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1-Chute.Rose-Show-RosesThis year I worried whether we would have roses to exhibit in the Rhode Island Rose Society Rose Show. Mike says I worry about this every year and he’s right. Somehow our roses always bloom in time for the Show. But this year we noticed that some of our roses bloomed earlier than usual. For instance, Yellow Brick Road was all bloomed out before the Rose Show. Other roses we normally exhibit at the show, like Playboy and Hot Cocoa, didn’t bloom until after the Show.

Still, we found plenty of roses to bring to the Rhode Island Rose Society Rose Show, “A Kaleidoscope of Roses,” on June 16. Some roses gave us so many sprays and blooms that we had enough of one variety to enter into several classes.

We grow a lot of sustainable shrub roses and have a collection of Renaissance roses, hybridized by Poulsen Roses from Denmark They include Sophia Renaissance (yellow shrub), Helena Renaissance (light pink) and Clair Renaissance. Clair, a beautiful, many-petalled, light pink shrub, was the only Renaissance rose ready for the show with two really fresh sprays. We entered one of them in the Modern Shrub Class. In addition to being good exhibition roses, Renaissance roses are also great garden roses that produce numerous sprays all season long.

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Clair Renaissance – Best Modern Shrub Class

One of our most prolific bloomers this year was Nouvelle France, also known as Party Hardy. Nouvelle France blooms in great clusters and is classified as a Hybrid Kordesii, which meant we could enter one spray in the Classic Shrub class. Since we grow it in our sustainable rose garden and it receives no pesticides, we entered another spray in the Au Naturel Class. Anyone looking for a disease resistant, winter hardy rose (this rose is hardy to Zone 3!), should consider this rose. We have 2 bushes of it planted, one on either side of our flag pole.

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Nouvelle France – Best Classic Shrub Class & Best Shrub in Show

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Passionate Kisses – Best Floribunda Class

The other very productive bloomer this year is Passionate Kisses. What a rose! It has irridescent, translucent medium-pink flowers that grow in clusters of 5-7 blooms. We must have had at least a dozen sprays blooming all over the rose bush the day before the show. We cut several of these sprays, one of which was chosen Best Floribunda Spray. We also entered a single in the Floribunda Class. We had so many flowers left over that we arranged them in the Floribunda English Box Class. This floribunda rose needs a bit more care than either Nouvelle France or the Renaissance roses, but can be a great addition to a home garden. It grows about 4 feet high and just as wide, so give it enough space if you decide to grow it.

 

 

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Passionate Kisses – Best Floribunda English Box & Best English Box in Show

 

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Centennial – King of Show

Some of the other roses that were ready for the show was Centennial, an easy to grow grandiflora rose by Ping Lim who gave us the Easy Elegance series. It bloomed just in time to win King of Show. Earth Song, one of my favorite roses, had many sprays, but they had all gone by except for one which we cut and entered in the Grandiflora Spray Class.

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Earth Song – Best Grandiflora Spray Class

 

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White Cap – Best A Sea of Roses Class

 

We have some fun and interesting Challenge classes in our Show. One is called A Sea of Roses, a class where an exhibitor enters any white rose in a deep blue vase provided by the Show Committee. We entered White Cap, a Brownell climber, in this class.

 

 

 

 

This year we had so many blooms of White Cap that we also entered it in the English Box Class for “other” roses which include Climbing roses. As you can see from the photo, the White Cap blooms had the perfect form, size and substance and looked great against the black background of the English Box.

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White Cap – Best English Box Other

We came home from the show tired, but happy. When all was said and done, our garden didn’t disappoint, and we had plenty of roses to enter the show. Now the June Bloom is over and we’re deadheading the garden in anticipation of the August Bloom. All in all, it was a very good June Bloom.

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Super Hero

A few weeks ago we kicked off our 2018 Lecture Series with two programs at the Connecticut Flower Show. We introduced one of our two new programs for 2018, “Fool Proof Roses,” which describes fool proof, easy-to-grow roses and provides examples of specific varieties. While creating the program, we identified varieties that met our basic requirements of above-average disease resistance and winter hardiness to at least Zone 5.

For those of you who are looking for “fool proof,”  roses to plant this spring, here are a few that we included in our program.

