2015 Birmingham Home & Garden Show – Y’all Come!


The Birmingham Home & Garden Show is this weekend at the BJCC (Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex) and I hope if your in the Birmingham area you’ll come see us.  I will be speaking on Saturday at 11 am and on Sunday at 1 pm. I’ll be covering the entire gamut of growing roses as follows:

We will be showcasing the latest collection of new roses from famed English rose hybridizer, David Austin. During my presentation we will be giving away a select number of gift certificates to lucky winners.

David Austin Logo Hi Res

You can save 50% off of the ticket price when you use the code ROSE at checkout

We will also be showcasing my favorite soil conditioner, (Haven Brand Soil Conditioner) at the show and will be giving away samples for gardeners to use at home.

MooPoo Tea

MooPoo Tea

You’ll also want to check out those Fabulous Beekman Boys, John & Whitney Spinks from HGTV’s Flipping The Block and Christie Dedman, Birmingham’s Bargain Mom! Not only can you hear these speakers, there will be Master Gardeners on hand to answer questions in the gardens area, rows and rows of craftsmen and tradesmen with the latest trends not to mention several beautifully designed gardens from local designers and landscaping companies.

Hope to See you there!

Posted in Alabama, Best Of Birmingham, Birmingham, Home and Garden SHow | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Preserving Valentine’s Day Flowers


Well, the most wonderful time of the year has arrived for the floral trade: Valentine’s Day.
Roses dominate the United States as the #1 flower to give on this occasion and folks are always wanting to know how they can preserve extend the life of the blooms they receive.


Here are my tips for getting the most our of your Valentine’s Day bouquet

  • If they arrive in a box or wrapped in cellophane, remove them immediately and prepare them for a vase as follows:
    • Fill your container with equal parts water and lemon-lime soda (sprite or 7UP)
    • Add two aspirins
    • Cut the end of the stems of each of the flowers and foliage you receive. The roses don’t care whether you cut straight across or on a slant. Just cut them. This cut allows the stems to be hydrated.
    • As soon as you cut them plunge the stems into the mixture of water, soda and aspirin. This combination of sugar and pain reliever seems to do the trick!
    • Arrange as necessary.
    • Repeat this step every 2 days. As the stems become shorter and some of the blooms begin to fade, divide and move them to smaller containers. As the additional filler foliage fades, I add some from my garden. Rosemary, boxwood and others make great fillers and will give your blooms a new look.
    • Most people find that by following this course of action, you can extend the life of your blooms up to 14 days.

I hope all your Valentine’s Day Dreams Comes True!


Posted in #roses, Alabama, Articles, tips, valentines day | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Chase Away The Winter Blues With This Awesome Amaryllis GIVEAWAY

AppleBlossom Amaryllie

‘Apple Blossom’ Photo Credit: Longfield Gardens

If there is one bulb that comes out of Holland that I am enamored with, it’s an Amaryllis. We grow heirloom Amaryllis here in our Alabama garden outdoors. So easy to grow, many are grown indoors and provide such joy in the dark winter months.


‘Spartacus’ – Photo Credit: Longfield Gardens

The folks at Longfield Gardens carry a beautiful selection of Amaryllis and other bulbs for garden. With over 80 years of combined experience in the bulb industry, they bring quality bulbs for all to enjoy.  Check out their website at LongfieldGardens.com 

I am proud to be able to offer this giveaway to my readers. To enter, simply leave a comment on this post as to why you would love to have one of these beauties… Contest closes at Midnight Friday February 13, 2015. Winner will be announced on Saturday February 14, 2015.

Good Luck & Happy Gardening

UPDATE: Saturday Feb 14, 2015:
Congratulations to Bernice of Realistic Cooking Blog, winner of our Awesome Amaryllis Giveaway. 

Thanks to all who entered!

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Paying It Forward With Flowers – Repeat Roses

We had the honor to chat with Jennifer Grove of Repeat Roses this week on the Rose Chat Podcast. In 2014 Jennifer launched a company in New York City that takes wedding flowers and flowers from corporate events and turns them into small bouquets that are in turn delivered to hospices, nursing homes and other non-profits. It’s a mission to improve corporate sustainability, deliver joy and enhance the emotional health of those in need.

View More: http://cmostr.pass.us/repeat_rosesI don’t think I’ve ever attended a wedding that there wasn’t an abundance of flowers. To think that these can now being re-purposed for the social good is something I can get behind. Can’t you?

Hope you’ll give a listen to our latest episode of the Rose Chat Podcast

RCR_Repeat RosesPodcast LINK-LISTEN NOW

Our show has been nominated for a Shorty Award!
shorty_badge_300x250_usPlease show your support by clicking http://www.ShortyAwards.com/Rose_Chat and show your support.

