Rosy Raccoon Raiding Roses

Rosey Racoon Captured in a Safe Capture & Release Cage
Rosey Racoon | Here comes trouble with a capital 'T'! Right Here is Rose garden city!
Rosy Raccoon | It’s 3:00 AM Do You Know Where Your Raccoon Is? | I Do!

Things began to be tossed about in the rose garden. ‘Golden Showers'(LCI), a yellow large-flowered climber I just planted next to ‘Dublin Bay’ was dug up. The bird bath was slung into ‘Love Song’. Weight of the planters was no object.

It looked like a mini-Incredible Hulk was on a rose-garden rampage. Enter trail-cam. ‘Big Daddy’ is a problem solver. We needed facts. What type of creature are we dealing with? The first night I forgot and let our kitties, re-gifted to us by our grand-kids, fondly known as the garage girls outside and we captured a black kitty.

Squeaks was the first capture in our safe catch & release program!
Squeaks our black kitty that was re-gifted to us was the first capture in our safe catch & release program!

The second night we camouflaged the cage with ‘Big Daddy’s’ tarp. The temptation that landed us our Rose Garden midnight marauder was sardines! Oh yeah!

Rosey Racoon Captured in a Safe Capture & Release Cage
Rosy Raccoon Captured in a Safe Capture & Release Cage
Rosy Raccoon Turned Out To be Our Night Time Rose Garden Assailant
Rosy Raccoon Captured Along The Rose Walkway

Take note that Rosy must have felt right at home in the rose garden since we have a raccoon carving ‘Welcome Statue Carving’ at the entrance of the rose walkway. Look at the Trail Cam pic for the Raccoon carving. Irony abounds at Gaga’s Garden. Now Rosy Raccoon is captured. We believe in safe catch and release. We took her/him to a safe space in the witness protection program, a new identity, by a lake where there are no farms or homes for him to cause mischief or meet us back home before we get back.

Rosey Raccoon's Rose Walkway
Rosy Raccoon’s Rose Walkway


A Garden Is A Marshmallow World

PROVEN WINNERS © 'Magic Hibisbus Cranberry Crush'
1. The fact of two things being seen or placed close together with contrasting effect. 

“The juxtaposition of country & tropical creates a marshmallow garden world.”

PROVEN WINNERS © 'Magic Hibisbus Cranberry Crush'
PROVEN WINNERS © ‘Magic Hibisbus Cranberry Crush’ 

Shown above is a Proven Winner genus of plants in the mallow family, Malvaceae known for large showy flowers simply known as hibiscus, less widely known as ‘rose mallow. The magical quality of the hibiscus enchants me to sing out loud, “A Marshmallow World.”

Most of the mallows from the hibiscus (also known as ‘rose mallow’) have been used as food recorded throughout history by early classic writers. A dish of ‘marsh mallow’ considered an edible vegetable during Roman times was considered a delicacy. According to Wikipedia Prosper Alpinus stated in 1592 that a plant of the rose mallow kind was eaten by the Egyptians. Many of the poorer inhabitants of the world have subsisted for weeks on herbs, of which marsh mallow is one of the most common.

Hibiscus Summerific® 'Berrylicious'
Hibiscus Summerific® ‘Berrylicious’

The juxtaposed look of country; the little red barn & tropical the; the ‘Rose Mallows’ give the garden a Marshmallow World effect. You too can have a Marshmallow World. I love these Proven Winners Summerific ‘Rose Mallow’ plants, don’t you?

Hibiscus Summerific® 'Berrylicious'
Hibiscus Summerific® ‘Berrylicious’
PROVEN WINNERS © 'Magic Hibisbus Cranberry Crush'
PROVEN WINNERS © ‘Magic Hibisbus Cranberry Crush’

Proven Winners ‘Meteor Showers’ next to my conifer,  and the ‘Rose Mallow’ Hibiscus.

