Wordless Wednesday -Tis The Season





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3 Gardening Books I’m Giving This Christmas

People who garden love to read. People who want to garden need information. This year I’m giving books to many in my circle of family and friends who have an interest in gardening. The books I’ve selected will make excellent additions to your own personal library as well as excellent gifts for your friends and family. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading each one and have even shared copies with neighbors and friends. Click the photo of any of the books to purchase at Amazon.

20-30 Something Garden Guide – Dee Nash

First up is a book by Dee Nash. The 20-30 Something Garden Guide. A no-fuss down and dirty Gardening 101 for anyone who wants to grow stuff. This book is filled with great information and ideas that will get you outside and in the dirt in no time.  I had the opportunity to interview Dee on the podcast. Click HERE to listen

Dee Nash BookIf you know a beginner in the garden or someone who’s looking for a refresher, give them this book.


Indoor Plant DECOR  – Kylee Baumle & Jenny Peterson
This is an excellent style book that encourages you to start small and add a collection of plants to achieve decorating success. Great tips on plant selection, containers and more. Check out the cork planters on page 29…. Awesome stuff here. Also, I gotten to know the authors of this book, Kylee Baumle and Jenny Peterson and I can tell you the are passionate about what they do. Awesome ladies whose mission it is to share their love of gardening and plants with the world.




Plant By Numbers
50 Houseplant Combinations to Decorate your Space – Steve Asbell

As a child, my mom would buy us paint by numbers sets. We would have a great time creating a Picasso like painting just by following the numbers! My friend Steve Asbell has created a book that follows that same premise. Select plants following his easy “plant recipes” and you’ll have a thriving houseplant container combo in no time.  He offers great tips for planting and maintaining houseplant containers in your home. My personal favorite recipe from this book: “Pot of Plants at the End of the Rainbow” Check it out. I had an opportunity to interview Steve for the P. Allen Smith Radio Show as a part of Allen’s “New Voices” series. Click HERE to listen


While I was writing this post, I realized there are no rose books here…. Stay tuned!

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We Are The Survivors – Roses That Live To Bloom Another Day

In Alabama we typically have two seasons; hot and really hot. A sometimes end up with a couple of weeks during January that we refer to as a cool spell that we sometimes call winter. The last two years that has sort of changed all that. We are actually beginning to see seasons that affect our roses grow and bloom.

It’s not even Thanksgiving and we have already had three or four frosts. This is highly unusual south of Birmingham Alabama. It is a very interesting way to see just which of our roses will survive these types of conditions. So this morning I’ve been out walking through the garden and these some of are the roses that have survived to bloom another day. Roses that have withstood three frosts and temps in the 20’s. An interesting mix.


‘Grand Amore’ – Hybrid Tea A little worse for wear, but this Kordes variety is known to be tough as nails. I’m beginning to believe it.



Sweet Drift – This is one rose that I expected to survive and it did! We have seven shrubs of this rose and they all still look awesome!



Hot Princess – I must say that this is a surprise to me. This is an exhibition rose that is growing on fortuniana rootstock. I did not expect to see this rose in exhibition form on a cold Sunday morning in the garden. Yet, there she stands….



The Fairy – This Earth Kind polyantha rose is a gem in the garden. Blooms and blooms and blooms…. No damage to speak of.



Cecile Brunner – Tough as nails is an understatement for this rose. Still putting out loads of tiny blooms for all to enjoy

Keep in mind I’m growing roses in zone 8a central Alabama and your results with these varieties may not be the same depending on your growing habits, soil conditions and of course your own growing zone…… It is interesting to me that as our climates begins to change so do the roses. They are adaptable. They are survivors.





My garden thrives year round when I feed my soil. Enriching the soil is the key to beautiful blooms.

My garden thrives year round when I feed my soil. Enriching the soil is the key to beautiful blooms.

Posted in #MooPooCrew, #roses, Alabama, Cecile Brunner, Grand Amore, Hot Princess, Sweet Drift, The Fairy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Brrrrrr – My Roses Are Cold!

November came in with a blast of cool air that has turned downright cold. With a low of 27 forecasted for tonight, our roses are fading fast. Here are a few of the remaining blooms:


Pollinators busy working on a bloom of Moondance.


Artistry has such a beautiful color. Love the blooms of this rose


Pope John Paul II is a favorite in our garden. Beautiful form, tons of blooms and the sweetest fragrance.

Finally, Sweet Drift. We have seven shrubs of this rose that form a small border in our front garden. Very floriferous.

Posted in #MooPooCrew, #roses, Artistry, Moondance, Pope John Paul II, Sweet Drift | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Wordless Wednesday


Climbing Pinkie – Climbing Polyantha


Take it Easy


Pink Pet aka Caldwell Pink

Posted in #MooPooCrew, #roses, Caldwell Pink, Climbing Pinkie, Pink Pet, Take It Easy, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

November In The Rose Garden – Fall Rose Care Tips


November in the rose garden is a busy time for this Alabama gardener. With the first frost at hand, I spent quite a bit of time this past week after work cutting blooms. I guess I just wanted to bring them indoors to savor the last of the summer roses. IMG_5687.JPGIMG_5690.JPG

We found this head vase in the spring and have filled it with blooms and cuttings from the garden all summer. These are some of the final blooms of ‘Munstead Wood’ a great English rose from David Austin Roses.



This morning I got up at 5:30 and couldn’t wait to get in the garden to see what the evenings frost had done. Here is a frosty bloom of Lavaglut.

Many have asked me what do you do to your roses in fall? If the rose is very tall, I trim it back to waist high, clean up my beds, apply mulch where needed and allow my roses to go to sleep for the winter.  I do my heavy pruning in early spring.

Hope you’re having an awesome Sunday. What’s the weather like in your neck of the woods?

Posted in #roses, Darcy Bussell, LavaFlow, Lavaglut, Munstead Wood, Pope John Paul II | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Wordless Wednesday – Head Shots



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Sunday’s Blooms & Blessings

Here at the end of October in Alabama and we are still seeing some really nice blooms in the garden. My hope is that we will have blooms for the Thanksgiving table…. We’ll see.

Fragrant Dolly Parton - Hybrid Tea

Fragrant Dolly Parton – Hybrid Tea

Darcy Bussell - David Austin English Rose

Darcy Bussell – David Austin English Rose


Veteran's Honor - Hybrid Tea grows quite tall in our garden

Veteran’s Honor – Hybrid Tea grows quite tall in our garden



Cultivating Life & Roses In The Deep South


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#ThrowBackThursday – Roses of Moss Mountain Farm

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

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

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….


Posted in #roses, Moss Mountain Farm, New Dawn, P. Allen Smith, Sarah VanFleet | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Wordless Wednesday | Fall Zinnias





Posted in #MooPooCrew, Alabama, Companion Plants, Wordless Wednesday, Zinnias | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments