Angels In The Rose Garden

Angel Watching Over My Glasses

“All Night, All Day Angels Watching Over Me”

Angel Fountain | Angel Bird Bath
Angel Fountain | Angel Bird Bath

How did the angel rose garden come to be? It was Divine intervention. Driving home from church one evening in Dallas, Texas I heard Kathleen Battle sing “All Night, All Day Angel’s Watching Over Me” on 101.1 FM. Listen to this haunting lullaby. You will never forget it. The lyrics are so simple, now this lullaby is part of our evening bed time repertoire for the babies.

How Many Roses Are Too Many?

The answer to the question is: when you run out of space. Have you noticed that most beautiful gardens are usually in back yards literally hidden from view? You work sometimes your entire life creating a stationary work of art and unless you have an “open house” only your eyes and the eyes of God will see those flowers that open once only to have the petals flutter to the ground in a season unseen.

Angel Watching Over My Glasses
Angel Bird Bath & Izzabelle Watching Over My Glasses

My mantra is a “garden is meant to be shared.”

The logical expansion place for your garden is at your front door. We had over 225 roses in Texas. When we moved to Illinois I told ‘Big Daddy’ that perhaps we should have a rose garden that consisted of maybe 35 roses.

'Tropical Lightning' Blooming on 4th of July Week-End
‘Tropical Lightning’ Blooming on 4th of July Week-End in the Angel Rose Garden

Then I changed the inventory to no more than 100.

The plan was to put the gardens in in stages and show you that everyone can start over and have rose gardens established and blooming rapidly.  Thus emerged the angel water fountain and bird bath by the brick planter at the front door and the “Angel Rose Garden” because I believe a garden can be enhanced by titillating the 5 senses, sight, the sound of water or wind chimes, and fragrance.

One Of These Things Is Not Like The Others
One Of These Things Is Not Like The Others |  Angel Watching Over Lost Glasses 😉

Roses in the Angel Rose Garden

  • ‘Cinco de Mayo
  • ‘Yabba Dabba Doo
  • ‘Tropical Lightning’
  • 2 ‘Top Gun’ (Resistant To Rose Rosette)
  • ‘Grande Dame’
  • ‘Easy To Please’

*When these bareroot roses arrived some are own-root roses, which I find to be more winter hardy. I soaked all of the roses in water that I add a Haven Brand tea bag, its a product a friend makes on her Haven Farm. Its an organic, all natural, organic, American made, soil conditioner called MooPoo Tea. Call, tweet or email Annie Twitter: @GreenSoil with any questions she will get right back to you ASAP.

People asked me what else I use and I add soil amendments I used to mix myself until I found that Beaty Fertilizer makes Mill Mix. Its Called Mills Rose Magic and I add it as the totally organic soil amendments I used to buy in 40-50 pound bags at the feed store and mix myself but now its all I use



















Some Roses “Like It Hot”

A Candelabra of 'Pretty Lady Rose' 2nd in the Weeks Roses Series of Downton Abbey Roses
A Candelabra of 'Pretty Lady Rose' 2nd in the Weeks Roses Series of Downton Abbey Roses
A Candelabra of ‘Pretty Lady Rose’ 2nd in the Weeks Roses Series of Downton Abbey Roses | One of My Favorites

Some Roses Like It Hot

This is an updated article I wrote for The American Rose The Magazine of The American Rose Society edition July/August 2014 to now include Illinois Roses 

This is 'Sugar Moon' in the foreground and 'Francis Meilland' in the background
This is ‘Sugar Moon’ HT Roses in the foreground and ‘Francis Meilland’ HT Roses in the background | ‘Julia Child’ a yellow floribunda rose

How hot is too hot for roses?

