#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….


About Chris VanCleave - America's Favorite Rose Gardener

Christopher R. VanCleave – America’s Favorite Rose Gardener Nicknamed "The Redneck Rosarian”, Chris VanCleave is passionate about gardening and growing roses. He is an active member of the Birmingham chapter of the American Rose Society, serving two terms as President. In 2007, he created the Rose Chat Podcast which has reached over a half a million listeners with news and information on growing on growing the world’s most beloved flower, the rose. He was a contributor to the 2015 Southern Living Gardening Book, has appeared on P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home television show and was featured in the June 2015 issue of Southern Living Magazine. Locally, Chris serves as Chairman of the Helena Alabama Beautification Board where he has spearheaded efforts to create a sustainable landscape in one of the top one hundred places to live in the United States. His writing is seen at About.com and on his popular website; RedneckRosarian.com, where he chronicles his gardening adventures and explores an intrinsic mix of life, faith and gardening. An agent of change with over 20 years’ experience in process innovation, Mr. VanCleave is leading the charge to reinvigorate horticultural societies and helping them to reach their full potential in the social media age.
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4 Responses to #ThrowBackThursday – Roses of Moss Mountain Farm

  1. Gisela says:

    Incredible garden. Beautiful roses!


  2. Bravo Chris. Lovely! I hope to see you there one May soon. xo


  3. hoehoegrow says:

    I just love ‘Sarah Van Fleet’, and I have not met her before, so it is a real treat to be introduced. I wonder if I can buy her in the uk, I will certainly look out for her.
    Many of my roses here in the uk won’t believe it is autumn and they are all flowering as if it is midsummer.’Sexy Rexy’ is covered in flowers and buds. It is the mild September which has confused them I think ! Are your roses the same ?


  4. roberta4949 says:

    love the new dawns, mine was doing really well, until that polar vortest nearly killed it if we have a cold normal winter I think it will finish the job, did not grow up very much, it is barly alive. the roses in the video are beautiful. glad she was able to save some of her roses by giving them to fellow rose lovers.


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