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Archive for the ‘Flower Shows’ Category

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The holiday season is over and planting passions are rising like sap in a maple tree as gardeners have been waiting impatiently for the holiday hullabaloo to fizzle out. Paper and online plant catalogs are arriving daily, fuelling this annual horticultural mojo. There is no one more enthused, more filled with anticipation and more optimistic than a gardener in January.

2-creating-an-easy-care-rosThis also signals the beginning of our 2017 Lecture Series and we can’t wait. Our entertaining lectures, seminars and workshops are designed to illustrate to every gardener the enjoyment of growing roses. We annually review, revise, and refresh our program list as well as add new ones. We are currently developing a new and different program based on our travel and garden experiences. We are excited about this and will have it ready later in the year.

Our 2017 season starts with some sad news as well as some good news. The sad news is the demise of the long-running Rhode Island Spring Flower and Garden Show where we presented annual lectures and rose care demonstrations since the late 1990s. We will miss the floral flash of color and the pungent tang of fresh mulch each February.

Boston Flower ShowThe good news is we return once again to the Boston Flower and Garden Show on March 25 at 2:30 with a unique PowerPoint program and lecture titled “Twelve Super Roses Anyone Can Grow” which follows this year’s show theme “Superheroes of the Garden.”  (See the complete list of programs, dates and times on the 2017 Lecture Series page.)

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Mike speaking at 2016 Boston Flower Show

On April 8 at 10 am, we will be in the Victorian Rose Garden in Roger Williams Park in Providence with a hands-on pruning demonstration as part of the RI Rose Society’s “Rose Day,” when we open the Victorian Rose Garden. Come learn spring rose care, including the best way to prune roses, then practice on bushes in the garden — bring pruners and gloves. This event is free and open to the public

Saturday June 17, at 1 PM is the Rhode Island Rose Society’s 19th annual rose show in Wickford, RI. Join Angelina and me at New England’s premier display of  roses of every type and color.

On Saturday, November 11, we will be back in the Victorian Rose Garden with the RI Rose Society, providing tips on fall rose care along with a demonstration on winterizing a rose garden.

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In between these events our schedule includes visits to garden clubs and other horticultural organizations throughout New England plus time out for a springtime motor trip along the Atlantic coast through Philadelphia, Washington, DC and down into the Carolinas with lots of stops along the way.

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Angelina and I have been on the lecture circuit presenting lectures, conducting seminars and leading workshops for over two decades and it never gets old. We are available to speak at symposiums and conventions and will travel to just about anywhere. We can customize programs and even produce one-of-a-kind presentations. We continue to add bookings throughout the year so keep checking in. As always, if your organization needs a program at the last minute maybe we can help. Contact me at mike@rosesolutions.net.

Happy New Year

Mike and Angelina

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6-Sand-Sculpture

Each year Mike and I look forward to speaking at the Flower Shows as well as viewing the display gardens and visiting with vendors. A few weeks ago we were at both the Rhode Island and Connecticut Flower & Garden Shows.

We were at the Rhode Island show on Thursday when Mike presented a demonstration called “Growing Great Roses in 6 Easy Steps” and included pruning a potted rose that he had wintered over in our ‘crib’ just for the show. We spent some time at the RI Rose Society booth and chatted with a few folks who later joined the society. There wasn’t much time to view the gardens, but we managed to see the sand sculpture that we look forward to seeing each year. This year the sculpture featured a lighthouse. (See photo above.)

3-HardscapeOn Friday we had more time to check out the show after our lecture “Rose Gardening Season by Season” and it was a treat to admire the creativity used in so many of the gardens. I especially enjoy seeing the unique ideas used for hardscape. Above is a picture of a large branch of bittersweet, of all things, that caught my eye at the show. It reminded me of the piece of driftwood we spotted on the shore on one of our walks along the East Bay Bike Path. Mike calls it The Night Watchman.

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The Night Watchman

One of my favorite display gardens at the RI show was “The Birds & the Bees & Other Creations” by Adam Salisbury from Pawtucket, RI. Using recycled and found materials, he created some whimsical hardscape.

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The Birds & the Bees & Other Creations

Another display I found most impressive was the Fenway Rooftop Garden by Cityscapes from Boston, MA. They showed vegetables and herbs grown in lined milk crates against the backdrop of Fenway Park’s Green Monster scoreboard. Growing vegetables in milk crates is a novel idea, especially when you lack space for a traditional garden.

