Archive for the ‘Julia Child Rose’ Category

1 The-McCartney-Rose

The McCartney Rose – Hybrid Tea, strong spice fragrance

David Austin, founder of David Austin Roses in Albrighton, England, was once quoted as saying that a rose without fragrance is only half a rose. What a perfect way to describe a characteristic so essential to the identity of America’s national floral emblem.

While the delicious, delightful, slightly mysterious and often fickle quality of floral fragrance is now considered a highly desirable trait most prized by rose lovers, it wasn’t always so. This quality was willingly sacrificed by rose breeders in the nineteenth into twentieth centuries. Why? Rose hybridizing is a game of compromise with one trait willingly forfeited to gain another. Fragrance was often the victim of hybridizing choices that placed higher value on superior floral form, unique and vibrant colors, increased winter hardiness and stronger disease resistance.

Flash forward 100 years and the rose buying public now long for highly scented roses and commercial rose growers know it. While fragrance is an inherited trait, the gene for fragrance is recessive and crossing two fragrant varieties doesn’t necessarily produce fragrant offspring. Due to this unpredictability of rose genetics, contemporary rose hybridizers continuously search for the right genetic combinations that will add fragrance to other desirable characteristics. Since it takes eight to ten years from pollination to retail introduction, restoring a characteristic as elusive as fragrance has taken decades.


American Beauty

Fragrance is produced by oils in the petals of the bloom with different oils creating distinctive fragrances. The American Rose Society lists twenty-four fragrances, the most well-known is the classic ‘rose’ scent. This intoxicating old rose or damask scent can be found in many red and pink roses like the old garden rose American Beauty, David Austin’s Mary Rose, Mr. Lincoln, and Chrysler Imperial.


Ebb Tide

Other essential oils are responsible for the spicy, clove-like scent in the floribunda Ebb Tide. Sniffing Graham Thomas yields the light and delicate tea fragrance while Julia Child imparts a strong anise or licorice scent.


Graham Thomas


Julia Child

But fragrance can be subjective because everyone’s nose is different. Two people may smell the same rose and each will offer different descriptions. Fragrance also is influenced by temperature, humidity and the rose’s stage of bloom. A fully open bloom will have more scent than a flower that is partially open; the intensity ebbs as the bloom goes by. A blossom may have a strong scent on a warm, sunny day; take the same bloom on a cool, cloudy, breezy day and the scent will be subdued.

Time of day also impacts a rose’s fragrance. The highest concentration of oils are found in early morning which is why roses grown for their attar of roses (oils extracted from rose petals) are harvested then. (Our experience has been that every fresh rose bloom exudes some detectable scent, however subtle, under ideal conditions.)

Clearly, rose fragrance is highly desirable and has become its own reward. The presence of discernable fragrance, or the lack of it, often determines whether a variety gets introduced or not. Each hybridizer of the genus rosa has their personal hybridizing objectives. Each is looking for that unique, exceptional variety. Each is prepared to spend a professional lifetime searching for that one perfect and fragrant rose, the magnum opus of a career.

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It’s inevitable. Nothing prevents the arrival of cold weather finishing off another gardening season. As daylight diminishes and temperatures steadily decline, our bushes produce smaller and fewer blooms, but I’m appreciative of anything they have to offer.


Here are some photos of our hardy ever-blooming roses — the final blooms of the season.

Playboy is a showy floribunda giving us clusters of scarlet and gold throughout the summer. I was a bit surprised to find this spray a few days ago as Playboy usually shuts down by late October. (See photo above) The colors are a bit more saturated and deeper than blooms earlier in the season due to less sunlight and cooler temps. This was an unexpected bonus.



Rina Hugo

Rina Hugo: what a season she had! This hybrid tea, hybridized in 1993, is a deep saturated pink and has given us flowers with perfect hybrid tea form — each bloom on the end of a long, sturdy cane.


Rina Hugo (August Bloom)

Earlier in August, while our  Rina Hugo was amid a great second bloom, I cut some and put them in a vase.  A few days ago, Rina was well into her third bloom cycle on robust 24” canes.


What can I say about Campfire? (Photo below) This shrub keeps on blooming with its ever-changing palette of color. It’s not an exhibition rose by any means, but it’s a 10 as a garden rose adding color and interest in the garden up to first frost. This is the third season with Campfire and it has more than lived up to its reputation as a prolific, colorful bloomer on a highly disease resistant bush with an obedient growth habit — an unusual  combination of desirable characteristics found in a single variety.