PROVEN WINNERS © 'Meteor Showers'
PROVEN WINNERS © ‘Meteor Showers’ | ‘Cranberry Crush’ Hibuscus
PROVEN WINNERS © 'Meteor Showers' Pollinator Attractant
PROVEN WINNERS © ‘Meteor Showers’ Pollinator Attractants

The smartest, most beautiful woman I know, my daughter-in-law said to me,

on mixing tropicals in a country rose garden landscape: “Its the juxtaposition that I love.”

Family Relationships Grow
My beautiful Daughter-In Law| The Best Mom I Know | Loves A Little Bit Of Country and A Whole Lot of Tropical  ‘Rose Mallow” This is us planting the ‘Kids Garden’ in Virginia

*Please visit Instagram where I can give some credit to my dear sister-in-law, Martha Proctor who I first saw ‘Cranberry Crush’ blooming in Wisconsin and was enchanted by it.

So I say mix ’em up Roses & Tropicals!

Proven Winners 'Summerific' Hibiscus
‘Summerific’ Hibiscus | I have a ‘Crush on ‘Cranberry Crush’ & Roses in the Rock Rose Garden with ‘Earth Song’



Ropin’ Roses

'Above and Beyond' after its roped up!


‘Above and Beyond’ is an apricot large-flowered-climber. It’s as big as a baby elephant! So I wanted you to see it get corralled. Securing it was like tying up a bucking bronco with thorns! Isn’t it simply amazing? hybridized by Dr. David Zlesak, its:

  1. Winter hardy
  2. Fragrant
  3. Easy-to-grow
  4. Organic, no-spray


  5. AB2_051016
  6. After

    'Above and Beyond' after its roped up!
    ‘Above and Beyond’ roped up! next to Proven Winners ‘Oso Easy’ ‘Fragrant Spreader’ and ‘Paprika’

3 Climbing Roses ‘Big As A Barn’

'Stormy Weather'
'Above and Beyond' As Big as a Barn
‘Above and Beyond’ As Big as a Barn Ready to Burst Into Bloom

One qustion I am ask frequently is “what’s a great climbing rose?” Here are three early spring blooming climbing roses. Two that are as “big as a barn.” One is a compact ‘mysterious deep smoky purple that’s simply a stunner!

1. Above and Beyond’ LCI

  1. Winter hardy
  2. No-spray
  3. Minimal care
  4. Highly Fragrant
    'Above and Beyond' loaded with buds | Hydridized by Dr. David Zlesak | Winter Hardy, Easy-Care
    ‘Above and Beyond’ Large Flowered Climber loaded with rose buds | Hybridized by Dr. David Zlesak | Winter Hardy, Easy-Care, no-spray

    'Above and Beyond' loaded with buds as 'Big As A Barn'
    ‘Above and Beyond’ loaded with buds as ‘Big As A Barn’ | Next to ‘Above and ‘Beyond’ is Proven Winners Oso Easy ‘Paprika’ and ‘Fragrant Speader’

It is winter hardy, no-spray, minimal care and so enchantingly fragrant. Although it blooms just once a year in the spring, its worth having just for this spectacular bloom.

'Above and Beyond' Roses in Bloom in the Rose Garden
‘Above and Beyond’ Roses in Bloom

2. ‘Nevada’ Hybrid Moyesii

  1. Winter hardy
  2. Minimal care
  3. Blooms twice per year, white in the spring, pink in the fall!
  4. Highly fragrant

When the gentle spring breeze blows its petals appear to look as if the entire bush is filled with butterflies. The fragrance is divine.