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My Girl

  • My Girl: My Girl is part of the Easy Elegance series of roses introduced by Ping Lim in 2008. We have My Girl growing next to Knock Out in our sustainable, no-spray garden and find it as resistance to black spot as Knock Out. My Girl has a more complex flower form than Knock Out, with deep pink, ruffled blooms of over 30 petals. It has medium green foliage and a nice shrub-like habit that grows, in our very sunny garden, to 5 feet tall.
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White Knock Out

  • White Knock Out: Anyone can grow this small, compact shrub rose which is definitely “fool proof.” Introduced by Bill Radler in 2009 as White Out, it has been recently renamed White Knock Out and is my favorite of the Knock Out series. It has small, single (5 petals), bright white flowers that grow in floriferous sprays against dark green, disease resistant foliage. Its small 3 feet x 3 feet growth habit makes this rose perfect for the home gardener who has a small garden or who is looking for a rose to plant in front of a border.
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Party Hardy aka Nouvelle France

  • Party Hardy: This rose loves to grow and can do so with very little help. This disease resistant variety was bred in Canada by Christian Bedard and is winter hardy to Zone 3, needing no winter protection in our southern New England It has large deep pink blooms with a lighter pink reverse. The pink, florescent flowers contain over 40 petals and they bloom in large clusters on a tall, spreading bush. Party Hardy is also known as Nouvelle France.
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Super Hero

  • Super Hero: This was one of the first Easy Elegance roses that Mike and I planted in our sustainable garden 10 years ago and it’s still going strong. We liked it so much, we’ve added another Super Hero to the garden. It produces small red buds that open into small 2” clear-red flowers with hybrid tea form that flatten out as they mature. The blooms have over 30 petals and the bush grows to 3-4’ tall. Super Hero is winter hardy to Zone 4 in addition to its high level of disease resistance.

We’ll be presenting “Fool Proof Roses” at the Boston Flower Show on Friday March 16 at 1:30 PM and providing a fact sheet that lists additional fool proof roses. If you can’t make it to Boston to hear our lecture and would like a copy of our fact sheet, email me: Angie at RoseSolutions and I’ll send you one.

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Our 2017 Garden

Just as one season gradually fades away after Thanksgiving, the next season quietly presents itself after the din of the holiday season has come and gone. While our gardens are hunkered down under their winter cover plus a foot of snow — a good thing considering our current sub-zero, early winter temps — paper and online plant catalogs arrive and gardeners’ mojo starts to rise.

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Campfire – A Fool Proof Rose

While our roses are snoozing, Angelina and I are not. We have accepted a number of invitations to present lectures and workshops for the upcoming year. Our entertaining PowerPoint lectures, workshops and seminars are designed to educate and make rose gardening appealing to even the most reluctant gardener. We annually review, revise, and refresh our program list as well as add new ones. New this year is “Fool Proof Roses” plus an update of our popular “Roses for New England” with a new twist! (See the complete list of 2018 programs, dates, and times on the 2018 Lecture Series page.) For a description of our programs, visit our web site’s Program page at http://www.rosesolutions.net

In addition to rose gardening , we developed a novel new travel series last year called “Armchair Travel.” The first program titled “Paris! The City of Light,” debuted last September with very positive reviews and we’ve added it to our Lecture Series offerings.

2018 Flower Show CoverWe open the season on Saturday, February 24 when Angelina and I hit the road to Hartford and the Connecticut Flower & Garden Show to present two PowerPoint programs. We introduce our new “Fool Proof Roses” followed by “Twelve Super Roses Anyone Can Grow.” A double-header plus catching up with our Connecticut friends will make for a busy day.

On Friday, March 16, we head north and return to the Boston Flower & Garden Show at the Seaport World Trade Center and present “Fool Proof Roses.” It’s always a treat to present rose programs to the large Beantown audiences.Boston Flower Show

And on Saturday, March 24, we head even further north to Portland, Maine to speak at the new Maine Flower Show. This young flower and garden show opened last year to rave reviews and we are looking forward to presenting an updated “Roses for New England” program specially adapted for cold-climate Rose Gardening.Maine Flower Show logo

(We will have our two books, Roses for New England: A Guide to Sustainable Rose Gardening as well as Rose Gardening Season by Season: A Journal for Passionate Gardeners, available at all our lectures and workshops.)

On Saturday, April 14 at 10 am, Angelina and I 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.” Here’s an opportunity to learn spring rose care, including the best way to prune roses. This event is free and open to the public; bring pruners and gloves.

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Mike’s Pruning Demo at RI Rose Society “Rose Day”

On Wednesday May 2 at 7pm, we continue our long time collaboration with the Barrington Community School with “David Austin’s English Roses for New England Gardens.”  This updated for 2018 PowerPoint program includes the 120 page 2018 David Austin Handbook of Roses for each guest. (Open to the public, fee required, see barrcommschool.com)

Saturday June 16, at 1 PM is the Rhode Island Rose Society’s 20th annual rose show at the Wickford Community Center in Wickford, RI. Join Angelina and me at New England’s premier display of  roses of every type and color. Free and open to the public.

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RI Rose Society Rose Show

In between all these events, our lecture series includes programs to garden clubs and presentations to various horticultural organizations. All this, plus time out for a trip to The Netherlands, Belgium and France, makes early 2018 another busy season for Angelina and I.