Another late bloomer is Lady Elsie May. Like Campfire, it is extremely disease resistant and with its orange-pink flowers against glossy — very glossy — dark green foliage, it’s a delight to have in the garden.


Lady Elsie May

Then there’s Julia Child. From both my kitchen and studio window, I enjoy Julia’s blooms almost every day. She typically doesn’t have a lot of blooms this late in the season, but each one is perfection. I’m still enthralled by Julia’s form and color and her anise fragrance is an added bonus.

4 Julia-Child

Julia Child

When I was walking through the garden taking pictures, I had a pleasant surprise. Pretty Lady, a rose bush I can’t see from any windows in our home, had given us a perfectly lovely, soft pink rose, surrounded by buds ready to open — if this unusually warm weather continues.


Pretty Lady

So even though old man Winter is lurking around the corner, our roses are maintaining their domain as Queens and Kings of our garden.

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2017 Rhode Island Rose Society Calendar

Wondering what to buy for the gardeners on your Christmas list? Here are some suggestions of gifts that have pleased many of the rose gardeners, and even some non-gardeners, I buy gifts for.

2-prunersARS 310 Curved Pruner: This small curved-blade pruner is ideal for cutting roses as well as vegetables and bonsai. The one-inch blades are made from Japanese high carbon tool steel for clean and accurate cuts and the rounded tips fit easily into your pocket without poking through.The overall length of these pruners is only 6.5 inches.

1-prunersWe still use the original pair we bought over 20 years ago for cutting roses, roots, wire, and anything else in the garden that needs pruning. They are also good to use when making flower arrangements.

We have dropped them in mud holes; lost them in the garden and found them a week later; and have never sharpened them. Dollar for dollar, this is the best gardening tool we own.

3-cobraCobraHead Weeder and Cultivator: The CobraHead is a “steel fingernail” that shaves off weeds at or below ground level. It can be used for planting, transplanting, cultivating, making seed furrows, digging bulb holes and scrapping mud off other garden tools. The soft handle is made from recycled plastic and flax and feels comfortable in either or both hands. This is a very versatile tool.

Rose Calendars: Everyone needs to know what day it is and what can be more pleasant than seeing photographs of different roses every month, especially in the middle of winter? We buy our calendars from the RI Rose Society. Each year, RIRS has a member-only calendar photo contest and members vote for 12 photos that will be featured for each month. Other societies may have similar calendars, or you can buy a calendar from the American Rose Society on their web site. (See Cover of the2017 RIRS Calendar above.)

Rose Books: Winter is the perfect time to plan for the upcoming gardening season. We wrote our book, Roses for New England: A Guide to Sustainable Rose Gardening, because there were no books about rose gardening in New England so it makes the perfect gift for our friends. Many of the rose books sold nationally were written by people from California or Florida where roses are grown differently because of the warmer USDA Zones. So if you buy a book on how to grow roses, be sure that it’s zone appropriate.

One of my favorite books that I find helpful to any gardener is Jackson & Perkins Rose Companions, a book by Stephen Scanniello. It discusses roses as well as companion plants that grow well with roses. This book provides me with many choices to make as far as what plants I want to plant with my roses. One of the companion plants I tried this past year was larkspur which added a nice rich purple/blue to our sustainable rose garden.

Gardening Journals: I had looked for years for a gardening journal that worked for me. Part of my problem is that I don’t like being restricted by space — either too much or too little. So the journals that provide 5 or 6 lines may be too little space and the ones that gave me a page — especially in months like January, February and December — gave me too much space. So I decided to design my own journal which is how we came to write Rose Gardening Season by Season: A Journal for Passionate Gardeners.

Gardening journals come in many styles. When I choose one for a gift, I like to make sure it includes photographs of roses and gardens, interesting sayings, and is versatile enough for the person I’m buying it for.

4-note-cardsRose Note Cards: There are many people, me included, who still write notes, whether it’s a thank you note, a note of condolences, or a quick hello to someone you haven’t seen in a while. There’s no shortage of beautiful note card with pictures of roses and other flowers available. Sometimes, if I have time, I like to make my own note cards, using some of my rose photos. (Card on the top left is Sexy Rexy rose; bottom is Julia Child rose.)

