cannot grow many rose varieties. Japanese beetles take most of what we grow. I am able to grow new dawn that does flower spring through fall here in Maine. jeanne

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Jeanne, I want to say I am in zone 5-6. You ought to be able to grow rugosa roses in zone 4. Blanc Double De Coubert and Scabrosa are both great. I highly recommend the book “Right Rose Right Place” by Peter Schneider. I remember living in upstate New York in the late 80’s-the Japanese beetles were terrible there. I have only had them for 4 or 5 years. It is hell trying to keep them off of my plants. Deborah

  6. Beautiful Corgi………50 pounds? Mine is there too, I think!Is yours a female or a male?I have a red and white that looks just like yours!Look at my site and the last post you shall see I do not fib!Your roses are beautiful……..I figured out the lighting after looking at more photos the other day…..saw the cord!I do not know most of your roses except SALLY H. Does EDEN have another name………..ROSARD DE MAN……..something? If yes, I have that one too but has never thrived! PITY, cause its gorgeous!Your POT is DIVINE………antique and gorgeous…….thank goodness your not close by!I brought an old ORCHIO home from ITALY in the early 90’s……it is one of most prized possessions!Keep posting from summer…….it makes us all feel better!

    • Deborah Silver says

      Contessa, I have 2 corgis, both males, both 8 years old. Howard, a red brindle, and Milo, a black brindle. Love them both! Deborah

      • And mine is SIR WINSTON!He is going on 6 years!
        Adore him too………husband has BOXER but I tell you this Corgi is with me at all times and listen’s to me too!He is one of the BEST purchases I ever made!I look forward to more of your posts with MILO and HOWARD!

  7. I began with one rose to commemorate my daughter in law’s graduation. Another joined as a gift fom DKG whose flower a red rosé. Added another 2 years ago. I have a small, but lovely, garden on the south side where I can see it fom the dining room window. Snowy today, but my roses are in shrub jackets. They will bloom again in the spring.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Claudia, I wouldn’t be without a few roses either. It is an event to look forward to! Deborah

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Claudia, I cannot imagine a garden without a few roses. I get so much pleasure from them. Deborah

  8. Starr Foster says

    Beautiful pictures. Your hedges set off your billowing roses perfectly. What
    in the world do you feed your roses so that they grow and flower so abundantly?
    Do you spray or grow organically? I adore Sally Holmes. Mitch is the rose grower here and his favorite miniature is Jeanne Le Joie. Don’t know Earthsong or Eden; will you be selling them or can you tell me where to find them? (not too early to think about these things!!) The Graham Thomas
    roses have the best scent of all and are not hard to grow.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Starr, I feed with rosetone and hollytone. I do spray for fungus if I need to. Earthsong is a Griffith Buck rose-some swear it is better than Carefree Beauty. Eden is the most scrumptious pink climber-it has a huge petal count. It is surprisingly tough, and the foliage always looks good. The roses are on a south facing wall in an entirely enclosed garden. In the heat of the summer, I augment the drip irrigation with hand watering right to the root ball. In the 20 minutes that Buck and I are there in the evening, I will water 3 roses, and then move on to the next 3, the next night. I will have a good suplly of my favorite roses this coming spring. Telly’s is a great source for roses too. Deborah

  9. I agree – roses are ungainly as a stand-alone shrub. I love how you combined them behind a boxwood hedge, and in combination with other shrubs, it gives much needed structure to your rose border. Of the varieties you mentioned, which ones have recurring blooms? Do you trim your roses back in the Fall, or do you let them be until early Spring? I have this ongoing argument with my gardener, curious what you think about this. Thank you very much, and DO stay warm in this insane Michigan weather …

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Antoine, All of my roses repeat bloom-they were quite good in September. I do not touch the roses after mid August-I let them bloom out and make hips. I prune in the spring only, when the buds swell. That could be late March or mid April, depending. I believe that fall pruning is an invitation to disease and dieback. I think entirely intact stems survive the winter better. Deborah

  10. I share you love of roses. Two of my very favorites, for length of bloom and ease of care, are Elsie May and Fairy roses. Both are covered in blooms most of the summer. I love your blog, both the pictures, words and your knowledge.

  11. Susan Soults says

    Love Dirt simple. Wish I knew someone in VA that has your talent. Could you give me some tips on pruning plants like Spirea, hydrangeas, oleander and viburmun or recommend a good book?

  12. Another female landscape professional with cardigans. Hard to find aren’t they? Best dogs I have ever had, down to one currently, 7.5 years and the love of my life. Corgi’s being corgi’s, they will do what t h e y want w h e n they want!

  13. Deborah,
    Your rose photos took my breath away. I live in the south, but we are having the coldest temp. since ’83. Just a few more months! I have 1 question. Do you feed your roses both Rosetone and Hollytone? Thanks.

    • Deborah Silver says

      I feed one or the other. My roses seem to like either one. It is really cold here too-and we have 14 inches of new snow. It is winter in Michigan!

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