We are available to speak at garden club meetings, 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.

Thus as we wave farewell to 2017 — which was a very good year in our garden — we welcome 2018 with high hopes and great expectations. And, as I am fond of saying, there is no one more optimistic than a gardener in January.

Happy New Year

Mike and Angelina

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1-Longwood-GardenLast spring, Angelina and I chose to skip the hassle of TSA and the rigors of a long plane flight and instead decided on a long-awaited road trip. We packed up the car and headed south on a two-week journey, first to the Brandywine area outside of Philadelphia then on to Washington, DC followed by a meandering ride back home with a stop in Gettysburg. The first leg began with a visit to Longwood Gardens located in the heart of the Brandywine Valley, 30 miles west of Philly.

12-Longwood-Garden-EntranceLongwood had its beginnings in 1906 when Pierre S. DuPont purchased a neglected farm in order to save its arboretum from lumbering and began converting it into what would become one of America’s leading horticultural display gardens.

We arrived early on a sunny Tuesday morning in mid May, got our tickets and headed for the rose garden first. This garden was one of the smaller gardens in Longwood but was well maintained with a dozen beds of bush roses, each bed featuring a single variety. Most were in bud stage with peak bloom still two weeks away. One exception was a dazzling bed of Sparkle & Shine, a bright yellow floribunda.

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City of York – Back of Stone Wall

Just behind Sparkle & Shine was a feature that I especially liked, the unique way the Longwood rose gardeners displayed a row of climbing roses named City of York. These climbers were planted along the back side of a six-foot stone wall and then trained to grow up and over the wall and cascade down the front side. Since both sides of the wall received enough sunlight, they grew beautifully with thousands of tight buds tumbling down the front of this handsome stone wall waiting to open. The bloom must have been stunning.

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Topiary

As a backdrop to the rose garden was a Topiary Garden that contained over 50 specimens of yews in various shapes such as spirals, cones and animals.

We took a break here for a few minutes to enjoy the bright sunny morning then strolled over to the Conservatory, an enormous greenhouse with four acres under glass — twenty rooms of plants from around the world. The day we were there, gardeners were removing the displays of spring flowers soon to be replaced with summer annuals which in turn would be followed by fall plantings. Even though the conservatory was in seasonal transition, room after room featured showy floral displays. Very Impressive.

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Conservatory

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Conservatory

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Conservatory

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Mummy Pack

The conservatory even had a Rose Room – one that had several rows of rose bushes. What interested us was the IPM measures employed to control insects. No pesticides were applied but small packets of “mummies” were  scattered among the roses. Tiny wasps emerged from the mummies, looking for aphids on which to lay their eggs. The eggs hatch and the new wasplings eat the aphids which keeps them in check. While not a perfect solution, it seemed to work well enough and avoided chemical pesticides.

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Rose Room

After lunch we wandered over to a section of flower beds that were also in transition from spring to summer. One team of gardeners were digging up clumps of spring bulbs, piling them up into carts then hauling them off to the Longwood compost site. All vegetative matter was converted into compost and nothing was discarded.

Another nearby bed had already been cleared and a gardener was raking it out for planting the next day. According to the gardener, no soil amendments were added at this point but each bed would be amended with compost in the fall when spring bulbs were planted. She went on to say that each section of gardens had dedicated teams that maintained those same beds season after season.

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Wisteria

Nearby was the Wisteria Garden in full bloom. What a display of Japanese wisteria in lavender, purple and white. It was a major attraction and provided visitors with a unique photo op.

By now the weather was getting very warm and we were growing weary so we started back to the car, which was when we noticed the Rose Arbor. This circular arbor surrounded an area which is often used for concerts. We were too early to see the arbors in bloom which would have been a spectacular sight of American Pillar roses chosen by Pierre du Pont himself.

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Rose Arbor

Like other great gardens we have visited throughout the United States and Europe,  Longwood Gardens had clean, modern facilities and the gardens and structures were neat and well maintained with plenty of staff. We had expected a very high degree of horticultural excellence — the ultimate hallmark of every great garden — and were not disappointed. Longwood Gardens should be on every gardeners bucket list.

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June-Bloom - Chute's GardenA few weeks ago I wrote about our “First Blooms” while waiting with anticipation for this season’s June Bloom. Despite all worries concerning our unusually cold and wet spring, our roses bloomed “on time” (on or about June 17) and provided us with a spectacular display of color as well as plenty of possible entries for our RI Rose Society Rose Show.

Gathering roses for the show was not without some drama, though, with torrential downpours arriving in the afternoon and continuing throughout the evening before the Rose Show.  Luckily, we had plenty of roses to exhibit, having cut stems on the morning before the rain began.