Membership in a Local Rose Society: If you have someone on your list who is interested in roses, a membership gift to a local rose society is a great idea. There are rose societies in most states in the United States as well many other countries. Being a member of a local rose society is a great way to find out what rose varieties grow well where you live. If you’re not one for attending meetings, you can still learn a lot through the local society’s newsletter. Also, some nurseries may offer discount to rose society members. We are active in the RI Rose Society (www.rirs.org) that holds monthly meetings and provides rose programs that help members learn more about roses and activities where we can share our love of roses.


A Rhode Island Rose Society Meeting at Roger Williams Park Botanical Center. Program was a Ask a Consulting Rosarian Panel

Membership in the American Rose Society: A gift membership to the ARS will give the recipient access to many resources as well as the American Rose Magazine which is published 6 times a year. Listed on their web site (www.rose.org)  are local rose societies organized by state.

These are just a few of the possibilities for gift giving. If you have some I haven’t mentioned, please share your ideas and leave a comment.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

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We knew we had arrived in Vancouver when we caught sight of the tall glass towers with rounded corners that dominated the dramatic downtown skyline. Since we only had four days to spend here, our agenda was packed with plans to visit Stanley Park’s Rose Garden, Granville Island, the Museum of Anthropology and a drive to Whistler.

Along the Sea to Sky Highway

Along the Sea to Sky Highway

Originally, we had wanted to include a foray into the Canadian Rockies but our schedule only allowed time for a day trip to Whistler via the famous Sea to Sky Highway. While the drive time from the Lion’s Gate Bridge in North Vancouver to the town of Whistler was only two hours, we planned on a whole day to include time for scenic stops and breaks.
The Sea to Sky Highway is a much improved upgrade from the old Highway 99 which had been a harrowing twisty two lane road carved into the steep cliffs along Howe Sound back in the day. The road received a major makeover for the 2010 Winter Olympics and offers a spectacular panorama of Howe Sound at sea level segueing into stunning mountain vistas as we climbed toward Whistler in the Rockies. (You know this a serious mountain road when there are frequent turnoffs cautioning drivers to install tire chains for winter travel.)
Oympic-RingsAfter this amazing morning drive, Whistler was anticlimactic. After a so-so lunch, we walked around a bit. We half expected an intimate alpine ski village but found a busy upscale ski area with lots of dining, trendy shops, and galleries. Visitors were mostly interested in eating and taking selfies in front of the Olympic rings in the village square.
The return trip in the afternoon exposed different vistas and was just as rewarding as the morning’s drive. The trip did take the whole day and could have gone longer. The Sea to Sky Highway has been described as one of the top drives in Canada and we can attest to that.

A bed of Julia Child roses

A bed of Julia Child roses

The following day we went to Stanley Park in North Vancouver to see the rose garden. This 80-year-old garden has 3500 rose bushes planted in large beds surrounded by lawn. Most beds consist of many bushes of the same variety creating a dramatic color palette when in bloom. Unlike the rose garden in The Butchart Gardens in Victoria that we had seen the week before, this garden displayed lots of color even though peak bloom was supposed to be two weeks away. One section of the garden had a long arbor with climbers scrambling up and over both sides and beds of seasonal plantings of annuals, perennials, and spring bulbs planted along the side – perfect companion plants for roses.Stanley-Park-Arbor
The garden is maintained by a professional staff and looks it. The bushes are fertilized and well-pruned; the beds are clean, attractive and weed-free. We chatted with a gardener who told us that the garden is organic by design and no pesticides are employed. They even create their own garden soil with a park-wide composting system.
Municipal rose gardens are intended to display the color, fragrance and beauty of the genus rosa to the public and the rose garden at Stanley Park does just that.

Ballerina Rose

Ballerina Rose

Before leaving, we meandered through the park, stopping at the gift shop with an impressive array of locally carved totem poles displayed outside.
Totem-Poles-in-Stanley-POn our final day in Vancouver, we headed over to Granville Island, a one-time industrial area now gentrified with a huge indoor public market as the main attraction. It features local produce, seafood, baked goods, interesting arts and crafts, and lots of eating. With over 10 million visitors annually, we had expected numbing congestion with little parking. But on the drizzly Tuesday morning in May we arrived, the crowd size was modest and the parking plentiful. While smaller, Granville Island is somewhat akin to Pike’s Place Market in Seattle but with more open space and a little more subdued.

Granville Island

Granville Island

After lunch we drove to the UBC Museum of Anthropology 20 minutes away. This museum is well known for its collections of art and culture of the Canadian First Nations of the Pacific Northwest. The Great Hall displays an impressive number of totem poles, canoes and other carved sculptures. However, the center piece in the museum is the iconic wooden sculpture titled “The Raven and The First Men” carved out of yellow cedar by Bill Reid. The museum collection is massive, too much to digest in one visit, but an ideal way to spend a rainy afternoon. We left Vancouver the following day returning to Seattle and the long flight home.