Moving from Texas to Illinois in June of 2011 I thought I was saying good-bye to mind numbing days of counting the days of temperatures over 100, water restrictions, and days without rain. Then the summer of 2011 the entire nation faced a 100-year drought and record heat. Even though I had had enough of Texas heat it seems I had packed up Texas weather and taken it with me to the rolling cornfields of Central Illinois. The summer of 2011 was also a 100-year draught across much of the nation proving once again a message that rosarians can convey to each other and those new to growing roses. Roses are resilient and can withstand very hot temperatures as long as they are watered regularly. Click to read: Killer Texas Summer Shatters Heat Drought Records.

Close-Up of 'Watercolors Home Run' Shrub Rose
Close-Up of ‘Watercolors Home Run’ Shrub Rose

Fast forward June 2016!

Here’s the Question I was asked to answer for readers of American Rose Magazine July/August edition 2014 

Question: Do you think its better to “use canopies or individual coverings for roses during extreme heat conditions or let your roses sulk in the summer heat”?

'Sugar Moon' Hybrid tea Rose in The Illinois Garden After Sustained Heat
‘Sugar Moon’ Hybrid tea Rose in The Illinois Garden After Sustained Heat

There’s more than one answer to the question:

When roses (and virtually any other plants) reach the point of excessive water stress, they don’t “feed,” nor do they try to grow. They simply try to remain alive. That’s why even when you’re watering daily with what feels like excessive water amounts, many rose bushes will begin shedding their leaves to reduce their water stress. With less leaves and they don’t “sweat”,  transpire it through the foliage. That slows and can literally stop the flow of sap from the roots upward, so no food is taken in. Nature demands balance. Even in times of extreme heat I have seen my roses continue to remain beautiful with just smaller blooms and less frequent bloom cycles. Roses seem to go into almost a dormancy state to conserve energy and water.

'Easy Does It' In The Illinois Garden Close-Up
‘Easy Does It’ In The Illinois Garden Close-Up

Answer: For the purpose of this article I chose to let my Roses swelter in both N. Texas and now Central Illinois heat with protection in mind to identify heat tolerant roses that perform better under extreme heat and low water conditions. 

Here’s ways that we can continue to grow good roses and preserve our plants and maintain water restrictions. In extreme heat like the DFW area I recommend protection and filtered light as protection from the unending heat rather than canopies if possible and here are a few tactics I employed in N. Texas while growing over 200 roses there. I had hybrid teas, grandifloras, floribundas, miniatures, shrubs, David Austin Roses, Large Flowered Climbers, and Knock-Outs.

'Bolero' In The Illinois Garden Setting
‘Bolero’ In The Illinois Garden Setting
  1. Select roses suitable for a hot climate. I have a list of modern roses that I have proved can survive extreme N. Texas heat for 20 + years. And you can also plant OGR’s that are adapted to heat, those in existence before 1867. The beauty of these roses lie in their heady fragrance and can include Hybrid Perpetuals, Teas, Chinas, Hybrid Musks, Bourbons and other Classes like these. Avoid using antique roses bred for colder climates such as the Kordes Roses and Rugosas.
  2. Just as dark colors retain heat and light colors keep us cooler, lighter-colored roses can hold up to extreme heat better than dark reds, and oranges do. Plant darker colored roses where there is some protection or perhaps less than full sun. Choose some white, light-pink and pale yellow roses that seem to hold up better to extreme temperatures.
  3. The elevated beds I put in in N. Texas allowed me to put in a laser cut drip irrigation watering system. I watered deeply and at the base of the plant, not directly on the leaves of the plant. I set timers to water very early in the morning not ever during full sun. During times when water restrictions were in place we could use the hose and I deep watered allowable amounts and my roses did just fine. Remember that dehydration during summer months can put your plants in peril. If you have an irrigation system in place be sure that it’s set to water at least 2 inches of water per week, and does not water directly on the leaves of the plant during full sun. This is difficult to determine when you take into consideration factors like wind, temperature and type of soil. So you may want to purchase a moisture gauge for your rose garden.
  4. Fertilize from two weeks to 30 days prior to when you expect hot weather to reach and maintain temperatures near 98F. Organic fertilizers and soil amendments are far less likely to burn your plants even during sustained high temperatures. For those of you living in zones where temperatures really start to warm up in late-February, this is a time to begin fertilizing. Then fertilize monthly until mid-May when temperatures start to rise. You really have to watch carefully your fertilizer to water ratio during the hottest months. That should be your signal to start reducing your fertilizing until late in the summer.
  5.  Shredded hardwood mulch retains moisture and keeps the soil cooler; I use layers of hardwood mulch over Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss that I add each season.
  6. Plant roses with protection from afternoon sun and be sure they still receive at least 6 hours of direct morning sunlight.
  7. Roses love to grow in largely organic soil with good drainage. To grow the best roses in summer heat, plant your rose in a deep hole that drains well. Water regularly and deeply, In Texas my roses in the front yard had indirect afternoon sun with the dappled light of oak trees I planted that grew to be mighty shade providing oak trees, and this provided a canopy of well-needed cooling shade cover.

