Easy To Love | Easy To Grow |Roses

Pretty Lady Rose
Pretty Lady Rose
Pretty Lady Rose

An Easy To Love |  Easy To Grow | Rose Garden

“Roses Are For Every Garden” at  The Chicago Flower & Garden Show, interview with

What Jodie Henke of Living the Country Life radio (a Meredith, Better Homes & Garden property) will air across the U.S., on

85% of folks say roses are their favorite flower. They want easy-to-grow roses. Rose breeders are listening to YOU! Each year there are better minimal care roses available that you can have great success with. Here are some of the  Conard Pyle Star Roses and Weeks Roses, that I researched and have personally grown. I included them because of their beauty and ease of care. Star Roses and Weeks Roses supplied the roses for the Chicago Flower & Garden rose garden his year and last year  had been planned to be at the show. They are minimal care roses bred for their easy to grow qualities. I can vouch for their high degree of success in the garden. Christian Bédard told us ‘Pretty Lady Rose’ may be the best rose he’s ever bred and I can tell you its at the top of my list for perfection.

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Hybrid Teas Roses | Americas Favorite Flower

Hybrid tea roses are perfect for any rose garden. They are perfect for cut flowers and creating our own bouquets. A hybrid tea is easily identifiable by their large shapely single flower blooms on long stems. Here are a few of the very best hybrid teas that are true winners.

‘Pretty Lady Rose’ New 2016 | Weeks Roses 2nd in their The Downton Abbey Series

  • Dark even rose pink almost fuchsia
  • 4-5 “ Large old fashioned ruffled petals
  • The smell of peonies with a hint of spices
'Francis Meilland'
‘Francis Meilland’

‘Francis Meilland’ 1996

  • Color: Very large shell pink flowers
  • Winter hardy disease resistant
  • Winner of Biltmore International Rose Trials Best Hybrid Tea
  • Strong fruity and citrusy fragrance
Award of Excellence Best Established Rose | Bred by Dr. Walter E. Lammerts (United States, 1954).
Award of Excellence Best Established Rose

‘Queen Elizabeth’ 1954

  • Pink 4” with large petals, and pointed buds
  • Moderate rose fragrance
  • Won ‘Best Established’ Rose at The Biltmore International Rose Trials when I was a judge in 2015

For Hedge and Borders I love Shrub roses because they grow from 5 to 15 feet in every direction based on your climate and growing conditions.

'Watercolors Homerun'
‘Watercolors Homerun’

‘Water Colors Home Run’ by Weeks Roses

  • 3 colors showy flame red | yellow gold pink blush | Hot Pink
  • Medium height and bloom size
  • Winter hardy and disease resistant
'Drift® Chamboeuf'
‘Drift® Chamboeuf’

‘Drift®’ Groundcover Roses by Star Roses and Plants

  • 8 colors from White Drift Rose to Red Drift Rose
  • Blooms 1 ½” -3” bushes about 2 feet tall spreading
  • Winter hardy, disease resistant, and easy to grow.
Bonica, Shrub rose always the first to bloom in the spring in my Texas rose garden
Bonica, Shrub rose always the first to bloom in the spring in my Texas rose garden

Bonica® – Shrub

  • The Bonica rose has been voted the World’s Favorite Rose in by the World Federation of Rose Societies and an All-America Winner
  • Pastel pink, 3” blossoms, about 5’ tall spreading
  • Slight fragrance

For containers you can plant Miniature or miniflora roses known for novelty and versatility.

Some of the most beautiful and hardy are:

'All a Twitter'
‘All a Twitter’

‘All a’ Twitter’

  • Twinkling brilliant orange
  • Tall, medium size blooms
  • Winter hardy

‘Be My Baby’

  • Incandescent pink
  • Large round blooms, medium tall
  • Fragrance mild tea 

‘Sunblaze®’ Miniatures by Star Roses and Plants

  • All colors from amber-to yellow, vigorous, disease resistant, winter hardy.
  • 12-18 inches compact
  • Slight fragrance

For walls, fences, and pergolas we want climbing or rambling type roses for their unique long arching canes, and their ability to climb fences, over walls, through trellises, arbors, trellises.