The Raven and the First Men

The Raven and the First Men

As New Englanders, Angelina and I travel to faraway places out of broad curiosity of the world beyond home plus a keen sense of adventure. As in past trips, after months of planning, this one came and went in a blink. The Seattle and British Columbia trip was satisfying and we are glad we went. Now we’re looking toward 2016 and our next adventure.

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Graham Thomas

Graham Thomas

The weather has been unseasonably warm – often in the mid 50’s since Christmas. When Mike and I walked on the East Bay Bike Path this week, it felt like spring! We’re wondering what our roses and other plants will make of this weather, but meanwhile, we’ll enjoy the respite and the low heating bills knowing full well that old man winter is lurking just out of sight.

Graham Thomas

Graham Thomas

We usually spend this time of year evaluating our roses. As I was reviewing how some of our roses had performed last season, I mentioned to Mike that we have quite a number of yellow roses. Mike often comments during our programs that we’ve been in a “white” rose phase, but are moving into a more colorful, outrageous phase with roses like the yellow/orange/red blooms of Brothers Grimm. Yet, when asked what our favorite roses are, I’d start with David Austin’s Graham Thomas. It’s one of the oldest bushes we have and one that Mike fusses over with extra TLC. We feature it as a specimen plant in a special bed of its own where it can be seen as soon as you enter our back garden as well as from the kitchen window. When it’s at the peak of its June bloom, it’s easily 7 feet high and 6 feet wide. If the weather and timing is right, Graham Thomas also provides us with plenty of sprays and blooms to enter in our Rose Society’s Rose Show. We especially enjoy exhibiting Graham Thomas in an English Box. We like it so much that when we started our business, RoseSolutions, (www.rosesolutions.net) we selected Graham Thomas to be featured on the masthead of our web site and on our business cards as well.

Graham Thomas English Box

Graham Thomas English Box

Another favorite – Julia Child – is also yellow and we chose it as the cover photo for our book Roses for New England: A Guide to Sustainable Rose Gardening. To my eye, you can’t have a more striking photograph than that of a yellow rose against green foliage. To further emphasize the yellow of Julia Child, our book designer chose a dark green color for the cover and no matter how many times I look at Roses for New England, I never tire of seeing Julia Child.

Julia Child on Book Cover

Julia Child on Book Cover

Yellow Brick Road is one more yellow rose that we really like. It’s planted right at the corner of our front rose garden next to the driveway, so every time I come in and out, it’s the first rose bush that catches my eye. I can see why yellow roses represent friendship and are given to friends who may need cheering up. They always brighten my day.

I made a list of yellow roses we have in our garden and they include Sunny Knock Out, Molineaux, Yellow Submarine and the Brownell Everbloomimg Pillar # 84 also known as Golden Arctic. We also grow the Easy Elegance Centennial, classified as an apricot blend grandiflora, but in our garden it’s a soft yellow. A few years ago we were given the new introductions Good as Gold (Carruth, 2014) and Happy Go Lucky (Bedard, 2014) –two more yellow roses – and asked to evaluate them. While many new introductions don’t make it past the two-season probation period in our garden, these roses got high marks.

Yellow Brick Road

Yellow Brick Road

Good as Gold is a spectacular addition to our garden, giving us nicely formed golden yellow blooms with a hint of red along its petal edges. I never tired of taking photographs of it. Good as Gold is a hybrid tea and is hardy to Zone 5.

Good as Gold

Good as Gold

Happy Go Lucky is a pure yellow grandiflora with about 40 petals. It reminds me of the color of Julia Child so I wasn’t surprised to discover one of its parents is Julia Child. The foliage of Happy Go Lucky is darker than that of Julia’s, and so far Julia Child seems to be more floriferous. Happy Go Lucky is hardy to Zone 5.

Happy Go Lucky

Happy Go Lucky

Constant change is a hallmark of fine gardening and our fluid color preferences are good examples of keeping a garden fresh and interesting. With so many good new roses with great color available on the market every year, the challenge is deciding which ones to plant (and which ones to remove). While our changing tastes make those decisions a little easier, we know that our yellow favorites like Graham Thomas, Julia Child, Yellow Brick Road and Good as Gold are irreplaceable…for now.

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