    'Bolero' In The Heat of Summer In Illinois
    ‘Bolero’ In The Heat of Summer In Illinois

You can use a shade cloth cover if that is aesthetically acceptable to you. Don ‘t plant roses next to a South or West facing wall, especially stone or brick because the stone holds heat that can also burn your plants and will reflect too much heat. My roses that I planted and added stones along a path held heat late into the evening on a hot summer day due to absorbing qualities of the stone and I could see these roses suffered from the excessive heat of the stone, the roses with grass next to them were far cooler. Don’t forget that layers of mulch help to keep the soil cool. Spraying off the roses in the evening helps to cool your plants and wash away spider mites but never spray during direct sunlight.

My Susan Fox Top Ten List from my Texas  & Illinois Garden Garden

  1. Julia Child, F
  2. Francis Meilland, HT
  3. Sugar Moon, HT
  4. Pretty Lady Rose, HT
  5. Bolero, F
  6. Easy Does It, F
  7. Take It Easy, S
  8. Pumpkin Patch, F
  9. Watercolors Home Run, S
  10. Europeana, F

I also thought I would ask Minnesota Rose Gardener Jack Falkner about heat in the a northern climate and here’s what Jack had to say:

“Folks are often surprised to hear that we get a lot of hot weather in Minnesota in the summer.  It’s not at all unusual for us to see temperatures upwards to the high nineties and 100, along with very high humidity.  That’s when I wash my roses at mid-day to cool them down.  Syringing is also the best thing you can do to control spider mites.  You can use any kind of nozzle that delivers a sharp stream, but I use a spider mite blaster that shoots a high-pressure fan of water up from the bottom of the plants and they love it.  An added advantage is that I get pretty wet in the process, which makes me feel like a kid running through the sprinkler on a hot day.” ~ Jack Falkner

Magnificent 'Take It Easy' in Full Bloom
Magnificent ‘Take It Easy’ in Full Bloom
'Pumpkin Patch' Candelabras Light Dawn With An Orange Glow
‘Pumpkin Patch’ Candelabras Light Dawn With An Orange Glow



A Light Prospective of Roses | American Rose Convention 2015 | Syracuse, New York, Sept. 10-13

John Mattia holding ‘Dona Martin’  and his American Rose Magazine cover feature ‘Veterans Honor’ winner of the Digital Photography Hybrid Tea Award Winning ‘Veterans Honor’

John Mattia | holding and his American Rose Magazine cover feature 'Veterans Honor' winner of the Digital Photography Hybrid Tea Award Winning 'Veterans Honor'
John Mattia | Holding ‘Moonstone’ and his American Rose Magazine cover feature ‘Veterans Honor’ winner of the Digital Photography Hybrid Tea Award Winning ‘Veterans Honor’

The American Rose Society National Convention is September 10-13, Syracuse, NY at the Holiday Inn, Syracuse

Photography Panelist Sally Long | Award Winning ‘Dick Clark’