‘Above All’

  • The old classic ‘Westerland’ raised modernized with 21st century ‘best-off-best’ qualities!
  • Salmon-orange blend, repeat blooming, 10-14 feet
  • Old fashioned, 3 ½”-4” blooms, fruity fragrance
Bee on Fourth of July Climbing Rose Bush
Bee on Fourth of July Climbing Rose Bush

‘4th of July’

  • Gorgeous Red striped and bright white
  • 10-14 feet canes
  • Fresh cut apple and & sweet rose fragrance

‘Pretty in Pink Eden’ or ‘New Dawn’ (Light pink)

  • All qualities of highest rated, award winning rose ‘Eden Climber’ also known as ‘Pierre de Ronsand’ only deep pink
  • 10-12’ with gorgeous very double blooms 70-80 petals
  • Vintage rose fragrance, vigorous and disease resistant 


Beautiful Roses for the garden known for their profusion of bloom are floribundas. They bear flowers in large clusters and trusses with large clusters of and trusses. This class is unrivaled for providing massive colorful lasting garden displays that are hardier, easy care and more reliable in wet weather than their hybrid tea counterpart.

'Bolero' blooming as a perfect heart in nature
‘Bolero’ blooming as a perfect heart in nature


  • White, large blooms with 100 petals
  • Old rose and spicy fragrance
  • Bushy and about 3 feet tall
'Julia Child' by Weeks Roses featured this shot of 'Julia Child' in The American Rose Society 2014 Calendar
‘Julia Child’ by Weeks Roses featured this shot of ‘Julia Child’ in The American Rose Society 2014 Calendar

‘Julia Child’

  • One of the top selling roses in the world
  • Butter/gold color, medium very full 3-4” blooms
  • Strong licorice fragrance
'Easy Does It' by Weeks Roses with Rain Drops, a vision of perfection
‘Easy Does It’ by Weeks Roses with Rain Drops

‘Easy Does It’

  • Gorgeous Mango Peach
  • Ever blooming with a moderate fragrance
  • Disease resistant, one of my all time favorites!  

Be sure and join us at The Chicago Flower and Garden Show. This is only the 2nd year we will have roses blooming in March in a rose garden setting in Chicago at Navy Pier. We’ll have American Rose Society Consulting Rosarians there to answer your rose growing questions.










Four Seasons of Roses

Gaga's Garden Roses 2015 Calendar Cover 'Moonstone'

Garden Legends Live On By Designs & Impressions They Leave on The Earth | Our Hearts and Minds

Gaga's Garden Roses 2015 Calendar Cover 'Moonstone'
Gaga’s Garden Roses 2015 Calendar Cover ‘Moonstone’

Gaga’s Garden Calendar of Roses represents a dream come true. What’s so special about this calendar? Here’s the back story: When my picture of a spray of ‘Julia Child’ was chosen for the American Rose Society calendar in 2014, folks asked me, “why don’t you do your own rose calendar?”

Julia Child
Julia Child

So I present you Gaga’s Garden Roses 2015. It includes roses like ‘Elle’, for the month of April, a rose near and dear to my heart. I planted ‘Elle’ when my granddaughter Gabrielle was born. She now has a little sister named Ella, so now its doubly meaningful to me. People tell me they want roses that are named for or remind them of themselves, friends, family members or celebrities all the time, and ask me to assist them in their search to locate them. The names of roses in the garden are always a topic for conversation on garden tours. So you see rose names matter.

'Elle' featured for the month of April, 2015 with a quote from Alain Meilland, Meilland Roses International,
‘Elle’ featured for the month of April, 2015 with a quote from Alain Meilland, Meilland Roses International,


A rose is an argument. It proclaims the triumph of beauty over brutality, of gentleness over violence, of the ephemeral over the lasting, and of the universal over the particular. The same rose bursts into bloom on the North Cape and in the Sahara Desert.”~Alain Meilland


Neil Diamond, new from Weeks Roses 2015 Cataolog
Neil Diamond, new from Weeks Roses 2015 Cataolog

Over the years people have taught me that a garden says so much about who we are. A rose garden can give one a venue of remembrance, an outlet for stress, a show place for photography, a sorcerers delight for alchemy, a veritable rainbow of colors, and a tapestry of fragrance so deep it touches the soul. The delight and knowledge I’ve gained through conversations about names of roses has continued to inspire me. Roses offer a way to softly gain access to the five senses in the garden that then gently whisper thoughts of life and our loved ones worth remembering that only a walk in a rose garden can inspire. Listen and let the garden speak to us. Let us count the ways on your calendar of Gaga’s Garden Roses 2015 . Happy New Year! Click on this link to buy the calendar. Happy New Year!

