I never promised you a rose garden...oh wait, I kind of did, so here goes! Oh, and be sure to scroll ALL the way down to the bottom of the post to register for my latest Giveaway!
If you read my last post, then you know that I spent last Friday with my blog pal Connie from Hartwood Roses.
It was a perfect day to visit her beautiful home and gardens since it was a little on the overcast side and not too hot. When it's sunny, it makes it much harder to photograph flowers during mid day, so we were both hoping for clouds on Friday, and we got our wish!
Visiting Connie's yard and gardens is a little like walking in to a fairy tale. As you wander the rose gardens, you can't help but feel like a princess from a story book and it makes you want to break out in song and don a frilly frock.
Because everywhere you turn there is color, fragrance, and beauty, the kind that illustrators have tried to capture for years.
And perfumiers and candle makers long to recreate the wonderful unique scent of a rose so that we can enjoy it year round.
As we wandered around, Connie gave me lots of info about roses, she's a wealth of knowledge when it comes to heirloom and old fashioned roses...you might even say that besides her family and pets, it's her passion!
Until I met Connie, I was a bit of a rose dummy, preferring Knock Out brand shrub roses that seemed to grow on their own. I thought that growing "real" roses would require me to purchase a wide brimmed hat, gloves, and spend hours on my hands and knees out in a rose garden treating things like black spot and Japanese beetles.
Now don't get me wrong, I love my Knock Out roses and they make great border "shrubs" as Connie likes to say, but they never gave me the rose smell and look that I envision when I think of roses.
I've long been a fan of old fashioned flowers and cottage gardens, the kind our grandparents and great grandparents planted without giving much thought to it really. Those were the roses I longed for, and I kept thinking to myself, that those hardy farm folk didn't have time to sit outside tending roses all day, so there must be a rose that would give me the look and the fragrance I was after without becoming a full time job.
Thankfully, becoming friends with Connie has shown me that I can grow roses successfully and she's turned me in to a rose lover too, and I can't thank her enough for that!
When I met Connie I was immediately taken with the fact that she fearlessly began a rose business in spite of a down trodden economy because she simply loved finding and preserving the same roses I recalled from my childhood.
On Friday, Connie showed a little more of that fearlessness as she mocked Mrs. Mockingbird and peeked inside a rose bush to get a shot of her babies in their nest. Mrs. Mockingbird, who you can just make out sitting on the cement fence post, was NOT amused, and you can see pictures of the babies in this post on Connies blog.
Wouldn't living in a rose bush be the most wonderful thing in the world? Well that's kind of how Connie lives, with all of the gorgeous roses she is surrounded by much of the year.
As we walked around, Connie told me that what she does to remember the roses she is photographing is to take a picture of the flower followed by a photo of the plant marker beneath each rose.
This is a great idea, but by the time I started that method, I had already snapped a lot of photos, and then when I was looking through the photos I took to decide which ones to use, I couldn't remember if I snapped the picture of the flower first, or the name first! So you'll have to visit Connie's website where she sells roses to identify the names of the flowers I've featured.
Along with speaking at various rose functions and running her heirloom rose business, Connie has been busy this spring planning the wedding of one of her daughters which will take place right on the property!
This is a view from the pavilion where her daughter and future son in law will tie the knot. While I was there visiting, Connie's husband was busy getting things ready for the big day. So far, they've mulched, weeded, laid sod, and reconfigured the entire pavilion where the bride and groom will say their vows as the lucky guests watch on from the lush green lawn.
And what flowers will they be using for the wedding...well roses from the property of course, plus some other flowers!
And with hundreds of varieties of roses to chose from, there are more than enough roses to go around.
Can't you just imagine how beautiful the pictures will be with a setting as pretty as this?
This beautiful blush pink rose would be so pretty in a brides bouquet don't you think?!
And here is an example of the signs Connie uses to identify each and every rose in her garden...that's a lot of signs folks!
Even the roses that aren't yet in bloom are beautiful, like this one along the back fence line.
On the back portion of the property is where Connie's biggest rose garden is, and oh my, what a garden it is!
There are roses of every color, size, and variety...something for everyone.
And it's simply a magical place to be.
Connie apologized for the weeds which have taken hold of this part of her garden...but I simply looked at her and laughed. She has HUGE amounts of gardens to tend to and goes a million miles an hour with everything from raising money for cancer research for canines, to planning a wedding...so I told her that she should cut herself a little slack.
If she could only see my flower beds right now, which are dwarfed in size by hers, she wouldn't have been apologizing at all!
This little shovel is evidence that both Connie and her husband have a never ending job tending to this historic property.
Weeds or no weeds, this garden is a magical place full of the most beautiful colors...I could sit here all day and drink it in.
Everywhere you turn there is color, and each rose is more beautiful than the next, making it hard to pick a favorite.
And who would want to choose anyway...when like Connie, you can have them all!
There are delicate peachy pink roses...
And vibrant pinky red colored roses full of petals.
And there are climbing roses which soar skywards.
These ruffle'y magenta colored roses were so colorful, they were one of my favorites!
This is a view of Connie's yard looking back towards her house from the large rose garden. You can see the pavilion where her daughter will be married in just 2 weeks.
If I had to pick just one rose as a favorite from last Friday it would have to be this one. It had petals which looked like a beautiful summer sunset to me, and I loved how full it opened as if to say, lean over and smell me!
It truly was a magical day to be surrounded by such beauty, and I want to thank Connie for inviting me to come and take pictures of all of her hard work! I even came home with four new roses of my own!
So now, after being ever so patient, I'd like to announce this rose inspired giveaway! Awhile ago, my friend Doug Vogel gave me a wonderful CD that shows you how to take roses and create several arrangements with them, so that is the first part of my Giveaway.