Sally Long | 2015 American Rose Society Convention Photography Panelist |Her Double Delight Preview
Sally Long | 2015 American Rose Society Convention Photography Panelist |Her Double Delight Preview

Photography Moderator and American Rose Society National Chair of Photography

Curtis Aumiller and his award winning ‘Sally Holmes’

Curtis AumillerModerator and ARS National Chair of Photography | 'Sally Holmes'
Curtis AumillerModerator and ARS National Chair of Photography | ‘Sally Holmes’

Photography Panelist Bill Kozemchak | Award Winning Bev Parish’

Bill Kozemchak Photographer | 'Bev Parish' Winning Master Class Arrangement Class photo from 2013
Bill Kozemchak Photographer | ‘Bev Parish’ Winning Master Class Arrangement Class photo from 2013

Susan Fox and her award winning ‘Neil Diamond’

Susan Fox | 'Neil Diamond' 2nd Place Hybrid Tea Award Winner in 2014 American Rose Society Photography Contest Novice Class
Susan Fox | ‘Neil Diamond’ 2nd Place Hybrid Tea Award Winner in 2014 American Rose Society Photography Contest Novice Class

 Y’all come see us!

IMG_0545Chris Van Cleave of Rosechat Radio| Susan Fox | Teresa Byington of A Garden Diary

The American Rose Society leadership invited the worlds leading authorities on roses to come and they’re all coming. That’s just a fact. Simply stated the most famous hybridizers and rose authorities in the world will be there: Michael Marriott, David Austin Roses of the UK.

'Munstead Wood' David Austin Rose voted a Biltmore Rose Trial Most Fragrant Rose of the 2014 #BiltmoreRoseTrials
‘Munstead Wood’ David Austin Rose voted Most Fragrant Rose at the 2014 International #BiltmoreRoseTrials

Will Radler, creator of the original Knock Out® Rose who changed the world’s landscape forever introduced by The Conard-Pyle Co./Star® Roses Company;

'Radrazz' Double KnockOut Rose
‘Radrazz’ Double KnockOut Rose

Alain Meilland from Meilland International, whose family “got into roses” around 1850, creator of the worlds most famous rose, ‘Peace’; and roses that continue to make an impact across the world.

'Peace' by Meilland Roses, the most popular rose in the world
‘Peace’ by Meilland Roses, the most popular rose in the world

Thomas Proll, Lead Breeder of Kordes Roses, Germany; Steve Hutton, President and CEO of Conard-Pyle Co./Star® Roses; Dr. Dave Byrne, AgriLife Research Horticulturist of Texas A&M; and Dr. Jim Sproul, General Director, Rose Hybridizers Assoc., Bakersfield, CA. This meeting will include the swearing in of the new American Rose Society president Ms. Pat Shanley and the newly elected Vice President Mr. Robert Martin, who will also be doing a presentation on showing roses. And we will thank Ms. Jolene Adams and current officers for their service. If you can come to this convention I can truly say this is the most outstanding line-up of speakers I have ever seen at a convention. Come join us whether you are interested in roses, gardening, learning or socializing there’s lots for you to do. And we would love to meet you. The dates are September 10-13, 2015, Syracuse, New York at the Holiday Inn, Syracuse. If the hotel is booked they have an adjoining hotel and many others in the area. Or plan a day trip. Call ARS if you need any details or contact me via this post.

The name of the photography presentation that I am so honored to have been asked to be a part of is:

Getting That Award-Winning Rose PHOTO

American Rose Society Fall Convention: Friday, September 11, 2015: 1:15-2:15 Syracuse, NY, Holiday Inn, Syracuse

Corona Tools, is sponsoring a special surprise for attendees to the photography session

'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

The moderator of our photography presentation will be Curtis Aumiller, ARS National Chair of Photography from Camp Hill , PA. The panelists are Bill Kozemchak, Levittown, PA; Sally Long, El Cajon, CA; and John Mattia, Orange, CA., I was asked to be part of this panel and I am ecstatic about it.