Don’t forget 10% of profits are donated to the American Rose Society.

The Rose Garden
The Rose Garden

Oui Theory Run Aground

Gabi & Gaga
Gabi & Gaga
Gabi & Gaga in the Garden Oui Theory Works

Every theory has to be proven, right?  I’m reeling over the fact that my own “Oui Theory” is spinning off into uncharted waters due to the lure of fishing. It’s in trouble folks. Proven over and over again, there’s trouble right here in river city and that’s with a capitol ‘T.” Apropos because the banks of the Mississippi are at 35.7 feet as of Sunday. That’s cresting 11 feet above flood stage.

Oui Theory Follower
Ancient Concept of “Oui Theory” pronounced WE. He as ONE can accomplish on Monday what “Oui” did not on Sunday. Ancient art.

Proven Oui Theory

Fuzzy logic corresponds to “degrees of truth,” out of this basic premise Oui Theory emerges:

Many of you have heard of Big Bang, String Theory and Einstein’s Theory of Relativity*. Today I introduce to you, the urban/rural dedicated gardener, Oui Theory. And I predict controversies to tumble over into those parallel newly discovered dimensions that string theory suggests that you may or may not even exist in. Oui theory is so simple and elegant that it will possibly punch a hole in the dimension you live in today.

Oui Theory is simply this, Oui (pronounced we and French for yes), can accomplish the work of two while you are not there. The artful gardener must first identify all of her/his resources and that must include your labor force. Your resources include who can do the work that you have identified that you would like to have done in your garden while you were at home and you would like completed after you are not there by putting the Oui Theory to work for you. Now that is parallel universe optimization. You will not be there and work will be getting done by someone you have identified that essentially is in a parallel universe toiling away at things Oui have mutually agreed to do and then enjoy together, maybe. You carefully planned it, purchased the plants, perhaps even did beautiful sketches, you visualized it in the other beautiful universe which of course is your mind. Now here is where your genious will put Steven Hawking to shame, Oui Theory actually translates into “Yes” Dear. Oui Theory simply stated is “yes dear, I see your logic we (oui) will complete this project while you are (at work, getting your nails done, hair appointment, shopping, taking a trip around the world, taking French cooking classes, going to buy a new car, get the oil changed, play soccer, play golf, ad infinitum…”.


The lures
The lures

The Spool Unraveling

It worked like a charm until you guessed it: fishing came into the equation. That’s right fishing. I’ll give you some background. First of all you can’t buy a fish within 60 miles of this place in the country that’s not frozen. All these folks go out and catch their own fresh fish. I might add that I ask two stores last Sunday if they had packaged lox and the butcher at one store said, “what’s that?” Here are the words I wish I could eat. So I said to Big Daddy “aren’t those fishing poles in the corner of the garage, and didn’t you used to like to fish?’ “ I guess if we are ever going to have fresh fish you are going to have to go out and catch some.” A funny thing happened on my way to fresh fish. The little store in town had a cardboard sign up on the street corner with an arrow pointing down the road that said “fresh fish.” I ask them inside “where are the fish down that road?” Isaiah said bring a cooler and I’ll meet you at the catfish pond. I ask him if I had to catch ‘em. He said no but they are live catfish. I laughed and asked him if I had to bonk ‘em on the head or what? He said just take ‘em home and weigh them and bring him the money anytime.  I visualized a squirming fish on a scale. No can do! So my husband laughed at me and said put the bathroom scale out on the back patio with the fish in it and he weighed them first with the fish in it then when they were out of it. We calculated the cost and paid the store. I won’t go into the fish mercy killing. Let’s just say we are a kinder gentler catfish slaughterhouse. They were then lightly breaded and pan fried, which you can’t do if they are alive.  Small town living is the best though. Where can you just go out to the stores pond get a live fish take it home in a cooler, weigh it on your own bathroom scale, kill it and eat it and pay for it when you feel like it?  That gives new meaning to “is the fish fresh today?”