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Grooming Roses at Rose Show

Participating in a Rose Show is another way to share our love of roses with other gardeners and is our primary outreach to the public. Here are some photos of our roses that made it to the Head Table.

 

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Graham Thomas – Best of Class Shrub English Box

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Passionate Kisses – Best Floribunda Spray

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Earth Song – Best Grandiflora Spray

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Dublin – Court of Honor

After the rose show was over, I spent the next two weeks wandering through our rose gardens and taking photos, not only as the garden peaked, but also as the June bloom slowly went by. This is when I get the best new photos to use in our PowerPoint lectures as well as here in our blog and our quarterly e-newsletter, The Northeast Rose Gardener.

 

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Champagne Wishes

We add and subtract varieties each season to keep the gardens fresh and interesting. One new rose we planted this year is the Easy Elegance rose, Champagne Wishes.

It looked even better in person than in the catalogue photos and is a lovely, creamy white rose with double blooms that stand out sharply against dark green foliage.

 

 

 

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Rhode Island Red

Our 21-year-old Rhode Island Red climber — which makes up part of one “wall” of our garden room — had an excellent recovery after very hard spring pruning and produced a bush full of heavy clusters of dark red roses. As I write this, RI Red is shooting out long heavy new canes justifying the dramatic haircut that Mike administered in April.

Clair-Matin

Clair Matin

On our other “wall” climbs Clair Matin, who blooms a week earlier than the rest of the garden and also finishes earlier. Clair produced an amazing display this season and, like RI Red, is reloading now for another bloom cycle in August.

Graham-Thomas

Graham Thomas

Standing alone in the center of our garden is the Grand Duke of the garden, Graham Thomas, which has fully recovered from 2016 winter damage, and is back to producing almost unlimited clusters of long, arching, buttery yellow sprays with fresh blooms opening over night.

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Playboy

Somewhat hidden by the size of Graham Thomas is our Playboy rose, a fickle floribunda with a radioactive combination of scarlet and gold flowers.  I was able to catch a photo of one of its sprays at its peak. Note the glossy, dark green foliage.

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American Beauty

We had a few roses that really went crazy this season, dazzling us with their floriferousness. One is American Beauty, a hybrid perpetual that traditionally is a bit stingy with its roses. As you can see in the photo, though, this year it gave us spray after spray of fragrant blooms. For a rose that is supposedly a bit tender for our New England climate, I’ve concluded that this old garden rose is more than happy in its spot in the garden where it is nestled in between two modern, hardy roses.

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The McCartney Rose

Another rose that outperformed itself this year is The McCartney Rose. Even more fragrant than American Beauty, The McCartney Rose threw out long sprays of delicate pink roses. The blooms don’t have the greatest form for a hybrid tea, but its saturated color and intense old rose fragrance more than make up for its casual form.

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Passionate Kisses

Passionate Kisses, besides being a prolific bloomer and good exhibition rose, creates a very nice display of floating blooms. Here is a photo of blooms 5 days old.

Chute GardenIt’s hard to capture the beauty of a rose garden through pictures, but since the June Bloom comes around only once a year, photographs will have to do — until next year.

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Clair Matin

Every season I wait to see which one of our roses will bloom first. Traditionally, it’s usually our big climber, Clair Matin. Despite the cold, rainy, dank, dreary, dismal, sunless weather we’ve experienced over the past few weeks (just a few days ago the temperature topped out at 49º), Clair Matin began its June Bloom right on schedule at the end of May, with its first bloom.

3-Clair-Matin-bush-6.4.17Clair Matin on June 4 above. Clair Matin on June 9 below. What a difference a few days make!

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Not so with our other roses that opened almost a week later than last year. While our Yellow Brick Road rose bush was full of buds ready to burst for days, the  first bloom finally opened on June 5. But it was worth waiting for because, atypical of its normal deep yellow, this first bloom had a more intense yellow more commonly found in autumn roses.

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Yellow Brick Road

The Earth Song Mike propagated and has growing in a pot bloomed the beginning of this week. As you can see in the photograph, Clair Matin, in the background, is full of blooms while the rest of our garden is still in the bud stage.

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Earth Song

A few other roses were “early” bloomers.  I found one Macy’s Pride while I walked through the garden with my camera.

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Macy’s Pride

Just yesterday Mike took a photo of Playboy.

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Playboy

The garden is finally starting to show more color and I am hoping that with a few warmer, sunny days, the rest of the garden will bloom in time for the RI Rose Society Rose Show on June 17.

You’re all invited to attend the Rose Show which is open to the public from 1:00 to 3:30 PM. Admission is free and there’s plenty of parking at the North Kingstown Community Center, 30 Beach St. Wickford, RI.

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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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