Corona Tools Needle Nose Pruners
Corona Tools Needle Nose Pruners

My Rosechat friends Teresa Byington and Chris VanCleave are the Rose Show Award Presentation Master of Ceremonies as well so we will be doing a live twitter feed that night promoting the event via Rosechat and twitter. Especially if you live anywhere close so that you can make this a week-end or a day trip just check out the schedule below. I guarantee you will make friends for life.

American Rose Society Convention Schedule-At-A-Glance

Pat Shanley To Be sworn in as New ARS President

Susan Fox | Pat Shanley at The Biltmore Rose Trials
Susan Fox | Pat Shanley at The Biltmore Rose Trials

2015 Star® Roses and Plants/Conard-Pyle collection of roses featured at The Chicago Flower & Garden Show

Star Roses on Parade
Star Roses on Parade

Our new Executive Director of the American Rose Society Laura ‘Sees’ Roses Seabaugh, and John Beaty, of Beaty Fertilizer Company, maker of Mills Magic Rose Mix fertilizer sponsor of the Chicago Flower and Garden Show.

Susan Fox | John Beaty | Laura Seabaugh
Susan Fox | John Beaty | Laura Seabaugh

 ‘Elle’ A Meilland Rose

'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,

Decoration Day | Garden of Memories

Peony Arrangement at P. Allen Smith's #G2B15

“Mother always took flowers to Daddy and his brother Daniel’s grave, both WWII vets on Memorial Day and we spent time tending the graves and remembering the families that are left with only memories of their loved ones that paid the ultimate sacrifice.” ~ Susan Fox

Peony Arrangement at P. Allen Smith's #G2B15
Peony Arrangement at P. Allen Smith’s #G2B15

Every Memorial Day Mother cut our peonies and put them on Daddy’s grave at Mt. Olivet.

Peonies were her favorite flower. They bloom long before roses in northern Illinois, one mile from the beautiful shores of Lake Michigan. And peonies are bountiful in Illinois. The first rose usually blooms around Father’s Day. Before rose pruning we would apply a cup of bone meal around every peony bush to ensure a lush bloom each year. The list is long of what we learn from observing the actions of our parents. According to the theory of learning styles, students who have a predominantly kinesthetic style are thought to be discovery learners: they have realization through doing. Kinesthetics learners are also commonly known as “do-ers”* Since I am happiest ‘doing gardening’ or moving about, this feeling of the importance of a simple act of ‘doing something’ to honor those warriors that willingly paid it all seems important. Reverence, honor and respect for the memory of those that sacrificed for us and paved the way for our success is something we cannot put a price on. It’s intangible yet very real.

Army Air Force WWII
Army Air Force WWII

Memorial Day Traditions

The impact of watching Mother cut peonies, and call anyone in the family that wanted to go visit the cemetery on Memorial Day every year, including my sister-law served to leave a deep impression on me to “do something” out of my reverence for those that served in the armed forces that instead of coming home from war could only leave their family with memories. The human need ‘to act’ is strong. My mother passed away in 1994, and when we can we visit Salem WI on Memorial Day, where my sister-in-law, Martha lives. Salem is about 25 miles from where Daddy, his brother both WWII vets and my brother are laid to rest. Martha had been married to my brother Larry when he had a car accident coming home from work in a rain storm that cost him his life at 24 and left her with 4 year old daughter to raise.

The High Flyers
Army Air Force | High Flyers in England WWII
R.J. Proctor, my father 2nd from the left front row Army Air Force | High Flyers in England WWII
 We Placed Wreaths of Yellow Roses on Their Head Stones and Another Peddle

We saw the little pebbles that we placed there the last time we visited as is on old custom I learned. We sat on the ground and gently, quietly pulled weeds around the headstones and I remembered Daddy playing his clarinet and tapping his foot to the metronome along with famous clarinetist and Jazz Musician, Pete Fountain. or the Lawrence Welk show and we danced in the vision of my mind. I thanked him and all the other soldiers that had served and died for our country.

