The Golden Gate Experiment

In March of 2013 I received several shrubs of ‘Golden Gate’ a beautiful yellow climbing rose to try in my garden from Certified Roses. From Kordes, Germany, this rose is known to be very hardy and disease resistant as well as producing a multitude of fragrant yellow blooms.

As I was potting them up I thought I would conduct an experiment. I would give a shrub of this rose to a friend who has never grown roses and let him plant, water and fertilize and see how the rose progresses over time.  No sprays or chemicals to be used. Only organic fertilizer.  When I gave the rose to my friend Mike, he looked at the bare root plant and said “i’ll give it a try”.

This spring, I began getting texts from Mike with photos of this rose and its progress.
Mike it seems is quite a woodcrafter. He built a trellis for the rose to climb upon and the photos below not only showcase his handy work as a trellis builder, but you can also see the amazing results you can achieve without chemicals when you plant the right rose in the right spot.


Golden Gate – Kordes – KORgolgat


Large open blooms of Mike’s ‘Golden Gate’ climbing rose


A profusion of fragrant blooms from Golden Gate Climbing Rose from Kordes, Germany

IMG_2188 IMG_8167

Received this photo this week. Now that the flush of blooms as faded, the rose has gone to work to produce more canes for the next round of buds and blooms

The photos were taken from May till mid July and as you can see, no disease on this rose at all to speak of.  Our own shrubs of Golden Gate has done equally as well, winning us “Best Climbing Rose” at the Birmingham Rose Show this year. Now I just have to convince Mike to plow up more of that green grass and plant some other awesome roses!!!!!

*Photo Credit: Michael Atkinson

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Growing Great Roses – Biltmore Rose Trials Interview for HGTV Gardens

It was my great pleasure to have been interviewed by Mick Telkamp for HGTVGardens on growing great roses and my thoughts on the Biltmore International Rose Trials recently held at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. I hope you’ll click through and read the article.

Click the Photo to read the article

Click the Photo to read the article


Click  the link to read the article at HGTV Gardens website

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Roses in Bloom this Week

We are seeing our second flush of blooms here in our Alabama rose garden. I have only seen a few (dare I mention the name) Japanese Beetles this year which is a relief after a terrible bout with thrips which seems to plaque our white roses each year.  Nonetheless, we have seeing some very pretty roses. Here are a few that are blooming this week.


Doris Day – New Floribunda from Weeks Roses


Moonstone – Hybrid Tea


St. Patrick Hybrid Tea


Veterans Honor Hybrid Tea

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Wordless Wednesday – Ronald Reagan Hybrid Tea


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OSO Happy Smoothie – A Proven Winner

We have added quite a number of shrub roses to the garden this year including one from the Proven Winners Oso Happy collection called ‘Smoothie’. We have planted these in large containers and they are filling out quite nicely and are producing some pretty blooms. One other nice feature of this rose is that it is thornless.


Early days yet, but we are seeing no sign of any disease on the shrubs and I am anxious to see how well they fare in our hot Alabama summers.

We are now growing quite a number of Proven Winners roses in our garden among them: Cherry Pie, Honey Bun, Candy Oh, Petite Pink and of course Smoothie.  Some are second year shrubs and are doing quite well. No Spray. Sustainable roses…. Who would have thought……

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First Day of Summer

It’s hard to believe that just a few months ago we were in the grips of the polar vortex, now the heat of summer is finally kicking in…

Just wanted to pause a moment and say thank you for following this blog. Roses tend to bring out the best in people I know they brought out the best in me. Enjoy the summer.


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Jobes Organics – Plant Challenge Follow Up

Earlier this spring, participants of P. Allen Smith’s Garden2Blog event were asked to participate in containter gardening throwdown challenge. The rules were simple, plant out a container using Jobes products (potting soil & organic fertilizer) with $10 worth of plant material. Then, make a short video about your experience. Here’s the original video



It’s been weeks now since I made that first video planting out a container using Jobes Organics fertilizer. If you’ll take a peek at the videos, you’ll see that I expanded my experiment to using Jobes on our container gardening beds and some of our rose beds. I have now made a follow up video showing the results of some of the gardening beds growth as well as that awesome container that we planted which has just exploded with growth. Check out this video.

Needless to say, I am sold. Thanks Jobes for this opportunity.

