Friday, May 27, 2011

Our Rose Garden: A Close-Up

       What a response we've had to our garden pictures!  Thanks to all of you for your ohs-and-ahs!  A bit of an encore and then we'll go on to other things.  With a disclaimer first...these pictures have been taken over several years since the gardens have started maturing.  Some things I've caught at just the right time; others have been just for the memory.   This year with our terribly dry autumn, blizzardy winter, and dry spring until the last few weeks, spring has not been the best for bloom.  Thankfully we have other happier years to fall back on...I guess it's kind of like those awful school pictures we all had...good pictures were a blessing!
        You'll remember that we live in the country in the hills of northeastern Oklahoma.  Our 100 year old house was part of a large cattle ranch in the early days of the state.  It has quite a history itself...but that will have to wait until we get some more work done before sharing!  No pictures of it now.  Trust me on that one!!
        Because of how they had the cattle operation set up (long gone by now), the house was built far enough from the road to leave a very large area that was for working the immediate farm.  Those buildings and pens, etc. have disappeared so we are blessed with a large yard that slopes down the hill instead.   Some of the "leftovers" (a huge concrete slab and a lonely chicken house) we did take out and that's where the gardens got started.  Two huge old trees, an oak and a hackberry, both taller than the house when it was built, are still with us; most of the other large shade trees follow the curve of the road except for a few in the back yard.  Everything has been worked around the redbud trees that volunteered close around the house and now are a lovely frame for the cherries. 
       I did find a picture of how the rose garden looked when we first laid it out.  You can see how Les worked the curve just right to lie at the bottom of the hill.  We're both very fond of the old-fashioned roses...they are extremely hardy, easy to care for, and have incredible fragrance.  Along with those we love the rugosas...their tough background gives them an advantage in our strange Oklahoma weather!  Although most of these bloom mainly in the spring, they surprise us now and then through the summer and more so in the fall.  

      Mixed in with these are some modern favorites, plus the wonderful Knockout line.  The Knockouts form the roadside frame for the arbor and they do the job with great enthusiasm.  They have grown exuberantly and bloom all season; they're a great line.  This year we added the Sunny Knockout and we can hardly wait to see what they do.
      Probably our most unusual rose story comes with the strange-looking old tree on the left side of the was growing at that strange 45 degree angle when I moved here 25 years ago.  I kept thinking that the next storm would take it out but it kept surprising me by growing larger and at that same angle! 
      We planted a climber (I think it's New Dawn) and then it became a love affair of sorts!  In 2 years the rose had simply scampered up the tree, doing what it does best, and rewarded us every year afterwards with gorgeous cascades of rosy tendrils.  Finally last year the old tree met its match in one of our storms; the rose and tree are so entwined that we haven't decided yet how we'll separate them!  For the moment at least they are still buddies!
       I mentioned in another post that my grandmother had rooted some more rose cuttings for me just before she passed away.  These are still with me all these years later...and live in a special spot that is their own.  I also described how her gardens grew in abundant mixed beds...perhaps that's why I feel these gardens are so "right" for where we live!
       When we saw the Peace Garden at Heirloom Roses a few years ago, Les knew that that was exactly how he wanted our rose garden to look.  It was a lovely spot surrounded by hedge roses with pine trees at the entrance, which gave it a separate, secluded look.  It was done in all white roses planted in a soft oval as a tribute to the victims of 9/11.  There were benches inside for a rest or a time of thoughtfulness.  It was a totally peaceful place.
          Our weathered garden bench has gotten a lot of use where it is now; it's a perfect spot for resting or daydreaming both morning and evening.  This has become our "peace garden" too...a quite spot to enjoy and reflect...and plan...because there are always more roses we'll want to add next year!  Isn't that a part of the fun in having a garden?   We always have something to look forward to!


  1. I love roses, they are just about my favourite.

    Your garden is there only you and your husband to maintain it?

  2. Most of the yard is grass and Les takes care of it with a riding mower. The flower beds are pretty much close together which makes them easier to care for. It seems biggest when we're weeding!!