Sergeant Raymond James Proctor | World War II
Sergeant Raymond James Proctor | World War II


WWII Post Card My Father sent Dated Feb 23, 1942 Daddy says, "We're playing for Bing Crosby in person tonight to entertain the boys." Feb. 23, 1942
WWII Post Card My Father sent Dated Feb 23, 1942 Daddy says, “We’re playing for Bing Crosby in person tonight to entertain the boys.” Feb. 23, 1942
Divine Intervention?

Surely it was divine intervention that the first arrangement that I saw upon entering P. Allen Smith’s magnificent Moss Mountain Farm | P. Allen Smith resident last week at the Garden To Blog Reunion was this bouquet of Coral Sunset Peonies:

Coral Drift Peonies
Peony Arrangement at P. Allen Smith’s Moss Mountain Farm Last Week at the Garden 2 Blog Reunion #G2B15

Inevitably I thought of my mother and how she loved peonies and would take them to spend time tending the head stone quietly remember Daddy on Memorial Day.

Our Soldiers Are at Mt. Olivet, Illinois
Martha Proctor at Lawrence Raymond Proctor's Grave Side
Martha Proctor at Lawrence Raymond Proctor’s Grave Side

Mother would have loved Moss Mountain Farm and every detail that I could tell her about my experience there. So in honor of Memorial Day here are the most beautiful peonies I have ever seen that Allen had arranged in his home. Together Mom we can symbolically lift these peonies up in remembrance of the WWII vets. I know Allen would be pleased. And I can tell you she would have adored Allen. He epitomizes in appearance and manner the essence and style of a  Southern Gentleman.

Peonies from the garden of Diane LaSauce

Visit Diane LaSauce’s Web site for more about Home | Garden | Life. She grew these miraculously flawless peonies. I met her at P. Allen Smith Moss Mountain Farm just last week at Garden-To-Blog.

Diane is is one of those few people that you meet in your life that you feel you have known all your life although my dear friend Teresa Byington, of The Garden Diary, introduced her when we all agreed to meet at the airport in Little Rock: #ARStory | The Beginning of My ARStory. She is an amazing and beautifully talented woman who grows many herbs, greens and fruits organically on her property only two hours from my family in Virginia. I keep seeing people linked like the parlour game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.

Diane LaSauce Home, Garden, Life Peonies  photo credit: Diane La Sauce
Diane LaSauce Home, Garden, Life Peonies
photo credit: Diane La Sauce

*”Margaret H’Doubler wrote and spoke about kinesthetic learning during the 1940s, defining kinesthetic learning as the human body’s ability to express itself through movement and dance. →(Perhaps Gardening)

According to the theory of learning styles, students who have a predominantly kinesthetic style are thought to be discovery learners: they have realization through doing, rather than thinking before initiating action. They may struggle to learn by reading or listening.

When learning, it helps for these students to move around; this increases the students’ understanding, with learners generally getting better marks in exams when they can do so. Kinesthetic learners usually succeed in activities such as chemistry experiments, sporting activities, art and acting; It is common for kinesthetic learners to focus on two different things at the same time, remembering things in relation to what they were doing. They possess good eye–hand coordination. In kinesthetic learning, learning occurs by the learner using their body to express a thought, an idea or a concept (in any field).”

