On two occasions I have had the great pleasure of visiting the home of P. Allen Smith at Moss Mountain Farm. This formidable home and surrounding gardens are a feast for the eyes. Situated atop a high plateau overlooking the Arkansas River Valley this farm is the embodiment of the American homestead boasting a stunning Greek Revival residence, and extensive gardens. While I very much enjoyed all aspects of the farm; from the one acre garden vegetable garden to the that palatial home where the poultry come to roost called the “Poultry Palace; I was particularly interested in the roses planted on the place. Today, we will take a look at two varieties under cultivation on the farm.
The roses planted in the terraced gardens are simply stunning. A stroll through this area will lead you to two rondel gardens that are planted out with shrubs of ‘Sarah VanFleet’ roses. This rugosa hybrid rose was first introduced in 1926 and has proven itself to be one of a class of roses I call “hard as nails”. Quite vigorous, shrubs can easily obtain a height of 6 feet and the shrubs at Moss Mountain farm had surpassed that. In fact, on my first visit two years ago, both rondels of roses were well over 8 ft in height and were in a glorious flush of blooms. Standing in the rondel you are literally surrounded by a wall of roses. If you love roses, this you gotta see!
Sarah VanFleet in her glory at Moss Mountain Farm
“You can’t sling a cat in Little Rock without hitting a New Dawn rose” – P. Allen Smith.
What I think Allen was trying to say is that New Dawn climbers are very popular in the South! If you’re a rose lover, your going to want to grow this rose. Introduced in 1930, this rose produces flushes of soft pink blooms that fade to a cream color and is quite vigorous rambling up to 20 feet in some gardens. Allen has New Dawn roses planted on brick pillars on the walk down to the formal rose garden at Moss Mountain Farm. In a future post, we will explore the roses planted within the walls of the formal garden.
New Dawn Climbing Rose at Moss Mountain Farm
I hope you will consider growing one or both of these roses in your garden. I know I have plans for them both!
Here is one of many available videos from P. Allen Smith on growing roses. I enjoyed this one in particular that featured some stunning climbers….