'Nevada' petals looks like butterflies when the wind blows the petals
‘Nevada’ looks like butterflies when the wind blows the petals
'Nevada' Hybrid Moyessii | Blooms twice a year, very fragrant
‘Nevada’ Hybrid Moyessii | Blooms twice a year, very fragrant
'Nevada' a Hybrid Moyesii "loaded with buds ready to burst into its spring bloom 'big as a barn'
‘Nevada’ a Hybrid Moyesii “loaded with buds ready to burst into its spring bloom ‘big as a barn’
'Stormy Weather'
‘Stormy Weather’ appearing as big as a barn

3. ‘Stormy Weather’ LCI Large Flowered Climber

  1. Mid-size climber with full size roses, 8-10 feet
  2. Repeat blooms in uncommon intense color, creating the perfect contrast w/oranges, reds, whites & yellows.
  3. Fragrant­
    'Stormy Weather'
    ‘Stormy Weather’ Rose Blossom

    'Stormy Weather'
    ‘Stormy Weather’ beginning to blooming

Teacher’s Dream Garden Shed

Teacher's Dream Potting Shed
Teacher's Dream Potting Shed
Teacher’s Dream Potting Shed

The story of Barb Kingery’s potting shed went viral. Why? Because Miriam Illions of Hometalk saw a picture I posted of it on Twitter. She tweeted to me and asked me to post it to Hometalk, her network, the largest home and garden social network on the Web. Its been pinned 7.8k times and shared 10k times.  Now Barb says, “Susan, we live on the edge of fame.”

The Power of A Well Timed Tweet & A Photo

Barb reflected, “Susan, wait a minute, I think I am famous, just Google Barb Kingery.” 

Antique Brass Chandelier
Antique Brass Chandelier

At Miriam Illion’s request I joined the network and subsequently also became a spokeperson for Hometalk. I then posted the complete series of photos at that time at Since then Barb’s ‘”Teacher’s Dream Garden Shed” with an antique crystal chandelier has become quite famous. A few weeks ago Hannah Vaughn of Hometalk contacted me and asked if Country Living Magazine and Good Housekeeping, a Meredith Corporation could reprint my photos and the essence of the story. Barb now happily lives “on the edge of fame.”

Teacher's Theme
Teacher’s Theme

Here’s her story as I posted it:

A 35 year career 2nd grade teacher, Barb Kingery from Illinois designed her dream potting shed herself. The potting shed design is an adaptation of plans that were in the 2005 July/August Handyman magazine. Barb purchased the red door at an antique store, and the builder turned it into a Dutch door as well as building the carriage doors. Every item including the brass and crystal chandelier was bought at garage and yard sales driving out in the country hunting for gardening themed items. The interior items cost her around $300.00. She contracted the work that had to be done by any outside labor. Functional in every way this potting shed coverts into a playhouse for grand kids to play school and store when not in use planting the fall bulbs.

The School Room Setting
The School Room Setting

Antique Sewing Machine | Watering Can
Antique Sewing Machine | Watering Can

You can learn more about gardening projects at

The Garden Shed Side Door
The Garden Shed Side Door
Barb Kingery | Living On The Edge of Fame
Barb Kingery | Living On The Edge of Fame


*Reflection notes for Diary of A Marketing Mom: the discussion Master of the Marketing Analytics Universe, Michael Fox and I have been having is this, let’s say Meredith Corporation tracks their new readership data with Google Analytics. They have to have this data to sell advertising. Trust me based on the 10k Retweets and the 7.8k pins I had on Hometalk for my post ‘Teacher’s Dream”this article is going to boost their readership. The new readership they gain all due to Barb’s “Cute Potting Shed”. The true source of this data actually would be Hometalk, via Twitter. Side note about Twitter is although enormously popular Twitter struggles to show value to advertisers. Our mantra in the departments I managed was if you can’t measure it it’s of no value. Change your strategy until you find what works, then be able to track and measure those results.  Its essential to source true data of what works, more than ever because of the disparity in the understanding of management of ‘what is’ and ‘how does it add to the bottom line’. the social media activity department within marketing departments must prepare them self with case studies and be able to account for every dollar spent. Budget line items the ‘C’s often times cannot equate to the bottom line are the first to be cut are quite frankly social media, and public relations. A bit more of a challenge are the companies who haven’t seen how ‘social media’ is really just a strategic arm of the marketing department. Use this case study for your marketing department to show how a social media works and single tweet can result in a measurable ocean of data and trackable new readers, prospects, customers.