:Source Wikipedia

For a complete list of bloggers/writers invited to P. Allen Smith's Garden to Blog 2015 Reunion Visit:
Who Is P. Allen Smith




Rose Are Plants Too, A Talk With Paul Zimmerman

Paul Lectures at Beirkreek
Paul Lectures at Beirkreek

Paul Zimmerman lives a life one who loves roses and gardening can only dream of. He is owner of Paul Zimmerman roses, a company dedicated to Budding the Rose Grower In All Of Us. His credentials include a veritable who’s who in the rose world, among them Dr. Thomas Cairns, past president of both the American Rose Society and World Federation of Rose Societies, Steve Jones, former president of The American Rose Society who introduced him to Old Garden Roses, Bob Edberg of Linberlost Roses and Rose Books. He writes award-winning articles for The Rose, the National Magazine and Annual of the American Rose Society. Paul also hosts the blog “Roses Are Plants, Too” on Fine Gardening Magazine’s Web site. He lectures internationally and serves as an international juror for numerous rose trials. While attending school at UT Austin studying Aerospace Engineering he quickly realized rocket science was not for him and did the next logical thing, he enrolled in clown school, The Dell Arte School of Mime & Comedy in Northern California. He actually toured the country for 15 years doing stand-up comedy where he met his current fiance, Pam. After becoming an ABC TV show head writer for 2 years Paul decided to return to his first love, gardening and roses. Currently he and Pam live on a 27 acre horse farm in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. I had the pleasure to talk with Paul and share some of his adventures with you. Exciting news for rose lovers! Paul’s upcoming book called ‘Everyday Roses’ is being published by Taunton Press and will be available online and in bookstores across the country in Feb 2013.

Q. Paul, you mentioned you are a first generation American of Dutch parents. One cannot think of Holland without thinking of tulips. Is this part of your heritage? Tell us about yourself and how you came to love roses and be in this business.

A. While my family has always loved gardening, there is no tradition of anyone being in the horticultural industry. While we love tulips and have planted many on our farm, our main bulb planting has been over 2000 daffodil bulbs that come back year after year.  My wife’s heritage is British and she loves daffodils.

  1. I’ve always loved gardening and in fact had a little lawn care business when I was growing up in Miami, Florida. In the early 1990s I was looking for a career change and took some time off to decide what that should be. I began gardening again and bought three roses, Pristine, Crystalline and Olympiad. After that I bought some David Austin Roses and then some Old Garden Roses. I joined a rose society and then was instrumental in creating a new one – The Tinseltown Rose Society. I was the first Vice President and later President. One day I was helping a member prune their roses when a neighbor walked up and asked me what I would charge to prune their roses. From that came my company Hundred Acre Woods Rosescaping, which grew to four employees caring for over 60 rose gardens in the Los Angeles area. I sold that company when my wife and I moved from Los Angeles to our farm in upstate South Carolina.
Beirkreek Rose Gardens
Beirkreek Rose Gardens


Q. As former owner of Ashdown Roses tell us how you came to be a consultant to the Biltmore Estate Rose Gardens.

A. Ashdown Roses occasionally supplied roses and advice to the Biltmore Rose Garden starting in 2002. When I closed Ashdown due to the recession and to focus on other areas of roses, is when I approached Biltmore with the idea of the Trials leading to the Biltmore Garden Rose Collection leading to the recreation of the walled rose garden. Part of my role is consultant to the rose garden.

Q. The amazing Biltmore Garden has 2000 roses with 250 varieties. Do you manage the selection process? Also do you cull out less than stellar producing varieties, etc.

A. I advise Lucas Jack, the head gardener in the rose garden, on variety selection, design ideas etc. I also help source the roses, including many new varieties just coming to market. Lucas makes the final decisions on variety selection and he is quite good at. The garden is lucky to have him.

Q. Frederick Law Olmstead, said to be the founder of American Landscape Architecture, was the landscape architect of the Biltmore gardens. Do you know if the design included the rose garden that is host to the 2000 roses of today, or was it a later addition?

A. The rose garden, in its present location and very similar configuration, was on the first drawings for the Walled Garden done in the early 1890’s and was installed with the original plantings.

Hague Rose Gardens
Hague Rose Gardens

Q. The Biltmore Estate Rose Garden is host to the International Rose Trials, can you tell us about the role you play in this process.