Lure Test and the Catch | A Bass | At a Secret Undisclosed Location
Lure Test and the Catch | A Bass | At a Secret Undisclosed Location

Qui Theory Gone Fishin’

It started last winter. After I ask that foolish question about fishing. Re-inventing the fishing lure shall we say? “Oui” bought cedar wood to make custom lures of every size. Then “Oui” bought paint of every color. Of course “Oui” had an airbrush for the paint and epoxy. Then “Oui” built a custom jig to paint them in a uniform fashion. And now we have a Shimono rod to catch Muskie and Abu Garcia reels. The reel looks more like a winch because Muskie of course are about 4 feet long. And now I am supposed to learn how to pickle fish and can them because a four foot Muskie makes about I don’t know a ton of pickled tidbits of fish. I may as well start watching Doomsday Preppers. You guessed where this is going right? Yesterday I had to dig up part of the rose garden with a pitchfork myself. Because the better half of my Oui Theory partnership was working of what do you think? Fishing stuff. Where did I go wrong? 



You Can Eat Roses Can’t You? 


You can eat roses. There’s Rose Petal Tea, Rose Petal Ice Cream, Rose Petal Jam. However, does Big Daddy look like a Rose Petal food variety eater? If the menu had say catfish and hush puppies and rose petal soufflé he may choose the catfish. He may have rose petal ice cream for desert.









The Love Language of Roses

Veterans Honor, Hybrid Tea

“All of us blossom when we feel loved and wither when we do not feel loved.”
― Gary ChapmanThe Five Love Languages for Singles

Roses have a Love Language expressed by their color. This Valentine’s Day let your roses do the talking, Second That Emotion with a rose. Do you know what the color of a rose says when you give it? In the Book The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts by Gary Chapman, Chapman explains that each of us has a love language. And its really important to understand how each of us interpret expressions of love toward each other.

Words of Affirmation

Mark Twain once said “I can live for two months on a good compliment.” Appreciation is one of the most important things to someone whose love language is  based on “Words of Affirmation.” Simple compliments like, “You you look so pretty,” or “You mean so much to me! I can’t wait to see you,” are all someone needs to hear to feel loved. “Words of Affirmation” can also include just offering words of encouragement that lead to confidence building in a loved one. So if  your Valentines love language is “Words of Affirmations,” you might give them red roses and whisper “I love you and I desire you.” Your love languages are singing from the same hymnal with red roses and words of affirmation.

Veterans Honor, Hybrid Tea
Veterans Honor, Hybrid Tea

A red rose is an expression of love. Red roses convey deep emotions – love, longing and desire. Red Roses can also indicate respect, admiration and devotion. The number of red roses has romantic significance. 12 red roses is the most popular and means “Be mine” and “I love you”

Quality Time

Quality time is about spending time and involves doing things together. Many people feel loved when they can share experiences, thoughts feelings and desires. Communication and deep personal sharing draws a couple closer on many levels. Being sure to set time aside to spend quality one-on-one time together will ensure a happy marriage. Now this love language is very easy for me it has OUI Theory written all over. I live it every day. If you haven’t read that post its time you did because it works. If your love’s love language is about spending quality time together then orange roses may be a winner signifying the time spent together  can lead from a warm glow to a fiery passion. Here’s my perfect example for Big Daddy, “Darling, I would love a new Rio Samba, About Face, and Coretta Scott King and OUI can plant them together, Monday when I am at work,” see how that works?

Fragrant Cloud, Gaga's Garden
Fragrant Cloud, Gaga’s Garden

Orange Roses: reminds us of the sun, a fiery blaze, signifying passion and energy. Orange roses can be used to express intense desire, pride and fervor. They also convey a sense of fascination, rivaling only the red roses as messengers of passion in romance.

