roses in basketFebruary is usually when I start thinking about roses…everything about roses! Trimming, feeding, and buying more, of course!!

While out walking an hour or so ago, I had started thinking about what I wanted to write about…ROSES, I thought, and some new ones I wanted to order and where can I put them in the garden? All this was rambling around in my head. Arriving back at the gravel driveway, I checked the mailbox, and there it was…the 2015 catalog from the Antique Rose Emporium in Brenham, Texas. That was surely a twilight moment!

Within minutes I had a cup of rosehip herb tea and was settled in my leather wing chair next to the fireplace. There on the cover was one of my very favorite of the Pioneer Roses…THOMAS AFFLECK . This is a small, very tough, carefree rose with showy fragrant blooms that repeat during the season. What else could you want? I will order one of these to put in a beautiful clay urn by the garden arch. Already planted and growing on the arch is Confederate Star Jasmine…should be a nice combination of fragrance and color as a welcome to the garden beyond. Last year I ordered a BELINDA’S DREAM, which sits in a container by the front door filled with French thyme and chives; a hugely fragrant CORNELIA, scrambling along the fence by the chicken yard;  and a BLUSH NOISETTE by the MOON ARCH…this will be the year they really take off to bloom and grow. [A bit of Black Cow has certainly helped them establish!]

When choosing roses to plant...there are so many to love…I usually decide based on color, fragrance, ease of care and repeat blooming. All spring and summer I enjoy picking blooms to bring in the house to make small bouquets. With a few herbs, these little bursts of fragrance and color sit on tables in my living room and by my bedside…from others I pluck petals and let them dry to use for making rose petal scones and rose water. A few roses I’m pondering are DUCHER, a subtle white rose which grew to over 6′ in my Texas garden, a creamy yellow blossom called JULIA CHILD, of course, and Mme. ALFRED CARRIERE, a blush pink climber I also had in my country garden. Decision made, I place my order! The UPS driver is quite familiar with my driveway and Holly!

After the gray days of winter, the first stirrings of spring are an uplifting sight in the garden as they happen…leaves and petals stay embraced in their protective cover while waiting for the symphony to begin:  nodding hellebores, the sweetness of primrose, colorful crocus, delicate violets…the sleeping garden slowly begins to stir as spears of green knife their way through the earth punctuating the musical explosions.

Just when it seems as though winter will never come to an end…along comes the first early beauties to lift our hearts…MORE Budding Beauties to watch for: purply grape hyacinth buds opening from the bottom; poppy buds suspended from thin, arching stems; tight green daffodil buds beginning to reveal flashes of golden yellow; pointed green buds of tulips opening to expose flamboyant colors; and in late spring, the deep pink-splashed buds of rose, SOMBREUIL, unfold exposing a hint of blush pink sweetly fragrant blooms…the bush is surrounded by fat spherical heads topping slender green chive foliage…splitting open to reveal a starburst of purplish-pink flowers. The symphony continues…

Slowly but surely…so much is written about the stresses of life today, everyone is in such a rush and all their wants/needs must be instantly gratified. Gardeners have no concept of the word “hurry” when standing amongst the glory of spring…they know that everything develops at its own pace as we just watch nature happen.

At the HEART of the matter is love…Love for all things God has created and given, love for family and friends, love for and in my garden…throughout my home and garden I include hearts of all sizes and materials. Having collected my HEARTS for over 40 years, I have some wonders to enjoy. On the tool shed door, by the back door, over the kitchen window, pins to wear…and for a Valentine’s treat, a lemon tart with tiny strawberry “hearts”…and fabric hearts filled with deliciously fragrant lavender buds to scent the linen cupboard.

Remember the birds living in your yard…give a bit of love to them with some seeds and nut butter treats!!

Rosevase    A rose bouquet to you, dear friends…

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