A. I created the trials, wrote the rules, find the entrants and now run the trials with the help of the wonderful folks at Biltmore. My official title regarding the Trials is Coordinator Of The Biltmore International Rose Trials.

Q. The Biltmore Rose Garden also has a Biltmore Rose Guest Choice Award. Was this your idea?

A. I wish I could take credit but this was Parker Andes’ idea. Parker is in charge of the grounds of Biltmore. It’s a brilliant idea – particularly the text in your vote part.

Hague Rose Trials
Hague Rose Trials

Q. You recently had an extraordinary journey to The Hague International Rose Trials, a trip many rose aficionados could only dream of. Can you let us see this through your eyes?

  1. The Hague Trials take place in the stunning setting of Westbroekpark. Rose beds, each containing 60-80 plants of one variety are set throughout acres of green lawn. The roses are planted closely together so each bed is a massive display of roses.
  2. When you arrive at the trials at 11:30 AM, you are greeted by refreshments and a luncheon that takes place in a large tent. Those of us who are judging receive our judging forms and instructions, then after lunch the judging begins. We judged approximately 80 varieties of roses in a blind judging, which means we did not know their names or who the breeder was. Then we judged approximately 40 of the larger permanent beds for additional awards. The judging lasted close to two hours.
  3. After judging their was a break. We returned to the park at 5PM where we were greeted by champagne. At 6PM The prize ceremony began followed by a sit down dinner that lasted until 10:30 PM. It was day filled with beautiful roses, rose friends and great food and wine.

Q. You also gave talks at the Rose Nursery Bierkreek’s Rose Festival. What did you talk about?

A. I talked about purchasing roses not based on what the flower looks like but on what is the rose’s job in the garden. In other words if you need a hedge buy tall roses, if you need a low mass planting buy shorter growing roses, if you need to cover a small fence buy a moderate climber and so on. We also talked about training and pruning climbing roses.

Q. You also spent time at Jan Spek Rozen looking at new varieties. Can you give us a little preview of great things to come?

  1. This was my first visit to Jan Spek Rozen. I knew who they were and they had a reputation for finding new breeders in Europe with fantastic roses. I wasn’t disappointed and found some very interesting new roses. One particular breeder I did not know caught my eye and that was Martin Vissers from Belgium. Some beautiful roses and in fact one of his roses ‘Midsummer Snow’ won the Golden Rose of The Hague Trials which is the top award.
  2. What I’m seeing in Europe is roses with very good disease resistance, bloom shapes from Old Garden to Hybrid Tea and even fragrance. The plants are also shorter because most European gardens are quite small. Chemicals in Europe have been difficult to come by for years. Coupled with their more organic approach to everything means the roses being bred there are quite naturally healthy.
Hague Test Rose Gardens
Hague Test Rose Gardens

Q. You also write a blog for Fine Gardening Magazine called Roses Are Plants, Too. Can you tell us about that?

  1.  The blog is weekly and I generally post a new entry on Thursdays. Fine Gardening has given me carte blanche to write anything I want about rose care, new roses or the world of roses in general. I try to make sure the majority of the articles are of the “how to” nature.
  2. I should also mention I’ve just written a book called “Everyday Roses. The casual gardener’s guide to growing Knockout and other modern easy care roses.” It’s being published by Taunton Press and will be out in February of 2013. It will be available at book stores, garden centers and of course Amazon, Barnes and and so on.

Q. What would you like us to know about Paul Zimmerman and your passion for roses that we don’t know?

  1. To me roses are just flowering shrubs and growing them should be fun and relaxing. I love finding roses that fit that description and teaching gardeners how to grow them. What one of my greatest joys is when a gardener who thought they couldn’t grow roses because of failures in the past, discovers that with the right rose and minimal organic care roses are no more difficult than most other plants.
  2.  I consider myself to blessed to be able to get up each day and do something I love. As I always say, “It could be worse. I could have a job!

    Paul at Beirkreek
    Paul at Beirkreek