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Fenway Rooftop Garden

On Saturday we hit the road early for the 2-hour drive to Hartford, CT and the Connecticut Flower & Garden Show where we had 2 lectures: “David Austin Roses for New England Gardens” in the morning and “25 Fabulous Roses” later on. In between lectures we had time for a quick lunch and then we took a stroll around the show floor to see the gardens as well as many of the vendors.

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Connecticut Rose Society’s Rose Garden

The first garden we went to see was also our favorite: The Connecticut Rose Society’s rose garden. It featured Downton Abbey roses such as Anna’s Promise and Pretty Lady Rose in a Victorian/Edwardian setting that even included an area with table and chairs where afternoon tea could be served. Many of the roses were in bloom and we know from past experience how difficult it is to force roses into bloom on time for a winter event. They succeeded, though, and their garden looked fabulous when we were there on Saturday. By Sunday, under the heat of the lights from the show, I’m sure this rose garden was even better! Hats off to Connecticut Rose Society

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Hillside Display Garden with waterfall

Water features are often used in gardens but the display garden created by Hillside Landscaping was outstanding. Their water feature was an upright piano with plants growing out of its top and water rushing out below the keys. They even added a piano player wire sculpture. Fantastic.

There were many other gardens we admired, but we didn’t have quite enough time to stop and enjoy them between lectures. In a few weeks we’ll be at the Boston Flower & Garden Show and can’t wait to see what creative and beautiful designs we’ll find there.

If you make it to the Boston Show, stop by and say hello. We’ll be there on Saturday March 19 at 1:30.

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Passionate-Kisses

Passionate Kisses: One of our 25 Favorite Roses

Tempus Fugit…it really does. 2015 has gone by in a blink and now the Christmas season is upon us with the New Year arriving in a few weeks. This means the spring flower shows and the start of our 2016 Lecture Series are right around the corner.
Our entertaining lectures, seminars and workshops are designed to illustrate to every gardener the enjoyment of growing roses. We have developed two new programs recently to add to our repertoire – “Rose Gardening Season by Season” which follows our second book, Rose Gardening Season by Season: A Journal for Passionate Gardeners, published last February. The second program is “12 Great Roses Anyone Can Grow” which identifies 12 attractive easy-care varieties.
RI Flower ShowWe open the season in February with two New England Flower Shows. On February 18, Angelina and I demonstrate basic rose care at the Rhode Island Spring Flower and Garden Show and return the following day, February 19, to present “Rose Gardening Season by Season.” (See the complete list of programs, dates and times on the 2016 Lecture Series page. See tab above.)
Ct Flower  Garden Show BannerOn Saturday, February 20 we hit the road to Hartford and the Connecticut Flower and Garden Show with two programs. At 11am we present our “David Austin’s English Roses for New England Gardens”, featuring several new Austin 2016 introductions. And at 2pm Angelina and I reprise our “Twenty-Five Fabulous Roses” program that we introduced last year. A busy weekend.
Boston Flower ShowWe travel north to Beantown on Saturday March 19, to début a special lecture at the Boston Flower and Garden Show called “Rose Gardening Season by Season – Let nature Show the Way.”

 

Olivia Rose

Olivia Rose Austin: 2016 David Austin Introduction       Photo by David Austin Roses

On April 2, in Newport RI at the American Rose Society’s Yankee District Convention, we again present “Twenty-Five Fabulous Roses”. And On April 7, we continue to promote sustainable rose gardening with “12 Great Roses Anyone Can Grow” for the Barrington (RI) Community School.
On June 18, Angelina and I discuss rose-garden basics at the Rhode Island Rose Society’s 18th annual rose show in Wickford, RI. This is a short talk followed by lots of Q and A from the public.
In between all these events our schedule includes visits to garden clubs and other horticultural organizations throughout New England plus time out for a trip to The Netherlands, Belgium and France, making early 2016 another busy season for Angelina and I.
So as one season melds into another, we again look forward to making new acquaintances as well as catching up with old friends, some that we only see once a year. With the New Year also comes the realization that we have been presenting lectures, conducting seminars and leading workshops on all aspects of rose culture for over two decades and yet it never gets old.
We are available to speak at symposiums and conventions and will travel to just about anywhere. We can customize programs and even produce one-of-a-kind presentations. We continue to add bookings throughout the year so keep checking in. As always, if your organization needs a program at the last minute maybe we can help. Contact me at mike@rosesolutions.net.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
Mike and Angelina