Receiving Gifts

Gift are often meant to be a symbol of our love. If  this is your love language, you are more likely to treasure any gift as an expression of love and devotion. People who speak this love language often feel that a lack of receiving gifts represents a lack of love from their mate. This love language is easy to learn. Be sure to understand your partners attitude about money before you make an assumption she or he wants to receieve gifts. Making an assumption your loved one wants to receive gifts to feel loved when really they are worried about finances can lead to serious financial misunderstandings. That’s what learning each other’s love language is all about. A person who feels receiving gifts is a sign of feeling loved sees it as a sign that you are investing the money not in gifts but in deepening the relationship so the gift does not necessarily have to cost a lot of money. It is often the thought that counts. The perfect Valentine’s plan may be a heart necklace and a bouquet of pink roses indicating admiration, joy in your relationship and deep gratitude for all that she does for you.

Raindrops on Roses
Raindrops on Roses

Pink Roses: Pink roses range in color from baby’s breath pink to smoldering fuchsia. They cover a range of emotions from admiration, joy and gratitude and can also be indicative of sweetness and innocence. Deep pink rose blooms convey deep gratitude and appreciation. Pink roses can convey elegance and grace.

Acts of Service

I’m sure you have heard the expression “actions speak louder than words.” The person who feels loved by Acts of Service lives by this rule. Simple chores around the house can be an undeniable expression of love. Even simple things like laundry and taking out the trash require some form of planning, time, effort, and energy. It’s important to find out what little thing you can do for each other that would really show that you care enough to get involved in the day to day mundane chores and help out with it. This shows you care enough to do it and goes a long way when your loved one values Acts of Service in their love language. A wonderful Valentine’s Day could be waxing the car and a bouquet of lavender roses for her or for him taking all those shirts from the laundry basket to the dry cleaners and getting them done and back before he knows it.

Night Owl Spray in the fall rose garden
Night Owl Spray in the fall rose garden

Lavender Roses: A Lavender rose like its color conveys enchantment. It also expresses “love at first sight.” Darker shades of lavender roses (close to purple) convey a sense of regal majesty, splendor, fascination and adoration.

Physical Touch

Many people feel the most loved when they receive physical contact from their partner. For anyone who speaks this love language they want to feel human touch. Its important to remember that this love language is different for everyone. That way you can make the most of your hugging, kissing, cuddling and other physical contacts. For passion red roses simply are the rose of choice. They are the ultimate symbol.

Lavaglut Florabunda
Lavaglut Florabunda

A red rose is an expression of love. Red roses convey deep emotions – love, longing and desire. Red Roses can also indicate respect, admiration and devotion. The number of red roses has romantic significance. 12 red roses is the most popular and means “Be mine” and “I love you”



Here are wonderful ideas for our friends

Golden Showers, Gaga's Garden
Golden Showers, Gaga’s Garden

Yellow Roses: Yellow roses are an expression of exuberance. Yellow roses evoke sunny feelings of joy, warmth and welcome. They are symbols of friendship and caring. The yellow rose, like the other roses, does not carry an undertone of romance. It indicates purely platonic emotions.






Iceberg after the Rain with Bees Visiting
Iceberg after the Rain with Bees Visiting

White Roses: White is the color of purity, chastity and innocence. White flowers mean new beginnings, ideal for first-time bride walking down the aisle. White flowers can convey sympathy or humility, and indicative of spirituality.



The East Rose Garden
The East Rose Garden





Mixed Bouquet Roses: mixing different colors of blooms can send a purposefully mixed message. For example sending red and white could mean I love you intensely, while my intensions are honorable.

A Rose Garden, Hope Springs Eternal

Rudyard Kipling said, “Remember Gardens are not made by sitting in the shade.”

Gaga's Rose Garden in Bloom
Gaga's Rose Garden in Bloom

However, shade sitting is never quite so satisfying as when one is contemplating the beauty of a rose garden from the prospective of being in it and having created a rose garden in the sun.

A Garden is A Gathering Place to Kick Back & Relax with Friends
A Garden is A Gathering Place to Kick Back & Relax with Friends

Here is the one rose I planted in bed pictured below and it performed beautifully.

