Posts Tagged ‘rose programs’


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.)


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.


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.


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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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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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.)



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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Mike & Angelina

The gardens are winterized, tools cleaned, and everything else stored away until spring. The 2012 season is officially over just in time to post our 2013 lecture and workshop schedule. (Look for the complete schedule here on the blog on its own page listed above the masthead as well as on our website, www.rosesolutions.net ). While we always enjoy the 4-month break from garden duties, we always welcome a new season of lecturing throughout New England and beyond making new friends and visiting old pals.

Boston Flower ShowIn 2013, we return to the Rhode Island Spring Flower & Garden Show in February where we will present the program “David Austin’s English Roses for New England Gardens.”  And in March we again travel north to the Boston Flower & Garden Show with a new program, “Discovering Sustainable Roses,” developed to match the show’s theme, Seeds of Change.

In late March we head over to Windsor Connecticut to present a lecture titled “Pesticides and Garden Safety” to the American Rose Society’s Yankee District’s Consulting Rosarian School. This began as a special one-off presentation we created last year for a group, explaining, in layman’s language, garden pesticides and how to safely employ them. (At the end of the lecture we make a persuasive case for avoiding pesticides completely and planting sustainable varieties instead.)

The following day we speak twice on “Selecting Sustainable Roses” at the Connecticut Master Gardeners Symposium in Manchester.

Then in April, we lead a 2-hour workshop called “Rose Gardening Made Easy” for the Barrington (RI) Community School. This program covers rose gardening from soup to nuts and demonstrates how easy growing roses can be.

In June, you will find us at the Rhode Island Rose Society’s 15th Annual Rose Show in Wickford, RI, presenting an abbreviated version of our most popular program, “Rosology 101.”

Mike Speaking at Garden ClubIn between all of these events we have accepted a host of invitations to speak to garden clubs and other organizations throughout New England. At each event we bring copies of our book, Roses for New England: A Guide to Sustainable Rose Gardening to sign at the end of the program.

Check out our schedule for specific dates, times and locations as well as additions to the schedule as the year goes on.  We’ll be on the lookout for you.

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Now that we’ve finally had our first real snowfall of the winter, it seems like the perfect time to sit back and review plans for the upcoming 2012 Rose Season. While our rose gardens are sleepy and peaceful under a pristine layer of snow, inside Mike and I are busy contemplating future rose programs on our 2012 lecture schedule as well as planning the itinerary for our much anticipated trip to Paris.

We’ve developed two new Power Point programs for 2012. The first focuses on pesticides and garden safety. As certified American Rose Society Consulting Rosarians, we created this program to address the concerns of rose gardeners in dealing with rose garden pests. Gardeners have choices available to them regarding insects and diseases in their gardens. One choice is Integrated Pest Management – the method we follow – when deciding whether, when and how to treat garden insects and diseases. Along with IPM we also have chosen to plant sustainable rose varieties which can remain healthy and attractive without the use of pesticides at all. But we feel that gardeners should know the pros and cons of all choices available to them including the use of pesticides as well as precautions that need to be taken when using them. For instance, just because a product is labeled organic, doesn’t mean it is harmless to people or animals. So we have designed a new program called “Pesticides and Garden Safety” which we will debut at the RI Rose Society’s February meeting. This meeting is free, open to the public and all are welcome. For more information go to www.rirs.org

Our second new Power Point Program will be introduced at both the 2012 Rhode Island and Boston Flower Shows. It’s called “Anatomy of a Sustainable Rose Garden” and describes how to build a rose garden from scratch. This program provides a practical blueprint for anyone who wants a rose garden and includes everything from choosing a site, design choices, plant selection, the value of water and nutrients, proper soil, selecting the right rose varieties as well as suggestions for companion plants. This program will address the multitude of questions gardeners have when planning a rose garden. “Anatomy of a Sustainable Rose Garden” will be presented on Thursday, February 23 at 1 pm at the RI Flower Show and Saturday March 17 at 1:30 at the Boston Flower Show.

Eiffel Tower at Philadelphia Flower Show

Meanwhile, while fine tuning our new rose programs and deciding which new rose varieties to plant next season, we’ve been planning our trip to Paris! Ever since we went to the Philadelphia Flower Show last year and saw the Eiffel Tower, the gargoyles of the famous French cathedrals, and all the other famous Parisian venues, we’ve been eager to explore the City of Light for ourselves. On top of our agenda is a visit to the Louvre and the Musee d’Orsay and a stroll or two down the Champs-Elysees. We’ve also planned day trips to Versailles and to Giverney – Monet’s garden. Then a river cruise on the Seine as well as a visit to Notre Dame Cathedral to admire the extraordinary stained glass Rose Window.  


The Louvre

We had imagined that the once-fabulous gardens at Malmaison, home of Empress Josephine, Napoleon’s wife, would be a magical must-see side trip. But after reading a few reviews, we discovered that the gardens that were once so magnificent have fallen on hard times. Fortunately, the famous Roseraie de l’Hay, only 8 km south of Paris, is in tip-top shape and till worth seeing so we’ve added that to our schedule.  We realize that we won’t be able to see everything in Paris, but if you have any suggestions for gardens or other cool places we should see, please leave a comment.

Meanwhile, we look forward to meeting many of you at our upcoming programs this year.

The Louvre Photo Courtesy of http://www.world-city-photos.org

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Moon Gate

Blithewold Mansion in Bristol, RI invited Angie and me to present an evening program on roses a few weeks ago. Julie Murphy, the program coordinator, met us at the gate leading into the rose garden where our Roses for New England program began with a walk through the garden.

We found the Blithewold Rose Garden in tiptop shape with the June bloom well underway. The roses were lush due to boat-loads of rain and the recently installed irrigation system. The foliage was immaculate, not a speck of disease, and that’s always a sign of good rose garden management. The choice of companion plants made sense, too, with tall spikes of blooming delphiniums and lavender dramatically bringing the color blue into the garden (The genus rosa has just about every color except blue.)

However, we missed the Chestnut Rose in bloom as it had already gone by and won’t bloom again until next year. This enormous rosa roxburghii, dating back to the early 1900s, dominates an entire corner of this intimate and elegant garden room.

Mike in Blithewold Rose Garden

The stroll through the garden led to an impromptu discussion and demonstration on pruning next to the beautiful and stylish moon gate built into the ancient stone wall. The entire group was curious about pruning and most felt it was a puzzling ritual until I explained how simple it could be. It was the “Eureka” moment of the evening, setting the tone for the rest of the program which had moved to a parlour room inside the mansion.

My programs are generally Power Point, but during the summer months when our gardens are in bloom, I prefer to use fresh cut roses to support my lectures instead of slides. I pass them around during the program so everyone can see, feel and smell each flower. The audience really enjoys this, especially at the end of the program when each rose goes home with someone.

The event ended with a book signing and additional questions. Since our primary goal with each program is to convince home gardeners that growing roses is easy and fun once they learn a few basic steps, we had a good night.

Delphiniums & Roses

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