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Rainbow Sorbet One of Our Twenty-Five Fabulous Roses

Rainbow Sorbet
One of Our Twenty-Five Fabulous Roses

No one is more optimistic than a gardener in January. The new year brings high hopes and great expectations for the coming year. Our 2015 agenda includes a major rose garden remodeling project; a trip to Seattle, Vancouver and the Canadian Rockies; the publication of our second book; and our 2015 Lecture Series.
Mike at RI Flower ShowWe have accepted a number of invitations to present lectures and workshops. Our entertaining lectures, workshops and seminars are designed to educate and make rose gardening appealing to even the most reluctant gardener. We especially enjoy these opportunities to travel throughout the New England area and beyond, making new friends and catching up with old pals that we often only see once each year. (See the complete list of 2015 programs, dates, and times on the 2015 Lecture Series page.)
Rose Gardening Season by SeasonAlong with the lecture series, we are busy planning a trip to Seattle, Vancouver and the Canadian Rockies later this year and we recently completed work on our second book, Rose Gardening Season by Season: A Journal for Passionate Gardeners. This seasonal guide joins Roses for New England: A Guide to Sustainable Rose Gardening and we will have both available at our lectures and workshops.
The season opener is Saturday, February 14 when we participate, with others, in the Rhode Island Rose Society’s annual Round Table, a forum of basic rose care that provides an opportunity to learn a great deal about rose culture in a short period of time. This event is free and open to the public.
We return to the Rhode Island Spring Flower and Garden Show on Saturday, February 21 and the Boston Flower and Garden Show on Friday, March 13. We will introduce a new PowerPoint program at both shows called “Twenty-Five Fabulous Roses” where we feature the best 25 rose varieties we have ever grown – newer introductions as well as old favorites. The challenge was culling the list to just twenty-five. Rainbow Sorbet, pictured above, is on the list.

 

RI Flower Show
As everyone’s gardening spirit continues to rise, we offer the season’s first workshop, Spring Rose-Care: Planting and Pruning Workshop, on Saturday, March 21 in Barrington, RI in concert with the Barrington Community School. This continues our long-time collaboration with BCS presenting lectures and workshops on a wide range of rose horticulture.
We hit the road on March 28 traveling to Holyoke, MA to present an expanded version of our most popular program, “Six Simple Steps to Successful Rose Gardening,” at the Western Mass Master Gardener Association Spring Garden Symposium. We lengthened the presentation to include more details and to allow additional time for Q and A.Boston Flower Show
On Saturday May 2, we present our second workshop at Evergreen Tree and Landscape in Seekonk, MA. This two-hour program, called “Roses 101: The Best Way to Grow Roses,” covers everything you need to know to successfully grow roses in your home garden.
Saturday, August 1 is our annual rose propagation workshop where we teach the art of bud grafting roses. This year we are partnering with the Barrington Community School to present this two-hour program. Bud grafting is easier than you think and everyone takes a budded rose bush home.
In between all this, our schedule is full of garden club bookings along with presentations to various horticultural organizations. We are available to speak at symposiums and conventions and are willing to go just about anywhere. We can customize programs and in the past have developed special one-of-a-kind seminars.
Keep checking the Lecture Series page as we add bookings throughout the season. If you are ever stuck for a program at the last minute for any reason, maybe we can help. Contact us at mike@rosesolutions.net.
Happy New Year.

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2014 Spring Flower & Garden Shows

Flowers in a BugWill this winter never end! Here it is, March 2, and temps last night were in single digits and the weather forecast is for still more snow tonight. Paf!

BUT, last weekend was the first round of spring – really mid-winter – New England flower shows. The Rhode Island Spring Flower & Garden Show as well as the Connecticut Spring Flower & Garden show were blessed with fine weather for their 4-day runs and attendance at both shows appeared heavy on the days when we were there.