First rose planted in new floribunda bed
First rose planted in new floribunda bed

Those of you that show roses will relate, I committed the cardinal sin of people who show roses. I said I would never forget the name of the rose bush; I know it well. Guess what? I can’t remember the name of the rose. I have perused the entire ARS Handbook over and over to jog my memory. I can’t believe I am publicly confessing this. But here’s the first rose planted in the floribunda rose garden. I bought it because it’s a rose that regularly wins ribbons at shows. If you know what it is rosarians let me know please.

New floribunda rose garden bed in planning stage, non-elevated, eastern exposure
New floribunda rose garden bed in planning stage, non-elevated, eastern exposure

Here are the roses I have planted in the bed pictured above, all rated in the 2012 American Rose Society Handbook for Selecting Roses 8.0 or Higher. Notice there is a shade producing overhang that I am concerned about.Playboy, Red blend ARS rating   8.5

Rainbow Sorbet, yellow blend  8.0

Sunsprite deep yellow,  8.4

Sheila’s Perfume (didn’t really perform that well in Texas, we’ll see about Illinois) 8.2

Rose gardens are easier to have than you might imagine and the envy of all your neighbors. A rose garden can be a gathering place for friends & family to collect a lifetime of memories, a morning of glory, or an evening of wine & roses.

Here’s the easy do-it-yourself way to start.


Plan your rose bed with the maximum amount of exposure to the sunshine. Roses need full sun and do best when they get at least 6 full hours of sunshine during the growing season.

Design for Easy Maintenance

A raised bed is ideal for growing roses; it gives the soil good drainage and saves your back from a lot of back bending. Landscape timbers are what I recommend and I used for my beds in Texas. They are light and easy to work with. Build the timbers three tiers high and two feet wide for a single bed or five feet wide for a double bed.

If you have two beds that are parallel, leave enough room to walk between them.

Elevated Rose Bed Design
Elevated Rose Bed Design


Raised beds have the best drainage. Make sure if you don’t have elevated beds that the beds have good drainage and that water does not pool in the planting area. Roses do love water, but they don’t like “wet feet.”

Organic Soil Amendments

Lay out the dimensions of your rose bed. You can do this with a string. Now remove the sod and spade up the existing subsoil. To the subsoil add compost, Canadian peat moss, ground bark, garden gypsum, sand, and bone meal. Use a Rototiller to mix this organic material if you can. This mixture in a raised bed should a little higher than the second layer of the landscape timbers since some settling will occur.


Now you are ready to choose roses that you love. Pick roses by color, fragrance, hardiness and profusion of bloom. Plant them generally two to 2 ½ feet between bushes is normal. I have seen bushes planted closer together in hot climates to allow for mutual shading. Just allow enough space to work and water your plants.

Hope Springs Eternal, Bare Root Mini, All-ATwitter is buried by Bear
Hope Springs Eternal, Bare Root Mini, All-ATwitter is buried by Bear

I mentioned that I am replacing some annuals with miniature roses is this is the planter that I have planted the new miniature All-A-Twitter. You may have seen my picture on Facebook of it covered by a wooden bear, ice and snow sine temperatures droped to 20 degrees after I planted it. 😉 Funtimes.

All-A-Twitter Miniature Rose Planter
All-A-Twitter Miniature Rose Planter

Also, alas, do as I say not as I do since I am planting roses directly in the ground along a walkway, not an elevated bed. I will be posting pictures of how they do. The soil is rich with good drainage lots of sand so I added Canadian peat moss, lots of feather meal, and Annie Haven’s Moo Poo Tea for fertilizer. And remember folks, my son Michael says I end abruptly but “The show doesn’t go on because it’s ready; it goes on because it’s 11:30″    —-Lorne Michaels, creator of Saturday Night Live

All-A-Twitter Miniature deep orange too new to rate

Ordered not planted:

1 Easy Does It
1 Hot Cocoa
1 Betty Boop
1 Ketchup & Mustard
1 Iceberg
1 Julia Child
1 Fragrant Cloud
1 Baronne De Rothschild
1 Peace
1 Stormy Weather (LCI)


This is my neighbor, he get's 'cause he pays attention! OUI call him Lyle Lovett Llama
This is my neighbor, he get's 'cause he pays attention! OUI call him Lyle Lovett Llama