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….


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Wordless Wednesday | Fall Zinnias





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Friday’s Flowers

As the leaves begin to make their change, our roses also begin a change. The blooms of the autumn season always intensify and we see some of the finest blooms of the year.
This week’s blooms are no exception:


Moonstone – Hybrid Tea

I love how the pink coloring around the edges of Moonstone is intensified. The spring blooms have an almost pencil like edge to them, but in fall they seem to fill the center with color….



Sedona – Hybrid Tea

Sedona is a rose that typically has a darker center, but in fall you see a much more even toned bloom with intense hues of pink.


Scentimental – Floribunda

Is it just me or does this rose tend to produce more white/red blooms in fall??? It seems to me that in early spring we see more red/white colored blooms…. hmmmm


Fall Zinnia Blooms

I always sow a few packs of zinnia seeds in late summer in the hopes of having a second crop of blooms in the fall.  Zinnias are a favorite in our garden and are probably the easiest of all flowers to grow from seed. We use them in our fall arrangements.

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Visions in White

Two white roses in my garden that I wouldn’t be without.


Moondance is a beautiful floribunda with classic form. This rose has a creamy white center. Blooms in flushes throughout the blooming season. Moderate to good disease resistance.


Iceberg aka “America’s Rose” is widely grown and for good reason! Beautiful full shrub that blooms from spring till fall. White blooms open quickly to reveal pretty yellow stamens. Excellent for hedges or as a stand alone shrub. Great disease resistance.

I have had a recurring dream for sometime that I am standing in the middle of an all white rose garden and that I am the only colorful creature there. Wonder what it means????

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Roses On The Rise – Neil Diamond – Roses You’ll Want To Grow In 2015

Neil Diamond - Hybrid Tea - Weeks Roses

Neil Diamond – Hybrid Tea – Weeks Roses

If I were you I would prepare yourself to be “WoW’d by this rose! Neil Diamond, a new hybrid tea rose introduced by Weeks Roses has been a real winner in our garden this year. Planted in a less than ideal spot in the garden, this rose has thrived. We love the pink to reddish and white blooms. Disease resistance has been great. With a steamy hot summer, we have had very little disease on this rose. The look of this rose is enough to get your attention, but you’ll also be glad to know that it is also a fragrant rose!  Thus far, this rose has also held up well as a cut rose in a vase, so after one year in the garden, i’m placing it on my list of Roses on the Rise for 2015!

Neil Diamond

Neil Diamond

I’ve been singing “Sweet Caroline” all day….

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Roses On The Rise – Doris Day – Roses You’ll Want To Grow In 2015

Growing up, I remember watching the Doris Day show. It came on right before my favorite show – Gunsmoke! I think my favorite movie featuring Doris Day would be “The Man Who Knew Too Much”, a Hitchcock thriller that had me on the edge of my seat with anticipation of what would happen next. They don’t make movies like that anymore…..

I was thrilled to hear that they were naming a rose after this iconic star. The Rose, ‘Doris Day’ is a yellow floribunda being introduced in 2015 by Weeks Roses is one that you’ll want to get to know.

Doris Day

Doris Day

I have been growing ‘Doris Day’ this year as a trial rose in my garden. I have two shrubs of this rose and I can report that it is a prolific bloomer and is quite disease resistant. Of course one year in the garden doesn’t tell the whole story, but I typically do not see such stellar blooms in the first year of growth as I have with this rose.

Doris Day Floribunda - Weeks Roses

Doris Day Floribunda – Weeks Roses


Doris Day – Floribunda – Weeks Roses

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Roses on the Rise – Bejazzo – Roses You’ll Want To Grow In 2015

Bejazzo - Kordes - Biltmore International Rose Trials

Bejazzo – Kordes – Biltmore International Rose Trials

There are several new roses this year that have caught my attention. Roses that I have grown or have observed growing and I think are one’s to keep an eye on as they become widely available in 2015. One is Bejazzo. This rose caught my eye immediately as I entered the walled rose garden at the Biltmore Estate. I was there to judge the Biltmore International Rose Trials and knew immediately that this rose was one to watch.

A climber being introduced by Kordes roses from Germany, it has an awesome growth habit and as you can see produces a magnificent flush of multicolored blooms. The one thing that impressed me the most with this particular rose was its resistance to disease. The Biltmore Rose Trials is a no-spray trial and it was refreshing to see a climber with no disease whatsoever blooming away in the garden.

This rose is definitely one to watch.

Stay tuned. Tomorrow: Neil Diamond takes the stage as another Roses on the Rise for 2015

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What’s Blooming Today – Roses

Below are just a few of the roses blooming and our Alabama rose garden today


Iceberg Floribunda

Love this white rose. It is a prolific bloomer and lights up the garden at night.


‘Tahitian Treasure’

Second year trial rose in our garden from Star Roses & Plants. This one is a keeper. No Spray. Beautiful blooms. Vibrant color!


‘Munstead Wood’

Finally, a waning bloom of Munstead Wood. Just had to post this picture. To me, the bloom looks like its on fire. Didn’t notice the bee until I uploaded…..

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