'53 MG

’53 MG

In Providence, the Rhode Island show’s theme was “Vintage Gardens” which featured antique and classic automobiles as unique centerpieces in each display garden. I overheard a few grumbles that the cars distracted from the horticulture. I disagree. The cars were all in tip-top shape and were skillfully integrated into each garden’s design, creating interesting and novel exhibitions of gardening excellence.

Sand SculptureThe sand sculptors were back again this year and, following the show theme, carved a full sized old-timey automobile out of damp sand. This isn’t strictly horticulture either but it has become a popular feature at the show guessing by the number of visitors taking photos. I liked it, too.

Vintage Roadster

Vintage Roadster

I also liked a stylish entry that showcased an elegant vintage Art Deco wedding table with centerpieces, place settings and fine china set in a classy garden during the Roaring Twenties.

Roaring Twenties Wedding

Roaring Twenties Wedding

Our Friday lecture was titled “Discovering Easy-Care Roses” where we explored sustainable, winter hardy and attractive rose varieties that will flourish in a pesticide-free environment. We explained the process of selecting disease-resistant roses that can thrive in New England gardens and identified many easy-care roses currently available. This thoughtful process of discovery eliminates much of the frustration experienced by home gardeners by planting the right roses in the right gardens. Judging by the size of the audience, there was a great deal of interest in the program and we signed quite a few books at the end.

Pruning Demo

Pruning Demo

On Saturday, we conducted a much different program called “The Art of Pruning Roses.” I brought an overgrown potted rose bush that I dug out of the snow in the winter crib and demonstrated easy-to-follow steps that demystified rose pruning. The lively audience was very curious about pruning and many had felt that pruning was some form of alchemy and that they would destroy a rose with poor pruning. Not so. Lots of Q and A during and after the demo.

The Connecticut Flower & Garden Show was held in the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford. Their 2014 theme was “Backyard Paradise” and it was indeed a paradise. This convention center is really, really big with three acres of convention space and the huge main show floor was packed with over 300 booths on one side and gorgeous gardens on the other. Our favorite was a full-size, nicely landscaped bocce court.

Bocce Court

Bocce Court

We conducted our most popular program, “Six Simple Steps to Successful Rose Gardening” twice on Sunday. Home gardeners want to grow roses and this program shows then how. This is our favorite program and regardless of the number of times we have presented it, it never gets old.

The next stop on the show circuit is the Boston Flower & Garden Show in two weeks and our “David Austin’s English Roses for New England Gardens” is scheduled for Saturday, March 15 at 12:30. We have updated this program with lush photos of new 2014 Austin introductions as well as many of the old Austin favorites.

Spring (and winter) flower shows come at just the right time, when the gardening spirit is rising in anticipation for the coming season. However, the price we pay for this vernal hope is this persistently cold, dark, dreary, dank, desolate, and dismal winter. Nevertheless, days are growing longer and spring will not be denied, just delayed.

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Easy to Grow Rose: Kiss Me

Easy to Grow Rose: Kiss Me

2014 promises to be an interesting year.

Angelina and I are planning a trip to Ireland in May exactly 100 years after my grandfather, Thomas Healey, immigrated to the United States. He had been an estate gardener, first in Ireland and later in Scotland, then continued that occupation when he arrived in Southboro, Massachusetts as a young man. That must be where my green thumb comes from.

Mike at Newport Flower Show

Mike at Newport Flower Show

2014 is also shaping up to be another busy season on the lecture circuit. We have accepted invitations to speak from garden clubs and other horticultural organizations as well as from the three major New England spring flower shows. (See the complete list of 2014 programs, dates, and times on our 2014 new Lecture Series page.)

Tranquillity

Tranquillity

The season opener is for the Rhode Island Rose Society on Saturday, February 8 when we roll out the updated David Austin’s English Roses for New England Gardens program featuring new Austin introductions for 2014. We especially like Tranquility, a medium sized, almost thornless rosebush with buds that start out showing red and yellow as the sepals fall but turn  pure white when fully open. The rosette-shaped flowers with a whopping 110 petals and a light apple fragrance, are hardy to zone 5. Given our affection for white roses, Tranquility is on our plant list for 2014.

On Friday, February 21, we’ll once again be in the Providence Convention Center at the Rhode Island Spring Flower & Garden Show. The program, Discovering Easy-Care Roses, reveals the secret that plant selection is the single most important step in successful rose gardening. The following day we’re back at the Rhode Island show demonstrating The Art of Pruning Roses. Pruning roses is not alchemy; come and let us show you how.

Spring Pruning

Spring Pruning

We’re off to Hartford, CT on Sunday, February 23 to the Connecticut Flower & Garden Show. This is our first visit to the Connecticut flower show and we will deliver our most popular program, Six Simple Steps to Successful Rose Gardening, twice that afternoon. “Backyard Paradise” is the show theme and our PowerPoint program fits right in. We have been accepting more and more invitations to Connecticut venues in recent years and we look forward to catching up with old friends at the 2014 Connecticut flower show.

Angelina and I return to the Boston Flower & Garden Show on the Ides of March with the David Austin program which segues nicely into their 2014 show theme, “Romance in the Garden.” Americans love everything British, from literature to movies to TV to gardening, and our program introduces sturdy, old fashioned, fragrant English roses to New England gardeners. You will be gobsmacked by this presentation.

Our annual bud grafting workshop is scheduled for Saturday, August 2 in our garden. Bud grafting roses is a method of propagation that hasn’t changed in ages.  We provide the rootstock and demonstrate the simple technique of grafting then you graft your own varieties and take them home. This hands-on workshop is free but we charge a materials fee for the potted rootstock.

Mike & Angelina

Mike & Angelina

In between all this, our schedule is full of garden club bookings along with presentations to various horticultural organizations.  Occasionally, we customize programs and in the past have developed special one-of-a-kind seminars. One of our favorites is conducting the Six Simple Steps program in an outdoor garden setting in June using fresh roses from the garden instead of PowerPoint slides.

My grandfather, who could grow anything, would be amazed if he could see how horticulture has changed in 100 years. I think he would approve of the great improvements in flowers and vegetables especially the dramatic increases in winter hardiness and disease resistance in ornamentals. I know he would absolutely love the flower shows as much as we do.

Keep checking the Lecture Series page as we add bookings throughout the season and if you need a program at the last minute for any reason, maybe we can help. Contact us at mike@rosesolutions.net.

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Sexy Rexy English Box

Sexy Rexy English Box

The Rhode Island Rose Society’s June Rose Show has come and gone. It is our biggest event of the year when we display hundreds of roses, as cut specimens in vases as well as floral arrangements, to the general public. The entries are judged and ribbons are awarded. This year’s show was held a week later than originally planned – Saturday June 22 instead of June 15 – and this produced some interesting results. Fresh shrub roses and floribunda sprays were plentiful while many varieties of hybrid teas had gone by. Regardless, everyone had some exceptionally beautiful roses to exhibit.

Roses in ExplorerAfter we returned home from helping set up for the show Friday evening, we went into our garden thinking we would have fewer blooms than usual since our garden had peaked the week before. But we managed to find a few gems among the spent blooms. We had tagged possible entries several days prior to the show and we usually have plenty of Graham Thomas roses to exhibit.

Graham Thomas

Graham Thomas

This year Graham staged an especially spectacular bloom display but had been slammed with two back-to-back torrential rain storms prior to the show. Mike found only a few decent blooms at the top of the bush, not enough to enter into one of our favorite classes, the English Box for Shrubs. But we did have enough small Sexy Rexy blooms to enter in another English box class – English Box for Smaller Blooms.  The RI Rose Society includes four English Box classes in its show schedule and the judges select the Best English Box from the winners of the four classes. We were thrilled when we discovered that our Sexy Rexy English Box was chosen.

We were lucky that Sexy Rexy blooms a bit later than many of the other varieties in our garden as we were also able to enter a spray of it another class. Our Julia Child had a good day, too, and was chosen as Best Floribunda Spray as well as the best of class in this year’s theme class, “Lovely to Look At,” which was a class for any rose with a woman’s name.

Outta the Blue

Outta the Blue

Our Outta the Blue, a mauve shrub rose, and Dublin, a red hybrid tea, both were awarded blue ribbons. Another bloom of Dublin was entered in the Masterpieces of the Garden Class where roses are displayed in a frame and received a blue ribbon as well.

Dublin

Dublin

All in all, it was a good day for our roses as it was for all our rose friends. As usual, we all had fun exhibiting our roses to the general public who again came out in droves to enjoy America’s national flower at the RI Rose Society’s 15th Annual Rose Show.

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