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Welcome February – While The Rose Garden Sleeps, It’s A Busy Time For Rose Growers


Dunn Formal Rose Garden In Winter – Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Can hardly believe that it’s already February! Luckily, from what I can tell our garden has not suffered any winter damage. Usually by the end of February, we begin the pruning process. Here in Birmingham which is growing zone 8a, we prune at this time for two reasons:

  1. The threat of a heavy frost has usually past and it is safe to do so. By this time any tend new growth would not be damaged.
  2. Our annual rose show is held Mother’s Day weekend at our Botanical Gardens and we want to have blooms to exhibit in the show. Not so much for a ribbon or trophy (although it would be nice to win) but as a display of what can be grown in this area.

So the preparation process begins:

  • Selecting and ordering new roses
  • Creating or doing maintenance to garden beds
  • Has my soil been tested lately?
  • Do I know how to prune my roses?
  • Are my pruners and other gardening tools clean and sharpened?

Two events are happening this month in Birmingham that I wanted to share. Both are geared toward helping answer all your questions about growing and caring for roses in this area.

bhamhomeshow2015The first of these events is happening Valentine’s Day weekend at the BJCC. The Birmingham Home & Garden Show offers an outstanding array of merchants, home improvement and cooking ideas and even the best ways to save! They even invited me to speak on growing roses!

Check out the Line up of Guest Speakers:

Half price tickets are available if you purchase online using the discount code ROSE at checkout Click http://homeshowbirmingham.com/BHGS/Buy-Tickets/45.aspx  I’ll be speaking Saturday Morning at 11 am and Sunday at 1 pm.  For a few lucky winners, I’ll Haven Brand Soil Conditioners to give away as well as gift certificates for roses from the 2015 collection of David Austin English Roses.

Pruning Event 2015If you’ve ever wondered how to prune roses, the Birmingham Rose Society is offering a awesome opportunity to learn! Saturday February 28 they are hosting their annual “Head Over Hills” pruning event at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. I’ll be there pruners in hand along with my rose growing friends eager to help you learn about growing the world’s most beloved flower! We’ll offer hands on experience and share our tips for pruning for maximum bloom! This event is FREE and open to the public.  Read more at BirminghamRose.org 

There has never been a better time to start growing roses! Hope to see you this month!

Posted in #roses, Best Of Birmingham, Birmingham, birmingham botanical gardens, birmingham home and garden show, celebrity speakers, free class, gardening events, seminar | 2 Comments

The Key To Boundless Possibilities In 2015

2247f6283eb811e38e7222000a1fb921_8As we say goodbye to 2014 and the chill of January grips us, I am reminded that the true life of a plant lies beneath the ground. The root system of any plant is the foundation by which the beautiful form and structure of a plant is made. It is from this structure that beautiful blooms and foliage are produced. Without a strong foundation upon which to build, plants are spindly, unsupported, and can ultimately fail.

Once that foundation is established, the plant enjoys a season of growth, and afterwards, pruning must take place. Pruning is the cutting away of the old growth to allow for new. For many plants, pruning takes place during a period of dormancy.

SAMSUNGI am a firm believer in pruning the dead away, in my garden and in my life. Each spring, just before my roses break dormancy (late February here in Alabama), you can find me with my pruners in hand; cutting back old wood and spindly unproductive growth, and clearing away debris that the winter wind has blown in. This process allows for new vigorous growth of plants. I then apply fertilizer, and water along the way, and before you know it, you will see stunning new growth and an abundance of blooms.

I apply this same principle to my life by making learning a lifelong pursuit. As long as we are open to learning and growing, things can move forward. When we stop the learning process, we tend to sit, soak, and sour, and no one wants that. Grab a new gardening book. Our libraries are full of them. >Summer Reading - Garden Books

Why not plan a raised bed garden for the coming year, and then build it. There is nothing like fresh vegetables in the summer or the sight of beautiful zinnias smiling at you from the garden. It all begins with a pack of seeds and some soil. I am reading about some great new roses for the coming year. Why not check them out? The possibilities are boundless.

Each year, I make it a point to also examine myself in such a way that can bring about change and growth. I look at old habits and see what needs to be cut back on or totally eliminated. I look at ways to eliminate the things in my life that just seem to take up time and are not productive. I also try to clear away any “junk” that I have physically and spiritually, because it’s important to nourish our bodies as well as our souls.

I am reminded in my daily scripture reading of how much we are connected to God through Christ, and that we are His workmanship, and as the passage tell us, “He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful” (John 15:2 NIV). I don’t know about you, but I need to be open to spiritual “pruning” on a daily basis. I strive each day to possess the wisdom to recognize and cut away from me any bad fruit produced, to allow for vigorous new growth of mind, body and spirit.




I am counting down the days until spring and I can’t wait to share another season of blooms with you!

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Family, Friends, Laughter & A Merry Christmas To All

It truly is the most wonderful time of the year. A time to catch up with family and friends and a change to share a little Christmas cheer with the world around you.  This year, the Rose Chat Podcast crew put together a short video to help celebrate the season…  Just in case you ever wondered what the Rose Chat Podcast folks are really like..


Listen to the Rose Chat Podcast anytime at RoseChatPodcast.com 

Posted in #MooPooCrew, #roses, Christmas, YouTube | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Wordless Wednesday -Tis The Season





Posted in Christmas, Wordless Wednesday | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

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