I have a new respect for those who stand in front of the camera on a regular basis. Below is a very short Outtake video. Everytime we started, I just laughed….


Dick Grandy & I at Moss Mountain Farm

Dick Grandy & I at Moss Mountain Farm

I had the great pleasure to meet the CEO of Easy Gardener, Mr. Dick Grandy during my visit to Moss Mountain Farm. He and I spent some time together walking the gardens and chatting about his company and the products they produce. In an age of “corporate spin”, it was refreshing to find that Dick Grandy is the real deal. He’s a gentlemen who is committed to finding and producing products that make gardening a joy to all. Find out more by visiting the Easy Gardener website.


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Garden Walks: The Journey of a Lifetime


My gardening journey began with my dad many years ago… I wrote this story to honor him….. #FathersDay

Originally posted on The Redneck Rosarian:

I never thought of myself as an early riser. Actually, I used to cringe under my pillow as a boy when my dad would rise at 4 a.m. to prepare for the day. He always rattled around in the kitchen making a goliath-sized bowl of grits and a simmering pot of fresh brewed coffee. The rattling was his way of trying to rouse me up to spend some time with him. Sadly, more often than not, I would remain in bed.

His morning routine was predictable in the months of summer: a full pot of coffee, breakfast, a garden walk, and then he was off to work. My dad loved his vegetable garden. He grew big juicy “Better Boy” tomatoes, sweet smelling cantaloupes, crisp cucumbers, dark green zucchini, spring lettuce, radishes and carrots. He would walk the garden performing any number of tasks that the circumstance demanded; gathering the harvest…

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The Heritage Poultry Conservancy – P. Allen Smith

We never had chickens growing up. Living in the heart of Nashville as a kid, I guess I never even saw a real chicken that wasn’t in a bucket with a colonel on it until I was a 7 or 8 years old and then it was in the form of an Easter gift for my sister. It was a pink chicken. We kept it in a pen at the back of our property. It grew and grew. Pink gave way to white and early one morning my dad came in the house with a sad look on his face. The chicken had vanished. Blood and feathers in the pen, but no chicken. My sister was crushed. In the years since, backyard poultry has become quite a phenomenon.  It is now rather fashionable to “keep chickens”. Businesses such as Coop & Caboodle, a chicken rental business in Birmingham have cropped up.

Coop & Caboodle Chicken Rental for Backyard Poultry

Coop & Caboodle Chicken Rental for Backyard Poultry

During my recent visit to Moss Mountain Farm, home of Lifestyle and Gardening expert P. Allen Smith, I learned a lot of about poultry and the importance of preserving certain varieties of poultry. The Heritage Poultry Conservancy is dedicated to the preservation of heritage poultry varieties. We spent an entire afternoon in “Poultryville” and got some hands on knowledge of the care and keeping of chickens and ducks and geese.

Me with "Edwin" a Light Brahma

Me with “Edwin” a Light Brahma


The good folks at Hubbard life were on hand with advice and insights into what feed is best for your animals. They are experts in animal nutrition and have a great website

Scenes from the barnyard

Scenes from the barnyard

I put together a little video clip of my visit there. I hope you’ll take a moment and watch. Don’t know if you are aware, but many of these heritage varieties are near extinction or have been inbred to the point that they are half their original size.

P. Allen Smith told the group that “there has to be a way to preserve them”, bred them in such a way that they are restored to their original size and also as a means to encourage young people to get involved in growing and exhibiting poultry.  I was inspired by this visit. I will be hunting up the poultry exhibits at our county fair this year and will tell everyone I know about the Heritage Poultry Conservancy at Moss Mountain Farm. Well done Allen.

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Paradise is a Rose Garden – Mottisfont Abbey

This gallery contains 45 photos.

Originally posted on The Teddington Gardener:
Tuscany [gallery type="slideshow" ids="4922,4923,4924,4925,4926,4927,4928,4929,4930,4931,4932,4933,4934,4935,4936,4937,4938,4939,4940,4941,4942,4943,4944,4945,4946,4947,4948,4949,4950,4951,4952,4953,4954,4955,4956,4957,4958,4959,4960,4961,4962,4963,4964,4965,4966"] The Rose Gardens at Mottisfont Abbey The gardens at Mottisfont Abbey are a year-round attraction. However, during June, when their unrivalled collection of Old-fashioned roses fills two (well, almost three)…

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